Fun & Faith in the Holy Land
An explorers tour for the young and the young in heart.
- Arrival. Direct transfer to Bethlehem.
- In the morning, visit Ein Karem, the birthplace and hometown of John the Baptist, followed by visiting the Church of Nativity, the Milk Grotto, and the Shepherds’ Fields in Bethlehem. In the afternoon, enjoy a guided hike in al-Makrour Valley, which leads from Beit Jala to Battir (UNESCO World Heritage Site). You will spend the night in natural caves around a campfire and receive a traditional Palestinians farmers’ dinner. Optional: Rope climbing on Battir’s certified climbing rocks overnight in al-Makrour Valley (natural caves, no services).
- After a sunrise-breakfast in the open nature, pass by your hotel to freshen up before continuing on to southern Palestine. In Hebron, visit the old city markets and al-Haram al-Ibrahimi (Abraham’s mosque before continuing to the Oak of Mamre, where Abraham is commemorated for meeting the three heavenly messengers (Genesis 18). You can then choose to return to Bethlehem for an outdoor barbeque and Argileh (hookah) by the ancient Solomon Pools or enjoy a traditional Hebronite dinner, which includes camel stew! Overnight in Bethlehem.
- Start out early for a sunrise desert hike from Mar Saba Monastery to the ruins of Hyrcania fortress, and enjoy a Bedouin-style breakfast in the desert before off-roading in 4×4 cars to the Muslim shrine an-Nabi Musa, considered the last resting place of Moses. After lunch, there is the option to visit Khirbet Qumran near the Dead Sea before enjoying an afternoon of floating in the hypersaline waters. Overnight in Jericho.
- In the morning, chose between a bicycle, donkey, or horse-drawn carriage for your exploring Jericho’s oasis. This will include a visit to ancient Tell es-Sultan, Elijah’s spring, Zacchaeus sycamore fig tree (Luke 19), and the Monastery of Temptation. Depending on the season, you can pick some fresh oranges from Jericho’s orchards and squeeze some fresh, healthy and tasty juice before continuing to the Baptism Site at the Jordan River. Departure and overnight in Nablus.
- In the morning, you will follow the Nativity Trail on to the picturesque Burqin Church, which commemorates Jesus’ Healing of the 10 Lepers and then continue on to Sebastia, ancient Samaria to visit the Tomb of John the Baptist and Nablus: e.g. Jacob’s Well. This day’s travels can be done partly by bus and part hike along the Masar Ibrahim trail. Overnight in Ramallah.
- Take a guided walk through Palestine’s bustling de facto capital and visit the Mukata’a, headquarters of the Palestinian National Authority with the Mausoleum of Arafat. Continue to the nearby Palestinian village of Jifna where tradition holds that the Holy Family rested near an oak tree on their way from Jerusalem back to Nazareth. Enjoy a traditional Palestinian chicken dish for lunch. In the afternoon, visit the Birzeit brewery and taste one of the few Palestinian-brewed beers before returning to Ramallah for an evening in one of its bars. Overnight in Ramallah.
- In the morning, depart from Ramallah to Jerusalem for an unusual underground tour of the Holy City. Visit the excavations of Jerusalem and walk through the water channel in Hezekiah Tunnel that leads to the Pool of Siloam before entering the Old City through a Roman canal system. Resurface once again at the Via Dolorosa to follow through the Stations of the Cross. Visit the large cistern system under the old Roman pavement (Lithostrotos or Gabbatha) near the Ecce Homo Arch. Descend again to the subterranean “Prison of Christ” before heading along the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. After visiting the church with its underground chapels and 1st-century tombs, enjoy the rest of the day at leisure in the busy Old City market streets. Overnight in Jerusalem.
- In the morning, enjoy a panoramic view of the Old City from the Mt. of Olives. Continue downhill on foot where you will visit the Dominus Flevit Chapel, the Church of Mary Magdalene, the Tomb of Mary and the Church of Nations in the Garden of Gethsemane. Pass through the Kidron Valley up to the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, followed by the Tomb of David and the Upper Room on Mt. Zion. Overnight in Jerusalem.
- Check-out and transfer to the land border.
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