Steps of Paul, Churches of Revelation & Best of Israel
21 Day Tour
A wonderful combination of Biblical sites.
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A wonderful combination of Biblical sites.
(6 Mo. Adv.)
|2023 (Prices Include Cruise Tours)|
|April 14-May 4 (Wait-list only)||$5,198||$4,998|
|August 18-September 7
September 29-October 19 (Wait-list only)
2023 Inside Cabin: $1,945*
*SINGLE CRUISE CABINS ARE LIMITED AND SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY. A $200 DISCOUNT IS AVAILABLE TO SINGLE PASSENGERS WHO ARE WILLING TO SHARE A CRUISE CABIN.
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Price Includes: Land Portion - first class (4 Star) lodging, breakfast and dinner daily, modern transportation, sightseeing as listed.
Cruise Portion - Inside cabin (category IA), 2 port tours (Patmos & Crete), onboard gratuities, non-alcoholic beverage package, all meals.
Not Included: Land Portion - travel/cancellation insurance, Israel gratuities will be paid in advance ($122 per person will be added to your final invoice for gratuities to be paid to driver, guide, and hotel staff while in Israel), Turkey visa.
Cruise Portion - Port taxes & service charges. ($180 will be added to your final invoice to prepay this cruise charge)
Flight Departures - Airfare (including Athens to Tel Aviv flight), special fares are available nationwide including transfers. (transfers not included unless airfare is purchased from Pilgrim Tours)
Please Note: Turkey Entry Visas* must be secured in advance prior to arrival. Visas can be obtained in advance online at the link below.
*Turkey “E-Visa” online purchase - Click Here
Airport transfers are included only when airfare is purchased from Pilgrim Tours. Taxi service is available for those purchasing their airfare elsewhere.
Deposit Required: $500 per person will reserve your place. A $100 service fee will be charged for cancellation at any time in addition to our normal payment and cancellation policy.
Day 1: Departure from US
Today we embark on our Journey to the lands of ancient treasures and Christian history with an overnight flight to Turkey. Prepare yourself for a life-changing experience. Get some rest on the flight…Tomorrow you will be walking where the apostles walked!
Day 2: Arrival Istanbul
We transfer to our hotel in Istanbul, Turkey for the next two evenings.
Day 3: Bustling Istanbul, Archaeological Museum
The tour today will be an unusual combination of Greek Orthodox, Roman, Ottoman and modern day Islam including entrance into the famed Blue Mosque and St. Sophia Church. After lunch we visit the fascinating Topkapi Palace housing the many priceless treasures and colorful stories of Ottoman Sultans. This afternoon our guide will walk us through the wonderful exhibits at the Archaeological Museum. Treasures include the sarcophagus of Alexander the Great, mosaic remnants depicting the times of Nebuchadnezzar, tablets of the Treaty of Kadesh known to be between Ramses II and the Hittites during the 13th century BC and many other wonderful items. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 4: Sea of Marmara, Ancient Troy
Departing Istanbul, we travel west across "Trace," the European portion of Turkey. The summer homes along the Sea of Marmara will provide the scenery as we travel. Our bus boards a large ferry to cross the Dardanelles Strait giving us views of the bunkers on the hillside and the ocean going vessels. During our journey, we hear the commentary of the British major losses and World War I defeat in the Dardanelles Strait. Disembarking in Canakkale, we travel a short distance south to the area known as Troas, where Paul had a vision during his second missionary journey and was called to Macedonia (Acts 16:8-13). Paul later spent a week in Troas preaching here and Eutychus was resurrected (Acts 20:6-12). We will visit ancient Troy, which was excavated in 1873 by Heinrich Schliemann. Don't forget to have your picture taken from the top of the Trojan Horse. We travel to our nearby lodging for the evening.
Day 5: Pergamum, Thyatira & Izmir
Our first visit of the day is Pergamum. The church of Pergamum was praised for its forbearance; (Rev. 2:12-17) it was here that the first Christians were executed by Rome. We'll visit the fabled Acropolis, pass through the Royal Gates, view the foundations of the Altar of Zeus and visit the ruins of the library (which once held 200,000 volumes). Next we travel east to Thyatira viewing the ancient roadway and period columns. Thyatira was once a busy trading center and famous as a "seller of purple," the most favored of the Seven Churches. We continue south to Izmir, which is the third largest city in Turkey and a long time center for Jews and Christians. In Paul's day, Izmir was known as Smyrna and was another of the Seven Churches (Rev. 2:8-11). Our lodging this evening will be in Izmir.
Day 6: Sardis, Philadelphia, Pamukkale
Departing our Hotel in Izmir, we'll see Polycarp's Church and visit the ancient roman agora. Then, we travel to Sardis, which was berated by John for its facade of strength when, in reality, it was weak (Rev. 3:1-6). Here coins were minted and the dyeing of wool originated. We'll visit the gymnasium and synagogue. Our next stop is nearby Philadelphia from where we are challenged to “hold fast” and look forward to the coming of the "new Jerusalem" (Rev. 3:7-13) in the Book of Revelation. Not much is left of the city except for the ancient wall and the remains of a Byzantine basilica in the modern city of Alasehir. Our lodging this evening will be in a lovely spa hotel in Pamukkale.
Day 7: Hierapolis, Laodicea & Colossae
Hierapolis, meaning "Sacred City," was an ancient center for pagan cults until it was transformed into a Christian center in the first century. According to tradition, the Apostle Philip lived and was martyred in Hierapolis. It was likely the hot springs of Hierapolis (in contrast to the cold mountain springs near Colossae) that combined to bring application to the "lukewarm" Laodiceans (Rev 3:14-22). This connection between the cities lies behind Paul’s reference to Hierapolis and Laodicea in his epistle to the Colossians (Col 4:13). Laodicea contains many acres of ruins to visit including a stadium and remnants of a sophisticated water system. Nearby Colossae is well-known throughout Christian circles as the receiver of Paul's letter to the Colossians. Today, the town has fallen into obscurity and nothing remains. We spend the remainder of the day traveling through the Turkish countryside arriving in the port city of Kusadasi where we spend two nights. The day will not be complete without a visit to a local Turkish Rug cooperative.
Day 8: Ephesus
We travel to the nearby town of Selcuk for a visit of ancient Ephesus. Ephesus was once a thriving port town of 250,000 people. Today you can still see the spectacular excavations of the major streets in this ancient city. We view the Library, Agora, theatre, colorful mosaics in the aristocratic Terrace Houses, and a panoramic outlook of the surrounding ancient port area (including a wealth of church history and cultural insight). Then we continue with a visit to the Basilica Church of St. John, which houses an immersion baptismal and is believed to be resting place of John. From here we have an excellent overview of the Ephesus harbor, the Mosque of Jesus, and see the site of the Temple of Artemis, which is listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Day 9: Isle of Patmos
This morning, we embark our cruise ship and sail for a visit to the beautiful Isle of Patmos, which is under statutory protection as a historic monument. Here we have a tour to see the fortified monastery of St. John and the cave claimed to be where John received the Revelation. Back on the ship, enjoy dinner before settling in to your cabin for the night.
Day 10: Crete & Beautiful Santorini
Crete is the largest and the most rugged of the Greek islands. Take a tour to Heraklion and the fantastic ruins of the Palace of Knossos. Discovered in 1899 and partially reconstructed, the elaborate Palace is believed to be the mythical Labyrinth of King Minos and the seat of ancient Minoan culture. This afternoon visit the island of Santorini which is perhaps the most breathtaking of all the Greek Islands. You may choose to take an optional panoramic bus tour viewing some of the most spectacular scenery of the Aegean. Travel through countless villages and settlements with delicate architecture and beauties eventually arriving in Oia. During your time in Oia, visit the many narrow streets, open-air cafes and glittering boutiques. Upon returning to the ship, we view the lace-like caldera, the little islands of Thirasia, Palea, & Nea Kameni. We arrive at the ship for dinner and evening entertainment.
Day 11: Disembark Cruise – Ancient Corinth & Cenchreae
We disembark the cruise this morning and travel west with a rest stop and photos at the Corinth Canal. Next, we visit ancient Corinth, the city that inspired many of Paul's most familiar letters and is a highlight for the New Testament scholar. See the Archaeological Museum, the Market Place, the Bema, and the Temples. To enjoy a devotional in the midst of the ruins of the church of Corinth and see the pillars, steps, and public worship place where Paul preached will enhance your understanding and love for the Bible. The ruins of this important cultural center are fascinating as we walk along the stone path that the Apostle Paul walked. The engineering skill and intellect of these people are evident in the water systems that still flow from ancient to modern day. Our guide will be sure to show you the room dedicated to the medical care of that period. We travel on to the top of the nearby Acropolis where our guide will speak on the worship practices and point out the bird’s eye view of what was a bustling city of around 800,000 during Paul’s stay. Another important stop is a visit to Diolkos where we view the paved trackway which enabled boats to be moved overland across the Isthmus of Corinth and served as a life line for Corinth. This shortcut allowed ancient vessels to avoid the long and dangerous circumnavigation of the Peloponnese peninsula. Before returning to Athens, we will visit Cenchreae, the ancient port region of Corinth. Acts 18:18 states the Apostle Paul stopped at Cenchreae during his second missionary journey, where he had his hair cut to fulfill a vow.
Day 12: Athens
Following breakfast this morning we tour Athens, the foundation of democracy. We visit the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and Erectheum before viewing Athens atop Mars Hill where Paul stood and preached the truth to the Gentile nation. From atop Mars Hill we view the Agora below, the ancient marketplace and center of Athenian public life. Additional sites viewed during our panoramic bus tour are, the House of Parliament, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Olympic Stadium, and Presidential Palace. An option later this afternoon is a visit to the famous Plaka with a multitude of shops and cafes.
Day 13: Arrive Israel
We transfer to the airport for our flight to Israel, Ben Gurion Airport where we will be met by our transfer agent. We 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 14: 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 a Roman Amphitheatre, hippodrome, and other remains of this famous port city, as well as a film on history and an aqueduct before we journey through the Mt. Carmel range, where Elijah challenged King Ahab and the prophets of Baal. Next, we travel through the Jezreel Valley to Megiddo, the Armageddon Battlefield, where archaeologists have unearthed twenty levels of civilization. We drive through the area of Cana and 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 15: Dan, Caesarea Philippi, Capernaum, Magdala, Sea of Galilee Boat Ride
Following breakfast, our morning travels take us to two valuable northern sites: Dan is where the children of Israel fell to the depths of alternative sacrifice, and Caesarea Philippi is the site of Peter’s Confession and pagan worship. We pass the possible site of the multiplication of loaves and fishes in Bethsaida and the Mount of the Beatitudes. Returning to Tiberias for a St. Peter’s Fish lunch (other selections available), we then visit the ancient Galilee Boat followed by 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. In Capernaum we view the excavations of the seaside village and Peter’s home, followed by a visit to Magdala, hometown of Mary Magdalene. The recent excavation of the First Century Synagogue and well-preserved village makes Magdala one of the most interesting Biblical sites in Israel.
Day 16: Jordan River Baptism Site, Beth Shean, Ein Gedi & Dead Sea
We begin our day with the opportunity to be baptized at the Jordan River Baptismal Site. Next, we travel southward to Beit-Shean/Scythopolis, the most magnificent archeological site in Israel, located at the strategic juncture of the Jezreel and Jordan Valleys. Like Jericho, Beit-Shean 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 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, our guide will point out the agricultural restoration of the “Land of Milk and Honey” and Israel’s intricate irrigation development. We pass ancient Jericho and view from a distance this city famed as the oldest in the world. To the east of Jericho along the Jordan River Valley (Queser El Yehud) is the Israeli side of Bethany Beyond the Jordan. In this area Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, Elijah and Elisha crossed the Jordan, and the children of Israel, led by Joshua, entered the Promised Land. 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. Our lodging for the evening is 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 17: Masada, Dead Sea Scrolls, Abraham's Tent
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. 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 into the time of the Patriarchs, complete with costume, dramatic presentation, camel ride, and authentic food. Our lodging for the next four nights will be in Jerusalem.
Day 18: Around Jerusalem, Bible Times, Bethlehem
This morning we will visit the Wailing Wall and then the fascinating Rabbinical Tunnels leading us through the Second Temple era. The tunnel and exhibit give a clear understanding of the amazing construction of the Temple Mount, massive 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 the 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 afternoon we visit the Southern 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 Temple Mount 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 Day of Pentecost. We spend the remainder of the day surrounding the birth of Christ with an optional visit to Bethlehem or some free time in the Old City to shop.
Day 19: Jesus' Steps, Last Days, Way of Suffering, Garden Tomb
Today we walk where Jesus walked. We begin 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 walk through 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. 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." 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 about the actual place of crucifixion and burial - a very interesting study. The climax of the day is the area of Golgotha (“place of the skull”) and the Garden Tomb, where we celebrate the resurrection with communion and a time of praise.
Day 20: Israel Museum, Friends of Zion Museum, House of Caiaphas, Yad Vashem
An interesting and educational time awaits us today at the Israeli Museum. Walk through collections of centuries-old Israeli artifacts including the Dead Sea Scrolls and then a guided walk through an accurately detailed model of Biblical Jerusalem. This model will help put into perspective all that we have seen over the previous days’ touring. We then visit the Friends of Zion Museum to learn of the 19th and 20th century heroes of the Jewish people. Next, we spend time at the House of Caiaphas where Jesus was beaten and spit upon. We 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. 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. This evening we enjoy a special lecture by a local believer prior to dinner, giving us a perspective of Messianic life in Israel.
Day 21: Homeward Bound
We transfer to the airport for our flight back to the USA.
*The tour itinerary is subject to change or be slightly modified in order to best meet the interests of the group.