Stride climate

Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Stride climate
This trip visits a destination that is affected by climate change
Christmas in Israel and the Palestinian Territories  tour
Bethlehem Dead Sea Christmas in Israel and the Palestinian Territories  Trip
Jaffa Jerusalem Christmas in Israel and the Palestinian Territories  Trip

Christmas in Israel and the Palestinian Territories

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Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.7 . Excellent
98%
Travel Style: For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
9 days
From: $ 3,515 $ 391 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Experience the joys of Christmas in Bethlehem – Christmas dinner with the locals, Midnight Mass in Manger Square, and the musical Shepherd’s Nights Festival
  • Explore the famed religious towns of Jericho, Bethlehem and Nazareth. Hike along the Nativity Trail, retracing part of Mary and Joseph’s legendary trek to Bethlehem and stroll the alleys and lanes of old Jaffa.
  • Head down to the famous Dead Sea for an effortless float in its salty blue waters
  • Contrast the reverent atmosphere of Jerusalem with a very different Israeli city – modern, cosmopolitan, hedonistic Tel Aviv

Short Description

Enjoy a Christmas like no other on this festive adventure in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. The Holy Land is a thing of legend no matter where you’re from, how old you are or when you visit, but at Christmas this sacred destination lights up with an atmosphere that could only be described as magical. As well as exploring the Christmas markets, spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the place Jesus entered the world in Bethlehem, with Midnight Mass, a candle procession and Christmas dinner with locals. Travel to Nazareth and hike part of the Nativity Trail, one of the most famous journeys of the Bible; visit the spot where steadfast Jews held out on Massada’s rugged outcrop; swim in the Dead Sea; and, finally, immerse yourself in the everyday buzz of Tel Aviv. Rich in history, packed with celebration and steeped in the lore of many faiths, this Israel and Palestinian Territories adventure offers something special for all kinds of travellers.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Off the beaten track trips will stretch your comfort zone. They don't always feature tourist highlights, but dive deeper into local life and culture.
Itinerary Focus Off the Beaten Path
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport N/A
Start City Tel Aviv
End City Jerusalem
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Itinerary

Day 1 Tel Aviv

Your Christmas adventure kicks off at 1 pm today in the cosmopolitan city of Tel Aviv. With its lively cafe culture, relaxed Mediterranean beach scene and renowned nightlife, it's the perfect place to celebrate the start of the festive season. This afternoon we head out to explore Jaffa. This ancient city is said to have existed on the shores of the Mediterranean for over 4000 years, and its port is thought to have been the point at which Jonah departed from in the story of Jonah and the Whale. We visit the Church of St Peters and the old Jaffa Flea Market, and stroll through the little alleyways and streets, many of which are richly decorated for the festive season. Check out artists galleries and studios, boutiques and craft shops, all with Christmas gift ideas. There may even be some local street music to get you in the mood. In the evening, enjoy some dinner with your fellow travellers.

Day 2 Bethlehem - Christmas Eve

It's time to celebrate Christmas in the ultimate location – the birthplace of Jesus himself. After an early  breakfast, we journey 1.5 hours to the Bethlehem and join pilgrims for the annual Christmas scouts' march through the city, their drums and bagpipes resonating through the streets as they guide the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem (His Beatitude Fouad Twal) on his journey from Jerusalem to the Church of Nativity. His entry to the city officially marks the Christmas celebrations. In the afternoon, enjoy free time to soak up the atmosphere before this evening's Christmas dinner. Rejoin the crowd in Manger Square later in the evening for that famous Christmas custom – Midnight Mass – which you'll view on the giant screens in the square. If you have pre-booked your tickets, there's the opportunity to attend Mass in the Church of Nativity for a next-level experience.

Day 3 Bethlehem - Christmas Day

Merry Christmas! Ease into the day with some free time. Later in the morning you'll travel the short distance to Battir Village, one of the most beautiful places in the West Bank. Explore The Old Town – Seven Widows Quarter – which gained its name from the seven widows that lived there simultaneously. After a local lunch, take a short hike throughout the fertile valley. In the afternoon, it's off to join in the concerts of the Shepherd’s Nights Festival in the Old City of Beit Sahour, with a Candle March from the Orthodox Shepherds’ Field to Souk el Shaab and then to the Old City of Beit Sahour. As evening approaches, return to Bethlehem.

Day 4 Nazareth

Departing early in the morning, drive (approximately 45 minutes) to the ancient crusader port of Akko (aka Acre). Here you’ll visit the vast complex of buildings occupied by the Knights of St John (Knights Hospitaller), excavated to uncover a large hall, a dungeon, a dining room and the crypt of an ancient Gothic church. Also check out the secret tunnel of their rivals, the Knights Templar – an underground passage between their fortresses. Continue to Rosh Hanikra and ride the cable car up the cliff face to see the stunning grottoes there. These incredible caves are located at the farthest point north on Israel’s Mediterranean coastline, on the border of Lebanon, where the sea meets the cliffs.  In the evening, enjoy a local cooking class and included dinner, staying overnight in Nazareth.

Day 5 Nazareth

Retrace part of the epic biblical journey of Mary and Joseph. The route they took from Nazareth to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, is known as the Nativity Trail. Hundreds of years before this journey, the patriarch Jacob roamed these lands and the Bedouins had called this land their home. You'll spend the morning exploring a short section of this famous trail, hiking the wild desert hills dotted with olive trees, no doubt picking up some insight into the great mythology that makes these landscapes sacred to so many. Later, travel to the western shores of the Sea of Galilee today and Tiberias – established all the way back in AD 20 – before returning to Nazareth in the evening.

Day 6 Jerusalem

Visit the Church of the Annunciation, where Mary received the news of the Immaculate Conception, along with the well where she drew water every day. Travel via the Jordon Valley to Jerusalem. Stop at The Mount of Temptation, which has a gravity-defying monastery clinging to its sheer face, before swinging by Jericho, to visit Hisham’s Palace. The old hunting lodge has one of the most beautiful and elaborately decorated mosaic floors in the world. Continue to the Mount of Olives that looks over Jerusalem’s Old City and visit the Garden of Gethsemane, most famous as the place where Jesus prayed and his disciples slept the night before Jesus' crucifixion. Arrive in Jerusalem, a city steeped in spirituality and legend; a rich tapestry of the many cultures, religions and nationalities that call it home, be they Palestinian Muslims & Christians, Sephardic Jews, Ashkenazi Jews, Armenian Christians, Ethiopian Copts or Greek Orthodox monks. We spend the nights of days 6, 7 and 8 in the Holy City.

Day 7 Jerusalem

Drive out to the spectacular clifftop fortress of Masada this morning. Stop en route at the 6th-century cliffside Monastery of St George of Koziba in the desert (Deir El Qelt) and see the massive church built into the mountains. In Masada, take a cable car to the fortress built by King Herod around 35 BC. This UNESCO World Heritage site is immensely important to the Jewish people, a symbol of their exile from the Holy Land and of bravery and self-sacrifice. After that, it's off for a swim in the famous Dead Sea – which is really an extremely salty lake, not a sea (and 'dead' only because of the lack of marine life in it!). Enjoy an effortless float in this buoyant body of water and perhaps snap a photo or two. The nutrient-rich mud here is a fun thing to cover yourself in for a photo.  Head back to Jerusalem for the evening. We recommend checking out Machane Yehuda Market; grab a beer in one of the many laneway bars to watch the market come to life in the evening.

Day 8 Jerusalem

Explore the Old City on foot this morning. We will start with the Courtyard of the Dome and the Wailing Wall – the remains of the Temple Mount, which acts as an outdoor synagogue, where written prayers are slid into the cracks between stones. Continue along the Via Dolorosa starting at St Stephen’s Gate, passing the crusader church of St Anne and the Pool of Bethesda. Located in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem, this pool was mentioned in the Gospel of John and associated with healing. Continue along the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) – the 'way of sorrows' which follows Jesus’ path to crucifixion – and stop by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built where Jesus is believed to have been crucified, died, buried, and rose again. Sip tea, sample fresh local bread and then walk through the Christian Quarter up to Jaffa Gate for a lunch break. Enjoy some free time this afternoon to explore the Holy City on your own, then perhaps meet up with your group in the evening for an optional farewell dinner.

Day 9 Jerusalem

Happy New Year! Your Christmas Adventure finishes after breakfast this morning.

Availability

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Price From $ 3,515
Price Per Day: $ 391 per day
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Start DateFinish DateBase PriceDeparture GuaranteedAvailability 
Dec-23-2019Dec-31-2019$ 3,515YesSold Out Reserve
Dec-23-2020Dec-31-2020$ 3,615No12 spots left Reserve

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3,182 Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings

98%
4.7 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 2,376
Great 625
Average 101
Disappointing 37
Terrible 38
Value
4.7
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.7
Lodging
4.7
Transportation
4.7
Meals
4.7

Christmas in Israel and the Palestinian Territories

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Fantastic Trip in Southern Africa

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals5.0
We did this trip, Explore Southern Africa, from Aug 9 - 26 this year and we thought it was probably our most memorable trip ever. The variety of wildlife (we saw the big 5 plus giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, hippos, hyenas, wildebeests, impalas, baboons, ...) and our proximity to them that we experienced was unparalleled. The scenery was like nothing we had ever experienced before (our first time anywhere in Africa). Although it was winter time there when we went and many areas were looking very dry it was an experience not to be missed. Additionally we were made to feel welcome everywhere that we went. The highlights of the trip for us would be the two days to the Okavango Delta, the optional game drive through Chobe National Park and day 13 with our guide tracking rhinos in Matabos and going to the African village. Our tour leader, cook and drivers were excellent as were our co-travellers. The meals that were prepared for us tasted great, were well balanced and no one ever left hungry. The 2 person tent accommodations weren't the most luxurious but they allowed one to stay right in the "middle of the action" with the animals in close proximity to our overnight homes. This being the case, we never felt unsafe in our tents at any point. The overlander vehicle didn't have air conditioning, as is standard, however if you made sure to open windows for air circulation during the drive the heat wasn't so bad. If one is prepared to put up with these few inconveniences and willing to help out with camp set up, vehicle clean up, and meal clean up afterwards (this is a participatory type of trip where certain tasks are required of the travellers) it is an experience not to be missed. It all makes one more appreciative of the luxuries that we have at home that many do not have in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
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Only excellent value for money and memories to last a lifetime.

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Faultless service and incredible trips, at a really good price. Plus they are all really nice peeps, by email or phone, and we need more of that in the world.

So far, and still counting, I've used them for:

Alaska
Tanzania
Kenya
Uganda
Northern India
Lombok
Bali
Russia
Mongolia
China
Nepal

Never had a bad experience, only excellent value for money and memories to last a lifetime.
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The Trip from Hell Avoid Intrepid Travel

2.0
Details
Value1.0
Guide1.0
Activities5.0
Lodging3.0
Transportation1.0
Meals3.0
The Trip from Hell
Avoid Intrepid Travel!
My daughter and I recently returned from a tour in Central Asia booked through Intrepid Travel. After about 24 hours of travel, we were not met at the airport nor did we have a room. After getting that straightened out, the next morning we were informed that the vehicle we would be traveling in had no air conditioning. The temperatures were over 100 degrees to about 115 degrees or more. The heat was unbearable and no one inquired about how we were coping or their health. Our welfare was ignored. So ww left the tour early so we wouldn’t have to camp in the desert for two nights.
The tour leader booked our flights to Istanbul but neglected to tell us we would have to rebook our flights to Los Angeles. Upon arriving at the airport in Istanbul, we were told we couldn’t get on the flight. New tickets cost us $1800 EACH!
Intrepid Travel has refused to take responsibility or provide any satisfaction in this matter.
BEWARE!
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It was an incredible experience!

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
We just wrapped up a Tanzania family safari. It was an incredible experience!

Even the cook made sure my picky teenager would like his breakfast by fixing him his scrambled eggs the way he likes them.

I’ve been dreaming of this trip with my son for a long time and I’m glad I booked it with you guys! We’ll cherish the memories we made for ever

If you’re looking for a real adventure kinda trip then go with Intrepid!

Thank you Thank you Thank you
Johan & Maxime
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Perfect Itinerary, Guide spoiled a lot of the trip

4.0
Details
Value4.0
Guide2.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals4.0
The perfect itinerary allowed us to efficiently visited all the top sites with great lodgings. Unfortunately, the guide cut short stops at the Bahai Gardens, Acco, Tel Aviv, and Jerrico on days when we got to our hotel room in the early afternoon--all group members were upset by this. This Palestinian Christian guide emphasized unimpressive churches and minimized all sights that were secular, Muslim, Jewish, ancient, or other faiths. He made bizarre strident political comments about how great Mao Zedong was, praised Putin, said Palestinian people "had never done anything wrong in their history," talked about the Jews killing Jesus--all with a lot of anger. He knew a lot of about Christinaity, not much about anything else. He did a lot to make what could have been the perfect trip, mediocre.

(I would recommend the trip, but only if I knew it was a different guide.)
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I loved the history of this trip

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I loved the history of this trip, as well as the spectacular scenery. Our guide was knowledgeable and helpful. Having arrangements made for places to stay and transport, plus some activities, but with plenty of free time, made for a perfect balance for me. Breakfasts were delicious!
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Details

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 12

Accomodations

Hotel (9 nights)

Guides

All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. You can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. In Israel and the Palestinian Territories, in accordance with local regulations your Leader will also be a licensed Tour Guide and will not only have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip; but will also have specialised knowledge on the sites visited and provide full guiding services.

Additional Information:

Finish point

  • Gloria Hotel
  • 33 Latin Patriarchate st.
  • Jaffa Gate
  • Jerusalem
  • ISRAEL
  • Phone: +972 2628 2431

Alternate Finish point

  • For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.
  • 23 Dec 2020 (ENSC201223)
  • Hotel Azzahra
  • 13 Azzahra Street
  • Jerusalem
  • ISRAEL
  • Phone: +972 2 628 2447
  • Fax: +972 2 628 3960

Trip ID#:

intrepid-ENSC

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