A Day Tour to Jerusalem
We drive out of Ashdod Port to Jerusalem to begin our tour at the desert viewpoint on Mount Scopus, looking over the Judean desert, Jordan Valley, West Bank and the northern tip of the Dead Sea, understanding how the unique topography of Israel has shaped its history, as well as the current political situation.
We drive shortly to Mount of Olives panoramic lookout over the Old City of Jerusalem, listening to my famous presentation – 2,600 years of history in 26 minutes (!).
After taking some breathtaking pictures at the lookout, we drive or walk down the slopes of Mount of Olives to "the Garden of Gethsemane", where Jesus was betrayed and captured on the last night of his life. Here, overlooking Judgment Valley, we discuss the historical background of Jesus and the roots of the Messianic idea in early Judaism that later evolved into Christianity as a separate religion.
We drive shortly around the walls of the Old City to Jaffa Gate and walk into the Old City.
We walk through the Christian Quarter and may take a break coffee & cake in a traditional local coffee shop. Then, we visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where Jesus is thought to have been executed buried and resurrected. Then we walk through the Marketplace (Souq, Bazaar)and part of the Via Dolorosa (Pathway of Agony, the 14 Stations of the Cross), the Muslim Quarter and then to the Western (Wailing) Wall.
We walk back and cross the Jewish Quarter to meet our car and drive back to Ashdod Port.
A Day Tour to the Dead Sea
We leave Ashdod Port (early!) and drive to Jerusalem, bypassing it and keep on driving through the Judean Desert down to the northern tip of the Dead Sea. We turn right, southward on Route 90 and drive along the lake until we get to the entrance of Ein Gedi Oasis, a nature reserve where we may meet some protected wildlife like Ibex and Hyrax, walking around fearless.
We walk into the Oasis for a short hike of about 1.5 hours (round trip) with optional swim or dip in one of its fresh water natural pools and waterfalls.
We leave the Oasis and drive shortly further down south to Masada. We mount up the famous site by a cable car ride (3 minutes) and walk around the fortress ruins for about 1.5-2 hours, exploring the Palaces, Bathhouse, Water cisterns, Synagogue, the "lots room", the Breaching point and more.
After all that "hard work" we deserve a little relaxation with some Dead Sea experiences.
We drive shortly from Masada to a nearby Dead Sea Spa where we can float, bath and swim in the famous salty waters of the famous lake.
We drive back to Ashdod Port.
Instead of the hike in Ein Gedi Oasis we can visit the Ein Gedi ancient synagogue with its unique mosaic floor, telling the town's mysterious secret and or Kumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.
A Day Tour along the Mediterranean Coastline
Drive from Ashdod Port to our first stop – Caesarea, the remains of the amazing harbor and city built by King Herod "the Great" from scratch, to become one of the largest ports in the ancient world. We walk by the seaside through the monumental structures which represent the ancient Roman culture and way of life for about 700 years – the Theater, Hippodrome, Amphitheater, a public Bath House and the Port. On the way out we pay a short visit to the famous and picturesque Aqueduct that led water to the big city Caesarea Maritime (by the sea).
We drive northward to Haifa and climb up to a breathtaking panoramic viewpoint on Mount Carmel's top, looking over Haifa's bay and port, the magnificent Baha'i gardens and the coastline of Galilee, all the way to the border with Lebanon.
We leave Haifa and continue driving northward to Akko (Acre), an Arabic-Israeli city. We park our car and walk through the Crusader's town, mostly underground with its amazing, newly discovered, mysterious tunnels, as well as the alleys of the above ground Muslim town, the marketplace and the old port.
We drive back to Ashdod Port to meet your Cruise ship
Drive further north from Akko to Rosh Hanikra, the northern tip of Israel by the border with Lebanon. We explore the natural marine caverns, shaped through millions of years by the powerful waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Apollonia – an impressively located Crusader fortress, a 20 minutes ride north of Tel Aviv
Zichron Yaakov, half way between Haifa and Tel Aviv, the first Jewish colony after almost 2,000 years of exile. We stroll along the reconstructed Founders Avenue with old and new houses as well as modern shops and restaurants. We can visit the famous Carmel Winery, established by Baron Rothschild back in 1890 and the old synagogue from that time. Another attraction here may be the small museum at the Aaronson's house, who led Nili, a Jewish clandestine underground, collaborating with British intelligence during WW1, against the Ottomans.
Atlit Detention Camp – a British camp where "illegal" immigrants who managed to survive the horrors of the holocaust seeking a refuge place in the forthcoming old and new homeland, were imprisoned and even shipped back to Europe.
A Day Tour to Jaffa and Tel Aviv
We drive out of Ashdod Port and start our tour, less than an hour (traffic…) later in Jaffa, one of the oldest ports in the world. Our tour begins by the Clock Tower Square, at the northern entrance to Jaffa. Here we introduce the whereabouts of Jaffa in the last 200 years or so, under the Ottomans, British and now as part of Israel. We walk through the alleys of the old city of Jaffa, the galleries and the old port, telling the history of that important city, going back to more than 3,000 years ago.
We drive back to Tel Aviv and park the car close to Neve Tzedek, ("…The Lord bless thee, habitation of righteousness, mountain of holiness". Jeremiah 31, 22), the first Jewish neighborhood out of Jaffa to stroll through the narrow streets and alleys of the renovated old neighborhood and tell the story of those pioneering Jews from Jaffa who dared coming out from the old and undeveloped Jaffa, seeking to build "a nice house in the suburb" for their families.
The next neighborhood we walk into is Ahuzat Bayit, actually the beginning of Tel Aviv, built and inhabited since 1909, to be developed and become the largest metropolitan and main business city in Israel. We stroll through Rothschild Avenue, where many up to date Cafés and restaurants living together with Tel Aviv's first Boulevard and kiosk. We may pay a visit to Independence Hall, were the State of Israel was officially declared on May 14, 1948. Further north we see few buildings that were built in the 1930's by a special architecture style called Bauhaus, most of them painted white. That is why UNESCO granted Tel Aviv to be a World Heritage Site called "The White City".
Next will be another old street, Nachalat Benyamin, a commercial "Shmateh Business" (Yidish, for low end confection district in New York) street that part of it was turned to a pedestrian moll where on Tuesdays and Fridays craftsmen present their works.
We end our tour in Tel Aviv by walking through "Shook Hacarmel", the famous and popular marketplace, where you can buy almost anything and in a much lower price.
We drive back to Ashdod Port.
Other attractions in Tel Aviv
Museum of the Land of Israel
Diaspora Museum (Beit Hatfutzot)
Tel Aviv Museum of Art
The beachfront promenade
The old port
The Old Train station