Enthusiast

Rail and Ancient Wonders of Israel (Culture)

11 to 23 March
Israel

A chance to travel on all the railways in Israel and to see the ancient sights including Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Acre, Nazareth. For three days we have a private, locomotive and carriages, charter train visiting rail lines in the south of the country which are normally only used by freight trains.

Highlights

  • Private charter train on normally freight only lines
  • Al Aqsa Mosque, the Church of Holy Sepulcher
  • Bethlehem Church of the Nativity
  • Jericho and the Dead Sea
  • Mar Saba monastery
  • Bahai Garden
  • Sea of Galilee
  • Nazareth
  • All breakfasts and dinners included

Tour Manager: Phil  contact phil@ptg.co.uk 

From: Heathrow, Luton, Stansted, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh

 

Itinerary (Culture)

Full details still being finalised so this is a rough idea of what is planned. Culture group limited to maximum of 25 people.

Day 1 Wednesday 11 March Direct flights to Tel Aviv from London Heathrow (08:05 or 21:10), Luton (14:00) and Stansted (13:55). Indirect flights from Birmingham (11:00 via Bucharest), Manchester (11:00 via Istanbul) and Edinburgh (08:00 via Paphos). Transport to hotel by road. Night in Tel Aviv.

Day 2 Thursday 12 March (B,D) A day to relax and acclimatise in Tel Aviv before we catch a late afternoon train to Jerusalem. For first of three nights in Jerusalem. Tel Aviv combines relaxing beaches, a vibrant nightlife, authentic markets, culinary delights and much more. The diverse society is very open-minded, so everyone will be able to find their place here.

Day 3 Friday 13 March (B,D) Sightseeing in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is considered one of the world’s holiest cities, as it is home to important spiritual sites for three major religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Visiting Jerusalem is like travelling back in time. At the centre you’ll find the Old City surrounded by a grand wall; here, visitors can learn a lot about Jerusalem’s religious history by visiting places such as the Al Aqsa Mosque, the Church of Holy Sepulcher, and the Western Wall. The Old City of Jerusalem is divided into four quarters: the Muslim quarter, the Armenian quarter, the Christian quarter and the Jewish quarter. When visiting Jerusalem, visitors should make a trip to one of the museums outside the Old City, such as Yad VaShem, a Holocaust remembrance centre. Evening tramway tour of the Jerusalem tram network.

Day 4 Saturday 14 March (B,D)  Sightseeing to Jericho and the Dead Sea. The lowest point on earth, at more than 430 meters (1,412 feet) below the sea level, the Dead Sea is not only fun to float in, it is also healthy, historic and surrounded by breathtaking beauty. This endorheic lake is one of the saltiest bodies of water on Earth, giving it the perfect buoyancy for floating. Plus you can cover your body in the healthy Dead Sea mud to find pure, inner relaxation. Once in the Dead Sea area we hope to visit Masada, with its archaeological importance and amazing views, and Ein Gedi, a water oasis in the desert.  

Day 5 Sunday 15 March (B, D) Today we visit nearby Bethlehem where we will see the Church of the Nativity. This stunning site is believed to have been built over the place of Jesus’ birth. In the second century, a church was erected over the very same area, followed by another edifice in the sixth century. We then leave the city to visit The Mar Saba monastery. This overlooks the Kidron Valley. It is perched on the side of a cliff and oversees the beautiful canyon. The structure of the monastery is built into the side of the cliff, and the jagged rock becomes smooth stone of the same colour. This makes for a remarkable image. We will also visit Shepherd’s Field. This lovely open area is believed to be the site at which the angel came to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, according to the gospel of Luke. For believers of the Christian faith, the likelihood of this being the place at which the shepherds were visited is almost certain. Late afternoon we return by rail (via a different route) back to Tel Aviv. Overnight in Tel Aviv.

Day 6 Monday 16 March (B, D) First day of our special train to South – see Enthusiast trip above.

Day 7 Tuesday 17 March (B, D) Second day of our special train. Overnight in Tel Aviv.

Day 8 Wednesday 18 March (B, D) Third day of special train. We end the day with a visit to the National Railway Museum. Night at Haifa hotel. Haifa has a variety of different neighbourhoods and a mix of cultures, making it a very lively place to visit. You can enjoy the beautiful port and the vibrant beach or take in the beautiful nature Haifa has to offer with its unique Bahai Garden.

Day 9 Thursday 19 March (B, D) Chance to travel on the rail lines our of Haifa to including a visit to the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights. Early evening cable car to the Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery and Elijah’s Cave. Overnight in Haifa. The Sea of Galilee, or as Israelis call it, the Kinneret, is a major water source, as well as the largest freshwater lake, in Israel. The history of the lake goes way back. According to the New Testament, many of Jesus’ miracles occurred here, including his walk on the water. The Golan Heights is a mountainous region with breath-taking landscapes, wonderful nature reserves. It is especially impressive during spring, when flowers are blooming, and the fields are green.

Day 10 Friday 20 March (B, D) This morning we visit fabled Acre. A variety of different cultures have inhabited Acre throughout its history, including the Crusaders and the Ottomans, each leaving their mark on this region. With interesting, culturally important buildings, ruins and sights around every corner, Acre is a must-visit location. If there is time take a relaxed stroll through Acre’s markets. In the afternoon we take the train to Beit She’an and transfer the short distance to Nazereth for our two night stay.

Day 11 Saturday 21 March (B, D) A day to explore Nazareth at your own leisure. Saturday is the busiest day in the market, so it’s a fun place to people watch and buy fresh produce and local treats. A stroll up to Mount Precipice gives a great view of the Jezreel Valley and Mt. Tabor. Located in the lower Galilee, Nazareth is an important holy destination for Christians around the world. In addition to its great religious value, Nazareth is also a city rich in culture and history, not to mention interesting archaeology, all of which will show visitors a different side to Middle Eastern charm.

Day 12 Sunday 22 March (B, D) After a leisurely breakfast we set out to visit the most important sites in Nazareth; Basilica of the Annunciation & St. Joseph’s Church; Mary’s Well, Church of St. Gabriel and the Synagogue Church. For those going on to Jordan we have a coach transfer to Amman. Travel time is about 2 hours but there will be a break at the border for passport and security checks. If you are not continuing to Jordan, then you have a third night at the hotel in Nazareth.

Day 13 Monday 23 March (B) We return to Tel Aviv by train for flights back to the UK.

 

Place(s) available

Holiday Prices (per person) – TBC

  • From London Heathrow: 
  • From Luton: 
  • From Stansted: 
  • From Birmingham:  (via Bucharest)
  • From Manchester:  (via Istanbul)
  • From Edinburgh:  (via Paphos)
  • Joining in Tel Aviv: 

 

Options

  • Single room supplement: TBC

Deposit

  • £300 with own flights
  • £1,000 with flights included
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