Jerusalem is a fascinating city and a highlight of any visit to Israel and Palestine.
Countless numbers flock to this country every year. And for good reason; the diversity, mystery and history that’s nestled away in every corner is guaranteed to challenge and enthral anyone. Evocative, exciting and poignant, a trip to Israel has a long-lasting and profound effect on those making the decision to travel to this beautiful yet troubled land. Prepare to be received with warmth; prepare to be challenged; but above all, prepare to be moved.
Outside of Jerusalem is an impressive roll call of Roman and Crusader sites as well as the world’s oldest city at Jericho, and the world’s oldest church in Bethlehem. The contrast between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv is symbolic of Israel as a whole. Tel Aviv hums with energy and excitement and the Israelis do not hesitate to compare it with New York and Paris. In complete contrast to the metropolis, venture into the empty Negev Desert to experience traditional desert hospitality.
Combine the highlights of Israel & Palestine. Experience the cosmopolitan city of Tel Aviv, before exploring the contrast of Jerusalem and the revered town of Bethlehem. This eight-day holiday provides an in-depth introduction to what is the cradle of civilisation and will suit anybody with a strong interest in the biblical sites.
The old city of Jerusalem is one of the most atmospherically compelling cities on earth, steeped in history, vibrant and mysterious. Where else can you find Nigerians, Brazilians, Goan Indians, Mexicans and countless other nationalities all mingling together in narrow streets as they travel in pilgrimage along the route of the cross towards the Holy Sepulchre?
Be prepared for strict and unavoidable security measures which start before you board an El Al flight in London. On arrival, you should also be ready for large crowds in Jerusalem, particularly over Christian festivals. Israel currently attracts over two million visitors and Jerusalem’s old town can frequently feel full to bursting with tourists often outnumbering the locals.
A private guide can help you navigate the narrow twisting streets, avoiding the tourist stalls, taking short cuts to avoid retracing your steps and accessing rooftops for views across the town.
The city of Jerusalem, at the heart of the Holy Land, is without a doubt the main highlight. This holy city remains a mixture of cultures and creeds and although the city has its different quarters, there is more intermingling than one might imagine. Wandering the narrow, walled streets amidst so many sites of great religious and historical significance is completely absorbing.
What do you really love doing? We curate your itinerary especially for you.
Visit Tel Aviv’s most famous foodie markets; Carmel, a classic Israeli market; the Levinsky, famous for its spices and teas; and Sarona, a modern take on the traditional market.
Wander through the beautiful neighbourhood of Neve Tzedek, replete with brightly painted houses, talented artisan jewellers and local fashion designers.
Explore the Negev Desert staying at the Six Senses Shaharut.
Drive by 4×4 into the Negev Desert where you find unique geological land formations. View the Ramon Crater, the largest erosion crater in the world.
Learn the fascinating story of Masada during a visit to this unique fortress, situated on an ancient rock plateau with glorious views across the Negev and the Dead Sea.
Take a hike through Timna Park with its gorgeous multicoloured sand, combined with its towering sandstone pillars.
An emerging market, Israel’s wine production is on the rise. There are some excellent boutique wines at the wineries on the Negev Wine Route.
Visit the White City – a World Cultural Heritage site, and witness the outstanding example of new town planning and architecture in the early 20th century.
Visit this enduring symbol of the city and sacred to both Muslims and Jewish faiths.
Explore St Marks Chapel, home to the Syrian Orthodox community.
Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.
To the south of the Negev Desert in Israel, is the small community of Shaharut, nestled in the Arava Valley. This is where you will find Six Senses Shaharut, nestled into a dramatic cliff. With a focus on sustainability and wellness, the 58 suites and villas, many with private pools, are designed to blend in with the desert topography and preserve the terrain.
The Mamilla offers modern, boutique accommodation in the city of Jerusalem, within a few minutes walk of the Jaffa Gate. It is stylish and funky with excellent service, a great location and a superb rooftop terrace. The 194 bedrooms have a contemporary style with wooden floors, pastel colours and original pieces of furniture. A touch-sensitive liquid crystal wall separates the bedroom from the bathroom. There is a range of dining options from informal to gourmet and the rooftop terrace is a wonderful place to spend some time either soaking up the sun, taking in the superb views or dining in the brasserie.
A member of the Leading Hotels of the World, this former Pasha’s palace was converted into a stylish hotel in 1902 and has since hosted names such as Winston Churchill and T.E. Lawrence over the years. Split into two wings, the old and the new quarter, each room is unique. The interiors are comfortable and elegant with polished stone floors covered with Oriental rugs, domed ceilings and wrought-iron beds.
Israel is not as strict on dress codes and for women, short-sleeved shirts and knee-length shorts or dresses are ok, but when visiting religious sights we advise taking a shawl or long-sleeved shirt to cover up either arms or legs. Men are allowed to wear shorts and t-shirts, although certain sites will require trousers, and hats must be removed in churches.
Masada, on the edge of the Judaean Desert, is an ancient fortress and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can either take the hike to the summit or opt for the cable car ride, but will not be disappointed by the stunning views and ancient ruins that await them at the top. For those wanting to experience local life and relax, then the stunning area of Old Jaffa is the perfect place to enjoy the local brew while enjoying the sea breeze and beautiful architecture.
Transfers will primarily be done by car due to the shorter distances between attractions. This is a great way to see the country, without time being lost travelling.
Alcohol is available in Israel at bars and restaurants (and usually found in hotels), and should only be consumed at these locations. Drinking in Arabic/Islam areas should be avoided altogether.
Israel is two hours ahead of GMT.
From London to Tel Aviv, the flight time is approximately five hours.
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Very satisfied with all aspects of our trip. Steppes kept us fully informed of the progress of the arrangements and gave us various choices of hotels.
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