This is a very special tour, where we mixed many of our special tours together in one tour and low budget too. We integrated in this tour National Parks of the north, center and south of Israel, Archaeological tours, we took some Christian aspects from religious tours and integrated it here. We did the same with our Culture and History tours and the Eco-tourism tours.
Day 1 – Arrival
Day 2 – Jerusalem, Old City (Culture and History tours)
Day 3 – Jerusalem and environs: Monarchs, Matriarchs and Tombs (Archaeological tours)
Day 4 – Ein Gedi Nature Reserve (National Parks and Reserve tours)
Day 5 – Around the Sea of Galilee (Religious tours)
Day 6 – Acre and Haifa (Eco-tours)
Day 7 – Ein Afek Nature Reserve, Western Galilee – Haifa (National Parks and Reserve tours)
Day 8 – Departure
Where are hotels your hotels?
Day 1 – Jerusalem
Day 2 – Jerusalem
Day 3 – Jerusalem
Day 4 – Dead Sea area
Day 5 – Tiberias
Day 6 – Haifa
Day 7 – Haifa
What will you see?
- Day 2 – Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock, Al-Aqsa Mosque, Western Wall, Southern Wall Excavations, Davidson Center, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, tomb of Jesus, Russian Orthodox Church, Ethiopian courtyard, Old City markets.
- Day 3 – Herodium, Rockefeller Museum, Gezer, Megiddo, Jericho, Jerusalem, Kidron Valley, tombs of Absalom, Zechariah, the Sons of Hezir, Hellenistic tomb architecture
- Day 4 – Ein Gedi Nature Reserve
- Day 5 – Sea of Galilee, The Ancient Galilee Boat, Mount of Beatitudes, Tabha Benedictine Monastery Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes, Church of the Primacy of Peter, Capernaum, The House of St. Peter, The Ancient Synagogue, Tiberias
- Day 6 – Acre, Knight’s Halls, Al-Jazaar Mosque, Kibbutz Harduf, Shfar’am, Haifa, Templer Colony, Baha’i Gardens
- Day 7 – Ein Afek Nature Reserve – Swamps
General guidelines, details and customizations of the tour
We are not kidding when we claim that all of our tours are customizable and that our tours are designed for the highest quality possible, which is unique in all of the available tours in Israel.
Many customizations are free of charge, but this depends on the customization of course. If some people of the group choose to drive by limousine, that’s possible of course, but means additional costs. But if some people or the group wants to reduce the quality of the food, that will reduce the price of the tour. The normal argument about organized, guided group tours does not apply on our tours (except maybe the low budget tours). The tours are not designed to restrict!
Tours excludes airfare in principle
Our tours are offered without airfare. The exceptions are with our low budget tours). The reason is that many of our customers are travel agencies with existing contracts and they might be better suited to arrange flights to and from Israel. Also many of our groups are from mixed people; persons; tourists already in Israel, local Israelis or people who are living in Israel and of course those who indeed come by airplane or ship. And then there are those who come by boat and want to enjoy a high quality tour.
Travel Insurance and Visas
All of our tours excludes travel insurance and visas. You need to take care yourself for that.
In many cases, visas are not required, but this depends on your land of origin. Please contact your travel- or insurance company to be advised.
What kind of accommodations do we offer?
- Guest House/Inn
- 3 Star hotel
- 4 star hotel
- 5 star hotel
- Apartments and houses (bungalows)
Depending on your choice of accommodations, the price of the tour might be cheap or very expensive.
It’s possible to mix the accommodations; for example day 1-4 in 5 star hotel, day 5-10 in 3 star hotel, day 11 in an apartment.
For the low budget tours, we offer Guest House/Inn or (often small, cute) hotels, depending on its availability. We don’t offer hostels in these kind of tours. This is a low-budget tour and that means that the tour depends on accommodations, which are the best and not expensive (with other words, day prices).
At a hostel, you sleep in a bed in a dorm (between 4-8 beds in a dorm) (with the exception for low budget tours where you don’t sleep in a hostel). It’s possible to order a single room at a hostel, but this depends on the availability. In that case, you need to indicate who prefers a single room in a hostel and there might be additional costs involved.
Guest houses and hotels
At guest houses and hotels, you are sleeping a double room with separate beds. In case you prefer another option (like single, triple rooms or other), please let us know during the registration of the tour. Additional (or reduced) costs might apply. In some guest houses, they don’t offer a private bathroom, but a shared bathroom. Guest houses in Israel are often run by families.
For large groups (30 people or larger), it’s possible to rent the whole guest house or small hotel for that group. This depends on the availability of course. This is perfect for religious tours, but it might apply for other tours as well. This applies for the low budget tours as well.
It’s also possible to stay in one hostel/guest house/hotel/apartment/house during the tour. That means that nobody needs to move from accommodation to accommodation during the tour. But that does mean that the time of travel to and from sights will be much longer. In those cases, there might be additional (or reduced) costs. This applies for the low budget tours as well. This solution is not applicable for tours where you travel from the south to the north (or opposite). For example when the accommodation is in Haifa and you need to travel to Eilat, that’s at least 12 hours in the bus (to and back).
Depending on the availability in the area of the tour, it’s possible to select apartments, villas, houses and/or bungalows as your preferred type of accommodations. Those type of accommodations are available in different configurations (i.e. a house with four bedrooms, or four apartments together). In those type of accommodations, there are kitchens available with the possibility to cook your own food. In case the group prefers this instead by our supplied breakfast, lunch and dinners, the price of the tour is likely to be reduced (unless you choose VIP accommodations). Ask us for a price quote.
Normally, the guides and driver will stay with you day and night and sleep at the same accommodations as you. In this case, you have the choice by including the guides and driver in your accommodations, or allow them to sleep in alternative accommodations near your location. Additional costs might apply.
The availability of those type of accommodations depends strongly on the location. For example in the desert of the south of Israel, it’s not likely that those accommodations are available. In that case, we can offer a mixture of accommodations.
The choice of transport during the tours are by bus. When the group is less then 20 persons, we use a luxurious minibus. Each bus or minibus is supplied with air conditioning and WiFi and the possibility of recharging mobile electronic equipment (like phones, laptops, tablets, cameras, etc.). Take your USB cables with you.
It’s possible that you can change this option for the group. For example, a group of 30 people can travel with two mini buses instead of one normal bus. It’s also possible, for example, that four people from a group wants to travel by sedan. It’s also possible to fly (for example from or to Eilat and Tel Aviv) instead of taking the bus. It’s also possible that some people from the group wants to rent a car.
In those cases there might be additional costs involved. Please let us know your preferences during the registration of the tour.
The first and last day of the tour
The first day of the tour is dedicated in the arrival of the group. The last day is the same, but then the reverse. Both days can be complicated, because it’s very good possible that there are people from Israel, from the airport and from the harbor, and they all arrive at different times and locations and for the last day this process is in reverse. We go into more detail about these days.
First of all, we pickup the people from the airport and from the harbor. At the end of the tour, we bring them back. All of those actions depends on the time of arrival and how late everyone needs to be back at the airport or harbor.
When we are picking the group up from the airport or harbor, the driver and the guides will be there. We carry the sign of Shalom Israel tour visible for all arrivals, so it will be easy to recognize us.
After we have gathered everyone of the group, we retreat to our transportation, normally that’s the bus (unless you have ordered other transportation). In most cases we move away from the airport and drive to the direction of our hotel. But when we leave the airport, we will (this depends on the group) stop to allow everyone to stretch their legs and to eat and drink something. This is included in each tour, except the low budget tours. For the people of the low budget tours, they can stop underway if they want, but they pay for the food and drinks.
Depending on the time of checking in, we usually organize an additional tour, preferable in the evening.
For those from Israel, we can agree during the registration) a central location, where we can pick them up by bus.
For those who has something to celebrate (like a 25th year marriage, birthday, etc.), we can organize something additionally in the evening or even at the day of the tour together with the group or pure exclusive. There might be additional costs involved.
It’s also possible that we organize a night out in the city (where your hotel is (or is near)). To us there will be no additional costs, but there might be personal costs involved.
Especially for religious tours (but not exclusive), it’s possible to renew your marriage vows in a church (Wedding Church at Kana). This service is free of charge. It’s possible to organize a celebration in this event, but then there might be additional costs involved.
Also for the religious tours (but not exclusive), it’s possible to (re-)baptize in the Jordan river at the location where Jesus was baptized. This service is free, except for the celebration at a Jesus boat on the Sea of Galilee.
It’s possible we organize tickets to the ballet, opera, operetta, theater, cinema, concerts, etc. Please indicate this during the registration of the tour and additional costs might apply. Please ask us for a schedule.
There are always possible venues for Mass (This is not exclusive for the religious tours only!). This service is free of charge, but we like to know this preference at the time of registration, so we can organize this for you. It’s also possible that we organize an open air Mass by a priest or pastor. In that case let us know before hand (during the registration).
For those who choose Apartments and houses (or bungalows) as a preferred choice of accommodations, we can arrange your shopping. For example, when you finally arrive at your apartment or house or bungalow, the accommodation is then already filled with food and drink. There might be additional costs involved.
Recommended photo gear:
- DSLR with interchangeable lenses
- Wide angle lens
- Remote control (optional)
- Small camera bag and/or dust cover
Note: This tour is also recommended to non-photographers.
What to wear: Hiking boots/shoes or good walking shoes, long comfortable trousers that can take a rub as well as dirt and dust. You are likely to get dirty.
Important items for you to take care you have it with you:
- Sun hat or cap
- Sunscreen or sunblock with sufficient UV protection
- Water (2-3 liters) (the guide takes care for water in the bus in case that)
When you are on the tour and you have mobile- and smart-phones with you, or cameras, or laptops, tablets or other electronic equipment, you can leave them behind for safekeeping in the bus. Why? Because it’s likely that you will walk through water and when sensitive equipment only touches the water … you will loose it. The bus is always guarded when the group is out on the tour for the day.
Guides and driver
At any tour (unless you choose a different option), there are guides and the driver. The driver is obvious, he drives the vehicle (mini-bus, bus, car, etc.). When the group leaves the vehicle for the tour, the driver stays with the vehicle and is in charge of guarding the vehicle and its content.
There are four guides for large groups (more then 30 people) and two guides for the rest of the groups. For the low budget tours there is only one guide and one driver present.
The guide(s) and driver stay with the group day and night for the duration of the tour. He/she/they are available 24 hours for the group (except the driver).
The minimum a guide must speak is English, Hebrew and Arabic. Additionally, we have guides who speak additional languages. At least one guide is trained in first aid in case that. There is always a first aid kid in the bus.
Guides are trained to talk about anything, especially the current political and security status in and around Israel; they stay objective and neutral. Don’t hold back with asking him or her questions about those subjects.
For the Christian tours (Catholic, Christian and Orthodox tours), we have Christian guides (not Jewish or Arab guides).
For the Cave and History and Culture tours, one guide is a specialist in the subject. For example the Cave tours knows a guide, who is a cave specialist. For the History and Culture tours, one guide is a specialist in history. For the Archeology tours there is one guide, who is a specialist.
It is possible to include a guide of your own in your group. In that case, we consider this guide like working for us, and that means that the guide doesn’t need to pay for anything (except airfare and travel insurance) and even get paid for his/her services ($200 a day). But we demand that the guide has a certain quality (he or she must read our guide book for that particular tour). It is possible to take one guide with you per tour.
Food, drinks and snacks
The bus holds water and snacks (mini-sandwiches, sweets, cakes, chocolate and fruit) for those who are getting hungry or have need for some sort of sugar high. And of course we carry water in bottles with us for everyone who needs.
The food is high quality. For example, you can eat a lunch in Tel Aviv for about $15, but in our tours that will be in a value from $50. The exception are the low budget tours and the Food and Wine tours. In the last series of tours, people will enjoy a lunch with the value from $100 per lunch.
Breakfast will be served at the hotels (with the exception of the Food and Wine tours, where everyone eats breakfast at a special restaurant made by a chef him-or herself). The lunch is served in a carefully selected restaurant, unless it’s not possible (i.e. in the middle of a wilderness). In those cases we serve a picnic or barbecue. Dinner is served at a selected restaurant with some exceptions. For example with the History and Culture tours, there are days where the group stays in the desert and there they eat with the rest of the Bedouins.
Day 1 – Arrival
This is the day that you arrive in Israel. Well, it’s not the case for those who are already here or who are living in Israel.
For those who are arriving in Israel, will be picked up from the airport by the guide and driver from Shalom Israel.
For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel and for this tour it means Jerusalem.
Depending on the time of arrival, we organize an evening tour with the name “Night at Jerusalem“. We will dine in the city, we will stroll through the old and new city and show you the beauty of this old, ancient city … at night.
Day 2 – Jerusalem Old City
Places: Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock, Al-Aqsa Mosque, Western Wall, Southern Wall Excavations, Davidson Center, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, tomb of Jesus, Russian Orthodox Church, Ethiopian courtyard, Old City markets.
We start our tour with the visit to the Temple Mount, site of the sacrifice of Isaac, the Jerusalem Temples, and the ninth-century Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. See the Western Wall, sacred to the Jewish people as the last remnant of the Second Temple. Visit the Southern Wall Excavations, walking on the original two thousand-year old street and climbing the ancient steps. At the Davidson Center, in the basement of an eighth-century CE palace, make arrangements to see the virtual-reconstruction, high-definition interactive model.
Next, explore the venerable Church of the Holy Sepulchre, site of the crucifixion and tomb of Jesus according to Christian tradition. You will notice the many Christian denominations represented in the church, distinguished by their dress and liturgy – Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, and Syrian Orthodox , each in their own corner of the ancient complex. Explore some of the other interesting churches in the Old City, including the Russian Orthodox Church with its basement ruins, and the tranquil Ethiopian courtyard and humble chapel.
Wander through the Old City markets, steeping yourself in its sights, sounds and aromas, and try your hand at hunting and bargaining for treasures.
For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel in Jerusalem.
Day 3 – Jerusalem and environs: Monarchs, Matriarchs and Tombs
Places: Herodium, Rockefeller Museum, Gezer, Megiddo, Jericho, Jerusalem, Kidron Valley, tombs of Absalom, Zechariah, the Sons of Hezir, Hellenistic tomb architecture
Herodium- Herod the Great created this artificial mountain, which he topped with a palace-fortress. Archaeologists have also discovered, huge cisterns, a “playground” pool at the base of the mound, and hideouts for Bar Kokhba’s warriors and, recently the grand, long-sought tomb of the king himself.
The Rockefeller Museum – an architectural monument in its own right, this grand 1930s-era complex houses finds from some of the great early excavations – Gezer, Megiddo, Jericho, Jerusalem and many others.
The Kidron Valley – Jerusalem’s famed Mount of Olives cemetery began here over 2,000 years ago, when the monumental tombs of Absalom, Zechariah and the Sons of Hezir were built, some of the finest examples of Hellenistic tomb architecture in the world.
At the end of the day we go to our hotel in Jerusalem.
Day 4 – Ein Gedi Nature Reserve
Ein Gedi nature reserve was declared in 1971 and is one of the most important reserves in Israel. The park is situated on the eastern border of the Judean Desert, on the Dead Sea coast, and covers an area of 14000 dunams (one modern dunam equals the area of one decare).
The elevation of the land ranges from the level of the Dead Sea at 423 meters (1,388 ft) below sea level to the plateau of the Judean Desert at 200 meters above sea level. Ein Gedi nature reserve includes two spring-fed streams with flowing water year-round: Nahal David and Nahal Arugot. Two other springs, the Shulamit and Ein Gedi springs, also flow in the reserve. Together, the springs generate approximately three million cubic meters of water per year. Much of the water is used for agriculture or is bottled for consumption.
The reserve is a sanctuary for many types of plant, bird and animal species. The vegetation includes plants and trees from the tropical, desert, Mediterranean, and steppian regions, such as Sodom apple, acacia, jujube, and poplar. The many species of resident birds are supplemented by over 200 additional species during the migration periods in the spring and fall. Mammal species include the Nubian ibex and the rock hyrax.
The Ein Gedi national park features several archaeological sites including the Chalcolithic Temple of Ein Gedi and a first-century CE village. The park was declared in 2002 and covers an area of 8 dunams.
At the end of the day we go to our hotel in Jerusalem.
Day 5 – Around the Sea of Galilee
Places: Sea of Galilee, The Ancient Galilee Boat, Mount of Beatitudes, Tabha Benedictine Monastery Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes, Church of the Primacy of Peter, Capernaum, The House of St. Peter, The Ancient Synagogue, Tiberias
A boat-ride across the Sea of Galilee in a wooden vessel reminiscent of Jesus’ day.
The Ancient Galilee Boat – – a wooden vessel dating back to the days of Jesus in a fascinating display.
Mount of Beatitudes – where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5), and one of many sites where Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II prayed.
The Tabha Benedictine Monastery Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes – the site of the feeding of the 5,000 (Matt. 14:13-21).
Church of the Primacy of Peter – site of the miraculous catch of fish (John 21:6), where Jesus appeared to the disciples after the Resurrection (John 21:7), and of St. Peter’s reconciliation to Jesus (John 21:15-19).
Capernaum – scene of many miracles and teachings, and known as Jesus’ “own town” (Matt. 9:1), including:
The House of St. Peter – (Mark 1:29) and the Memorial of St. Peter.
The Ancient Synagogue – built over the site where Jesus preached (Mark 1:21).
Tiberias – built by Herod Antipas (Luke 13:31) during Jesus’ ministry, Tiberias is the contemporary capital of the Sea of Galilee, with many reminders of Bible days.
Possible venues for Mass: Mount of Beatitudes; Peter’s Primacy; Memorial of St. Peter in Capernaum, St. Peter’s Church in Tiberias.
For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel in Tiberias or Nazareth.
Day 6 – Acre, Haifa
Places: Acre, Knight’s Halls, Al-Jazaar Mosque, Kibbutz Harduf, Shfar’am, Haifa, Templer Colony, Baha’i Gardens
Begin your day with a drive to Acre, a historic walled port-city with continuous settlement beginning in the Phoenician period. The remains of the Crusader town, dating from 1104 to 1291, lie almost intact both above and below today’s street level, providing an exceptional picture of the layout and structures of the capital of the medieval Crusader kingdom, along with touches of the Ottoman fortified market town Acre was during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Explore the Knight’s Halls, the Al-Jazaar Mosque, the bathhouse with its multi-media display, and the new ethnic museum, built right into the rooms of the old wall.
Continue to Kibbutz Harduf, near the Arab town of Shfar’am, established in 1982 by a group of young people and families who wanted to create a community based on the anthroposophist ideology. The kibbutz has since developed an exemplary educational system, a large organic food industry and a very special relationship with its Israeli Arab neighbors.
Then, it’s on to the modern port city of Haifa; visit the picturesque restored Templer Colony and the gorgeous terraced Baha’i Gardens, and enjoy the view from the top of Mount Carmel.
For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel in Haifa.
Day 7 – Ein Afek Nature Reserve
The Ein Afek Nature Reserve, on the outskirts of Kiryat Bialik, is the last vestige of the Nahal Na`aman swamps, which once extended all the way to the Acre valley. The Ein Afek Spring is in the nature reserve. A wooden path over the swamp passes near typical riverbank flora, such as tamarisk trees, blackberry hedges, reeds, and bulrushes. Plants growing in the water include duckweed and pond weeds. Apium and watercress can be spotted near the water.
When the water level rises in the winter, birds flock to the reserve: pelicans, cranes, pygmy cormorants, gray herons, moorhens, European coots, and black-winged stilts, to name just a few. In the winter and spring, the reserve is carpeted with flowers. A fine spot for admiring the blossoms is Tel Afek, situated on a low sandstone hill on the edge of the reserve. On the northern slope of Tel Afek is a two-story fortified building from the Crusader period, where a film about the flora and fauna in the reserve is now screened. A flour mill once operated on the lower floor of the building. The roof affords a magnificent view of the surrounding area.
In April 1991, seven buffalo were brought to the reserve from the Hula Nature Reserve and placed in a pen with electric sensors, to prevent them from wandering into the swamp. From time to time they can be seen grazing or stretching out in the specially dug pond.
The guidance center at the reserve provides information in Hebrew and Arabic to members of the general public, students, and educational institutions about the Land of Israel, ecology, wetlands, and biotopes.
For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel in Haifa.
Day 8 – Departure
This is the day of the departure. We bring everyone back to the point where we picked them up.