Explore the Ancient History of Sacred Israel

Travel through some of the holiest historical sites in this multifaceted Middle Eastern country that also serves up a flavorful culinary landscape.

Masada National Park, overlooking the famed Dead Sea—one of many highlights of this trip.

Masada National Park, overlooking the famed Dead Sea—one of many highlights of this trip.

Photo by Cristina Gottardi/Unsplash

A trip to Israel is a lesson in honoring the past and present as you travel through some of the most sacred sites in the world—while also enjoying the country’s impressive, contemporary food and drink scene on this 10-day trip, a sample itinerary from Kensington Tours. From the markets and parties of modern Tel Aviv to the Jewish kibbutzim and the holy sites of Jesus, the delights of Arabic cuisine, and Israel’s little-known wine scene, there’s something for everyone in this wildly diverse Middle Eastern country. And you can have it all with Kensington Tours, which specializes in tailoring each tour to travelers, so you can enjoy a highly personal experience based on your interests.


Trip Highlight

The Western Wall

Also called the “Wailing Wall,” the Western Wall is the only remains of the retaining wall surrounding the Temple Mount and is considered the most holy site in the world for the Jewish people. It is an awe-inspiring must-see for visitors of any faith.

Trip Designer

Kensington Tours

With Kensington Tours, you can travel in style on personalized journeys that take travelers deeper into each location with excursions tailored to your specific desires and passion points. From active outings and culinary delights to historical immersion, Kensington Tours delivers authentic, rewarding experiences thanks to its deep local connections for memories that will last a lifetime.
Viv Beach is located along the southern part of Tel Aviv’s promenade.

Viv Beach is located along the southern part of Tel Aviv’s promenade.

Photo by Gabriel Porras/Unsplash

Day 1-2Welcome to Tel Aviv

Your first day on the Israeli Mediterranean coast will tantalize all your senses, from the salty air and market-tasting tour to taking in the beautiful architecture and narrow streets of Tel Aviv that seamlessly mix old and new. To make sure your arrival is flawless, you’ll be expertly guided from customs to a luxurious hotel of your choosing. After decompressing from your flight, you’ll have time to venture out on your own on your first day.

The next morning, meet your guide and explore the city with ease on your personalized trip through the ancient streets of Old Jaffa and down the world-renowned Rothschild Boulevard, a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring the city’s signature Bauhaus-style architecture. Nowhere shows Tel Aviv’s blend of cultures like the Levinsky Market, a culinary haven bursting with the flavors, smells, and colors of Old-World spices, dried fruits, fragrant soaps, nuts, and store-roasted coffees. With a local by your side, engage with the passionate vendors who proudly share their generations-old family recipes and stories.

For a dose of the city’s artistic spirit, hit up the beloved Neve Tzedek neighborhood, nestled in the southwestern corner of Tel Aviv. Before you head back to your hotel, stop in a buzzy local bar. Israel makes excellent vintages that can be hard to get outside of the country—toast your Israeli adventure with a glass of locally produced wine.
Residential buildings in downtown Haifa

Residential buildings in downtown Haifa

Photo by Zach Camp/Unsplash

Day 3-4Rich Culinary Traditions in Tiberias

Your journey from Tel Aviv to Tiberias will be an impressive foray into the local food and drink scene. The first stop is Tulip, a winery nestled in Kfar Tikva, a pastoral village for residents with special needs. Hear their inspiring stories as you savor their impressive wines.

Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, a home-cooked meal awaits. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and warm hospitality of the Arabic-speaking Druze people, who will share their culture and history as they feed you heaping plates of their traditional fare based in aromatic rice and kebabs. For dessert, you’ll stop at the enchanting Bahai Gardens in Haifa for fresh pastries at Kibbutz Moran’s Bakery. Enjoy while enveloped in the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked artisanal bread and delectable deserts, all crafted using the traditions of their shared community ovens.

The next day’s private tour of Galilee will be a fascinating glimpse into the everyday life and traditions of the local Jewish communities. First, you’ll explore the wonders of Tzfat (Safed), the heart of Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah. Wander through the city’s labyrinth of alleyways, visit ancient synagogues, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Artist Quarter. For lunch, break bread with a second kibbutz community, who’ll warmly tell tales of modern communal living and share what they think the future holds for this one-of-a-kind way of life.

Next, set your sights on the picturesque Golan Heights, where you can see Syria from atop Mount Bental. Your final stop is a visit to Tel Faher, a lookout point and former Syrian outpost.
The empty tomb of Jesus is an ancient Christian pilgrimage site in Jerusalem.

The empty tomb of Jesus is an ancient Christian pilgrimage site in Jerusalem.

Photo by Daniel Ciucci/Unsplash

Day 5Journey in the Sea of Galilee to Nazareth

Your journey from Tiberias to Jerusalem will take you through the sacred landscapes that once echoed with the teachings of Jesus. Begin the day with a visit to Magdala, an archaeological site where excavations in 2009 unearthed the remains of an ancient fishing village that is believed to be the hometown of Mary Magdalene. On a guided visit to the still-active dig, you’ll view a first-century synagogue and the Magdala Stone, carved with a depiction of the Jewish Second Temple.

Continuing further, you’ll reach the Holy Cana of Galilee, where Jesus’ first miracle—turning water into wine—unfolded, before reaching Nazareth, Jesus’ cherished hometown. There, you’ll tour the Catholic Basilica of The Annunciation, Mary’s Well, and The Synagogue Church, immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of biblical history. Your tour’s final stop is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Megiddo in the Lower Galilee region. This ancient city is thought to have seen more battles than any other location in the world—excavation has uncovered about 26 layers of settlements dating as far back as the Chalcolithic period.

The world-famous Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth

Photo by Zach Camp /Unsplash

Day 6-8Explore Jerusalem with an Expert

Unearth—literally—the secrets of Jerusalem’s Old City during your private tour that begins at the Temple Mount Sifting Project, where you’ll dig up hidden artifacts from the Temple Mount itself. The Old City is a sacred site for Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Roam its four quarters, and marvel at the Western Wall, the world’s most sacred site for the Jewish people, and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, one of the holiest sites for Christians.

In the City of David archeological site, discover captivating excavations from the first Temple period. Finally, descend to Hezekiah’s Tunnel, an ancient engineering marvel that still runs with water. Before returning to your accommodations for dinner and a nightcap, venture into the depths of the Kotel Tunnels, which reveal the secrets of ancient Jerusalem and Herod’s Temple Mount.

On your second day in Jerusalem, you’ll get to see how the complex history of the modern country of Israel intertwines with the region’s rich spiritual heritage. The first stop on your private tour of Jerusalem’s New City and Bethlehem is the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery to pay respects to the former prime ministers and fallen soldiers who shaped the nation. Next, be moved by the poignant stories within the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and the Valley of the Communities, a testament to the indomitable human spirit.

To witness the nation’s contemporary vibrancy, you’ll pass by iconic landmarks such as the Knesset, the Menorah, and Israel’s Supreme Court. Then, at the Israel Museum, marvel at the Shrine of the Book that houses the sacred Dead Sea Scrolls and explore the Second Temple period through a fascinating Jerusalem model.

After leaving the museum, cross the border into Bethlehem, the revered birthplace of Jesus, and explore the Church of the Nativity. Your day ends in the eclectic neighborhoods near Mahane Yehuda Market. You’ll experience it all like a local, with your guide leading you to the most flavorful cultural foods and kicking off engagements with different local ethnic groups.

Finish your Jerusalem stay with a captivating journey to the lowest point on Earth: the world-famous Dead Sea, which sits at 1,305 feet below sea level. Surrender to the surreal sensation of floating effortlessly in its legendary salty waters, while soaking in the scenery around you. The second half of the day’s adventure takes you to a desert eco-village. Explore the rolling dunes, and then bask in the warmth of authentic Bedouin hospitality as you’re served a feast as an honored guest. Your day concludes with private transport back to your hotel.
Aerial view of Tel Aviv.

Aerial view of Tel Aviv.

Photo by Shai Pal /Unsplash

Day 9-10Arabic Food in Abu Gosh and Flam Winery

The first stop on your way back to Tel Aviv is the quaint town of Abu Gosh, known for its abundance of hummus restaurants and tantalizing, traditional sweets. Perched in the picturesque hills of central Israel, this vibrant settlement pays homage to the days of the Ottoman era and draws in visitors who travel there just for the flavors of authentic Arabic food, a cuisine that tells the story of the inhabitants’ rich heritage.

From there, continue to the renowned Flam Winery nestled in the lush Judean Hills, a well-known establishment owned by Israel’s most esteemed wine family. Since its inception in 1998, this award-winning winery has captured the hearts of wine enthusiasts around the world. During your wine tasting, you’ll learn of the family’s rich winemaking legacy that spans generations (they say that their secret to success is that every family member plays a vital role in the company), admire the stunning vineyard views, and of course, taste the boutique winery’s impressive portfolio of vino.

You’ll then be dropped off at your hotel to get ready for your flight home. After a private airport transfer, a representative will assist you with check-in, including expedited security control in a dedicated VIP hall and customs, ensuring your way home is as seamless and comfortable as the rest of the journey.
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