Walking in Israel and Palestine

8 Days
from AUD$ 5,409

Highlights

  • Explore the only Christian village of Taybeh and experience ‘Oktoberfest’ and a local beer tasting
  • Overnight with a Bedouin community
  • Float in the Dead Sea
  • Hike to the impressive monastery of Wadi Quelt and Mar Saba
  • Visit Manger Square and Nativity Church in Bethlehem
  • Absorb the creative art at the ‘Walled Off Hotel’
  • Hike through Mediterranean-like landscape of olive groves, wheat fields and limestone villages

Venture well and truly off-the-beaten track and explore this spectacular path through Palestine and Israel.

Many of the villages here have not seen western travellers for a long time, an untouched and exotic aura of tradition encompasses this region. Understand both sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict and witness a unique culture. Hike alongside shepherds herding their flocks, camp with the Bedouins who retain their old worldly traditions against the pushes of the modern world. Discover historical biblical sites of the Holy Land, float in the Dead Sea and enjoy Palestine Oktoberfest!

Journey map

Fitness level

Easy
Moderate
Challenging
Tough

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Welcome to Israel! Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Jerusalem. Destroyed and rebuilt over thousands of years, Jerusalem’s spiritual magnetism endures. With interlacing histories, clashing cultures and constant reinvention, the city is an intense, multisensory experience. The remainder of your day is at leisure. (D)

5 nights Hotel Arthur or similar

Day 2 – Old City of Jerusalem

After breakfast at your hotel, it is time to explore. Jerusalem occupies a unique place in the world. It is holy to Judaism Christianity, and Islam. Start your day at Mt. Scopus which offers an impressive  panoramic view of the city from the east. Mount Scopus is part of a ridge of mountains taking in the Mount of Olives and is the perfect location for an overview of the city. Visit the Mount of Olives, one of three hills on a long ridge to the east of Jerusalem, which is the location of many biblical events. Rising to more than 800 metres, it offers an unrivalled vista of the Old City and its surrounds. Continue to Garden of Gethsemane, near the foot of the Mount of Olives. This site was named in the New Testament where Jesus went with his disciples to pray the night before he was crucified.

In the afternoon, explore the Old City on foot where you will have the opportunity to see and touch the Western Wall (Wailing Wall), the only one remnant of the Second Temple. Walk along the Way of the Cross, the Via Dolorosa, to Calvary and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which houses both the traditional site of the Crucifixion and the Tomb of the Resurrection. Just outside the Old City, visit Mount Zion, with the traditional tomb of King David and the Room of the Last Supper. Return to your hotel. (B,D)

Day 3 - Bethlehem – Battir to Beit Jala Hike

After breakfast, travel to Bethlehem. Visit of the Church of the Nativity, the Grotto of the Nativity and Chapel of Saint Jerome. The Church of the Nativity is the most important landmark in Bethlehem and marks the site where the nativity took place. It was in Bethlehem just over 2,000 years ago that Mary gave birth to baby Jesus. Today, Bethlehem is a thriving city in the Palestinian Authority West Bank approximately 10 km south of Jerusalem and the Nativity Church is the city’s top attraction. Continue to visit the Walled Off Museum. This museum is a part of the Walled Off Hotel. This space enjoys complete autonomy from the rest of the hotel and is organised by the venerated historian and critic Dr. Housni Alkhateeb Shehada. He assembled a permanent collection of significance. Many of the most notable Palestinian artists from the past 20 years are here – including Sliman Mansour with his iconic “And the Convoy Keeps Going”.

In the afternoon, transfer to Battir. The Battir hill landscape comprises a series of farmed valleys, known as widian, with characteristic stone terraces, some of which are irrigated for market garden production, while others are dry and planted with grapevines and olive trees. This is considered one of the last farming villages in Palestine that still uses a unique irrigation system from the Roman times.

Upon arrival in Battir, commence your hike to Beit Jala a distance of 5.08 km. Situated on a hill adjacent to Bethlehem, the city of Beit Jala has existed for thousands of years, and its Christian community is one of the oldest in the world. The name ‘Beit Jala’ comes from Aramaic (the language of Jesus) and means, “Grass Carpet”. Anthropological evidence shows that humans have lived in the Bethlehem area since pre-historical times, even as far back as the Stone Age 200,000 years ago. Afterwards, transfer back to Jerusalem for the night. (B,L,D)

Info:

Walking Distance: Approximately 5 km

Walking Time: Approximately 1-2 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Day 4 - Wadi Al Qelt Hike – Jericho and Dead Sea Visit

Today’s trail starts just above Saint George Monastery and continues down through the mini canyon of Wadi Qelt all the way to Jericho. The hike takes 2-3 hours, a distance of 7 kilometres, and includes a stop at the Monastery and other resting points on the way including the old ruins of Herod’s winter palace. Under the orders of King Herod, this fantastic fortified palace was constructed to provide protection for the Upper City. It is also said that Herod’s palace was the possible location of the trial of Jesus.

Arrive at Wadi Qelt, which is home to a number of Christian sites and monasteries. Built as part of a Hasmonean royal winter palace, the Wadi Qelt Synagogue is believed to be one of the oldest synagogues in the world.

From here, transfer to Jericho for lunch (not included) before exploring the old city of Jericho. Reputed to be the oldest town on earth, visit the sycamore tree mentioned in the Biblical tale of Zacchaeus. Stop at Elisha’s spring that supplied Jericho with fresh water for centuries. View the Mount of Temptation.

Continue on to visit the dead sea. At 400m below sea level, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth, the area characterised by high annual temperatures, low humidity and high atmospheric pressure, while the air is extremely oxygen-rich. With the highest content of minerals and salts in the world, the waters of the Dead Sea possess anti-inflammatory properties, while the dark mud found at its shores have been used for therapeutic purposes for more than 2000 years. Return to Jerusalem. (B,L,D)

Info:

Walking Distance: Approximately 7 km

Walking Time: Approximately 2-3 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Day 5 - Taybeh

Today you will make your way to Taybeh, 32km north of Jerusalem. Tyabeh is the only Christian village left in Palestine, holding on to its memory of Jesus seeking refuge here shortly before his crucifixion.

Visit the Beer Factory. Producing four types of beer – Golden, Amber, Dark and Zero (non-alcoholic) the brewery makes the only Palestinian beer. Named after the village ‘Taybeh’ beer is promoted as the ‘The Finest in the Middle East’.

If you are travelling in October, you may have the chance to witness Taybeh Oktoberfest, an annual village festival. The event aims to promote not only the famous beer, but all the local produce from the village. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Mar Saba – Bedouin Experience

This morning, after a short transfer, you will head through the desert landscape that rises to the west of the Dead Sea. The path brings you to the edge of the Kidron Valley or Wadi alJoz, a deep limestone canyon, from where you can see the even more remote and spectacular desert monastery of Mar Saba, built into the cliff face on the opposite side of the ravine. Mar Saba is considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited monasteries in the world. Part of the Mar Saba visit, is the exclusion of female visitors. Whilst men can enter, ladies can only overlook the complex from a vantage point called the Women’s Tower. Enjoy a moderate hike of the Mar Saba Monastery Loop, following the shepherds’ tracks deep into the canyon, across the riverbed, and back up towards the monastery covering a distance of 12 kilometres. Afterwards, transfer to the Rashaydeh area for an overnight at with a local Bedouin community who  now find themselves forced to the very margins of society. Learn about their cultures and traditions as you have the unique opportunity to spend the night here in the black goat hair tents. Your stay as guests here is helping these families to find new ways to maintain old traditions. The Bedouin people have also retained their ancestral knowledge of desert plants, and it may be possible to have a guided walk through the herbal and medicinal plants around the camp. (B,L,D)

Overnight with Bedouin community

 

Info:

Walking Distance: Approximately 12 km

Walking Time: Approximately 3-4 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Day 7 - Departure

This morning is yours at leisure until it is time to be transferred to Ben Gurion Airport for your onward flight. (B)

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What’s included

  • Return airport transfers
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • 7 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners
  • Transportation throughout
  • Local English speaking driver/guides
  • Sightseeing as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees
Exclusions
  • International and domestic flights
  • Drinks unless otherwise mentioned
  • Visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips
  • Inoculations
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Anything not mentioned in the itinerary

**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.

* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.

* A minimum of 4 adults is required to guarantee this departure.

A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.

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Availability

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Availability
Price
Start Date
08th Oct 2023
End Date
15th Oct 2023
Duration
8 Days
Availability
Enquiry Only
Price
$5,409 AUD
Start Date
08th Oct 2024
End Date
15th Oct 2024
Duration
8 Days
Availability
Available
Price
$5,961 AUD