9 Days Jewish Itinerary

 

More Israel than you could possibly dream of: an example of a 9 day private tour itinerary

 

Shalom and welcome to Israel!

Here is an example itinerary for a 9 day private tour of Israel with an emphasis on the rich Jewish heritage of the land awaiting your exploration. Keep in mind that while this itinerary mostly focuses on Jewish aspects of the country and that while nine days sounds like a long time, it actually only presents the highlights of a Jewish look at the country, since Israel has so much to offer. Naturally, everything shown here can be changed according to your wishes and if other sites are of interest to you, whether Jewish or otherwise, they can easily be added to the schedule in a manner best fitting your preferences.

Another brief note regarding the nights: they are always best spent around the area traveled during the day. Remembering that while still allowing as much diversity in the sites we'll be seeing means this itinerary is built around the idea of spending two nights in Jerusalem, two in Tel Aviv, three in Israel's northern region and one more in a Dead Sea resort.

 

Day 1

Starting your tour without a care in the world means you will be picked up directly from the airport or from whichever meeting point is most convenient for you and we'll be moving right on to discovering the Holy Land together.

Our first two days will be dedicated to the wondrous city of Jerusalem. We will begin our journey at the Mount of Olives. From that famous mountaintop, we’ll take in a panoramic view of the Old City and an ancient Jewish cemetery symbolizing the continuous bond of the Jewish people with the land - imagery that is sure to be etched in your mind forever.

Going down the slope of the Mountain in order toreach the Old City, as many have done for generations, marks the beginning of our tour in this most ancient part of Jerusalem. We'll start at a walkway found on top of the Old City walls, known as the Ramparts Walk, offering a unique, panoramic view of the area and its surroundings. Then we’ll visit one of the holiest sites in Jewish tradition, the Western Wall, also referred to as the Wailing Wall or the Kotel (for special information regarding Bar Mitzvahs here, celebrated on Mondays and Thursdays, see the Bar Mitzvahs page).

To get a full impression of the history and importance of this place, we'll next visit the Western Wall Tunnels, which will help familiarize us with people's way of life during the time of the Temple, as well as understand the delicate situation between the state of Israel and the Arab population of the city.

We'll complete the experience with a short walk to the Southern Wall Excavations at the archeological Davidson Center and then continue to Mount Zion, where we'll visit King David’s Tomb, a site of Jewish pilgrimage for centuries since the middle Ages.

Particularly meaningful will be the time we spend at Yad Va’Shem, Israel’s national Holocaust memorial site and museum, dedicated to the study and commemoration of the murder of 6 million Jews during WWII by the Nazis and their assistants, with special sections focusing on children during this genocide, the collection of the victims’ names, the re-creation of the rich Jewish culture which had been wiped out by these atrocities and so forth.

Wailling WallOvernight, we'll be taking the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the exceptional atmosphere of Jerusalem by staying here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2

The Old City's charms and treasures will Menorahbe further revealed to us on this day, as we make our way to the Jewish Quarter. As we walk through the quarter, we'll get to see the four old Sephardic synagogues, as well as sites capturing life here as it was thousands of years ago, like the Jewish Cardo, which was the center of Jerusalem's urban life during Roman times; the Herodian Mansions, the Broad Wall and the Burnt House, where we'll watch a captivating audiovisual presentation of that era.

 

Better than any fictional story of time travel, we'll jump thousands of years in time as we dedicate the second part of our day to the New City, where we’ll view older and newer neighborhoods, visit the Knesset, seat of the Israeli Parliament (open for visits on Sundays and Thursdays only), passing thru the ‘Prime Minister Hill’ and the beautifully and symbolically designed Supreme Court building. At the nearby Israel Museum we’ll discover, among many other fascinating exhibits, the mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Shrine of the Book and we'll see the model of Jerusalem during the Second Temple period.

A mellow note will close our evening as we'll stroll through the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Me’ah She’arim, allowing us to witness and understand how the locals lead their lives. Underlining the many contradictions Jerusalem manages to contain.

We’ll continue from there to the secular and modern pedestrian malls of Ben Yehuda Street and the neighborhood of Nachlaot, a renovated area of shops, galleries and cafés.

Overnight: Jerusalem.

 

Day 3

A drive down to the shimmering blue coastline of Israel will take us to the port city of Jaffa. We'll tour its Old City, starting with the ancient sea port, and spend some time at the colorful galleries and shops, giving us a taste of the west and east meeting there. We’ll learn all about the most important port city in the history of the Holy Land and about the different rules who have passed through it, starting with Pharaoh and through to the famous conqueror, Napoleon. We’ll also recount how important biblical figures such as King Solomon and the prophet Jonah were tied to it. We’ll touch upon the importance of the city to the Christian faith, as well as the upgrade it has been going through in the last couple of years.

Continuing this theme of cultures mixing, we will head for Tel Aviv and the “White City”, which has won the city its title the Bauhaus Capital of the World. We'll see the preservation of the buildings shaped in this German architectural style, declared by UNESCO to be a World Heritage Site. Amongst these is The Independence Hall, where David Ben-Gurion declared the independence of the State of Israel in 1948.

The city's vivid cultural significance is also expressed through its myriad of amazing museums, such as the Tel Aviv Art Museum, the Palmach Museum, the Eretz Israel Museum, The Ayalon Institute (in Rehovot) and the Diaspora Museum, and we'll make sure to visit some of them.

The memory of the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the profound implications of his murder will bring us to the Rabin Square, named after him in the wake of this shocking event.

Some free time will be spent in the intersection of the King George and Sheinkin streets, famous for its youthful vibe, for the fun shopping and dining experience and for the opportunity to watch the people who make up this city's energetic and carefree atmosphere.

Nearby, the open-air Carmel Market, known for its fruits, vegetables and spices, will prove a real treat for all of the senses. On Tuesdays and Fridays, the Nachalat Binyamin Market also bursts into life with its stalls, offering handicrafts of every kind.

 

No visit here is complete without a stop at the Tel Aviv Port and we'll conclude our day there with some relaxing coffee and a luminous sunset over the Mediterranean Sea.

Overnight: Tel Aviv.

 

Day 4

The northern region of Israel beckons us with its combination of green nature and historicsites. On this day, we'll answer its call as we head in the direction of the beautiful Caesarea National Park, where we'll observe the magnificent remains of Herod’s city, the Roman capital, the port and the fortified Crusader fort.

We'll also explore the Roman Theater and the hippodrome, then walk along the promenade to the renovated and charming Caesarea Port area.

 

Another UNESCO world heritage site we'll encounter is Tel Megiddo. The term Armageddon originates from this spot, which is the biggest archeological hill in Israel (and the world) and considered to be by many the most interesting one of them all. This spot consists of one of the most important junctions in the history of the human race and we will inspect its many hidden secrets through, among others, the palace, the stables, the silo, the gates and the water system which await us there.

 

 

Our next stop for the day is the third most populouled city in Israel, Haifa, situated on the ever green and lush Mount Carmel, we will see The Baha’i Shrine and Gardens, considered to be the second most sacred place in the world by followers of the Baha'i faith (after the shrine in Acre). Many say that these gardens are even more spectacular than those found at Versaille.

Complimenting the visage of the Gardens themselves is the breathtaking, panoramic view of both the city and the bay it's built around from the vantage point of the Louis Promenade.

Overnight: Tel Aviv.

 

Day 5

 

The ancient city and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Acre awaits us and on the fifth day of our journey, we'll discover its numerous gems built by the Crusaders during their second period here in the Holy Land, including the Crusaders Halls, the tunnels, the quarter and much more. We’ll also see remnants from the Ottoman period within the city, all of which have survived since the 18th and 19th centuries. Even Napoleon Bonaparte paid a visit to Acre as he almost conquered it.

 

Another point of interest is the Turkish Hamam (bath), which we'll follow with a spellbinding walk through the underground Knights-Templars Tunnels from the 12th century. They will lead us to visits in the Oriental Market, the Old City, the Arab Mosque and the Old Port. If time permits it, we'll also stop at the incredible and singular Tunisian Synagogue.

 

The breathtaking limestone grottos of Rosh Hanikra, found on the border with Lebanon are next for us, a sight of natural beauty where the sea re-shapes the coast. From one sea to another, we’ll travel on to the city of Tiberias, the historic resort town built on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (known in Hebrew as the Kinneret) and one of Israel's "four holy cities", settlements which have never gone without a Jewish presence for over thousands of years.

Overnight: Tiberias.

Day 6

 

A drive north through the ecologically fascinating Hula Valley will take us on this morning to the historic crossing of the Jordan River by way of the Daughters of Jacob Bridge. We'll then continue on our way through the green landscape to the Golan Heights capital, Katzrin, which is home to the Golan Heights Winery, a Talmudic village and an archeological chalcolithic period museum, among other sites of interest. We shall pay a visit to at least one of them.

History buffs and nature enthusiasts will want to continue to the Gamla National Park for a view of a fortified Jewish city's remains, which had survived the city's destruction during the Great Revolt against the Romans (66-74 CE). Located here is the main station of eagle feeding in the Golan, allowing us an intimate look at these majestic birds. We’ll cross back into the Galilee and ascend its mountains to spend the afternoon in Tzfat (Safed), another of the "four holy cities" and the home of Lurian mysticism of the Kabbalah.

 

A branch of Jewish mysticism conceived by 16th Century Rabbi Isaac Luria (the traditional author of the seminal mystic work, the Zohar). A stroll along the lanes of the Old City will allow us to observe its many synagogues, as well as its renowned artists' colony.

Overnight: Tiberias.

Day 7

 

Taking our leave from the Sea of Galilee region, we'll head on south to our first stop of the day, the capital city of the Decapolis, Beit Shean.

Not only was it of great importance during the Roman period, but this is also the city about which Resh Lakish, a Jewish sage of the third

century, said that “if the Land of Israel is paradise, Beit Shean is its main entrance".

The 5000-year-of continuously settlement without any brake is placing a person right within the historic past in a unique and direct fashion, thus enabling us to more fully experience ancient times and the lives led by people back then.

Afterwards, arriving at the Dead Sea area, we

 

will visit Qumran, the area where the Dead Sea scrolls were written 2000 years ago. This is also where they were later discovered, in 1947.we shall see in this beautiful national park how the special unique group of the Yahad lived here and the cases the scrolls were hidden at.

 

 

From this wild cave area, we will make our way to the Ein Gedi Antiquities National Park, where we’ll get the chance

to see the remains of a singular Talmudic synagogue and mysterious mosaic floor. if time will permit we will have a nature short hike in the David stream while reading the bible how king sole chased David thru this land.

Overnight: the Dead Sea.

 

Day 8

 

The extraordinary natural wonder known as the Dead Sea will welcome us with its uniquely healing qualities as we have ourselves a soothing morning dip, enjoying the “greatest outdoor spa in the world”, which is also the world’s lowest and saltiest body of water. Being the lowest point on Earth also means that the extra layers of atmosphere screen the sun more than anywhere else, allowing for a longer exposure to the sun, maximizing its health benefits and minimizing any possible radiation damages.

The nearby mountain of Masada, another UNESCO World Heritage Site on our voyage, will prove to be the climax of our day as we take the cable car up to this glorious table mountain top. There, we'll find the ruins of King Herod’s mountainous fortress and the last stronghold of the Jewish revolt against the Romans in 73 CE. The significance of this place is enormous, surpassing that of most other historical sites one might visit, and during our stay here we will delve into the reasons for that.

We’ll then enjoy the new museum in the Visitors Center, which will reveal the secrets of the rebels' daily life to us, tell the story of the excavations at the site and explain why this place became one of the State of Israel’s most important symbols.

After this exhilarating experience, the rest of the day will be dedicated to relaxing and floating in the Dead Sea resort.

For the more adventurous in spirit, there is also an option of climbing up to see the sunrise from the top of Masada. The climb takes about an hour and it requires us to leave at around 5 in the morning, depend on the time of year, but it is highly Very recommended as the view is breathtaking.

Overnight: the Dead Sea.

Day 9

 

Not done with the wonders of Israel's diverse natural world, we will head west on our last day, passing through the central part of the Negev Desert. We will pay a visit to the Ramon Craterand the accompanying Visitors Center at Mitspe Ramon, the main city in this region.

Here, we will learn all about the history of this amazing natural crater.

If time will permit, we'll get to see the Nabatean city of Avdat. This was once a central city of trade between Africa and Europe. The famous Incense Route passed through this town, bringing such rarities as frankincense and myrrh to Europe during the pre-Christian era.

 

Our visit to Kibbutz Sde Boker will again touch upon the era when the State of Israel was being founded and developed. At this location, we’ll visit the Ben Gurion shed, the humble abode where he lived for most of his life. We’ll also be able to pay our respects to the man who helped shape the state in its early years and during its struggle for existence when we stop by his and his wife's tombs. We’ll spend several moments overlooking the magnificent Nachal Zin view nearby from this spot.

 

Finally, we’ll return to either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, according to your preference.

 



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You can also read some more About Me.

For any question, request or a thought please Contact Me.

 

 

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17 Yud Alef st. Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
OfirTouring@gmail.com
+972-50-4444324