DISCOVER ISRAEL, JORDAN, GREECE
ESCORTED TOUR. 23 Days. May 06 - 28, 2018
15 day ISRAEL ONLY or ISRAEL AND JORDAN options available.
This will be my 17th visit to Israel and I am delighted to offer further opportunities to explore this fascinating area.
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
Escorted by Stephen Greenfield, many times visitor to the Middle East subject to minimum of 6 travelling
Day 1. Sunday 06 May, 2018. AUCKLAND DEPART
Meet your escort at Auckland airport and depart.
Day 2. Monday 07 May. ARRIVE TEL AVIV (B)
Arrive Tel Aviv airport to meet our Israeli guide. Visit ancient Joppa and tour modern Tel Aviv. Drive to Caesarea, an ancient Roman port and one of Herod's masterpieces.See the aqueduct and ampitheatre before transferring to our hotel north of Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean coast. The rest of the day is free to relax.
Day 3. Tuesday 08 May. NETANYA - CEASAREA - MEGIDDO - HAIFA (BD)
Drive 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). Continue to Nazareth to visit the church of the Annunciation and the early Israel village depicting life as it was at the time Jesus Christ. Visit Mt carmel and drive through Haifa to 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 on the shores of Lake Galilee travelling via the mountain city of Safed (Zvat), centre of Kabbala Judaism.
Day 4. Wednesday 09 May. HAIFA - NAZARETH - GALILEE (BD)
Today we take a leisurely tour aroud the Sea of Galilee including Bethsaida, the Golan Heights passing the village of Kuneitra overlooking Syria, Caesarea Philippi, and Banias. 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. Thursday 10 May. GALILEE - JERUSALEM. (BD)
Enjoy an introduction to Kibbutz life before visiting the baptism site where the Jordan River starts from Galilee. Drive through the Jordan Valley 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 the Qumrun caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. We then ascend to Jerusalem and 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 and visit the Church of All Nations before arriving at our hotel close to the old city of Jerusalem. This evening we take a sobering visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum. See also the exterior of the Knesset including the giant Manorah.
Day 6. Friday 11 May. JERUSALEM (BD)
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. 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 visit the Room of the Last Supper on Mount Zion. 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. Also visit the western (Wailing) wall at the start of Shabbat.
Day 7. Saturday. 12 May. JERUSALEM. (BD)
This morning we visit Hebron (subject to political conditions), Herodium, the Shepherds Fields, and Bethlehem including the Church of the Nativity and Manger Square. This evening enjoy the Sound and Light spectacle at the Tower of David.
Day 8. Sunday. 13 May. JERUSALEM (BD)
The day is free to explore at your leisure or visit the church of your choice.
Subject to political conditions a visit to the west Bank areas of Shechem, Samaria, Shiloh, and Ramallah will be offered - extra expense
Day 9. Monday 14 May. JERUSALEM - DEAD SEA - EILAT (BD)
Return below sea level to the Jordan valley and visit the Springs of Ein Gedi and Massada. Ascend by cable car to Herods castle. Continue to the Dead Sea for your opportunity to swim and float in the waters. Continue to Timna Park and King Solomons Mines to see the real size model of the ancient Tabernacle before arriving at our hotel in Eilat.
Day 10. Tuesday. 15 May. EILAT - AQABA - WADI RUM - PETRA (BLD)
Cross into Jordan for a short tour of the port city of Aqaba then to wadi Rum for a 4WD tour of the expansive desert landscapes made famous in the film "Lawrence of Arabia". Lunch at a Bedouin camp before continuing to our hotel near Petra.
Passengers on the ISRAEL ONLY tour return to Jerusalem today from Eilat for 3 nights hotel and breakfast and transfer to the airport friday morning arriving back in Auckland sunday 20 May. No lunches, dinners, or sightseeing provided in Jerusalem.
Day 11. Wednesday. 16 May. PETRA - MADABA - MT NEBO - AMMAN. (BD)
Explore ancient Petra this morning. 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. This afternoon visit ancient Madaba to see the 6th century mosaic of the Holyland in St Georges Cathedral before visiting Mt Nebo from where Moses viewed the promised land with spectacular views of the Jordan Valley and the hills of Judea and Samaria in fine weather.
Day 12. Thursday. 17 May. AMMAN - ATHENS. (BD)
Enjoy a short tour of Amman before travelling to the airport for our flight to ancient Athens, capital of Greece. Transfer to our hotel on arrival.
Passengers on the ISRAEL AND JORDAN option return to Jerusalem from Amman for 1 night hotel and breakfast and transfer to the airport friday arriving back in Auckland sunday 20 May. Extra fees are payable at the Jordan/Israel border.
Day 13. Friday. 18 May. ATHENS - MYKONOS (BLD)
Transfer to the port of Piraeus to join our cruise ship sailing at 11.30am. Time for lunch and get to know your ship before arriving at the beautiful island of Mykonos at 6pm. Enjoy the evening ashore among the classical Greek houses, windmills, and Tavernas. Sail at 11pm.
Day 14. Saturday 19 May. EPHESUS - PATMOS. (BLD)
Arrive Kusadasi at 7.30am and our included excursion takes us to the ancient city of Ephesus, one of the best preserved Roman Cities from the Apostle Paul's time. Walk the ancient streets where Paul walked, see the great theatre, Agora, and the remains of the tempe of Artemis (Diana) as well as the library. Return to the ship and sail at 1pm.
Arrival at the island of Patmos where the Apostle John was imprisoned is scheduled for 5.45pm and our included excursion takes us to the Monastery of St John and the Grotto of the Revelation. Return to the ship and sail at 9.30pm.
Day 15. Sunday 20 May. CRETE AND SANTORINI. (BLD)
Arrive Heraklion in Crete at 7am. An optional (extra expense) excursion is available to Knossos and the Temple of King Minos. Return to the ship and sail at noon. Arrive at the spectacular island of Santorini at 4.30pm. Optional (extra expense) tour to the villages of Oia and Thira or disembark by tender to journey up the caldera by cable car, donkey or on foot. Cable car and donkeys extra expense. Sail at 9.30pm.
Day 16. Monday 21 May. ATHENS. (BD)
7am. Disembark after breakfast and transfer back to Athens.
Visit the museum and and climb to the Acropolis and visit the Parthenon and Mars Hill and pass by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Parliament House, Temple of Olympian Zeus, and Hadrians Arch. 2 nights in Athens.
Day 17. Tuesday 22 May. MYCENAE AND CORINTH. (BD)
Explore the imposing ruins of Mycenae, the ancient city of Homer, called a 'city rich in gold'. Enter the city by the Lions Gate and visit Agamemnons Royal Palace. Continue to ancient Corinth and explore the city where the Apostle Paul taught. See the Corinth canal and return to Athens.
Day 18. Wednesday 23 May. ATHENS - METEORA. (BD)
Drive north to the amazing monasteries at Meteora perched high on the mountainous rocks and visit 2 or 3 of the monasteries. Overnight near Meteora.
Day 19. Thursday 24 May. METEORA - BEREA - THESSALONIKI. (BD)
Drive to Berea where the 'people were more honourable than those in Thessaloniki' in Paul's time and continue to Thessaloniki. This afternoon tour the city, 2nd largest in Greece. See the Egnation Road, Galerius Arch, Citadel, and Rotunda.
Day 20. Friday 25 May. PHILLIPI - KAVALA (BD)
Enjoy a picturesque drive to Philippi where Paul established the first christian church in Europe. See the river where Lydia met Paul, and the ancient Forum, and jail where Paul and Silas were kept. On the return pass Kavala (Neapolis) with panoramic views of the harbour where Paul arrived over 1900 years ago.
Day 21.Saturday 26 May. THESSALONIKI DEPART (B)
Day 22. Sunday 27 May. EN ROUTE.
Day 23. Monday 28 May ARRIVE AUCKLAND
Arrive Auckland this morning.
Tour cost per person
Full tour................. 23 days.......2 per room $9,600... Single room.... $10,900
Israel only.............. 15 days.......2 per room $5,990... Single room.... $7,500
Israel and Jordan... 15 days.......2 per room $6,900... Single room.... $8,700
Greece only*.......... 10 days.......2 per room $3,700... Single room.... $4,500
* 17-26 May. Excludes air fares
Tour cost includes:
** Return economy class air fares
** Arrival and departure transfers at all points outside New Zealand.
** 16 nights hotel with dinner and breakfast
** 3 nights cruise with all meals while on board and excursions to Ephesus, and Monastery of st John.
** Sightseeing listed (except options) including admission fees.
Tour cost does not include:
personal expenses, drinks with meals, passport and visa fees. Tips - allow USD $300
Deposit. 25% of your tour cost on booking
Balance due: 28 February, 2018.
DISCOVER ISRAEL - JORDAN - GREECE
Please take time to do some pre reading and getting the history into perspective. Once on the road we will be assailed with facts and figures daily and the more we understand before going, the greater the enjoyment and the more we will see how it all fits together. For a basic travel guide Lonely Planet is best (They have a Middle East edition which covers every country we go to). For serious insights into the area we do recommend reading more widely. To obtain the best from Israel some knowledge of the Bible is a great asset. I will be providing basic country and historical outlines but these will be by no means exhaustive.
Expect temperatures between 15-28 degrees in May which makes spring a comfortable time to travel through the area. Expect some rain and a fold up umbrella is recommended.
As always those who travel light travel easiest! Clothing is casual throughout with a good 'smart casual' set for evening dinners and some shows.
A good pair of walking shoes are essential as we cannot appreciate the glories of the ancient cities without walking among the history. It is worth packing a swim suit if you want to experience a swim in the Dead Sea. A few hotels have swimming pools but not many.
Please make sure that bags are lockable.
We will be visiting a lot of churches and other holy sites during the tour. They do expect a reasonable standard of conservative dress, e.g. sleeved blouses/dresses for the ladies, and in a few places a head scarf
Please note that tea and coffee are not usually included as part of lunches and dinners in the Middle East. A small kit to brew up in the room has been most popular with some people. You need to supply your own tea bags, coffee sachets, and creamer.
Be healthy before you come is the best advice!
We recommend keeping your basic vaccinations up to date for Diptheria, Tetanus, Polio, and Hepatitis A, B, and C. An anti diarrhoea injection is advisable and anti diarrhoea pills are essential.
I will have a general health kit but I suggest you pack your own favourite brands. If you are on any special medication please bring enough for the whole journey. If it may be suspect for customs officials etc please bring a note from your doctor.
Basic health precautions are essential along the way in personal hygiene, not drinking tap water, etc. As we stay at first class hotels throughout we do not usually have a problem.
We recommend taking a supply of antiseptic wet wipes.
Electricity supply is 220 volt in all countries.
Adaptors are necessary. A round 2 pin plug covers all countries except Dubai although some points in Lebanon have a flat 2 pin plug! Dubai uses a 3 pin UK style plug.
Travel Insurance is essential. Please check the exclusions. We can arrange this through Mike Henry or you are welcome to arrange your own but we need a copy of the details.
US dollar notes are still best and just exchange what you need in each country. ATM's are available in all major cities.
Dinner and breakfast are paid for each day so you only have to buy lunches, drinking water, tea, coffee, juices, and other beverages with lunches and dinners, and other small items. $NZ100 per person per day would be more than ample for most, you can get by on half that. All the main sightseeing attractions are included however there will be some optional tours and evening shows offered along the way.
A fact of life. Where meals are included at the hotel you do not need to tip except where drinks are ordered. Taxis, restaurants where you may choose to eat separately, etc all expect to be tipped, usually 10-15% of the bill.
SAFETY A very important issue on this tour!!
I presume everyone has read the Ministry of Foreign Affairs travel advisory on their website www.mfat.govt.nz and has made a conscious and informed decision to come on this tour. If I thought there was a major risk I would not of course be going myself or take others to the area. However it is a volatile area of the world and there is some risk. I will give more advice along the way on such matters as keeping off the public buses and out of night clubs in Israel etc. Rest assured millions of tourists visit these countries each year without harm.
The local governments and tourist industry have a vested interest in keeping us safe as tourism is so important to the economies of the area. I will accept the advice of local guides in individual situations and it may be necessary to make some adjustments to the itinerary along the way if local problems flare up. However you have to make the decision yourself to come - and then relax and enjoy the area! Rest assured I and our agents and guides will do all possible to make sure the tour is trouble free.
Our refund policy in the event the tour has to be cancelled through safety issues is that your tour cost can be transferred without penalty to any other CONNOISSEUR HOLIDAY we operate,or receive a full refund of your tour cost less $500 which may be refundable through insurance (check your policy for details)