There are as many reasons to visit Israel with Gate 1 Travel as there are historic and religious sites in this incredible nation. If you’ve traveled with us before, you know that our value is unmatched. This is especially true in Israel, where we’ve fostered longstanding relationships for many years. Thanks to our contacts, we can offer our value-priced, discovery-packed 8 Day Essential Israel trip starting from only $1099 including airfare from either New York or Chicago. No other company shows you the best of Israel for less.
Of course, the most convincing reason to visit Israel lies in the inspirational blend of culture, religion and history you’ll find here. Read on to learn more.
Jerusalem: The Soul of Israel
Perhaps no other city in the world boasts such a dense concentration of religious sites as Jerusalem. Many call this city the soul of Israel, and it’s easy to understand why. Powerful and moving emblems of faith appear on every corner of the Old City, as you’ll see in the Stations of the Cross that line the Via Dolorosa, or Way of Sorrows. Jesus is said to have walked this road while bearing His cross. This pilgrimage route – and our own walk – ends at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on the site of His crucifixion. It’s a particularly moving visit – especially if you also pay homage at the place of His birth, Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, and at the Church of the Annunciation in the city of His youth, Nazareth.
In the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount – crowned by the gilded Dome of the Rock – is said to shelter the Talmudic source of life, the site from where God gathered dust to create man. In Islamic faith, it is the location of Mohammed’s ascent to heaven. More than this, it is a symbol of unity, as Gabriel brought Mohammed here to pray with Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. The Western (or Wailing) Wall borders the temple – a pilgrimage site where the devout worship and insert prayerful slips of paper in the crannies between the mortar and rock. It is impossible to not be moved by the power of this place. We’ll examine it all as closely as religious law allows, then step outside the Old City for a breathtaking bird’s eye view from atop Mt. Zion – site of the ancient City of David.
Jerusalem’s new city is no less inspiring, as you might choose to discover for yourself. At the Israel Museum, art and archaeology from the country’s millennia of history are on display, none more remarkable than the fourth- and fifth-century Dead Sea Scrolls, housed under an impressive white dome. From inspiring to sobering, you may also visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
During your stay, you can join our excursion to test the Dead Sea’s buoyancy; its waters are 34% saline! Farther south, the towering massif of Masada tells the dramatic story of 960 Jewish rebels who committed suicide in AD 73 rather than surrender to the Roman Empire.
Tiberias: Gateway to the Jordan River Valley: The “Garden of God”
The River Jordan played a crucial part in Christian theology, the scene of miracles, battles, and baptisms. Most notably, John baptized Jesus in its waters at a site that we’ll visit. Today, the valley’s fertile history is on rich display and you can unravel it all, and so much more, during an enriching stay in Tiberias, hugging the Sea of Galilee’s shores. Nearby, Beit She’an a city dating to the 15th-century BC, invites you to stroll through 5,000 years of history.
Thousands of years of Canaanite, Egyptian, Roman, Arab, Byzantine, and Ottoman history blanket the shores of the Sea of Galilee. There’ll be ample time to explore Tiberias on your own – perhaps sampling one of its soothing thermal springs. But we suspect you’ll want to set out to discover more of Israel’s wide variety of sites. In Upper Galilee, a mystical Kabbala artists’ colony welcomes you, and in the Golan Heights, you may sample special vintages at a kosher winery. Perhaps, too, you will visit the remarkably historic port city of Acre, or Akko, where echoes of knights and crusaders whisper in Ottoman-era medieval streets, and explore the ancient ruins of Capernaum and the fabled spot where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, the Mount of Beatitudes.
Haifa & Tel Aviv: “Israel’s Riviera”
The Mediterranean Sea does not spring to everyone’s mind when they think of Israel. But some of the country’s most beautiful places grace its sun-kissed coast. The splendid terraced Baha’i Gardens offer magnificent views of Haifa. Mt. Carmel was the spot of Elijah’s sacrifice by fire by which he miraculously ended a drought. And in Caesarea, seat of Pontius Pilate and of impressive Roman and Crusader ruins, Herod the Great built a city to rival Rome. With the blue waters of the Mediterranean as their backdrop, these historic sites are all the more magnificent.
If Jerusalem is Israel’s soul, Tel Aviv is its beating heart. This young and vibrant city on the sea never sleeps, and offers a fun and fascinating glimpse into the country’s modern lifestyle. Whether you prefer an hour on the beach or an afternoon shopping at the Dizengoff Center, Tel Aviv never disappoints. By contrast, in the city’s southern districts, Jaffa is a wellspring of biblical and rabbinical history.
VENTURE BEYOND THE ESSENTIAL
As we’ve said, our 8 Day Essential Israel program offers Gate 1’s best value. But of course, there’s more to this magnificent country, from the stark beauty of its deserts and rich kibbutz culture to the staggering sites of its neighbor, Jordan. On these inspiring journeys, too, Gate 1’s value can’t be matched.
Take the Road to the Red Sea
In the south of Israel, the Negev stretches to the Red Sea. The desert makes for a mesmerizing drive through arid plains, but it’s not all barren land. At Kibbutz Sde Boker, the first prime minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, retired and passed away. We’ll stop to pay respects at his grave. Farther south, the small town of Mitzpe Ramon sits on the northern ridge of the Ramon Crater. This once-forgotten enclave, built as a camp for the workers who laid the road to the Red Sea, is coming into its own as an eco-tourist destination.
The sea resort town of Eilat is a geographic crossroads; Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia are all visible from this northern tip of the Red Sea. Our days here are unregimented, with lots of time to swim or snorkel. And there’s plenty more to explore from here: join optional tours to the magnificent ancient city of Petra or to the Timna Valley, home to incredible rock formations carved by desert wind and the once-active copper mines known as King Solomon’s Mines.
While You’re Here, Marvel at Jordan’s Wonders
Throughout our Israel trips, Jordan is always right across the border. So it only makes sense to select an itinerary that also explores this welcoming and remarkable country. Its gleaming capital Amman, called the “white city” for the stone used to build its houses, is rich in culture and tradition. Outside Amman, Jerash – the “Pompeii of the East” – provides incredible insight into the lives of the Romans in one of their more remote outposts. And on the summit of Mt. Nebo, you’ll not only have views of the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea; you’ll also see the reputed burial site of Moses. But perhaps Jordan’s most magnificent gem is Petra, the red sandstone city carved into rocky cliff faces.
Essential Israel Is a Must for Travelers Yearning to Unravel the Nation’s Mysteries
No matter how you choose to visit Israel with Gate 1, you’ll discover that this small country holds countless surprises. Remember – our 8 Day Essential Israel itinerary provides our very best value. Plus, we offer numerous other comprehensive tours packed with sightseeing. One thing is certain: whether this is your first visit or your fifth, we’ll show it all to you at a price that beats any other tour operator. Join us!