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Selected departures up to November 2016 & March to May 2017
Experience the enduring appeal of Jerusalem, Galilee and the Dead Sea on our wonderful escorted tour
Jerusalem and the Holy Land represent an extraordinary collection of both classical and Biblical sites unmatched anywhere else in the world. From the palaces of Herod the Great to the Sea of Galilee and the Old City of Jerusalem, the places we visit and the stories behind them are inextricably linked to the very basis of our Western civilisation, but it is only by actually going to see them that everything falls into place.
Uniquely nestling between Europe, Africa and Asia, at the heart of the ‘Fertile Crescent’, the world’s cradle of civilisation, this remarkable region probably has more remains and influences of more civilisations, religions and empires, and in such a small area, than anywhere else on earth! Fought over by countless generations, it has seen the clash of civilisations and religions since the dawn of history itself. The Canaanites, Alexander the Great, the Romans, the Saracens, the Crusaders, the Ottomans, the British: all have ruled here and all have left remarkable footprints.
We visit Caesarea, one of the three most important ports in the ancient world, plus the spectacular cliff-top fortress of Masada where the final battle of the first real revolt in the Roman Empire took place. It was in the decades leading up to the revolt that Jesus carried out his ministry and we’ll visit all the major sites associated with him, from his birth in Bethlehem, to his early years in Galilee and the final acts around Jerusalem.
We’ll also have a guided tour of Acre, the best-preserved and most complete Crusader city in the world, visited by Marco Polo, fought over by Richard the Lionheart, Saladin and even Napoleon. During more modern times we’ll find out about the British involvement and about the many challenges facing the region today.
Old Jerusalem, tiny at just one square kilometre, throughout recorded history has always been one of the world’s most evocative cities and it is no exaggeration to say you are literally tripping over monuments as you wander through its maze of streets, mercifully too narrow for motor traffic which only serves to amplify its ancient atmosphere.
Split into its four distinct quarters: Jewish, Islamic, Christian and Armenian, you notice the differences immediately as you wander amongst them. Changing little over the centuries, it is bustling, vibrant and so oddly ‘real’ it is almost a film set.
From the shores of the sparkling Mediterranean to the fertile valleys of the north, the great inland lake that is the Sea of Galilee, to the desert landscapes of the south and the lowest point on earth at the Dead Sea, our tour will cover an extraordinary panorama. So come with us and discover what makes the ‘Promised Land’ such a remarkable and totally unique place to visit.
The price of this holiday is per person based on two people sharing a twin room and includes: return scheduled flights to Tel Aviv; return transfers; 7 nights on half-board basis staying in four-star hotels; all touring as mentioned, guided visits to Caesarea, Acre, Capernaum, Tabgha, Nazareth, Masada, Bethlehem and Jerusalem including the Western Wall, the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Shrine of the Book and Yad Vashem; porterage of one item of luggage per person; the services of a Riviera tour manager. Single rooms are subject to availability at a supplement from £299 per person.
Please note visits to certain sites, such as Bethlehem, may be dependent on the prevailing security situation in the region.
We fly to Tel Aviv and transfer to the four-star Grand Beach Hotel for one night, with dinner.
Today we visit the ancient city of Caesarea, built by King Herod as capital of Roman Judea to honour Caesar Augustus, thus ensuring he was appointed Governor, a position subsequently held by Pontius Pilate. It was the biggest port in the Eastern Mediterranean, the site of one of Herod’s magnificent palaces and today it has a host of superb remains to explore. Next we have the 12th century, thoroughly amazing Crusader city of Acre: the beautifully vaulted and huge Knights’ Halls are in a state of almost unrivalled preservation and admirably display medieval European military architecture at its magnificent best. Leaving Acre we stop in Nazareth, where Jesus grew up and visit the great church of the Annunciation, before driving to Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee at the four-star Leonardo Plaza Hotel for one night with dinner. Some tours will stay at the fascinating Kibbutz Lavi in the hills above Tiberias.
This morning we’ll be immersed in some of the most important events in Jesus’ early life. Crossing the Sea of Galilee by boat we arrive at Capernaum where Jesus lived, healed the sick and recruited his first five disciples. Nearby is Tabgha, the site of the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000. Overlooking the whole area is the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount. A simple octagonal church has been built, surrounded by beautiful gardens with wonderful views of the Sea of Galilee. Our hotel tonight, with dinner, is the four-star Daniel on the shores of the Dead Sea.
Today you can enjoy one of life’s must-do experiences - ‘bob’ like a cork in the Dead Sea, surrounded by the desert scenery of the lowest point on earth! Your hotel also offers relaxing spa treatments using salt extracts from the mineral-rich waters. Then we have the opportunity to visit the spectacular fortress of Masada - site of one of the ancient Romans’ greatest sieges.
We continue to Jerusalem and the four-star Leonardo Hotel or Grand Court Hotel, just next door, for four nights with dinner.
There is such an enormous amount to see, experience and absorb in this most remarkable of cities, it is almost overwhelming. Firstly we visit the Mount of Olives and the world’s oldest continually used cemetery for a panoramic view of the ancient city, punctuated by the startlingly beautiful Dome of the Rock where Muhammed rose to heaven. After touring the Garden of Gethsemane, we enter the remarkable warren of streets and alleyways that make up the Old City. Here, in such amazing proximity, lie some of the holiest places for over half the world’s population!
We visit the Western Wall and walk along the Via Dolorosa before we finally come to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre built over Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified. The richness of decoration is astounding and the atmosphere is indescribably moving.
Today we drive to Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity and the Shepherds' Fields. One of the oldest churches in the Holy Land still in use, it marks the site where the Virgin Mary is said to have given birth to Jesus. For centuries it was one of the most fought over holy places. It was seized and defended by a succession of armies, yet still retains fragments of mosaics and paintings from the 4th and 12th centuries. Back in Jerusalem we visit the Yad Vashem, the humbling Holocaust memorial and the Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed.
Today is at leisure. The Tower of David museum built on the remains of another of Herod the Great’s palaces provides a particularly impressive history lesson plus spectacular views over the unchanged cityscape. Then you will just love to explore under your own steam: you can see Roman shops still being used and wander into some of the quieter churches – still spectacular and where a choir’s gentle harmonies resonate throughout the alleyways.
At the appropriate time you transfer to Tel Aviv airport for the flight to the UK after a truly remarkable tour.
Great tour with an absolutely fantastic tour guide by the name of Paul who went out of his way for all travellers on this trip. It was a very busy holiday with lots to do but plenty of breaks on .. [Read More]
Anne Pauline Houlihan
This is an excellent trip. Our guide John was terrific. His knowledge and enthusiasm made the trip. One of the best guides we have had.
Our one criticism would be that on four of the seven .. [Read More]
Marie and Malcolm Maciver
We enjoyed a very special holiday thanks to Clara our tour guide who put her heart and soul into giving us lots of extra special treats and was a fount of information
Thanks to Clara and .. [Read More]
Ruth and Ray
This was the first time with Riviera and we were very impressed. The hotel and service from your Rep Alexander was second to none. This will not be the last time we will use Riviera .. [Read More]
A most enjoyable holiday. We were well looked after everywhere we went. Our Tour Manager, John, was outstanding in his attention to detail, enhancing our tour with his knowledge of .. [Read More]
We have just returned from this lovely river cruise. Our guides were Jane and Mandy, who worked so hard to make our holiday one to remember. The staff on board the boat are incredible, hard .. [Read More]
A very interesting and fascinating trip with moderate hotels. However the evening Buffet in Granada was really good. Our Tour Manager, Clive, was excellent and very knowledgeable .. [Read More]
Lovely people at Riviera
Another Birthday and to celebrate, another cruise. This was our third river journey with you and our sixth Riviera holiday. We knew we would not be disappointed, .. [Read More]
Roberta Davis and George Matthews
My friend and I have had the most amazing trip to Krakow. Vic, our tour guide, made everything run so smoothly and was so kind and knowledgeable. The lovely local Polish guide, Joanna, who took .. [Read More]
I’m recently home from my first holiday with Riviera and just want to thank everyone involved. The hotels and transport were excellent, comfortable and efficient. But the star .. [Read More]
We have had another wonderful Riviera holiday, which exceeded expectations. In no small part this was because our tour manager John was outstanding. He has a deep and extensive .. [Read More]
Many thanks to Paula who was a brilliant guide. We loved her friendly relaxed style and the care she took to ensure that everyone had the best experience possible. Organisation was faultless and .. [Read More]
Colin and Mary Millett
We have just returned from our wonderful tour of Sorrento, Capri ,Pompeii ,Vesuvius and the Amalfi coast. We stayed at the Villa Maria which was comfortable, great room service and excellent half .. [Read More]
Tony and Jane Richardson
Inspired by our 1st tour with Riviera a couple of year ago, we felt that we could not go wrong with booking this tour. We were not disappointed, everything was so well organized, hotels .. [Read More]
Mike & Tessa Parker
This was the first time that we have travelled with Riviera. We chose this trip as I had family In East Germany and wanted to know more of the history of this region. We were not disappointed. .. [Read More]
We have just returned from the Bruges tour which we thoroughly enjoyed. Our guide, Pete, was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. He gave us a brief 30 minute walk on the evening of .. [Read More]
Peter and Sue Hawes
Just returned from fantastic South Africa Tour. It was we’ll organised from start to finish, our tour manager Janie and guide Ian were superb nothing was too much trouble. There we 41 of us .. [Read More]
Val & Pete Cornish
An excellent well planned tour. We thoroughly enjoyed it. the hotels were comfortable and food was good - masses of choice and lots of fresh fruit and salads. Above all we really appreciated our .. [Read More]