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Essential Collection

The Best of Jerusalem and Bethlehem

Access from: Ashdod


Key info

  • Tour ID: 25603
  • Duration: ​10 hours
  • Pick up point: ​Ashdod Port
  • Activity level: Active

Top highlights

  • Bethlehem
  • Mount of Olives
  • The Wailing Wall
  • The Nativity Church
  • Old City of Jerusalem

From $124.10pp

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Date and Duration
2 Adults
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Key info

  • Tour ID: 25603
  • Duration: ​10 hours
  • Pick up point: ​Ashdod Port
  • Activity level: Active
  • Optional extras available

Top highlights

  • Bethlehem
  • Mount of Olives
  • The Wailing Wall
  • The Nativity Church
  • Old City of Jerusalem

Itinerary

​Leave Ashdod port
Drive to Jerusalem
Photo stop on the Mount of Olives
Visit the Basilica (or Church) of the Agony
Visit the Garden of Gethsemane
Lunch (not included)
Enter the Old City of Jerusalem
Head through the Dung Gate to see the Western Wall
Leave the Western Wall Plaza and follow the Via Dolorosa
Walk to the Christian Quarter and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Travel to Bethlehem
Stop at a gift shop
Visit the Church of the Nativity
Return to Ashdod port

​Your full-day tour of Jerusalem and Bethlehem begins with a drive from the port of Ashdod to Jerusalem, home to some of the most sacred sites in the Holy Land.

En route, your professional tour guide will inform you of the history behind the different sites you are going to visit, with a more detailed description and guided tour upon arrival at the site.

On your arrival in Jerusalem, you will have a chance to take photos on top of the Mount of Olives. You will visit the nearby Church of All Nations, also known as the Basilica (or Church) of the Agony, and the Garden of Gethsemane. The Basilica, which is Roman Catholic, was consecrated in 1924 and is decorated with mosaics donated by each of the countries that also contributed to construction of the Basilica itself. The altar enshrines a section of bedrock, known as the Rock of Agony, where Jesus is said to have prayed before his arrest. The current church rests on the foundations of two earlier ones, a 12th-Century chapel and a 4th-Century basilica. The Garden of Gethsemane is the site where Jesus prayed and his disciples slept on the night of his betrayal and arrest. According to the Eastern Orthodox Church tradition, Gethsemane is the garden where the Virgin Mary died before her assumption on Mount Zion. From there, you will be given time for lunch, or alternately, lunch will be in Bethlehem.

Next, you will enter the Old City of Jerusalem. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a walled area located within the modern city of Jerusalem. The Old City is home to several sites of religious importance including the Temple Mount and its Western Wall for Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians, and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims. The current walls date back to the 1500s; there are 11 gates into the Old City although only seven are currently open.

You will head through the Dung Gate to see the Western Wall, which is actually part of the supporting wall of the Temple Mount. The only part of the wall that has not been hidden by construction, the Western Wall has remained intact since the destruction of the Second Jerusalem Temple in 70 AD. The Second Temple, which was built in 517 BC, was a replacement for the First Temple. The First Temple, which was conceived by King David, was constructed by King Solomon in 950 BC.

The Western Wall has become the most sacred spot in Jewish religious and national consciousness and tradition, by virtue of its proximity to the Temple, home to the Holy of Holies, and from which, according to numerous sources, the Divine Presence never departed. It has become a centre of mourning over the destruction of the Temple and Israel's exile, and a place of communion for the memory of Israel's former glory and the hope for its restoration.

You will leave the Western Wall Plaza and follow the Via Dolorosa. The Via Dolorosa winds through a maze of narrow alleys in the Muslim Quarter, offering you a fascinating variety of shops and stalls where you can purchase anything from mixed nuts and spices, to different kinds of sweets and pastries, vegetables and falafel, souvenirs, ceramics and oriental jewels and cloths. The Via Dolorosa represents a series of events in the life of Jesus from the time he was condemned to death, through to the third time he fell on his way to his crucifixion.

You will then walk to the Christian Quarter and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The remaining five Stations of the Cross are found in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (also called the Church of the Resurrection). Believed by most Christians to sit on the Hill of Calvary (Golgotha) where the New Testament says that Jesus was crucified, the church is said to also contain the place where Jesus was buried (the sepulchre) and resurrected.

Please note: The wait to enter the Sepulchre itself can be 4 hours or more - this is not included in this tour. After your visit to the church, you will return to your transport outside the Old City.

From Jerusalem, you will travel to the town of Bethlehem, the trip made by the Magi (Wise Men).

Important: Bethlehem is part of the Palestinian Authority. Some of our guides in Israel, who are Israelis, are not allowed to escort tourists into Bethlehem. If that is the case, then for the Bethlehem portion of your tour, you will have a local Palestinian guide (at no additional charge). If you are travelling in any vehicle smaller than a coach, you may also need to change vehicles for the Bethlehem portion of the tour. A mandatory stop at a gift shop in the Palestinian Authority area is required as part of this visit. Purchasing is not required.

Bethlehem is inhabited by one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, though the size of the community has shrunk in recent years due to emigration. Bethlehem is the birthplace of King David and is where he was anointed by the prophet Samuel. The tomb of the biblical matriarch Rachel, wife of Jacob, is located to the north of Bethlehem.

While in Bethlehem, you will visit the Church of the Nativity, possibly the oldest continuously-operating church in the world. The structure is built over a grotto that tradition marks as the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth and is considered sacred by followers of both Christianity and Islam. The current Basilica was rebuilt in 565 AD under the order of Emperor Justinian I. The compound surrounding the Basilica has been expanded over the years. Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Armenian Apostolic authorities administer the church jointly. The structure is actually a combination of two churches, with the Grotto of the Nativity, where Jesus is said to have been born, underneath.

Please note: As waiting times to enter the grotto can be more than 3 hours long, a visit to the grotto is not included in this tour. After your visit to the Bethlehem, you will return to the port in plenty of time for your cruise ship's departure.

After your visit to the Bethlehem, you will return to the port.

Note: Expect crowds and traffic at these sites. The tour itinerary may be altered in an attempt to avoid foreseen delays. All sites mentioned in the tour will be visited. Tour times are approximate due to crowds and traffic. Modest dress is require, shoulders must be covered, and legs must be covered below the knee. This applies to men and women.

The Old City of Jerusalem, which is a UNESCO world heritage site, is a walled area located within the modern city of Jerusalem. The Old City is home to several sites of religious importance including the Temple Mount and its Western Wall for Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians, and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims. The current walls date back to the 1500s; there are 11 gates into the Old City although only 7 are currently open. Bethlehem is inhabited by one of the oldest Christian communities in the world though the size of the community has shrunk in recent years due to emigration. Bethlehem is the birthplace of King David and where he was anointed by the prophet Samuel. The tomb of the Biblical Matriarch Rachel, wife of Jacob, is located to the north of Bethlehem.

  • Full details

    Key info

    • Tour ID: 25603
    • Duration: ​10 hours
    • Pick up point: ​Ashdod Port
    • Activity level: Active
    • Optional extras available

    Top highlights

    • Bethlehem
    • Mount of Olives
    • The Wailing Wall
    • The Nativity Church
    • Old City of Jerusalem

    Itinerary

    ​Leave Ashdod port
    Drive to Jerusalem
    Photo stop on the Mount of Olives
    Visit the Basilica (or Church) of the Agony
    Visit the Garden of Gethsemane
    Lunch (not included)
    Enter the Old City of Jerusalem
    Head through the Dung Gate to see the Western Wall
    Leave the Western Wall Plaza and follow the Via Dolorosa
    Walk to the Christian Quarter and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
    Travel to Bethlehem
    Stop at a gift shop
    Visit the Church of the Nativity
    Return to Ashdod port

    ​Your full-day tour of Jerusalem and Bethlehem begins with a drive from the port of Ashdod to Jerusalem, home to some of the most sacred sites in the Holy Land.

    En route, your professional tour guide will inform you of the history behind the different sites you are going to visit, with a more detailed description and guided tour upon arrival at the site.

    On your arrival in Jerusalem, you will have a chance to take photos on top of the Mount of Olives. You will visit the nearby Church of All Nations, also known as the Basilica (or Church) of the Agony, and the Garden of Gethsemane. The Basilica, which is Roman Catholic, was consecrated in 1924 and is decorated with mosaics donated by each of the countries that also contributed to construction of the Basilica itself. The altar enshrines a section of bedrock, known as the Rock of Agony, where Jesus is said to have prayed before his arrest. The current church rests on the foundations of two earlier ones, a 12th-Century chapel and a 4th-Century basilica. The Garden of Gethsemane is the site where Jesus prayed and his disciples slept on the night of his betrayal and arrest. According to the Eastern Orthodox Church tradition, Gethsemane is the garden where the Virgin Mary died before her assumption on Mount Zion. From there, you will be given time for lunch, or alternately, lunch will be in Bethlehem.

    Next, you will enter the Old City of Jerusalem. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a walled area located within the modern city of Jerusalem. The Old City is home to several sites of religious importance including the Temple Mount and its Western Wall for Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians, and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims. The current walls date back to the 1500s; there are 11 gates into the Old City although only seven are currently open.

    You will head through the Dung Gate to see the Western Wall, which is actually part of the supporting wall of the Temple Mount. The only part of the wall that has not been hidden by construction, the Western Wall has remained intact since the destruction of the Second Jerusalem Temple in 70 AD. The Second Temple, which was built in 517 BC, was a replacement for the First Temple. The First Temple, which was conceived by King David, was constructed by King Solomon in 950 BC.

    The Western Wall has become the most sacred spot in Jewish religious and national consciousness and tradition, by virtue of its proximity to the Temple, home to the Holy of Holies, and from which, according to numerous sources, the Divine Presence never departed. It has become a centre of mourning over the destruction of the Temple and Israel's exile, and a place of communion for the memory of Israel's former glory and the hope for its restoration.

    You will leave the Western Wall Plaza and follow the Via Dolorosa. The Via Dolorosa winds through a maze of narrow alleys in the Muslim Quarter, offering you a fascinating variety of shops and stalls where you can purchase anything from mixed nuts and spices, to different kinds of sweets and pastries, vegetables and falafel, souvenirs, ceramics and oriental jewels and cloths. The Via Dolorosa represents a series of events in the life of Jesus from the time he was condemned to death, through to the third time he fell on his way to his crucifixion.

    You will then walk to the Christian Quarter and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

    The remaining five Stations of the Cross are found in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (also called the Church of the Resurrection). Believed by most Christians to sit on the Hill of Calvary (Golgotha) where the New Testament says that Jesus was crucified, the church is said to also contain the place where Jesus was buried (the sepulchre) and resurrected.

    Please note: The wait to enter the Sepulchre itself can be 4 hours or more - this is not included in this tour. After your visit to the church, you will return to your transport outside the Old City.

    From Jerusalem, you will travel to the town of Bethlehem, the trip made by the Magi (Wise Men).

    Important: Bethlehem is part of the Palestinian Authority. Some of our guides in Israel, who are Israelis, are not allowed to escort tourists into Bethlehem. If that is the case, then for the Bethlehem portion of your tour, you will have a local Palestinian guide (at no additional charge). If you are travelling in any vehicle smaller than a coach, you may also need to change vehicles for the Bethlehem portion of the tour. A mandatory stop at a gift shop in the Palestinian Authority area is required as part of this visit. Purchasing is not required.

    Bethlehem is inhabited by one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, though the size of the community has shrunk in recent years due to emigration. Bethlehem is the birthplace of King David and is where he was anointed by the prophet Samuel. The tomb of the biblical matriarch Rachel, wife of Jacob, is located to the north of Bethlehem.

    While in Bethlehem, you will visit the Church of the Nativity, possibly the oldest continuously-operating church in the world. The structure is built over a grotto that tradition marks as the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth and is considered sacred by followers of both Christianity and Islam. The current Basilica was rebuilt in 565 AD under the order of Emperor Justinian I. The compound surrounding the Basilica has been expanded over the years. Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Armenian Apostolic authorities administer the church jointly. The structure is actually a combination of two churches, with the Grotto of the Nativity, where Jesus is said to have been born, underneath.

    Please note: As waiting times to enter the grotto can be more than 3 hours long, a visit to the grotto is not included in this tour. After your visit to the Bethlehem, you will return to the port in plenty of time for your cruise ship's departure.

    After your visit to the Bethlehem, you will return to the port.

    Note: Expect crowds and traffic at these sites. The tour itinerary may be altered in an attempt to avoid foreseen delays. All sites mentioned in the tour will be visited. Tour times are approximate due to crowds and traffic. Modest dress is require, shoulders must be covered, and legs must be covered below the knee. This applies to men and women.

    The Old City of Jerusalem, which is a UNESCO world heritage site, is a walled area located within the modern city of Jerusalem. The Old City is home to several sites of religious importance including the Temple Mount and its Western Wall for Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians, and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims. The current walls date back to the 1500s; there are 11 gates into the Old City although only 7 are currently open. Bethlehem is inhabited by one of the oldest Christian communities in the world though the size of the community has shrunk in recent years due to emigration. Bethlehem is the birthplace of King David and where he was anointed by the prophet Samuel. The tomb of the Biblical Matriarch Rachel, wife of Jacob, is located to the north of Bethlehem.

  • Essential information

    Included in this tour

    • ​Air-conditioned transportation
    • English-speaking professional tour guide
    • Entrance fees (where stated)
    We recommend that you bring sun protection, a sun hat and bottled water with you, as at times it can get extremely hot. Please wear comfortable footwear for this excursion as it involves a lot of walking on uneven ground, inclines and steps.
    The local currency is the Israeli Shekel (ILS), though in most places US dollars and Euros will be accepted.
    The tour includes travel on an air-conditioned trasnportation, accompanied by an English-speaking professional guide, and entrance fees to all the sites.
    Tips are not included - please note that visiting Bethlehem involves crossing the border between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and Israeli guides may not be able to enter this area. Groups visiting Bethlehem will be met by a local Palestinian guide at the border, who will guide them in their visit to Manger Square and the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem. Though there is no extra charge for the visit to Bethlehem, a gratuity to the guide is expected and the participants will be required to visit a local souvenir shop in Bethlehem. The suggested gratuity for the guide is $5-10 per person.
    If you have walking difficulties this tour will not be suitable for you; although you may be able to stay on the bus, the sites will not be visible from it.
    Women should cover their shoulders while visiting the Holy Sites. Shorts are not suitable attire for men or women within these sites.
    ACTIVITY LEVEL: 4
    Activity Level Scale:
    1 - Easy going
    2 - Light Walking
    3 - Walking up to 2km which may involve steps and Inclines
    4 - Quite Strenuous with walking, steps and Inclines
    5 - Hard Physical Activity

    Joining instructions

    ​You will be met at the port of Ashdod by a Cruising Excursions representative who will be carrying a sign bearing the Cruising Excursions logo. Your guide will lead you to your air-conditioned transportation, ready to commence your tour.
  • Ashdod Information

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