A trip to Israel is a lesson in honoring the past and present as you travel through some of the most sacred sites in the world—while also enjoying the country’s impressive, contemporary food and drink scene on this 10-day trip, a sample itinerary from Kensington Tours. From the markets and parties of modern Tel Aviv to the Jewish kibbutzim and the holy sites of Jesus, the delights of Arabic cuisine, and Israel’s little-known wine scene, there’s something for everyone in this wildly diverse Middle Eastern country. And you can have it all with Kensington Tours, which specializes in tailoring each tour to travelers, so you can enjoy a highly personal experience based on your interests.
ItineraryPLAN YOUR TRIP
Day 1-2Welcome to Tel Aviv
The next morning, meet your guide and explore the city with ease on your personalized trip through the ancient streets of Old Jaffa and down the world-renowned Rothschild Boulevard, a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring the city’s signature Bauhaus-style architecture. Nowhere shows Tel Aviv’s blend of cultures like the Levinsky Market, a culinary haven bursting with the flavors, smells, and colors of Old-World spices, dried fruits, fragrant soaps, nuts, and store-roasted coffees. With a local by your side, engage with the passionate vendors who proudly share their generations-old family recipes and stories.
For a dose of the city’s artistic spirit, hit up the beloved Neve Tzedek neighborhood, nestled in the southwestern corner of Tel Aviv. Before you head back to your hotel, stop in a buzzy local bar. Israel makes excellent vintages that can be hard to get outside of the country—toast your Israeli adventure with a glass of locally produced wine.
Day 3-4Rich Culinary Traditions in Tiberias
Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, a home-cooked meal awaits. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and warm hospitality of the Arabic-speaking Druze people, who will share their culture and history as they feed you heaping plates of their traditional fare based in aromatic rice and kebabs. For dessert, you’ll stop at the enchanting Bahai Gardens in Haifa for fresh pastries at Kibbutz Moran’s Bakery. Enjoy while enveloped in the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked artisanal bread and delectable deserts, all crafted using the traditions of their shared community ovens.
The next day’s private tour of Galilee will be a fascinating glimpse into the everyday life and traditions of the local Jewish communities. First, you’ll explore the wonders of Tzfat (Safed), the heart of Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah. Wander through the city’s labyrinth of alleyways, visit ancient synagogues, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Artist Quarter. For lunch, break bread with a second kibbutz community, who’ll warmly tell tales of modern communal living and share what they think the future holds for this one-of-a-kind way of life.
Next, set your sights on the picturesque Golan Heights, where you can see Syria from atop Mount Bental. Your final stop is a visit to Tel Faher, a lookout point and former Syrian outpost.
Day 5Journey in the Sea of Galilee to Nazareth
Continuing further, you’ll reach the Holy Cana of Galilee, where Jesus’ first miracle—turning water into wine—unfolded, before reaching Nazareth, Jesus’ cherished hometown. There, you’ll tour the Catholic Basilica of The Annunciation, Mary’s Well, and The Synagogue Church, immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of biblical history. Your tour’s final stop is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Megiddo in the Lower Galilee region. This ancient city is thought to have seen more battles than any other location in the world—excavation has uncovered about 26 layers of settlements dating as far back as the Chalcolithic period.
Day 6-8Explore Jerusalem with an Expert
In the City of David archeological site, discover captivating excavations from the first Temple period. Finally, descend to Hezekiah’s Tunnel, an ancient engineering marvel that still runs with water. Before returning to your accommodations for dinner and a nightcap, venture into the depths of the Kotel Tunnels, which reveal the secrets of ancient Jerusalem and Herod’s Temple Mount.
On your second day in Jerusalem, you’ll get to see how the complex history of the modern country of Israel intertwines with the region’s rich spiritual heritage. The first stop on your private tour of Jerusalem’s New City and Bethlehem is the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery to pay respects to the former prime ministers and fallen soldiers who shaped the nation. Next, be moved by the poignant stories within the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and the Valley of the Communities, a testament to the indomitable human spirit.
To witness the nation’s contemporary vibrancy, you’ll pass by iconic landmarks such as the Knesset, the Menorah, and Israel’s Supreme Court. Then, at the Israel Museum, marvel at the Shrine of the Book that houses the sacred Dead Sea Scrolls and explore the Second Temple period through a fascinating Jerusalem model.
After leaving the museum, cross the border into Bethlehem, the revered birthplace of Jesus, and explore the Church of the Nativity. Your day ends in the eclectic neighborhoods near Mahane Yehuda Market. You’ll experience it all like a local, with your guide leading you to the most flavorful cultural foods and kicking off engagements with different local ethnic groups.
Finish your Jerusalem stay with a captivating journey to the lowest point on Earth: the world-famous Dead Sea, which sits at 1,305 feet below sea level. Surrender to the surreal sensation of floating effortlessly in its legendary salty waters, while soaking in the scenery around you. The second half of the day’s adventure takes you to a desert eco-village. Explore the rolling dunes, and then bask in the warmth of authentic Bedouin hospitality as you’re served a feast as an honored guest. Your day concludes with private transport back to your hotel.
Day 9-10Arabic Food in Abu Gosh and Flam Winery
From there, continue to the renowned Flam Winery nestled in the lush Judean Hills, a well-known establishment owned by Israel’s most esteemed wine family. Since its inception in 1998, this award-winning winery has captured the hearts of wine enthusiasts around the world. During your wine tasting, you’ll learn of the family’s rich winemaking legacy that spans generations (they say that their secret to success is that every family member plays a vital role in the company), admire the stunning vineyard views, and of course, taste the boutique winery’s impressive portfolio of vino.
You’ll then be dropped off at your hotel to get ready for your flight home. After a private airport transfer, a representative will assist you with check-in, including expedited security control in a dedicated VIP hall and customs, ensuring your way home is as seamless and comfortable as the rest of the journey.