Holy Land Cycling Tour

$ 3,500 - 12 days, 11 nights

Explore this fascinating country in the holiday of a lifetime.   You will spend your first week in the north, seeing a mix of nature, religious and historical sites, and understanding how people of different faiths live peacefully together in this ancient land.   After the weekend in Jerusalem, you ride through the desert, enjoying fantastic scenery and first-time experiences.

ITINERARY

Week 1 - Galilee (North of Israel)

Sunday  Arrival

Welcome to Israel!   Arrive in Tel Aviv where you will be welcomed to your hotel.   Use the first evening to walk on the promenade and find a great restaurant.

Overnight: Tel Aviv

Monday  Tel-Aviv (26km/260m climb)

Our tour will begin at the hotel in Tel Aviv where we will have introductions, bike fitting and from here we will set out on a 3- hour bike ride through the city, along the Mediterranean promenade, getting to know Tel Aviv like the locals do. We will utilize the many miles of bike lanesfor a guided tour of the historic, cultural, and architectural sights of the city, including a visit to the famous "White City" Bauhaus section, a UNESCO World Heritage site.  After lunch, we head north by bus, and make a stop in Caesarea. Built in the 1st century BC by King Herod, we will take a short walking tour of the city and then, we will drive up the coast to our hotel.

Overnight: Akko (Acre)

Tuesday   Mediterranean & Western Galilee (30km/1000m climb)

We start the day with a walking tour of the old city of Acre, a UNESCO-recognized crusader port city on the Mediterranean coast.    We transfer to Rosh Hanikra, visit the famous grottos carved into the cliff on the sea shore, and then ride part of the quiet Northern Road heading east On the way, we will see some fabulous views over northern Israel and southern Lebanon, see some exciting caves, and end the day in Safed, one of the four Holy Cities of Judaism, and the birthplace of Kabbala. 

Overnight: Safed

Wednesday  Holy Cities and beautiful nature (37km/800m climb)

Our morning starts by exploring the alleyways of Safed by foot, and hearing some of the history of the early Rabbis and Kabbalists who lived in this hilltop town.   We then ride down the hill, make a stop at a local winery, pass through a Druze village, and continue riding to a fabulous view over the Hula Valley.  We ride through the Hula Lake Park, one of the most important stops for migrating birds between Europe and Africa.   We end the day with a brief visit to the Banias spring, on our way to the hotel.

Overnight:  Golan 

Thursday  Golan Heights (60km, 715m climb)

This morning we will explore the medieval Nimrod Fortress, transfer to the Druze village of Masade, where we can taste the best falafel in the country.   On top of the Bental Mountain, we have fabulous views into a quiet section of Syria, and will get an explanation of the history of the various wars and fascinating political events that took place in this region, and then we ride south along the Golan plateau, enjoying great views over the Sea of Galilee, before riding a thrilling downhill to the lake, where we check into our lakeside hotel for the night.

Overnight: Tiberias

Friday   Sea of Galilee (36km, 350m climb)

We head towards the Sea of Galilee to ride past some of the landmarks from the life and time of Jesus. Together we will visit Capernaum and St. Peter's Church. We will continue around the eastern side of the lake, stopping at Ein Gev for lunch on your own at the famous fish restaurant there. We will arrive at the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee and end our day at the Yardenit Baptismal site, where you will have an opportunity to baptize in the river Jordan. From here we will transfer to our hotel in Jerusalem.

Overnight: Jerusalem

Saturday   Jerusalem (15km)

Our day today will focus on the Old City of Jerusalem, a world of its own, enclosed in walls and history. We will tour the 4 quarters of the city viewing the sites that are important to the 3 monotheistic religions that hold this city as holy.  Included in our walking tour, will be a visit to the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and a view of the Temple Mount.  . After passing through the market (shuk) you will be free to choose whether to return to your hotel to rest or explore Jerusalem on your own.  After dark, we leave for the breathtaking experience of a night ride within the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.  We will finish our tour close to the Jaffa Gate where we will enjoy a refreshing cold drink and a night snack.

Overnight: Jerusalem

Week 2 - Negev (South of Israel)

Sunday   Down to the Dead Sea (63km, 940m climb)

We ride down the hills and soon find ourselves in the desert on the way to Jericho.   As we approach the Dead Sea at -430m, we tour the Qumran National Park, where the oldest original scrolls of the Old Testament in the world were discovered, and proceed to Nachal David, where a short hike takes us to beautiful natural pools and a waterfall, where we can take a welcome dip even in the winter.   We transfer to our hotel.

Overnight: Arad

Monday   Masada, Dead Sea and Large Crater (22km/250m climb)

An early-morning ride through amazing desert scenery takes us down the hill to the Masada fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we take a fascinating 2-hour walking tour.   From here, we can choose to descend with the cable car, or walk down the "snake path", enjoying fabulous views over the Dead Sea and Moab mountains in Jordan.   From here, it's a short transfer to the Dead Sea, to enjoy a snack and a dip in this unique lake.   We enjoy some time here, before driving through the Large Makhtesh, enjoying the coloured sands and moonscape scenery.   From here we proceed to our hotel.

Overnight: Mitzpe Ramon

Tuesday   Through the Ramon Crater (37km, 270m uphill)

After a view over the edge of the amazing Ramon crater, we will do our first significant piece of off-road riding.   We ride our mountain bikes along the Israel Bike Trail, which will eventually be a 1000km bike route which traverses the country north to south.  This section of the Trail is simply great fun, and you will love the ride along the edge of the crater, which feels totally safe, but gives fantastic views in all directions.   Time permitting, we will continue to explore the crater from our bus in the afternoon.

Overnight: Mitzpe Ramon

Wednesday   Desert hike

On our way to Tel-Aviv, we stop off at Ein Avdat, the most beautiful desert oasis in the country.   We hike here for 2 hours, and transfer to Tel Aviv (2-1/2 hours) – free afternoon, and say farewell to your new friends.

Overnight: Tel Aviv

Thursday  Departure

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