Dates: 16 December – 26 December, 2018
Duration: 11 Days / 10 Nights
Tour Leader: Letitia Panopio
PRICE: $6,599 AUD per person (twin share)*
Spend Christmas 2018 in the magical birthplace of Jesus.
Day 1 Sunday, 16th December 2018 Arrival – Coastal Plain
Arrive at Ben Gurion Airport on LY 82 at 06:50. Meeting assist on arrival. Meet your guide and start your tour of the Holyland and Jordan.
First stop is to Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity, Manger Square and Shepherds Fields. Stop for some special shopping of olive wood religious carvings and see preparations for Christmas.
Visit Old Jaffa, an 8000 year old port city; Visit the ancient ruins and walk along the restored artists' quarter. See St. Peter’s Franciscan church commemorating the visit and miracle of St. Peter in Jaffa.
Drive via Mount Carmel to visit Muhraka site of the epic contest between Elijah and the false prophets. Onto Haifa to view the magnificent Bahai gardens from atop Mount Carmel. Comprising the golden-domed Shrine of the Báb, terraced gardens and administrative buildings, the Bahai World Centre is the holiest site of pilgrimage for the members of the Bahá'í faith.
Day 2 Monday, 17th December 2018 Western Galilee
After breakfast you depart for Cana, the site of the first miracle where Jesus turned water into Wine.
Continue onto Nazareth to visit the Church of Annunciation and Mary’s Well. Stop at Nazareth Village, a unique reconstruction of a first century village on an actual ancient agricultural site.
Drive to Mt Tabor to the site where the miracle of the Transfiguration occurred.
Day 3 Tuesday, 18th December 2018 Sea of Galilee
Enjoy a cruise across the Sea of Galilee in a traditional wooden sailing boat, At Nof Ginosar Kibbutz, visit the ancient boat sits in a modern museum. It is known as the ‘Jesus Boat’, as scientific testing dates the vessel to the time of Christ.
Visit Tabgha, where Jesus multiplied five loaves and two fish. Continue onto Capernaum, the centre of Jesus’ Ministries.
You will then ascend to the top of the Mt. of Beatitudes, where your Group Leader can relive the Sermon on the Mount. Perhaps walk down to the Primacy of St. Peter (Little Tabgha)
In the afternoon visit the special baptism site at Yardenit where over half a million people visit annually.
Day 4 Wednesday, 19th December 2018 Jerash - Amman
This morning drive through the fertile Jordan Valley to Sheik Hussein border in order to cross into Jordan.
Drive to Jerash, a city playing host to a rather impressive collection of Roman ruins. It was built by the Romans in the 1st century AD. Its layout highlights the Roman skill of acoustic design. If you stand at the central acoustic point inside the theater and belt out your favorite tune or poem, every person in that 3,000 seat theatre will hear you loud and clear.
Transfer to Amman for a visit to the Amman Citadel and Amphitheatre. The Citadel is considered an important site because it has had a long history of occupation by many great civilizations. Most of the buildings still visible at the site are from the Roman (Temple of Hercules), Byzantine (a Byzantine church), and Umayyad periods (Umayyad Palace).
Day 5 Thursday, 20th December 2018 Kings Way
Drive to Madaba to see the famous mosaic map of the ancient world. Madaba is best known for its Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, especially a large Byzantine-era mosaic map of the Holy Land.
Continuing onto Mt. Nebo to view where according to ancient tradition, Moses stood and looked out over the Promised Land. Mt. Nebo is an important place for Christian Pilgrimage. Excavations have uncovered significant remains of the early church and its Byzantine period. Transfer to the modern village of Petra.
Day 6 Friday, 21st December 2018 Petra
After breakfast, enjoy a spectacular tour exploring the rose red city of Petra - the ancient Nabatean Capital. Start with a walk through the SIQ, a long narrow fissure between two overhanging cliffs. Explore the spectacular Treasury, Royal Tombs, Burial Chambers and high places of sacrifice.
In the afternoon transfer to the shores of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth.
Enjoy relaxation at the Dead Sea spa resort and experience a float in these unique waters which have amazing healing powers
Dinner and overnight: Dead Sea Hotel
Day 7 Saturday, 22nd December 2018 Jericho and Qumran
This morning, we cross back into Israel via the Allenby Bridge.
From here we drive to Jericho which is known to be the oldest town in the world and view the Mount of Temptation and the Sycamore Tree. Visit Qumran, the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, before ascending to Jerusalem.
Day 8 Sunday, 23rd December 2018 Jerusalem Old City
We will start the day with a spectacular view of Jerusalem from Mt. of Olives.
Walk down the Palm Sunday Road to see the Church of Dominus Flevit and the Church of all Nations at the Garden of Gethsemane.
Enter the old city via the Lion Gate. Onto the Pools of Bethesda and St. Anne’s Church
Pass through Ecce Homo Arch and the Crypt of Sisters of Sion and on to the Via Dolorosa. Follow the Station of the Cross to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Day 9 Monday, 24th December 2018 Christmas in Bethlehem
Today, we participate in the Christmas Celebrations at Bethlehem.
Christmas in Bethlehem, (the city where Jesus was born), is a major event. The streets are strung with Christmas lights, there is a Christmas market and Christmas plays are performed. There are also multiple services and processions led by many different Christian denominations including Catholic, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Ethiopian and Armenian.
Morning: Visit the Church of Pater Noster, and Chapel of Ascension. We return to your hotel in Jerusalem for free time at rest.
Evening: 21:00 - We drive to Bethlehem
Enjoy dinner in this ancient city and experience Christmas Mass televised in or near Manger Square. After Mass return to Jerusalem.
Day 10 Tuesday, 25th December 2018 Christmas - Jerusalem
After a late breakfast, we will enter the Old City of Jerusalem. Walk to the Western Wall to view the Temple Mount.
Visit Mount Zion, the Hall of the Last Supper and the Dormition Abbey.
Afternoon tour of Ein Kerem. Nestled in a valley surrounded by natural groves is one of one of Jerusalem’s most picturesque neighbourhoods. Ein Kerem has charming stone houses adorned with arches, churches whose bells chime in the clear air and paths paved with stone.
Day 11 Wednesday, 26th December 2018 Departure
Day at leisure to do last minute shopping.
Transfer to Tel Aviv Airport for our departure flight LY 81 departing at 23:10.
Farewell dinner on route to the airport.
* Price includes group flights ex Sydney and is based on min 10 pax in group
- Group flights ex Sydney on Thai/EL AL and Qantas
- Meet and assist at Ben Gurion Airport upon arrival into Israel
- Modern air conditioned motor coach for touring and transfers
- Licensed English speaking guide for all touring
- Twin share accommodation for ten nights in 3-4 star hotels
- Meals – Breakfast and Dinner daily in hotels. Lunch daily including St Peters Fish lunch
- Christmas dinner in Bethlehem
- Farewell Dinner
- Entrance fees for the above mentioned sites
- Taxes and service charges
- Jordan visa / border crossing fees / shuttles
- Pilgrims gift packs
About the Tour Leader, Letitia Panopio
Letitica is your well travelled tour escort and has visited the Holy Land four times on the following occasions:
April 1996, October 2001, December 2015 and December 2016.
The best experience for her on each and every visit was the Christmas celebrations both in Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Imagine being at the very birthplace of Jesus, and singing the Christmas Carols at the spot where it all began… This is the great highlight of this trip!!
Follow in the Footsteps of Jesus with your excellent knowledgeable and personal guide from Sydney.
Your Masses will be officiated by international priests who know the Holy Land well.
Return home with wonderful lasting memories of your unforgettable tour in the Holy Land.
Letty not only escorts Holyland groups. She has also visited and escorted groups to different parts of Europe on 14 different occasions and visited 39 countries on her travels!