Have you ever wanted to go on an epic tour of the Holy Land? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see all the old sites, walk the paths that Jesus walked, and gaze upon the same places described in the book of Exodus? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then look no further. If you have never been on an epic tour of the Holy Land, then we have a list of places you can go for a memorable trip!
The Holy Land is a magical place with a rich history, iconic sites, and breathtaking beauty. However, it can be challenging to navigate the country’s complicated political climate on your own. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of some of our favorite Holy Land tours. This will give you the opportunity to see all the best sights without having to worry about planning everything yourself! Here are the places you must go and experience on your Holy Land trip.
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Best Holy Land Tours
#1 Jerusalem, Israel
The city of Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and one of the most important cities in history. It’s home to three major religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. For Jews it is considered their holiest city; for Christians, it’s their third holiest city.
While Muslims consider it the third most holy city after Mecca and Medina. The Temple Mount is inside Jerusalem’s walls (an area sometimes called Haram al-Sharif) where Muslims believe that Muhammad ascended to heaven on his winged horse Buraq during a night journey from Mecca.
And at another location inside the walls—by what used to be known as Robinson’s Arch—you’ll find another sacred site: called Western Wall or Wailing Wall by Jews who gather here to pray or just touch its stones with fingers held together in prayerful pose.
Depending on your preference, you can visit Jerusalem on a small group tour or a private tour. If you chose to have a guided tour, your tour guide to the Holy Land might recommend the following places.
Tower of David
The Citadel, sometimes known as the Tower of David, was built by King Herod to safeguard the palace he constructed around 24 BCE. The Romans established a fortress here after Titus’ conquest of the city in 70 C.E., but the Citadel fell into ruin.
You can find the Tower of David Museum inside, which tells the history of Jerusalem. Both permanent and temporary exhibits are on view. Temporary exhibits focus on different aspects of Jerusalem’s rich cultural history. One of the nicest views of the Old City may be had from the Citadel’s top floor.
There is a Sound and Light show night with images projected onto the city walls. This is a great way for families to learn about the city’s history while on vacation.
See Related: Holy Places in the World to Visit
Many Holy Land Tours highlight Via Dolorosa. Jesus Christ walked here while carrying the cross. You can walk this route at your own pace. On Fridays, Italian Franciscan monks lead a procession through the streets.
The 14 Stations of the Cross line the route of the Via Dolorosa. The makers derived the scenes from the Gospels on tradition. From the first station east of the Al-Wad Street crossing, head west on Via Dolorosa Street. Next, head south on Al-Wad Street and west on Via Dolorosa Street again for eight stations. At the ninth stop, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, are the final five stations.
Since the 18th century, the current route has been the acknowledged pathway. The second stop, named the Chapel of the Flagellation, is said to be located on the spot where soldiers flogged Jesus Christ.
Mount of Olives
Pilgrims on their way to or from the Holy Land will find the Mount of Olives. It has plenty of churches and the world’s oldest cemetery, to be of particular interest. The breathtaking views of Jerusalem’s Old City from the mountaintop are sure to impress even the most secular of visitors.
People believe that God will begin raising the dead here on this holy hill on the Day of Judgment. Christians believe that this is the spot from which Jesus ascended into heaven after his death and resurrection.
On the highest point of the Mount stands the Church of the Ascension. It dates back to 1910 and offers breathtaking panoramas over the city of Jerusalem below.
As you continue down the hill, you’ll reach the Church of the Pater Noster. It was erected near the spot where Jesus is said to have given his disciples their first teaching.
Further along is the onion-domed Russian Church of Mary Magdalene, and further still is the Church of Dominus Flevit. It is said to have been constructed over the spot where Jesus cried for Jerusalem.
Following the Tomb of the Virgin Mary on the Mount of Olives comes the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations. The Bible states that the soldiers arrested Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
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One of Jerusalem’s two hills (the eastern one) is Mount Zion in the Old Testament. It was there that King David of Israel and Judah, in the 10th century B.C., seized a Jebusite city and made it his new capital.
The God of Israel, Yahweh, rules from his throne atop Mount Zion, where he also established David as Israel’s monarch. It is, therefore, the epicenter of Yahweh’s intervention in history.
See Related: How to Travel to the Holy Land [Step-by-Step Guide]
Pool of Bethesda
Near the Sheep Gate and enclosed by five covered colonnades or porticoes, the Pool of Bethesda is a Jerusalem landmark. It is famous from the Gospel of John’s fifth chapter, in which Jesus performed a miracle healing a paralyzed man. It was discovered in the late 19th century on the site of a pool in what is now the Muslim Quarter of the city, close to what is today called the Lions’ Gate or St. Stephen’s Gate and the Church of St. Anne.
A tour of Israel will not be complete without visiting this place located just outside the walls of Jerusalem. Many consider this tomb to be the site of Jesus’ burial. The garden measures only 8m x 6m and contains a single rock-hewn bench. It has become less popular with pilgrims since the discovery of other tombs in Jerusalem that was more likely used for burial purposes at that time.
There are still those who come here to pray and meditate. Some even believe that Jesus’ relics were placed here after his resurrection. No evidence exists to support this claim, however.
To reach the Garden Tomb from Jaffa Gate or Damascus Gate, walk down Hillel Street toward Zion Square. You will see a flight of stairs leading up toward David Street on your right-hand side. Take these stairs up one flight to find yourself standing at an entrance to the Old City Wall Walkway.
Many believe that the church was built on the site of an earlier synagogue. The church itself has two parts: the lower basilica and the upper chapel. The lower basilica has three naves with a mosaic floor depicting scenes from the Bible and life in Jerusalem during Jesus’ time.
#2 The Dead Sea, Israel and Jordan
If you’re looking for a unique experience that will take your breath away, then this is it. The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth and has been known to tourists for over 2,000 years. It’s also famous for its high salt content – about 10 times as salty as ocean water! This means that once you jump in and start floating effortlessly, your body won’t sink at all. You can even enjoy some mud baths (which can help with skin conditions) or float around like an astronaut in zero gravity!
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#3 The Sea of Galilee, Israel
This stunning freshwater lake is the largest in Israel and a popular tourist destination. It’s located in the north of Israel, at the base of Mount Hermon. Also known as Lake Kinneret (or Tiberias), Isaiah named this body of water, and it is considered sacred. There are several biblical sites around the shore—including Capernaum, Bethsaida, and Tabgha.
Thousands flock to these sites every year to learn more about Jesus’ ministry. From a small fishing town where you can take an ancient boat ride on one side of your day trip to an entire island dedicated to Mary Magdalene on another side (you can stay overnight if you like), there’s no shortage of things to do here!
#4 Nazareth, Israel
Nazareth is the hometown of Jesus and is home to many holy sites connected with his life. It’s a small town, so it’s easy to walk around and see all the sites in a day. Some of the must-see spots are:
Basilica of the Annunciation is the building where an angel visited Mary, telling her she would bear God’s son. You can visit its crypt or attend mass there on Sundays at 6 pm. It also becomes an important place for worship for Catholics worldwide, who celebrate this holiday as Our Lady’s Day (a holy day that falls exactly nine months before Christmas).
Also, you need to visit Mary’s Well (Maryam al-Kubra). This well was excavated out of solid rock and became known as “Mary’s Well.” Local residents noticed how much water flowed from under it during times when other wells were dry or had little flow available due to drought! There are other places called Maryam too. These three together mean “Mary mother,” which makes sense since they’re all connected with one another somehow.”
#5 Bethlehem, West Bank
The city of Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank, roughly 10 km (6 mi) south of Jerusalem. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate and forms part of the Bethlehem metropolitan area. Its population is approximately 25,000 people.
Bethlehem was once one of four cities named for Nativity. The name Bethlehem first occurs in Micah 5:2; it seems to be a place in Galilee mentioned by Isaiah as “The gateway to Zion.” It appears again in Micah 4:8-10 together with Ramah as one of two towns where Rachel was buried on her way to Ephrath (Jerusalem). Meanwhile, Beth Lehem Gedolim (“Great House”) means ‘House of Large Stones’ and may refer to some impressive rock formations near the site.
In Hebrew tradition, today’s Jerusalem supplanted ancient Shiloh (central hill country). This was where Jacob lived with his family until he moved northward from Shechem after some
#6 Masada, Israel
Masada is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important historical sites in Israel. Built by Herod the Great, Masada served as a fortress, prison, and palace fortress before its fall to the Romans in 73 C.E. The ruins of Masada are in the Judean Desert on top of an isolated rock plateau that rises more than 900 feet above sea level.
This natural stronghold was used for over 2,000 years as a prison and fortified city by Jewish rebels until it fell to Roman forces under Flavius Silva during an attempt to escape from Roman rule. The famous Siege of Masada is recorded in the works of Flavius Josephus, a firsthand witness to the Roman siege. According to his account, nearly 960 Jewish patriots chose to die by their own hands rather than be taken as captives by the Romans. The fall of Masada has since become an important symbol of courage and perseverance in Judaism and is seen throughout Jewish culture.
#7 Sea of Galilee Boat Ride, Israel
The Sea of Galilee Boat Ride is a unique way to see the Holy Land and get an aerial view of the Golan Heights, Lake Tiberias, and other sites. The boat itself offers three decks and features panoramic windows that allow you to take in all the sights from each deck. It’s an especially good option if you don’t want to walk or hike while exploring Israel. Instead, you can enjoy this relaxing cruise while learning about the key moments of biblical history along the way!
The Sea of Galilee Boat Ride is an easy way to see the Holy Land while getting an aerial view of Israel’s most important sites. The boat itself offers three decks and features panoramic windows that allow you to take in all the sights from each deck. It’s an especially good option if you don’t want to walk or hike while exploring Israel; instead, you can enjoy this relaxing cruise while learning about key moments of biblical history along the way!
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#8 Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank
The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank, is a Roman Catholic church. It is believed to be the place where Jesus was born. The church is located in the center of Bethlehem, which makes it an important pilgrimage attraction for Christians all over the world.
Many pilgrims visit this holy site each year, and it has been restored many times over its history. The church was built in the 4th century, but it has been destroyed and rebuilt many times over its history. The current structure was built in 1877 and is made out of stone. It is a popular attraction for pilgrims who want to visit this holy site, which is why it often gets crowded during Christmas time.
#9 Petra, Jordan
Jordan has one of the oldest civilizations in the Middle East, and Petra is proof of that. This ancient city was carved into a sandstone mountain by the Nabataeans more than 2,000 years ago. The site is now Jordan’s most popular tourist destination and was named one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 1985. It was chosen as one of the seven wonders of the world in 2007.
It’s easy to understand why: Petra is an incredible place! When you arrive at your hotel, you have the option of taking a walking tour through an entrance cut into rock or riding in a horse-drawn carriage through another entrance nearby. Both tours take about 1-1/2 hours to complete and cover most of what there is to see within this massive complex—with plenty of photo stops along the way (obviously).
#10 Jordan River
The Jordan River begins in the northeastern corner of Israel’s Hulah Valley and flows south to the Sea of Galilee (also known as the Kinneret) and then east to the Dead Sea near Jericho. The length of the river is roughly 250 kilometers. Historically, the Jordan River has played a pivotal role as a dividing line between two regional political and religious rivals. Nowadays, the river is not just a political divide but also a holy site for many Christians.
There is great importance attached to the Jordan River. From there, the Israelites entered the Promised Land, and John the Baptist baptized Jesus of Nazareth there.
#11 Mount Carmel
Mount Carmel has been revered for a long time, as evidenced by the fact that it is called a “holy mountain” in Egyptian documents from the 16th century B.C. It was a “high site” for idol worship for a long time. The Bible only mentions it once, when it served as the setting for Elijah’s confrontation with the false prophets (I Kings 18).
Carmel was also revered by early Christians; hermits began making their homes there as early as the sixth century. The Roman Catholic Carmelites acquired their first rule or set of norms and regulations for the operation of the order, in 1206-14, over two centuries after the order’s founding in 1150. They have a monastery there (rebuilt in 1828) not far from the reputed location of Elijah’s miracle.
Parks and trees abound on the mountainside, both inside and outside of Haifa. Carmel Nature Reserve protects a large portion of the forest. In caves on the southwest slopes, archaeologists discovered (1932) skeletons of a hitherto unknown population of Stone Age humans.
#12 Qumran Caves and the Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit, Israel
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of ancient Jewish manuscripts that were discovered in Qumran Caves in 1947. The scrolls are significant to Christians, Jewish, and Muslim faiths because they shed light on what parts of the Bible are considered valid today and who wrote it. The Qumran Caves have been home to many groups throughout history; the Romans used them as stables during their conquest of Jerusalem, while modern archaeologists have found remains from Byzantine Christians within them.
The exhibit includes artifacts such as scroll fragments and pottery bowls with Hebrew inscriptions that were found inside these caves. Visitors can also see an exact replica of a cave where some Dead Sea Scrolls were first discovered by Bedouins in 1947. This is one way you’ll get to see how large these caves actually are. Visitors will also be able to take photographs at the site where some scrolls were first found so you can share your experience with friends back home (or just post it on social media).
#13 Mount Tabor and the Church of Transfiguration in Lower Galilee, Israel
Mount Tabor is the highest peak in Lower Galilee. The Church of Transfiguration, where Jesus revealed his glory to his apostles, is located at its peak. It was built by Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century and is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Israel.
#14 Capernaum and Mount of Beatitudes in Upper Galilee, Israel
The Capernaum and Mount of Beatitudes in Upper Galilee, Israel tour takes you to the places where Jesus lived. This is a pilgrimage site for Christians and a popular place to visit.
If you’re not familiar with Capernaum, it was the hometown of Jesus during his ministry. It’s also where he changed water into wine at one point. Today, many churches are located in what was once this bustling city center around 2,000 years ago. There’s even an ancient synagogue here!
The Mount of Beatitudes is also known as “Golgotha” or “Calvary,” which means “place of the skull.” (This is where Jesus’ crucifixion took place.) The Mount itself is considered sacred because it contains three important sites: The Tomb of Prophets Jonas and Elijah; the Site where Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount; and the Site where Peter preached after Pentecost.
If you’re looking for a new adventure, the Holy Land is an incredible place to visit. With so much history and culture to explore, you will have an amazing experience! These Holy Places will give you a chance to “walk where Jesus walked” and have a satisfying spiritual, cultural, and historical experience. If you plan ahead and research before your trip, it can be safe and affordable as well. The best way to do this is by booking a guided tour with one of our partner companies that specialize in Holy Land tours, such as Tours By Locals or Intrepid Travel. We hope we helped you through this article, and may you have a fantastic tour!
How much does a pilgrimage to the Holy Land cost?
The cost of tours to the Holy Land will vary significantly depending on the tour you choose, from individual tickets to packages that include airfare and hotels. Most tours also offer multiple price points and options: single travelers, couples, or families. The cheapest fares are generally available in late summer or early fall (late August through October). The most expensive packages are purchased during Easter week in March or April when large groups of pilgrims gather to see Jesus Christ’s tomb.
Tour prices will be higher if you’re traveling with a large group of people—more than 50 participants can expect to pay more than $1,000 per person for basic accommodations and meals included in their itinerary—and they’ll go even higher if you want private transportation and/or first class accommodations at all your destinations.
Are Holy Land tours safe?
Holy Land tours are generally regarded as safe, as Israel is one of the safest countries in the Middle East. Tour operators take strict security measures to ensure the safety of their guests, and there is a strong presence of both Israeli and Palestinian security forces along the tour route. The safety risk is minimal for visitors who travel with respected tour companies.
How many days do you need for the Holy Land Tour?
It depends on your interests and the amount of time you have. If you’re going to Israel, it’s easy enough to see the big sites in one week or less. However, if you want to visit Bethlehem and other parts of the West Bank, as well as Jordan (and Petra), two weeks would be the minimum amount of time needed.
There are other factors that come into play: whether or not you’re interested in taking guided tours; how much money do you want to spend? You may also want to factor in any extra activities, such as hiking or swimming in hot springs.