Last month, my family and I had the opportunity to travel to Israel and it was the trip of a lifetime. We toured the Holy Land and it was so special to see the locations where Jesus lived, preached, taught, preformed miracles, died, and resurrected (along with countless other locations from the Bible). In this trip recap, I’ll tell you everything you need to know from where we stayed, to the places we visited, the best food we ate, and everything in between!
We landed in Tel Aviv and drove about an hour to Caesarea where we spent the night at the Vert Lagoon Hotel Netanya.
Caesarea by the Sea
- Caesarea Aqueducts
- Roman Amphitheater (located in the National Park)
- Historic port where King Herod built his lavish palace
- Mount Carmel
- Mount Arbel
After Caesarea, we drove to the Sea of Galilee and stopped by the excavation and ruins of the town of Magdala (where Mary Magdalene was from)
- Following Magdala, we checked into the Setai Hotel
- The Ancient Galilee Boat
- Boat Ride on the Sea of Galilee
- Mount of Beatitudes (where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount)
- The Mensa Christi Church
- Capernaum (where the Jesus’ disciple Peter’s house is located)
- I was able to be re-baptized in the Jordan and it was an incredibly special experience.
- Dan Stream was our first stop. It is located in the Tel Dan Nature Reserve.
- Abraham’s Gate
- Hermon (Banias) River (It has a beautiful waterfall worth seeing!)
- Caesarea Philippi
- Dag Al HaDan Restaurant for lunch
- Golan Heights: Coffee Annan on Mount Bental, Merom Golan has an expansive view of Lebanon, Syria, and Israel.
- Bet She’An has incredible Roman-Byzantine ruins worth seeing!
- Ma’ayan Harod National Park-Gideon’s Spring
- Qumran Caves (where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered)
- The Dead Sea
- We stayed at the Isrotel Dead Sea Resort & Spa. I would recommend looking into the Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa, the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar, and the Daniel Dead Sea Hotel.
- Masada is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is its own national park.
- David Waterfall at Ein Gedi, Israel
- The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
- David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem (It was amazing!)
- Morning run through Sacher Park
- Visited the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount
- Western Wall Tunnel
- Western “Wailing” Wall
- Southern Temple Steps
- City of David Excavations–Movie/Overlook
- Hezekiah’s Tunnel (wet tunnel)
- Pool of Siloam
- Mount of Olives
- Dominus Flevit on Palm Sunday Road
- Garden of Gethsemane
- Church of All Nations (This is my favorite church we visited! I felt Jesus’ presence in a special way here.)
- Shrine of the Book (Israel Museum)
- Upper Room (Location of the Last Supper)
- Hezekiah’s City Wall
- Roman Cardo
- Dinner at City View (we loved this place so much we went twice!)
The Passion of the Christ
- Lions’ Gate
- Pool of Bethesda/St. Anne’s Church (This church has incredible acoustics and groups come to sing hymns.)
- Antonia Fortress/Ecce Homo
- Via Dolorosa (This is the traditional route that Jesus took to the cross, but there are in fact four possible routes depending on where He was brought before Pontius Pilate.)
- Church of St. Alexander Nevsky (Located along the Via Dolorosa, this Russian church houses the Judgement Gate by which Jesus left the city on the way to the hill of Calvary.)
- Church of the Holy Sepulchre (It was originally built by Roman Emperor Constantine’s mother, Helena. She wanted to preserve and venerate the location of Christ’s crucifixion, burial, and resurrection, so she commissioned the building of the church).
- Garden Tomb (This marks another possible location for Christ’s burial and resurrection; however, its discovery and development took place in more recent history.)
- Travel to Cairo, Egypt
- We met our tour guide from High End Journeys
- Checked into the Four Seasons Cairo
- Nile River Sunset Cruise
Great Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza
- We climbed through the Great Pyramid to the ancient burial chamber
- They only sell 150 slots in the morning and another 150 in the afternoon, so I’d recommend arriving first thing in the morning (we arrived right after they opened). The current cost is about $13 USD for the Great Pyramid and $8 USD for the smaller ones.
- We then took an exclusive close-up tour of the Sphinx facilitated by High End Journeys.
- After that, we jumped on camels, and I got to live out my Aladdin dreams.
We had lunch at the 9 Pyramids Lounge before heading for a quick tour at the Egyptian Museum
That concluded our Israel and Egypt trip! We ran by the hotel to shower and change before heading the airport to fly back to the states. It was a trip I’ll always remember, and I’m so thankful to have experienced it with the people I love most! It brought the Bible to life in a tangible way. I know I’ll forever read God’s Word differently because I can now visualize and understand both the stories and the nuances in a deeper, real way. This is a trip I hope everyone gets to experience at least once in their lifetime. Shalom!
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