11 Day Ancient Crusader & Knights Templar Journey

Bar or Bat Mitzvah Tour? Anniversary Celebration? Adventure Traveler? Every tour is crafted to our clients exact specifications. The below itinerary is just a small sample of what is possible! Contact us and we'll create your custom Israel tour!

Day 1 Sunday

WELCOME TO HOLY ISRAEL!

VIP Welcome at Ben Gurion Airport

After landing, a Shalom Israel Tours representative will be waiting to welcome you as you exit the plane. Your party will be transported in a private vehicle to the flight staff passport control, continue to luggage identification and transfer to your luxury chauffeured vehicle.

 Welcome Transfer to Tel Aviv

Stretching along a beautiful beach strip of the Mediterranean Sea for 100 years, Tel Aviv is considered the face of modern Israel. Nicknamed “The White City” for its abundance of Bauhaus style architecture, Tel Aviv was declared a UNESCO World Heritage City in 2003.

Overnight: Tel Aviv Hotel Options

Day 2 Monday

CENTER OF THE HOLY LAND

Belveer / Castel Fortress

Wind your way through the maze of Belveer, a structure renovated many times over the eras, from the Romans to the Crusaders to the Israeli freedom fighters of 1948. Learn about this fortress’s secret passageways and its strategic role in Israel’s War of Independence.

Beth Gibelin

Walk through tunnels, passageways and caves to learn about the many peoples who settled in the Holy Land throughout history. Highlights include a Crusader-era church, a Roman amphitheater, the Hellenistic town of Maresha and bell-shaped caves formed by quarries.

Casal des Plains

Two towers are all that remain of this once impressive Crusader castle, located in a central position on the Via Maris (Way of the Sea). Also see an Iron Age cemetery, an ancient water cistern and two extremely old sycamore trees, which may date back to the time of Jesus.

Hurvat Burgata

Visit the ruins of a Crusader castle that once served as an administrative center and an inn for wayfarers. In the time of Jesus, a Samaritan village thrived here. The Burgata fortress is surrounded by trees and offers views of the Sharon region and the Mediterranean coast.

Mirabel aka Migdal Tsedek

This fortress, named Mirabel for its beautiful view, defended the only narrow crossing of the Yarkon River in ancient and medieval times. Occupied by Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders and Ottomans, it was also the site of bitter battles during Israel’s War of Independence.

Overnight: Tel Aviv Hotel Options

Day 3 Tuesday

ISRAEL’S COAST – ANCIENT PORTS

Apollonia (Arsur, Arkuf)

An important port city during the Roman period and a fortress during the times of the Crusaders, today Appolonia is a national park combining nature and archaeology. Hike the more adventurous path or take the easier route to see the ruins and enjoy the scenic lookout.

Ancient City of Caesarea Ruins

The ruins of Roman and Crusader structures in Caesarea tell the story of this once Christian port town. Highlights include the ruins of a Hippodrome, Roman theater, shop-lined Byzantine street, Greek mosaic inscription, and Crusader cathedral dedicated to St. Paul.

Cafarlet aka HaBonim Fortress

Visit the ruins of a Crusader fortress, known for its rounded towers, built on the foundations of an earlier Muslim structure, and see the nearby ruins of a west-facing Byzantine church built in a rare trefoil design. Also at the site, you’ll see an ancient, mosaic-lined wine press.

Casel Le Destroit

In its heyday during the 12th century, Casel Le Destroit was in the possession of the Knights Templar, whose mission was to protect pilgrims as they traversed the Holy Land. Visitors here can see the moat, banquet hall, cistern and stairways that the knights once maintained.

Château Pèlerin aka Atlit Castle aka Castle Pilgrim

The ruins of this once-impressive Crusader fortress, which housed 4,000 Crusaders, are now closed off in a military zone. The castle can be viewed from the adjacent beach and from Mt. Carmel. Particularly interesting is a tombstone decorated with a cross and anchor.

Overnight: Haifa & Coastal Hotel Options

Day 4 Wednesday

AKKO & THE HOLY GALILEE

Akko Crusader Halls

Visit this underground complex, which was once a Crusader citadel and hospital. Walk through a secret passageway, and check out the crypt, dining hall and the remains of an Gothic church. Learn about the Knights Hospitallers and their work in the Holy Land.

Acco Fortified Walls & Market

One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Akko dates back to the time of the Pharaoh Thutmose III and was a central city of the Ottoman Empire. Stop by the market and stroll along shoreline walls built by the Ottoman governor using old Crusader stones.

Casal Imbert

An important Crusader fortress for defending the north of Israel, Casal Imbert served as an administrative center in the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem. See a Byzantine-era mosaic in a nearby church and a stone table with Christian symbols that were unearthed at the site.

Montfort Castle

Explore this Crusader castle with its many levels and chambers. The castle is located inside a nature reserve that contains the longest stream in Israel. Enjoy the abundant flowers and trees as well as the Persian Fallow Deer, brought back to the area for conservation purposes.

Yehiam Fortress

A remnant of the Crusader occupation of the Holy Land, this fortress has been partially restored to what it would have looked like in the medieval period. Learn about the Crusader conquest of the Holy Land and the role the fortress played in Israel’s War of Independence.

Castellum Regis

See the remains of a once-impressive Crusader fortress and tower – and the Ottoman homes built on its foundations. The Church of St. Mary still serves the village’s population and is beautifully decorated with icons from Syria, which depict numerous scenes from the Bible.

Dinner & Overnight: Northern Israel Hotel Options

Day 5 Thursday

THE GOLAN HEIGHTS – BATTLEFIELDS & ADVENTURE

Caesarea Philipi Banias Springs

A peaceful spot for prayer and reflection, Caesarea Philipi is home to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Israel. See where Jesus cured the woman from Paneas and asked the disciples who they thought he was. Visit the Crusader tower and a still-active water mill.

Nimrod’s Fortress

This partially restored Crusader fortress was described by Mark Twain as “probably the most exquisite ruins in the world.” The site contains an impressive gateway, guard towers, large cisterns and a secret passageway. From the top, you see the entire Galilee and Golan.

Ateret Fortress and Chastellet – Jacob’s Ford

Visit this Crusader castle, where the residents fought valiantly to maintain control but were eventually defeated by Saladin. Built next to a major crossing of the Jordan River, it was of great strategic importance and overlooks a stunning view of the river and the Golan Heights.

Golan Heights ATV’ing!

Jump behind the wheel of a dune buggy and take exhilarating ride through the Golan Heights! View the Syrian border and abandoned village of Kuneitra, Mount Bental & the Valley of Tears from the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and go zooming through orchards!

Capernaum National Park

Visit the remains of a Second Temple period fishing village and its synagogue, and imagine the lives of those who dwelled there. We’ll learn about the location where Jesus selected his Apostles and the modern day church that stands where the house of Peter once stood.

 Dinner & Overnight: Northern Israel Hotel Options

Day 6 Friday

TIBERIAS AND THE JORDAN VALLEY – HIGHWAY OF KINGS

Tiberias & The Sea of Galilee

The center of Jesus’ ministry, this large freshwater lake is also a popular recreational site, famous for its swimming and boating. Stroll along the shores of the lake and enjoy one of the many gourmet restaurants (fish is popular) with romantic views of the Sea of Galilee.

Belvoir Castle Fortress

A reconstructed Crusader-era castle, Belvoir is the most complete standing example of a fortress from the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem. The huge towers, moat and drawbridge are particularly impressive. The towers here provide a gorgeous view of the Jordan River.

Qasr el Yahud Jordan River Baptizing

One of only two organized outdoor baptismal sites in Israel, this is a must-see for pilgrims. Purify yourself in the water where the Israelites crossed the Jordan, Elijah ascended to heaven and Jesus himself was baptized. Dedicated areas are set up here for prayer sessions.

Ascend to Holy Jerusalem

Welcome to the holiest city in the world! Here you will touch the Western Wall, walk through the diverse and beautiful streets of “new” Jerusalem, and enjoy the city’s sounds, smells, and tastes; experience the people of Jerusalem, their diversity and vibrant culture.

Friday Night Tour to the Western Wall

On the eve of Shabbat, Jerusalem transforms; stores shut down, and streets and alleyways fall silent, as all begin to anticipate the weekly Shabbat. Our 2000-year-old tour will pass through Jaffa gate and the Golden Menorah, and end at the Wall right as Shabbat begins.

 Shabbat Dinner & Overnight: Jerusalem Hotel Options

Day 7 Saturday

SHABBAT IN HOLY JERUSALEM

Shabbat Morning at Leisure & Lunch

Enjoy breakfast and your morning at leisure and Shabbat lunch at your hotel.

Jerusalem Old City Shabbat Tour

Explore the Old City’s ancient quarters with an experienced guide. Visit the historical sites of the Old City, including synagogues, churches, markets and squares. Learn about the 3000 year-old history of the city of Jerusalem, from King David’s conquest until the present day.

Tower of David Night Spectacular

In the evening you’ll head back to the Tower of David’s rooftop to view an epic nighttime extravaganza of sight and sound, depicting the conquests of the Greeks, Romans, Crusaders, Turks and others, as they tried to overtake Jerusalem. This show is simply “Spectacular.”

Overnight: Jerusalem Hotel Options

Day 8 Sunday

JERUSALEM – THE ETERNAL CAPITAL

The Wailing Wall

Stop at the Wailing Wall to say a prayer and leave a note in the cracks between the stones of the wall that supported the Temple Mount in ancient times. A symbol of exile and destruction, it is now a joyous location celebrating the Jewish return to reunified Jerusalem.

Rabbinical Tunnels

Explore ancient Jerusalem from underground. See the layers of the Temple Mount’s Western Wall that are hidden underneath the Old City’s Muslim Quarter, including an ancient water channel, the Roman road to the Temple and the Notre Dame monastery.

Via Dolorosa and Stations of the Cross

Walk in the final path of Jesus, starting at the location where Pontius Pilate sentenced Jesus. There are fourteen Stations of the Cross that line the Via Dolorosa, ending with the final station – the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where the crucifixion took place.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Located in the Old City’s Christian Quarter, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the holiest site in Christian faith. It is here that Jesus was crucified and later buried. At the center of the church is the Stone of Unction, the location where Jesus’ body was prepared for burial.

Church of the Redeemer

This beautiful Protestant church was built on the site of a Byzantine church and a Crusader hospice. The northern gate is decorated with Zodiac sculptures, and the Lamb of God is inscribed on the door. The church bells ring throughout the Old City every morning at 9:00.

Overnight: Jerusalem Hotel Options

Day 9 Monday

UNITED JERUSALEM – THE NEW CITY

Israel Museum and Shrine of the Book

Tour Israel’s foremost museum, home to impressive collections of art and archaeology from ancient and modern Israel and the Jewish Diaspora. View some of the original Dead Sea Scrolls, which shed light on the milieu in which Jesus and John the Baptist lived and taught.

Jerusalem Mount of Olives

Associated with so many major events in the life of Jesus, including his arrest, the Mount of Olives serves as a rich area for Christian worship and pilgrimage. Visit the seven holy sites and churches located on the mountain and look out on a spectacular view of Jerusalem.

Nebi Samuel

See the tomb of the prophet Samuel and the remains of a Crusader-era hostel that once served Christian pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. Excavations at the site have revealed archaeological remains from the Hasmonean period and a village has been reconstructed.

Tomb of Lazarus, Bethany

See the spot where Jesus called Lazarus from his tomb and raised him from the dead. The tomb contains funerary niches from the Crusader period. Near the tomb are two churches, the Roman Catholic Church of St. Lazarus and the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Lazarus.

Russian Orthodox Church at Ein Kerem

This beautiful domed church is testament to the long-standing connection between Russian Christians and the Holy Land. Begun in 1905, construction was completed only in 2005. The grounds are landscaped using ancient techniques, with trees planted among stone terraces.

Overnight: Jerusalem Hotel Options

Day 10 Tuesday

THE JUDEAN DESERT – KING HERODS FORTRESS

Masada Fortress & Cable Car

Learn about the end of Jewish independence at the time when Christianity was just getting started. Visit an interactive museum, which tells the story of the site, and hike or take a cable car up the mountain to view the ruins of Herod’s palace and the landmark synagogue.

The Dead Sea Float Experience

Travel below sea level to the lowest point on earth and float in the Dead Sea, whose high concentration of salts and minerals keep you afloat at all times. A number of spas located at the Dead Sea offer treatments utilizing nutrients for skin enhancement and for relaxation.

Qumran National Park

See the archaeological site where a Judean sect lived in relative isolation, copying and composing texts to be uncovered 2,000 years later. Hear the story of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and their significance for the study of both Judaism and Christianity.

Overnight: Jerusalem Hotel Options

Day 11 Wednesday

FAREWELL FOR NOW…WE’LL MISS YOU!

Farewell Transfer…We’ll Miss you!

Transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for your temporary departure from Israel…Bye for now!

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