Sample Catholic Itinerary

What follows is only a suggested itinerary, we can easily adjust the itinerary to fit your wishes

When determining the length of your trip, keep in mind that the main cost of any trip is the flight; additional days in Israel do not add that much to your cost but will definitely increase what can be accomplished

Day 1 – Saturday: Arrive at Airport, Tel Aviv, Jaffa

As we approach Ben Gurion Airport  everyone seems excited, and many applaud as we land in the Holy Land. Our tour operator, Love Israel Tours, will welcome us to Israel with a familiar word: “Shalom” and assist us through customs. We proceed to Jaffa, the biblical port city, the place where St. Peter had his vision on the rooftop of the House of Simon and where Jonah set sail to Tarshish.  Transfer to our hotel on the Mediterranean Sea. We can spend the remainder of the day relaxing after a very long flight or enjoy the city’s beachfront Promenade. After dinner we can stroll down some of the famous streets in Tel Aviv, the first all Jewish City in modern times, built on sand dunes in 1909, visiting its shops and outdoor cafes. Dinner and overnight in Tel Aviv

Day 2 – Sunday: Tel Aviv, Galilee

Our first stop of the day is the restored city of Caesarea (Caesarea Maritime), built by King Herod and the site where Cornelius lived and was baptized, where Paul embarked to Tarsus and was imprisoned, and where Pontius Pilot ruled. Caesarea is important in the history of early Christianity as home to the Church Father Eusebius. We will explore the ruins of the ancient Roman and the Crusader cities; sit in the amphitheater and walk the floor of the great Hippodrome where chariot races were held. We drive to Mount Carmel and visit the Carmelite Monastery where Elijah called down fire from Heaven to fight the 400 prophets of Baal. Now we cross the Jezreel Valley and continue to the well-preserved archaeological site of Megiddo, called the “hill of battles” and the biblical Armageddon, where, according to tradition, the final battle will take place. With ramparts, temples, dwellings and a water system that made it one of the greatest cities of the ancient Near East, Megiddo became a regional capital of King Solomon At Megiddo archaeologists have uncovered 25 civilizations, built one upon another. Dinner and overnight on the Sea of Galilee

Day 3 – Monday: Jesus’ Ministry

This is our day to encircle the Sea of Galilee and become intimately acquainted with the towns and areas of Jesus’ ministry as written in the Gospels. You will never read your Bible the same after today! We will see Capernaum, a main center for Jesus’ teachings, known as Jesus’ “own town,” the House of St. Peter and the Ancient Synagogue where Jesus preached. We will walk down to the Sea at Tabgha where Jesus performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes the site of the feeding of the 5,000 and see the Church of the Primacy of Peter where Jesus appeared to the disciples after the Resurrection. Now is our chance to enjoy a boat ride in a re-creation of a Galilee fishing boat across the Sea of Galilee; we’ll stop for a lunch of St. Peter’s Fish caught in the Sea. After lunch we climb up to the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount and one of many sites where Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II prayed. At the village synagogue of Korazim, you may sit in the “Seat of Moses,” a stone chair possibly used by Jesus, Himself. We will see a 2,000-year-old boat known as the “Jesus Boat,” and as the sun sets on the Sea of Galilee we’ll have Dinner and overnight on the Sea of Galilee

Day 4 – Tuesday: Galilee

Today we visit Nazareth, Jesus’ boyhood home. We will walk the streets and lanes of Nazareth and see The Basilica of the Annunciation where, according to tradition, the angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary. We will also see Mary’s Well which most probably marks the place where Mary drew water for the Holy Family. At the Nazareth Village, we will see a recreated first century village which brings to life what a small Galilean village was like during the time of Jesus. We drive to Cana where Jesus performed the first miracle, changing water into wine and Nain where Jesus raised the widow’s son from the dead. Our last stop of the day is Mount Tabor; here we will see the magnificent Church of the Transfiguration with its brilliant mosaics; this mountain is also the scene of gathering of the forces of Barak and Deborah. Dinner and overnight on the Sea of Galilee

Day 5 – Wednesday: Golan

Our first stop today is the site of Bethsaida, which was the homes of Peter, Andrew and Philip; here Jesus healed a blind man. We continue to Kursi where Jesus healed a man possessed by demons. We climb to the Golan Heights for a visit to a former Syrian Bunker; Mount Bental where we will have the opportunity to learn about Israel’s wars with Syria, including the famous battle in the “Valley of Tears”. On to Caesar Philippi (Banias), where Jesus asked his disciples “Who do men say that I am,” where Peter made his confession of faith in Jesus and where we will understand what Jesus meant when He spoke of “the gates of hell.” Our next stop is Tel Dan, where we’ll hike through the park, see foliage, rushing water and the remains of an ancient altar from the tribe of Dan. Dinner and overnight on the Sea of Galilee

Day 6 – Thursday: Jordan River Valley, Dead Sea

Today, after breakfast and check out, we will have the opportunity to be baptized at Yardanit and then we say our goodbyes to the Sea of Galilee. We drive south along the Jordan River Valley. On the way, we will discuss many of the people of the Bible: David’s flight from his son, Absalom; Jacob wrestling with an angel; the hometown areas of Elijah and Elisha; Mt. Gilboa; and many more. Continuing south, we pass the world’s oldest town, Jericho, home of Rahab the harlot and Gilgal, where Joshua entered the Land after 40 years in the Wilderness. We now travel to the lowest point on the face of the Earth, the Dead Sea. We stop at Qumran, where in 1949 the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. This was home to the 200-strong Essene community who lived out the Jewish cycle of prayer, privacy and celibacy in direct opposition to the Temple priests in Jerusalem. Some believe that John the Baptist was a member of this sect. We take the cable car to the top of Masada, site of the Zealots’ last stand against the Romans, and from where you may also see the Mountains of Moab, across the Dead Sea in the country of Jordan. We will attempt to understand why King Herod would build such a formidable fortress. We will visit the bathhouse, the storage rooms, and the beautifully preserved mosaics and discover how the Romans finally captured it after the final siege. We check into our hotel where we can relax and enjoy one of the famous spas at the Dead Sea. Dinner and overnight on the Dead Sea

Day 7 – Friday: Dead Sea, Negev Desert, Eilat

After breakfast and check out, we drive south to Mount Sodom and discuss the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Further south in the desert is Biblical Tel Tamar, the only Jewish Biblical City south of Masada.  Archaeologists state that there was a Jewish presence in the city for over 1,000 years. At Tel Tamar, we will have the opportunity to help in the ongoing archeological excavation being carried out.  Tel Tamar was on the ancient spice route; near here, Abraham and his children, Ishmael and Isaac lived. We travel to the southern-most border in Israel, the Red Sea port of Eilat. Dinner and overnight at the Eilat

Day 8 – Saturday: Petra, Jordan

We will spend most of the day in Petra which has been called “a rose-red city half as old as time,” and “one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage.” Petra has been designated a World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Dinner and overnight at the Eilat

Day 9 – Sunday: Eilat

Today will be spent relaxing and enjoying the beauty and activities of Eilat. We will spend the morning at the Red Sea’s Oceanarium and Underwater Observatory where we will see beautiful tropical fish and animals. Apply the sunscreen! In the afternoon we can spend time snorkeling in the waters of the Red Sea’s famous Coral Beach and enjoying the beach. Dinner and overnight in Eilat

Day 10 – Monday: Negev Desert, Jerusalem

After breakfast, we travel to Beersheba where we’ll explore the ancient city where Abraham settled, dug his well and made a covenant with the Philistine king. In Beersheba, Isaac and Jacob grew up and Isaac and Rebecca settled. (Now we can say we have been “from Dan to Beersheba,” the entire length of biblical Israel.) In the Valley of Ha’elah, bring a collection bag to pick up 5 smooth stones from the battleground of David and Goliath. We ascend to Jerusalem the Golden, which is like no other city on earth. Sacred to the world’s three major monotheistic religions and fought over for three millennia by a variety of peoples and nations, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and, some may say, the center of the world. As we enter Jerusalem-the “City of Gold”-we will learn the difference between the names Jerusalem, City of David, Zion and the Temple Mount. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem

Day 11 – Tuesday: Jerusalem, Bethlehem

Today we visit some of the sites that are associated with the life of Jesus in and around Jerusalem. Our first stop is the Mount of Olives, then we will walk down, stopping at Paternoster where Jesus taught the Our Father prayer; see The Dome of the Ascension where Jesus ascended to Heaven and Dominus Flevit where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. At the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus was arrested, we will see some of the oldest olive trees in the Holy Land, dating back to ancient times. We now travel to the area of Judea and Bethlehem to explore the Church of the Nativity, one of the earliest and most important of all Christian ecclesiastical buildings, which enshrines the cave believed to be the place where Jesus was born, The Milk Grotto, located in the crypt of a small Franciscan chapel, celebrates the tradition that the cave was used as a place of refuge by the Holy Family before their flight into Egypt and view the beautiful Shepherds’ Field. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem

Day 12 – Wednesday: Jerusalem

After an early breakfast, we enter the Old City, where everyday life and customs within narrow, crooked streets have remained virtually unchanged for centuries. We walk to the area of the Western Wall Plaza where we hope to be among those allowed entrance to the Temple Mount where we may see the place Abraham would have sacrificed Isaac, where Jesus ministered, and where the ancient Jewish temples stood. We explore the City of David, the original site of Jerusalem which David made his capitol 3,000 years ago, and where most of the Old Testament was written. We will walk upon the area of King David’s palace; then take out our flashlights for a walk through one of the marvels of King Hezekiah’s reign, the Water Tunnel. Leaving the Tunnel, we will walk the short distance to the Pool of Siloam, where Jesus healed a blind man. We proceed to the Southern Steps by way of a newly discovered tunnel from the City of David to the Temple Mount area. Standing upon the steps is to walk upon the footsteps of all of Biblical Israel! Here we can have a better understanding of what life was like when the Temple stood. In the reconstructed Jewish Quarter, we can see the Ancient Cardo and Hezekiah’s Broad Wall. Along the way, we will meet some friends who will answer many of your questions about Jewish life and will have some really great shopping tips! Dinner and Overnight in Jerusalem

Day 13 – Thursday: Jerusalem

We start our day seeing the Church of St. Anne (Bethesda Pool), the site where Jesus healed a paralytic which was built over the home of Anne and Joachim, the parents of Mary. Now we retrace Jesus’ final steps following the Stations of the Cross along the Via Delarosa. The Via Dolorosa begins near the arch of Ecce Homo and ends at the Church of Holy Sepulcher. Of the fourteen stations, four are directly or indirectly connected to the Virgin Mary who was present and witnessed the ordeal. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher contains several shrines dedicated to the Virgin Mary, including an image of Mary, Mother of Sorrows. We have time to stroll through the famous Old City market (shuk), where religious items from the three major monotheistic faiths are displayed side-by-side with heaping mounds of fresh fruits and vegetables, colorful clothing, spices, olive wood carvings and pottery. We continue to Mount Zion to visit the St. Peter in Gallicantu Church, built over the ruins of the house of Caiphas; the Room of the Last Supper, built over the site of where Jesus and the disciples celebrated the Last Supper; and Dormition Abbey, marking the site where Mary was taken up to Heaven. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem

Day 14 – Friday: Jerusalem, Airport

We start our last day in Israel by visiting the Israel Museum home of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the scale model of Jerusalem the way the Holy City looked in Jesus’ day. Our next stop is Yad Vashem, the museum that commemorates those who perished during the Holocaust in World War II. We continue to Ein Karem the “city of Judah,” which was birthplace of John the Baptist. We will visit the Church of the Visitation where Mary met Elizabeth and uttered the Magnificat and the Church of St. John where John the Baptist was born and where his parents Zachariah and Elizabeth resided. We will also see Mary’s Spring, a spring and fountain at the center of the ancient village. According to one tradition, this was a place where Mary and Elizabeth met. We say our final “farewells” at dinner in a local restaurant, and travel to Ben Gurion Airport for our departure where we bid “shalom” (goodbye) to Israel until your next trip.