This will be my 17th tour to Israel. We can arrange tours here at any time for a minimum of 6 although a minimum of 10 is better for economics.
Tour 602. ISRAEL - JORDAN - GREECE. (Dubai option).
** 16 days. Israel and Jordan. 31 March - 15 April, 2023
** 27 days. Dubai, Israel, Jordan, Greece including cruise. 31 March - 26 April, 2023
** 11 days. Greece only (air not included). 14-24 April. Possible extension to Gallipoli for ANZAC day and Turkey.
The Middle East is the cradle of civilisation and is still in the news daily! 5,000 years of history to absorb with every day a different experience. Experience it for yourself and understand the world we live in as well as the past. History is still being made here.
It is a great pity that we cannot offer my favourite Middle East tour to escort from Beirut to Cairo via Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel however hope that peace may come soon.
Please note that itinerary and costs are subject to change later in 2022 but we do not anticipate any major change.
Escorted by Stephen Greenfield, many times visitor to the Middle East.
(B) Breakfast. (L) Lunch (D Dinner)
DUBAI OPTION - option subject to a minimum of 10 taking this option. Extra cost $950 share twin, $1,170 single.
Day 1. Thursday. 30 March, 2023. AUCKLAND DEPART
Meet your escort at Auckland airport and depart late afternoon aboard our Emirates A380 aircraft.
Day 2. Friday 31 March. DUBAI ARRIVE. (Brunch)
Arrive Dubai 5.35am. We will be met by our local guide and sightseeing includes Burg Kalifa - tallest building in the world, craft centres, futuristic and ancient houses, and commercial centre. After our included brunch of local delicacies explore the spice and gold souks. Accommodation handy to the 'Creek' in 4 star hotel with breakfast. Check in not available until 2pm. Dinner is not included today
Day 3. Saturday. 01 April DUBAI - TEL AVIV - NETANYA (BD)
Fly to Tel Aviv and meet our local Israeli guide. Visit ancient Joppa and tour modern Tel Aviv and transfer to our resort in Natanya. The rest of the day is free to relax by the Mediterranean sea.
Day 1. Friday 31 March, 2023. AUCKLAND DEPART
Meet your escort at Auckland airport and depart at 9.10pm aboard our Emirates A380 aircraft. Flight time scheduled for 17 hours 25 minutes.
Day 2. Saturday. 01 April DUBAI - TEL AVIV - NETANYA (D)
Arrival at Dubai is scheduled for 5.35am and departure at 7.05am for Tel Aviv. Flight time is scheduled for 3 hours 30 minutes. Breakfast in flight. Arrival is scheduled for 9.35am and meet our local Israeli guide. Visit ancient Joppa and tour modern Tel Aviv and transfer to our resort in Natanya. The rest of the day is free to relax by the Mediterranean sea.
Day 3. Sunday. 02 April. NETANYA - GALILEE. (BD)
Drive to Caesarea, an ancient Roman port and one of Herod's masterpieces. See the aqueduct and ampitheatre before driving to Megiddo for a guided tour through the excavations of Tel Megiddo and see across the Valley of Jezreel and the plains of Megiddo (Armageddon). Visit Haifa and Mt Carmel and see the Bahai Gardens. Explore the Phoenician, Hellenistic, and Crusader town of Akko including the Crusader fortress and bazaar. Late afternoon we arrive at our kibbutz guest house on the shores of Lake Galilee.
Day 4. Monday. 03 April. GALILEE (BLD)
Today we take a leisurely tour around the Sea of Galilee including Bethsaida, Visit Capernaum including Peters House and the adjacent Synagogue, the Mt of Beatitudes, Tabgha, Magdala, the 2,000 year old boat at Nof Ginnosar, and Tiberias, main town of Galilee. Also enjoy a cruise on the lake and lunch featuring fish from Galilee.
Day 5. Tuesday. 04 April. GALILEE (BD)
Enjoy an introduction to Kibbutz life before touring the Golan Heights passing the village of Kuneitra overlooking Syria, Caesarea Philippi, and Banias, continuing to Nazareth to visit the church of the Annunciation and the early Israel village depicting life as it was at the time of Jesus Christ.
Day 6. Wednesday 05 April. GALILEE - JERUSALEM (BD)
Drive south through Samaria and see Mt Gerizim and Mt Ebal and Samaria and Shechem, Visit Shiloh where the tabernacle stood for 369 years. Enjoy the audio visual presentation and archaeological finds. Also visit Beth-El (scene of Jacobs ladder) and a biblical garden. We then ascend to Jerusalem.
Day 7. Thursday 06 April. JERUSALEM. (BD)
Visit the Mount of Olives for a panoramic view over the city. Walk down the hill through the Jewish cemetary to spend a few minutes in reflection in the Garden of Gethsemane. We enter the old city to walk part of the Via Dolorosa,and explore the old city including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Temple Mount including the tunnels under the wall. This afternoon explore the ruins of David's city some 3,000 years old. We take a walk through Hezekiahs tunnel (wade through thigh deep water) or the Canaanite tunnel (dry) to the Pool of Siloam and walk the newly opened path on which Jesus and the disciples walked to the temple. Visit the Room of the Last Supper on Mount Zion.
Day 8. Friday. 07 April. JERUSALEM. (BD)
We take take a sobering visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum. See also the exterior of the Knesset including the giant Manorah. Visit the Israel Museum to see the model of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus Christ and the 'Shrine of the Book' where the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed. Also visit the western (Wailing) wall at the start of Shabbat. Special Shabbat/Passover meal tonight.
Day 9. Saturday. 08 April. JERUSALEM. (BD)
We visit Herodium (One of Herod's Palaces), Continue to the ancient fortress of Massada. Ascend by cable car and explore the ruins of Herods Palace. Continue to the Dead Sea for a swim (float) in the salty waters of the sea. Visit the springs at Ein Gedi where King David hid and the Qumrun Caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, for a guided tour. Continue to ancient Jericho. Ascend the Mount of Temptation by cable car for a panoramic view over the Jordan valley. Visit the traditional site of Jesus Baptism and return to Jerusalem
Day 10. Sunday. 09 April. JERUSALEM - BETHLEHEM. EASTER SUNDAY. HE IS RISEN! (BD)
The morning is free to attend the dawn service at the Garden Tomb and the church of your choice if you wish. This afternoon we visit the Shepherds Fields and Bethlehem including the Church of the Nativity and Manger Square. Continue to Hebron (subject to political conditions on the day) and visit the Mosque over the Cave of Machpelah, and the Synagogue where the remains of the patriarchs are buried.
Day 11. Monday 10 April. JERUSALEM - AMMAN. (B)
Passengers on the Israel only tour transfer to Tel Aviv airport and fly home arriving Wednesday 12 April (Subject to minimum of 10)
Those continuing to Jordan cross the Jordan River into Jordan. Visit Mt Nebo from where Moses viewed the promised land and visit ancient Madaba to see the 6th century mosaic of the Holyland in St Georges Cathedral. Two nights in Amman or Jerash.
Day 12. Tuesday. 11 April. AMMAN (BD)
Visit ancient Jerash, one of the best preserved of the ancient Roman cities in the Middle East. See Hadrians Arch and the Hippodrome, and a display of Roman chariot racing and military action. Walk the colonnaded Cardo Maximus, take your seat in the Forum, and see the Temples of Zeus and Artemis, and the 5,000 seat theatre. Return to Amman and visit the citadel housing some of the Dead Sea scrolls and the Roman theatre. We may be able to visit a Syrian refugee camp.
Day 13. Wednesday. 12 April. AMMAN - WADI RUM (BD)
Drive south to the amazing landscapes of Wadi Rum. A special experience will be 'glamping' in the desert under the stars and dinner with the Bedouin. (Not quite as the Bedouin do - all tents have private shower and toilet!) Enjoy an exciting 4WD tour of the expansive desert landscapes of Wadi Rum, made famous in the film "Lawrence of Arabia".
Day 14. Thursday. 13 April. WADI RUM - PETRA - AMMAN AIRPORT. (BD)
Continue to fascinating Petra. Walk through the Siq to see the amazing Treasury and explore the ancient city including the Roman Theatre and Royal Tombs. There is time for the fit to take a fast hike to the monastery overlooking the surrounding mountains. Mid afternoon we visit the Crusader fortress at Karak built in the 11th century and continue to Amman airport. Those going to Greece stay at an airport hotel.
Those finishing the tour and returning to Auckland will have dinner at the hotel and an opportunity to shower and change before transferring to the airport late evening. Depart Amman 2.05am Friday arriving Dubai 6.05am and departing again at 10.05am non stop to Auckland. Arrival at Auckland is scheduled for 9.50am saturday 15th April
Day 15. Friday 14 April. AMMAN - ATHENS.
Transfer to Amman airport and depart at 9.25am arriving Athens 11.50am. Transfer to our hotel. This afternoon climb the Acropolis Hill. Visit the famous Parthenon and see the Agora and Mars Hill where the Apostle Paul reasoned with the Athenians. We will also have a short visit to the Acropolis Museum.
Day 16. Saturday 15 April. ATHENS - (Corinth and Mycenae)
After breakfast we drive to the Saronic Gulf where the Greeks defeated the Persians in 480 BC and changed the course of history. We cross the Corinth Canal to ancient Corinth where Paul worked and taught and established a thriving church. We see all the sites that are left that are associated with his Ministry: the Agora, Temple of Apollo, Roman Odean, the Bema, and Gallio's Seat. We will also visit the small museum which houses many artifacts including an inscription to Paul's friend Erastus. Visit the harbour of Cenchreae from where Paul sailed to Ephesus. Phoebe was a member in the local church and Lucius its first bishop, appointed by Paul.
Continue to explore the imposing ruins of Mycaenae, the ancient city Homer called 'a city rich in gold'. Enter the city by the Lions Gate and visit Agamemnons Royal Palace. Return to Athens.
Day 17. Sunday 16 April. ATHENS (Easter Sunday for the Greeks) (BD)
Time at leisure to meet with the local christians or explore at your leisure. We may return to Mars Hill for our own re-enactment of Paul's speech (Acts 17) . Most shops and attractions will be closed this morning..
Day 18. Monday 17 April. ATHENS - CRUISING (Mykonos) (BLD)
Transfer to the port of Lavrion to join our Celestyal cruise ship sailing at 1pm.
6pm. Arrive at the beautiful island of Mykonos and spend the evening ashore, strolling the narrow streets among the classical Greek houses and windmills. Enjoy the beach, the tavernas, and ambience on the island. Sail at 11pm (Please note landings may be ships tender)
Day 19. Tuesday 18 April. EPHESUS – PATMOS (BLD)
7am Arrive Kusadasi and enjoy the included excursion to ancient Ephesus, founded in the 10th century BC and one of the best preserved Roman cities from the Apostle Paul's time. Paul lived here for 3 years and tradition holds that Mary, Mother of Jesus, spent her last years here with the Apostle John after his return from exile in Patmos. Walk the actual streets where Paul walked, see the great theatre. Agora, and the remains of the Temple of Artemis as well as the library. Return to the ship and sail at 1pm. Lunch on board.
4.30pm. Arrive at the island of Patmos where the apostle John was imprisoned and wrote the last book of the Bible - Revelation. Our included excursion takes us to the Monastery of St John, which has a marvellous view of the island, and the Grotto of the Revelation. Sail at 9.30pm. Please note landings may be ships tender.
Day 20. Wednesday 19 April. RHODES. (BLD)
Arrive Rhodes 7am and sail at 6pm. Our included excursion takes us to the ruins of the Acroplis of Lindos and artists colony. Paul visited Rhodes opn his way to Jerusalem (Acts 21 v 1) and tradition has it that Paul spent some days here on his way to Rome. Return to the ship and the afternoon is free to visit the Crusader headquarters in Rhodes with plenty of time to explore the shops and ancient alleyways.
Day 21. Thursday 20 April. CRETE AND SANTORINI (BLD)
7am Arrive Heraklion in Crete.
Optional (extra expense) excursion to Knossos and the Temple of King Minos of the Minoan civilisation, legendary home of the Minotaur.
12pm. Depart Heraklion and time for lunch and relax
4.30pm. Arrive at the spectacular island of Santorini
Our included tour takes us to the village of Oia perched high on the rim of the ancient volcano which buried the local villages and split the island in 1600BC. Enjoy the marvellous views of the caldera and countryside. Explore Oia and return to the ship. Sail from Santorini at 9.30pm.
Day 22. Friday 22 April. ATHENS - METEORA (BD)
7am. Arrive at Lavrion and disembark. Drive north to the amazing and beautiful monasteries at Meteora perched high on the mountainous rocks and visit 2 or 3 of the monasteries. They were first built in the 14th century by monks seeking isolation and salvation and were accessible only by ropes thrown from above. We will however climb through steps built since! Overnight at Kalambaka near Meteora
Day 23. Saturday 22 April. METEORA – BEREA–THESSALONIKI (BD)
Drive to Berea where the people were "more honourable than those in Thessaloniki” in Paul's time. We see the Byzantine mosaic and visit the Jewish synagogue and monument to Paul's preaching if time allows. Continue to Thessloniki, 2nd biggest city in Greece and drive to the upper part of the old city walls. We enjoy the views of the city and enjoy a walking tour outside the Roman Agora and see the Via Egnatia, Arch of Galerius See the Egnation Road, Citadel, and Rotonda. Two nights in Thessaloniki.
Day 24. Sunday 23 April. PHILIPPI – KAVAL A (BD)
Enjoy a picturesque drive to Philippi where Paul established the first church in Europe. See the river where Lydia met Paul, and the ancient Forum, and jail where Paul and Silas were kept, as well as the theatre. On the return visit Kavala (Neapolis) with panoramic views of the harbour where Paul and the christian message first arrived over 1900 years ago. Return to Thessaloniki.
Day 25. Saturday 24 April. THESSALONIKI DEPART (B)
Depart Thessaloniki (Option to continue to Gallipoli for ANZAC Day). You are welcome to extend your stay in Europe if yoiu wish.
(Flights scheduled to depart Thessaloniki at 2.45pm arriving Athens 3.40, departing again at 6.05pm, arriving Dubai 11.35pm, departing 10.05am next day arriving Auckland 9.50am 26 April)
Day 26. Sunday 25 April. EN ROUTE
Day 27. Monday 26 April ARRIVE AUCKLAND
Arrive Auckland this morning