The Holy Land: Past, Present, and Future
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11 days

from ₹4,87,700 trip_detail hint icon

Prices are indicative. Based on twin share. The rate of exchange calculated is approximate and the final tour cost will be as on the final date of payment. Taxes are additional.

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Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives on bumpy roads, and easy hikes.

Premium trip_detail hint icon

Premium expeditions are led by a National Geographic expert, an expedition team, or top guides, and tap into National Geographic's worldwide resources to allow for in-depth exploration and special access to sites and experts in the field. Itineraries are fully planned, with some free time. Accommodations are high-end or best available. Ground transportation and most meals and activities are included in the trip price.

EXPEDITION OVERVIEW
  • Hear a unique dual narrative provided by our Israeli and Palestinian peace-builder guides, trained by National Geographic Emerging Explorer Aziz Abu Sarah.
  • Explore Caesarea Maritima with geo-archaeologist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Beverly Goodman.
  • Meet with an environmentalist from Friends of the Earth Middle East, whose efforts to foster Arab-Jewish cooperation through environmental stewardship were featured in the April 2010 issue of National Geographic magazine.
  • In Jerusalem, get an insider’s view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from an Israeli politician, then travel to the West Bank for the rare opportunity to meet with officials of the Palestinian Authority.
EXPERTS ON THIS TRIP

A National Geographic expert will accompany each departure to share insights and a rare behind-the-scenes perspective. Listed here are some of the experts that will be joining departures on this trip.

Itinerary

Immerse yourself in the history and culture of the Holy Land on an expedition inspired by the peace-building efforts of National Geographic Emerging Explorer Aziz Abu Sarah. Explore the City of David and the ancient desert fortress of Masada; glide across the Sea of Galilee; and discover Jerusalem through the eyes of Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Hear a broad spectrum of narratives on this program, designed in partnership with Israelis and Palestinians, Arabs and Jews.

Day 1: Tel Aviv, Israel/Jerusalem

Arrive in Tel Aviv and transfer to Jerusalem. Relax at the hotel before our reception and welcome dinner tonight.

Day 2: Jerusalem

Begin the day on the Temple Mount, capped by the shining cupola of the Dome of the Rock. Meet an imam from the Al-Aqsa Mosque who will explain the importance of this holy site to Muslims. Then visit the Western Wall, touch the ancient stones, and meet with a rabbi to learn about the significance of this sacred place. A local pastor then joins us at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, home to six Christian sects and, according to tradition, the tomb of Jesus. In the afternoon, ascend to the top of the Mount of Olives, and take in a panoramic view of the domes, spires, and golden stones of Jerusalem’s Old City.

Day 3: Jerusalem

Just outside the Old City walls lies the City of David, thought to be the original capital city established by King David some 3,000 years ago. Venture into the archaeological site and meet with its Israeli administrators; later, speak with residents of the nearby Palestinian neighborhood who oppose the excavations. Get an insider’s perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with an Israeli politician; then travel to Ramallah, where we are granted rare access to the offices of the Palestinian Authority to hear from a high-ranking politician.

Day 4: Jerusalem

Today, trace the turbulent history of the birth of the state of Israel. At Yad Vashem, Israel’s moving memorial to the Holocaust, meet with a Holocaust survivor for a personal glimpse into one of history’s darkest moments. Then travel to Ein Kerem, where Christian tradition says John the Baptist was born. An Israeli and a Palestinian guide will each tell their divergent narrative of the village’s role in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. Enjoy time to explore Jerusalem on your own. Tonight, gather for a discussion with Israeli and Palestinian peace activists from the Bereaved Families Forum.

Day 5: Bethlehem and the West Bank

Travel to the Gush Etzion settlement bloc to hear the viewpoints of Israeli settlers. Continue to Bethlehem and visit Manger Square; then, at the Church of the Nativity, descend into the cave revered by many as the birthplace of Jesus. Walk through a nearby Palestinian refugee camp, and learn how murals and graffiti have been used to depict the refugees’ struggles. Our final stop is Herodion, a volcano-shaped hill and fortress built by Herod the Great. Over dinner, take in a musical performance by a group of Israeli and Palestinian musicians.

Day 6: Jerusalem/Jericho/Dead Sea

This morning, meet with an environmentalist from Friends of the Earth Middle East, whose efforts to foster Arab-Jewish cooperation through environmental stewardship were featured in the special April 2010 “Water” issue of National Geographic magazine. View the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Israel Museum, and then drive down through the Judean Desert to Jericho to visit the archaeological site of Tel Jericho. This afternoon, continue to our hotel, located in the Ein Gedi kibbutz on the shores of the Dead Sea. Learn about the kibbutz movement before enjoying time on your own to float in the Dead Sea, wander through the hotel’s botanical garden, or enjoy an optional spa treatment.

Day 7: The Jordan River Valley/Tiberias

Soar up the flank of Masada in a gondola and explore King Herod’s 2,000-year-old mountaintop refuge. Then follow the Jordan Valley north to the Roman city of Bet She’an to see its remarkably preserved amphitheater, baths, and column-lined streets. Along the way, stop to dip your feet in the Jordan River, where Christian pilgrims come to be baptized.

Day 8: Galilee

Visit Caesarea Philippi, a center of worship from the Hellenic age to the early Christian era. Explore the area as you wish this afternoon: follow a scenic trail to the Banias waterfall, or enjoy a short hike through Tel Dan National Park to the ancient city of Dan. Take a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee from Tiberias to Capernaum, where Jesus lived and preached and where many Apostles, including Peter, made their home.

Day 9: Nazareth/Jaffa/Tel Aviv

Hear the perspective of an Israeli Arab Christian on the way to Nazareth, where we visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, one of the largest churches in the Middle East. On an excursion to the mountaintop village of Beit Jann, discover the secretive traditions of the Druze people, and enjoy lunch with a Druze family in their home. Travel toward the Mediterranean coast this afternoon, and explore picturesque Jaffa, a strategic port town dating back to the Bronze Age. The bustling city of Tel Aviv is our home for tonight. Enjoy dinner here on your own.

Days 10-11: Caesarea Maritima/Tel Aviv

Follow the coast north to Caesarea Maritima, Herod’s harbor city, and visit the ruins with geo-archaeologist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Beverly Goodman. Then enjoy a free afternoon in Tel Aviv before gathering for a farewell reception and dinner. After breakfast the next morning, transfer to the airport for your flight home.

EXTENSIONS

Day 1: Eilat/Wadi Rum/Petra, Jordan

Fly from Tel Aviv to Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city, situated on the sparkling Red Sea. Spend the afternoon exploring this idyllic resort town, and go swimming and snorkeling off beaches fringed by coral reefs. Later, cross the border into Jordan, and explore the lunar-like landscape of Wadi Rum, where T.E. Lawrence stayed with Bedouin friends and allies during World War I. Discover epic sand dunes and rose-tinted mountains where Bedouin tribes still make camp. Continue to our hotel at Petra, located just a few steps from this UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Day 2: Petra

Spend a full day exploring Petra, the legendary city of the Nabataean people. Hidden in deep canyons, this remarkable site was founded more than 2,400 years ago. Enter the ancient city through its primary entrance, known as the Siq—a narrow chasm between naturally sculpted cliffs that opens to Petra's iconic Treasury. Go on a guided visit of the site, where hundreds of monuments were rediscovered only in 1812. Then enjoy time on your own to explore the Royal Tombs or the Monastery.

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Day 3: Jerash/Amman

Travel north on the historic King’s Highway and visit Jerash, one of the best-preserved cities of the Roman Empire. Step back in time as you explore the colonnaded streets, visiting the South Theater, the Temple of Artemis, and the ornate Nymphaeum. Continue to Amman and enjoy time to explore this fascinating capital city on your own.

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Day 4: Amman/U.S.

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home.

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what to expect

This expedition is rated as light; travelers should be in good health and comfortable sitting for extended periods of time. Excursions include safari drives in open vehicles on dusty, bumpy roads; nature walks on uneven terrain; and sometimes climbing stairs without handrails.

Throughout the expedition, we stay in ideally located hotels, lodges, and luxury tented camps.

A National Geographic expert and an expedition leader will accompany this trip, and local guides join us along the way.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Our accommodations are selected for their exceptional quality, location, and character. Below are several of the accommodations featured on this expedition.

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Ein Gedi Hotel - Dead Sea, Israel

Perched above the Dead Sea, the Ein Gedi Kibbutz Hotel offers stunning views over the water and its surrounding cliff faces. The hotel is located within a kibbutz, amid natural springs and a lush botanical garden. Guest rooms have been recently renovated and feature a range of modern amenities, including in-room safes and Wi-Fi internet. The hotel also features a state-of-the-art spa, pool, restaurant, and bar.

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Ein Gedi Hotel - Dead Sea, Israel

Perched above the Dead Sea, the Ein Gedi Kibbutz Hotel offers stunning views over the water and its surrounding cliff faces. The hotel is located within a kibbutz, amid natural springs and a lush botanical garden. Guest rooms have been recently renovated and feature a range of modern amenities, including in-room safes and Wi-Fi internet. The hotel also features a state-of-the-art spa, pool, restaurant, and bar.

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Ein Gedi Hotel - Dead Sea, Israel

Perched above the Dead Sea, the Ein Gedi Kibbutz Hotel offers stunning views over the water and its surrounding cliff faces. The hotel is located within a kibbutz, amid natural springs and a lush botanical garden. Guest rooms have been recently renovated and feature a range of modern amenities, including in-room safes and Wi-Fi internet. The hotel also features a state-of-the-art spa, pool, restaurant, and bar.

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The Scots Hotel - Tiberias, Israel

Converted from an old Scottish hospital compound, the historic Scots Hotel blends elements of the building’s original 19th-century design with modern hotel amenities. Each room is outfitted with a mini bar, coffee-making facilities, hairdryer, and in-room safe. The outdoor pool and lush patio gardens offer stunning views across the Sea of Galilee. The hotel also features a full-service spa, fitness center, library, restaurant, and bar.

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The Scots Hotel - Tiberias, Israel

Converted from an old Scottish hospital compound, the historic Scots Hotel blends elements of the building’s original 19th-century design with modern hotel amenities. Each room is outfitted with a mini bar, coffee-making facilities, hairdryer, and in-room safe. The outdoor pool and lush patio gardens offer stunning views across the Sea of Galilee. The hotel also features a full-service spa, fitness center, library, restaurant, and bar.

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The Scots Hotel - Tiberias, Israel

Converted from an old Scottish hospital compound, the historic Scots Hotel blends elements of the building’s original 19th-century design with modern hotel amenities. Each room is outfitted with a mini bar, coffee-making facilities, hairdryer, and in-room safe. The outdoor pool and lush patio gardens offer stunning views across the Sea of Galilee. The hotel also features a full-service spa, fitness center, library, restaurant, and bar.

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The Dan Tel Aviv Hotel - Tel Aviv, Israel

The Dan Tel Aviv has a prime waterfront location offering direct access to the city’s popular beaches and seaside promenade, as well as stunning views over the Mediterranean. The hotel has indoor and outdoor pools and a fitness center, and all rooms are appointed with modern conveniences. Guests can eat at one of several on-site restaurants or visit one of the many popular dining establishments within close proximity of the hotel.

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The Dan Tel Aviv Hotel - Tel Aviv, Israel

The Dan Tel Aviv has a prime waterfront location offering direct access to the city’s popular beaches and seaside promenade, as well as stunning views over the Mediterranean. The hotel has indoor and outdoor pools and a fitness center, and all rooms are appointed with modern conveniences. Guests can eat at one of several on-site restaurants or visit one of the many popular dining establishments within close proximity of the hotel.

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The Dan Tel Aviv Hotel - Tel Aviv, Israel

The Dan Tel Aviv has a prime waterfront location offering direct access to the city’s popular beaches and seaside promenade, as well as stunning views over the Mediterranean. The hotel has indoor and outdoor pools and a fitness center, and all rooms are appointed with modern conveniences. Guests can eat at one of several on-site restaurants or visit one of the many popular dining establishments within close proximity of the hotel.

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American Colony Hotel - Jerusalem, Israel

The American Colony Hotel is a charming boutique accommodation located in close proximity to Jerusalem’s Old City. Each of the hotel’s 96 rooms is uniquely styled and offers a range of modern conveniences. Guests can choose from several on-site dining establishments, including the lush and secluded courtyard, a terrace café with a view, or the charming cellar bar. Other hotel amenities include a pool, fitness center, sauna, and spa.

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American Colony Hotel - Jerusalem, Israel

The American Colony Hotel is a charming boutique accommodation located in close proximity to Jerusalem’s Old City. Each of the hotel’s 96 rooms is uniquely styled and offers a range of modern conveniences. Guests can choose from several on-site dining establishments, including the lush and secluded courtyard, a terrace café with a view, or the charming cellar bar. Other hotel amenities include a pool, fitness center, sauna, and spa.

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American Colony Hotel - Jerusalem, Israel

The American Colony Hotel is a charming boutique accommodation located in close proximity to Jerusalem’s Old City. Each of the hotel’s 96 rooms is uniquely styled and offers a range of modern conveniences. Guests can choose from several on-site dining establishments, including the lush and secluded courtyard, a terrace café with a view, or the charming cellar bar. Other hotel amenities include a pool, fitness center, sauna, and spa.

PRICES & DATES

  • date Sep 14-24, 2019
  • double occupancy ₹4,87,700 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,54,600 Per Person
  • extensions yes

EXTENSIONS

Post-trip Extension: 2019/09/24 - 2019/09/27

Double Occupancy from $6995per person

Single Occupancy from $9390 per person

  • date Oct 26-Nov 5, 2019
  • double occupancy ₹4,87,700 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,54,600 Per Person
  • extensions yes

EXTENSIONS

Post-trip Extension: 2019/11/05 - 2019/11/08

Double Occupancy from $6995per person

Single Occupancy from $9390 per person

  • date Nov 9-19, 2019
  • double occupancy ₹4,87,700 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,54,600 Per Person
  • extensions yes

EXTENSIONS

Post-trip Extension: 2019/11/19 - 2019/11/22

Double Occupancy from $6995per person

Single Occupancy from $9390 per person

  • date Nov 23-Dec 3, 2019
  • double occupancy ₹4,87,700 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,54,600 Per Person
  • extensions yes

EXTENSIONS

Post-trip Extension: 2019/12/03 - 2019/12/06

Double Occupancy from $6995per person

Single Occupancy from $9390 per person

  • date Dec 28, 2019 - Jan 7, 2020
  • double occupancy ₹4,87,700 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,54,600 Per Person
  • extensions yes

EXTENSIONS

Post-trip Extension: 2020/01/07 - 2020/01/10

Double Occupancy from $6995per person

Single Occupancy from $9390 per person

  • date Mar 14-24, 2020
  • double occupancy ₹4,87,700 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,54,600 Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Mar 28-Apr 7, 2020
  • double occupancy ₹4,87,700 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,54,600 Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Apr 25-May 5, 2020
  • double occupancy ₹4,87,700 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,54,600 Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date May 16-26, 2020
  • double occupancy ₹4,87,700 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,54,600 Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Sep 5-15, 2020
  • double occupancy ₹4,87,700 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,54,600 Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Oct 10-20, 2020
  • double occupancy ₹4,87,700 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,54,600 Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Nov 7-17, 2020
  • double occupancy ₹4,87,700 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,54,600 Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Dec 26, 2020 - Jan 5, 2021
  • double occupancy ₹4,87,700 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,54,600 Per Person
  • extensions yes

Prices are per person based on double or single occupancy (unless otherwise noted) and do not include international airfare to/from your destination or internal flights during the expedition. Internal flights are $450 per person between the months of December and March, and $775 per person between the months of June and October. Internal flights for the optional extension to Rwanda are $1100 per person, and $1500 for the Ruaha extension. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars and subject to change. See the terms and conditions for this trip for more information.

  • Transfers upon arrival and departure
  • Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily activities and excursions as indicated in the itinerary
  • All gratuities
  • Airfare to and from destination, as well as internal airfare where applicable
  • Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Alcoholic beverages
Aziz Abu Sarah
Author Educator
"

Named a 2011 National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his groundbreaking work as a cultural educator, Aziz Abu Sarah has dedicated his life to bringing Israelis and Palestinians together to find common ground, build mutual understanding, and forge lasting relationships. He has spoken in hundreds of churches, synagogues, and mosques, before both the European Parliament and the United Nations, and at many universities on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, peace, reconciliation, and interfaith dialogue. He is co-executive director of George Mason University’s Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution.

"
  • Dec 28, 2019 - Jan 7, 2020
  • Mar 28-Apr 7, 2020
  • May 16-26, 2020
Yuval Ben-Ami
Educator Author
"

Author, journalist, and cultural critic Yuval Ben-Ami writes for the Hebrew edition of National Geographic magazine and has published a monthly column in the Hebrew edition of National Geographic Traveler. Born in Jerusalem, Yuval later moved to the United States and began writing for Israeli and international publications, among them Haaretz and the Boston Globe. His books include Susanna, Don’t You Cry—a travelogue of the American South—and two travel books about Israel: Wonderland and A Day on the Town. Yuval's work in conflict resolution began in 2000 at Jerusalem's Youth Center of World Cultures, where he introduced Jewish high school students to Palestinian culture. He currently leads cultural travel experiences, bringing individuals into areas they would not normally visit: Israelis into Hebron, Palestinians to Tel-Aviv, secular Jews to Meah Shearim, and so on, creating unique encounters.

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  • May 11-21, 2019
  • Sep 14-24, 2019
  • Oct 26-Nov 5, 2019
  • Nov 9-19, 2019
  • Nov 23-Dec 3, 2019
  • Apr 25-May 5, 2020
  • Oct 10-20, 2020
  • Nov 7-17, 2020
  • Dec 26, 2020 - Jan 5, 2021
Udi Goren
Educator
"

A native Israeli, Udi Goren is an educator, artist, and travel photographer. For the past decade, he has worked and volunteered for various peace-building and social-justice initiatives, notably Yala Young Leaders, a Middle Eastern organization aimed at connecting young people from the region and training them for leadership roles using the Internet and social media. Udi is an instructor in their Eileen Getty School of Citizen Journalism. He has also produced, filmed, and edited several short documentary films. Several years of traveling around the world made Udi the story collector he is and inspired him to study and pursue professional photography. Over the years, his work has been displayed in exhibitions both in and out of Israel and published by various media outlets, including the National Geographic Channel. He is an occasional contributor as a writer and photographer to Yediot Achronot, Israel's largest circulating newspaper. Udi is the first professional still photographer to have documented the Israel National Trail in its entirety, a project that took him on multiple international speaking tours and culminated in his book A Walk of the Land: A Photographic Journey of the Israel National Trail.

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  • Mar 14-24, 2020
  • Sep 5-15, 2020