- Israel The Holy Land
Biblical sites lie next to ancient synagogues and the sacred Islamic Dome of the Rock in Israel, a country where the most spiritually significant sites of Judaism, Islam and Christianity converge. Take in the most sacred of these areas and structures as you visit the Virgin Mary's home in Nazareth, cross the waters of the Sea of Galilee, ascend the Mount of Beatitudes and travel the path Christ took to his crucifixion on this riveting eight-day tour.
Depart London on your scheduled flight to Tel Aviv, located on Israel's glittering Mediterranean coastline. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Breakfast & Dinner
Embark on a morning tour of Israel's second city Tel Aviv, home to the unique Bauhaus-style buildings of its UNESCO-listed White City and glorious stretches of beach. Reflecting Israel's long and rich past, the city is also dotted with numerous historical sites and a visit to Jaffa, located on the outskirts of the city, allows you to explore this centuries-old city which has been conquered and re-conquered countless times throughout its history. Wander the cobbled alleyways of the area, taking in the historic port which has been in continuous use for over 4,000 years. Travel north to Caesarea to explore the harbour ruins and pillared amphitheatre of this ancient beachfront archaeological site. Next, a journey to the UNESCO listed, walled city of Akko (also known as Acre) teeming with fortifications, underground crypts and Ottoman-era structures. Join Marco Polo, the Knights of the Secret Order of the Templars and the Crusaders, who have all passed through the walls of this city, as you explore its landmarks before you make your way to your hotel in Galilee.
Breakfast & Dinner
A morning tour of a local kibbutz gives you a chance to witness this unique, communal style of living and learn more about the values of social equality and shared ownership that underpin these communities. Travel onward to the Sea of Galilee, home to some of Christianity and Judaism's most important sites; the area around this lake also offers rolling hills, valleys and quaint, small towns. Enjoy a full day exploring the biblical sites of this region, set against this picturesque backdrop. Sail the Sea of Galilee as you cross these waters by boat to the ruins of the former fishing village of Capernaum, once home to the apostles Simon, Peter, Andrew, James and John. Continue onward to the secluded site of the feeding of the 5,000 before visiting the Mount of the Beatitudes, where Christ gave his Sermon on the Mount. Today, the site is a tranquil garden with a Byzantine church featuring stained glass depictions of the eight beatitudes and sweeping views over the lake and countryside.
Breakfast & Dinner
After breakfast, depart Galilee for Jerusalem, stopping en route in Nazareth where you can wander the cavernous interior of the Church of Annunciation, believed to be the home of the Virgin Mary. Continue north to the extensive archaeological ruins of Bet Shean, best known as the site where King Saul was killed by the Philistines. Explore the fascinating excavations peppered throughout the area, which include amphitheatres, bathing houses and pagan temples. Continue on to Jerusalem, passing through the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley, dotted with palm-filled date farms, before checking into your hotel in time for your first dinner in Israel's age-old city.
Breakfast & Dinner
Explore Jerusalem's recent and ancient history on today's full-day city tour. The morning starts with amoving visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum where you will gain insight into the grim experiences of the Jewish people during World War 2. The nine galleries of the museum display photographs, films, documents, letters, works of art, and personal items found in the camps and ghettos of Nazi Germany. After this poignant experience, visit the seat of the Israeli government at the Knesset before stopping in at the Israel Museum, home to almost 500,000 objects and artefacts. Witness the aged parchment of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which contain the oldest known biblical manuscripts, and marvel at the amazing reconstruction of Jerusalem as it was before its destruction by the Romans in 66CE. Next, wander the stall-lined alleyways in a spice-scented souk before walking through the sacred hallways of the UNESCO recognised Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, where it is believed Christ was born.
Breakfast & Dinner
Churches, mosques and synagogues lie side by side in Jerusalem, a site of spiritual significance for three of the world's major religions. On today's tour, follow the path Jesus took to his crucifixion as you walk the Via Dolorosa, a winding street that leads to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. A visit to this church gives you access to two of Christianity's holiest sites - the hill of crucifixion and the tomb where Christ was buried and resurrected. Journey through Kidron Valley along the route of Jesus' flight to the Mount of Olives, as you make your way to the centuries-old religious monuments of Temple Mount, including the gleaming, golden Dome of the Rock - an Islamic shrine and important pilgrimage site. Continue onward and join the pilgrims fervently praying at the Wailing (or Western) Wall before visiting the Antonia Fortress where Jesus was tried for his crimes.
Breakfast & Dinner
Enjoy today at leisure, with the chance to explore Jerusalem at your own pace. Those wishing to delve further into the city's history might wish to take in the gnarled olive trees and colourful church of the Garden of Gethsemane or examine 6,000 years of artefacts on exhibit at the Bible Lands Museum. For those wanting a less history-focused experience, a walk down Ben-Yehuda Street gives you access to the city's best shopping and cafes and the chance to enjoy creamy hummus or fragrant falafel in one of its eateries. Alternatively, take an optional excursion (at a fee) to the Dead Sea for the chance to float on its salt-filled waters, then explore the caves at Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and visit the imposing natural rock fortress at Masada, the site of the battle between the Jewish people and their Roman occupiers.
After breakfast, depart Jerusalem for Tel Aviv where you'll board your return flight to the UK, or continue on to your chosen extension.
Angela Browne11 Dec 19
Hotel in Tel Aviv - excellent
Hotel for Galilee - just ok
Hotel in Jerusalem - fabulous location. Room good. Food good.
Paul Heseltine10 Dec 19
Standard accommodation, food good but repetetive.
Jenny Corbett27 Nov 19
Good hotels. Would have liked to stay in town centre. Our guide, Tami, was brilliant. We were lucky to have her. Mercury should use her again. We all felt she was outstanding.
Joan Dyson30 Oct 18
All very good, our guide was excellent
Heath Rees20 Oct 18
Good hotels and food - we recommend the Tel Aviv extension for rest and recuperation after the tour and you might meet Uri Geller as we did!!
Paul And Baudelis Westoby And Perdomo08 Jun 18
All very good and good value given how expensive Israel is.
A visa is not required for entry into Israel as a tourist. On entry, visitors are granted leave to enter for a period of up to 3 months. Visitors entering via Ben Gurion airport are given an entry card instead of an entry stamp in their passport. While this practice is in place at other ports of entry, there have been instances where passports have been stamped for entry purposes. You should keep your entry card with your passport until you leave. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry into Israel. Visa requirements are subject to change and obtaining a visa is the responsibility of the traveller and not Mercury Holidays. We recommend you check with your destination's tourist board or embassy prior to departure for the most up to date guidelines regarding visas and passport validity.
We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24 hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check-in. Check-in should be atleast 3 hours before departure. Checked baggage allowance may vary. Please refer to the bottom right of your e-ticket receipt for the correct baggage allowance. For example, if it shows '23k' this means your allowance is 23kg; or '1PC' means one piece not exceeding 23kg. For handling purposes the maximum weight of any single piece of baggage must not exceed 32kg. Hand Luggage: One piece of hand luggage with maximum total dimensions not exceeding a total of 115cm in size (56cm x 45cm x 25cm) and 8kg in weight. Please refer to the airline's website for further details and the most up-to-date information.
It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.
This tour is accessible to most people with a good level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves climbing of steep stairs and getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.
The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 15, and the maximum will be 35. If in the unlikely event there are less than 15 people booked on your tour date, we will endeavour to reduce any disruption to your holiday and try to operate your tour with lower passenger numbers. If we are not able to operate your departure date then you may be asked to change to a different date and a full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.
This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival by your national guide who will remain with you for the duration of your trip. You will also be joined by a local guide in each of the cities which you visit, ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.
The currency in Israel is the Israel Shekel. Currencies such as Pound Sterling, US Dollars, Euro and other major currencies can be exchanged in Israel. ATMs and exchange facilities are available. We advise that you request bank notes in smaller denominations, as it can sometimes be hard to get change from large notes and smaller notes are handy for smaller purchases.
You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any personal purchases, such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £400 per person will be sufficient for the duration of the tour.