Day 1: Departure
Today we embark on our Journey to the Holy Land. Prepare yourself for a life-changing experience. Get some rest on the flight…tomorrow you will be walking where Jesus walked!
Day 2: Arrive Israel
Arrive in Israel and travel northward to our hotel for one night in the coastal area near Tel Aviv. The remainder of the day is free to walk along the Mediterranean, relax, and have dinner. The time is right for a personal devotional with the sunset over the “Great Sea.” Meet your Israeli guide, enjoy a time of prayer of thanks for safety and the special blessings ahead, a prayer for the people of the "Promised Land," and a good night’s rest.
Day 3: Caesarea, Megiddo & Nazareth
After breakfast, we travel by private motor coach along the coast of the
Mediterranean Sea to
Caesarea, where Gentiles first heard the Good News from Peter and
were baptized. We’ll see the Roman Amphitheatre and aqueduct, and then
journey on to
where Elijah challenged King Ahab and the prophets of Baal. Next we travel through the Jezreel
Megiddo, the Armageddon Battlefield, where archaeologists have
unearthed 20 levels of civilization. We drive through the area of
Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus, where we visit the Nazareth
Village - a wonderful recreation of Biblical times with costumed
guides. We will have dinner and overnight lodging for the next two
nights in the
Tiberias area on the
Sea of Galilee.
Day 4: Capernaum, Dan, Caesarea Philippi &
Mount of Beatitudes
Following breakfast, our morning travels take us to two valuable
northern sites emphasizing the loss of God's blessing on Israel.
Dan is where the children of Israel fell to the depths of pagan
Caesarea Philippi which is also the site of Peter’s Confession. In
order to save valuable time, a box lunch will be provided. In
Capernaum we will visit the ruins of an ancient synagogue and
Peter’s home. Then we travel on to the site of the multiplication of
loaves and fishes and the
Mount of the Beatitudes overlooking the Sea. After viewing the
ancient Fisherman Boat at an operating Kibbutz, we enjoy a relaxing
cruise on the Sea of Galilee. A brief scripture reading and devotional
on board brings to life the experiences of Jesus and the fishermen
disciples concluding a wonderful day.
Day 5: Jordan River Baptism Site, Beth Shean & Dead Sea
We begin our day with a visit to the
Jordan River Baptismal site. Next we travel southward to
the most magnificent archeological site in Israel, located at the
strategic juncture of the Jezreel and Jordan valleys. Like Jericho, it
has been almost continuously occupied throughout history. After
defeating Saul and his sons on Mt. Gilboa, the Philistines hanged their
bodies on the walls of Beit-Shean. During the intertestamental period,
the city was renamed the "Scythopolis." Archaeologists have
uncovered a huge number of ruins of the Roman/Byzantine Scythopolis.
During the time of Jesus, Scythopolis was one of the chief cities of
the Decapolis - a league of ten cities sharing Greek culture and
government. Following the fertile Jordan Valley southward, your guide
will point out the agricultural restoration of the “Land of Milk and
Honey,” the Kibbutz system and Israel’s intricate irrigation
development. We pass ancient Jericho, view from a distance this city
famed as the oldest in the world, before coming to our lodging for
the evening at the Dead Sea –
the lowest place on earth. Spend time in the special spa and enjoy a dip
in the Dead Sea for a relaxing float before dinner.
Day 6: Masada, Ein Gedi, Dead Sea Scrolls,
Our day begins with a cable car ride to the mountain top fortress of
Masada. Here our guide will treat us to the history of the famous zealot
stand. Afterwards we proceed to
Ein Gedi, "Spring of the Goat," an oasis on the western shore of the
Dead Sea. Because of its warm climate and abundant supply of water, the
site developed a reputation for its fragrant plants and date palm
groves. This is where King David hid from Saul, and where God defeated
the enemies of the Israelites by praise and worship led by King
Jehoshaphat. Next, we visit
Qumran Caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. This
afternoon we will take part in the Genesis Land/Dinner in Abraham's Tent,
where we enjoy a trip back in time: a reliving of life in the time of
the Patriarchs, complete with costume, dramatic presentation, and
authentic food. Our lodging for the next four nights will be in
Day 7: Around Jerusalem, Bible Times, Holocaust Museum
Passing by the Protestant Cemetery, we visit the "Upper Room"
just outside the Zion Gate where the
disciple whom Jesus loved laid his head on His breast and where later
Thomas cried, "my Lord & my God." An interesting and educational
time awaits us at the
Israeli Museum. Walk through collections of
centuries old Israeli artifacts including the Dead Sea Scrolls, and a
then a guided walk through an accurately detailed model of Biblical
Jerusalem will help to prepare you for what you will experience in the
We conclude the day with a visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum, for a needed reminder of what
the Jews have suffered as a people.
Day 8: Jesus' Steps, the Last Days - Messianic Lecture
Today we walk where Jesus walked; beginning the day with a panoramic
view of the city,
Mount Moriah and the Dome of the Rock from atop the
Mount of Olives
and then the
Garden of Gethsemane. How many have wished to be whisked back in
time to get a glimpse of our Lord or hear His voice if only for a
moment? To walk between the ancient olive trees, read the scriptures of
Jesus' prayer and take time for personal reflection is important here.
Next we visit the
House of Caiaphas where Jesus was
beaten and spit upon. See a
pit where he may have been held for the evening and the ancient hillside
steps he walked as he was taken to be condemned. On our way into the
city we will visit the Wailing Wall and then the fascinating
Tunnels leading us through the Second Temple era. The tunnel and
exhibit give a clear understanding of the amazing construction of the
Temple Mount, giant stones, water supply and Roman street where our Lord
was led to judgment. Before exiting the tunnel we see the immense
cornerstone rejected by the builders. We move on to
Judgment Hall of Pilate, hear of those who conspired against Him and
are reminded of His brutal beating and humiliation. From here we will
also be able to see the
Pool of Bethesda,
Stephen's Gate and St. Ann’s
Church. This evening we enjoy a special lecture by a local believer
prior to dinner, giving us a perspective of Messianic life in Israel.
Important Note: Although the itinerary above obviously emphasizes the spiritual aspect of this marvelous country, our guides are also experts in and passionate about the miracle of the return of the Jews and the restoration of the state of Israel. This fact, along with many modern day topics (military, politics, education, and other cultural aspects), will be woven into the commentary in order to give you well rounded information.
Day 9: Way of Suffering, Garden Tomb, Pentecost, Bethlehem
While walking along the Via Dolorosa, we are reminded of His way of
suffering along with a visit to the
Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Our guide will explain the differing
opinions on the route that Christ was led. The actual place of
crucifixion and burial is a very interesting study. Our climax of the
day is the area of
(place of the skull) and the Garden Tomb, where we celebrate the resurrection with
communion and a time of praise. This afternoon we visit the
Wall Excavations. This southern side of The Temple was the main entrance
for the common folk, whereas the Priests and Levites had their own
entrance from the higher eastern side. Parts of the giant stairs, which
led to the Temple Mount from the courtyard have been unearthed along
with the purification pools. From here Jesus entered the
and drove out the vendors and money exchangers who were exploiting the
people. It is also likely that this is the place that Peter stood and
preached and where thousands were saved and baptized on the
Pentecost. We will enjoy a challenge from God’s Word and a song before
an optional time this afternoon. Those who wish may stay in the city
marketplace for shopping, while
others may choose to spend the remainder of
the day surrounding the birth of Christ, with a visit to
Day 10: Arrive Rome
This morning we fly from Tel Aviv to Rome. We begin our sightseeing at the ruins of Ostia Antica, which provides an idea of life in classical times. You will also see the Ostian Gate, today called the Gate of St. Paul, before arriving at the hotel for check in and some relaxation time before dinner.
Day 11: Vatican Museums, St. Peter's, Scala Santa, Abbey of Three Fountains, St. Paul Outside the Wall
After breakfast you will begin a full day of site seeing. First visit Vatican City where you will see the Basilica at St. Peter, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums with stunning works of art at every turn. After some free time for lunch, you will stop at The Abbey of the Three Fountains, the traditional site of Paul's martyrdom and the ancient street that he walked on. Next, visit the 4th century Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, the site of Paul’s tomb, and the Scala Santa, where Martin Luther made his stand against the practice of indulgences. This fascinating museum houses the Steps from Pilot's Judgment Hall in Jerusalem brought to Rome by Helena, the mother of Constantine. Additional sights include the Arches of Constantine and Titus, Circus Maximus and the beautiful marble monument called the Wedding Cake.
Day 12: Forum, Mamertine, Coliseum, St. John di Lateran, Catacombs
We begin our walking tour at the ancient Roman Forum, where our guide will divulge its secrets. We will visit the Arch of Titus which commemorated the sack of Jerusalem by Titus in AD 70. We will view the Mamertine Prison exterior, where tradition says the Apostle Paul was imprisoned. The Roman church would say that Peter was imprisoned here as well, but there is no imperial evidence that Peter was ever in Rome. Next, we visit the Coliseum, where thousands of people and animals perished during gladiatorial games. The Coliseum first opened in AD 80 and within 100 days of its opening, 5000 wild beasts perished here. The slaughter of both humans and animals continued for three more centuries. Historians believe the Coliseum could hold between 40,000 and 80,000 people depending on how close the seating was. The floor has recently had a plank placed over the middle making it accessible for people to walk over the labyrinth of brick cells, ramps, and elevators used to transport animals and gladiators into the arena. Hear the stories of the games that have fascinated people for years. Next we visit St. John di Lateran, the first Christian church and baptistry established by Constantine. We conclude our day at the Catacombs where thousands of Christians were buried in a remarkable tiered series of galleries.
Day 13: Frescoes, Assisi, Montecatini
After breakfast you will say “Arrivederci Roma” and board your coach and travel through scenic Umbria to the ancient walled hillside village of Assisi. After lunch on your own, you will enjoy a guided tour of this beautiful, medieval town, which will include the Basilica San Francesco, decorated with some of the most renowned frescoes in the world. The stories of the sacrificial life of St. Francis will be an encouragement to us all. This afternoon, we travel on to the spa village of Montecatini Terme, our place of lodging for the next two nights in the heart of Tuscany.
Day 14: Beautiful Florence, Michelangelo’s David
After breakfast, you will spend the morning enjoying a guided tour of Florence, one of the world’s greatest artistic capitals, which will include the Piazza della Signoria, Duomo, Baptistry and a visit to the Accademia Galley, home of Michelangelo’s David. A stop will also be made on the hillside overlook across the river from Florence where we will enjoy a panoramic view of the beautiful red-tiled roof cityscape. This afternoon is at your leisure to enjoy shopping, visiting more galleries or strolling on the famous Pont Vecchio, the old bridge which spans the Arno River. Remember that Florence leather shops are the best in the world and bargains on excellent quality goods are abundant. It may be the time to purchase those special Christmas gifts.
Day 15: Pisa & Verona
We begin our day with a tour of Pisa where you will visit the Baptistry, Duomo and the famous leaning tower in the Piazza dei Miracoli, followed by free time for lunch. This afternoon, we travel northward through colorful Tuscan countryside, past Bologna and on to romantic Verona, medieval setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. We arrive in time to walk to the historic center/shopping district with free time to see the famed balcony of Juliet. We continue on to Venice Mestre for dinner and our lodging for the next two nights.
Day 16: Charming Venice
Start morning sightseeing in style as your guide takes you by private boat along the Giudecca canal to meet your resident expert. Highlights of your walking tour are St. Mark’s Square and the Byzantine splendor of St. Mark’s Basilica, lavish Doges’ Palace and the Bridge of Sighs. Afterwards enjoy Venice at your own pace, or join an optional gondola ride or a visit to the Waldensian Christian Museum. Returning to our hotel, we enjoy our last dinner together.
Day 17 Home
This morning we transfer to the airport for our flight home.