Dont forgot you passport, you definitely need it as you are entering an Arab city. This was another excellent trip with "Isaac" (Zahi Shaked), and a Palestinian guide, both were very knowledgable and friendly. They took us around Bethlehem, including the lactation grotto church and church of the nativity. They provided local food at a reasonable cost, which we ate nearby and had a chance to buy the locally crafted figures made from the olive trees growing in the picturesque hilly landscape around Bethlehem. This gives you an idea of how the shepherds lived during Jesus's birth and the part they played in communicating the news of the birth of Jesus. As this is a half day tour, you will be dropped off in Jerusalem, so you have to make your own way back to you accomodation.
Our guide Haya for Jerusalem was extremely knowledgeable. Definitely recommend the trip.
The guide in Bethlehem was amazing
However Ben Harim could do a better job about communicating pick up time.
The general choice of sights to visit was spot on, but the Jerusalem hotel used in at best mediocre. Both the dinner we opted for and the included breakfast were absolutely the poorest quality in ALL of our time in Jordan and Israel. The room was also noisy and the TV access "shut down" for almost 5 hours in the late afternoon and early evening.
Our tour guides were well-informed and competent, but on the Jerusalem/Bethlehem day, we moved too fast and did not get enough time for actual "trinket shopping" in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Masada was especially impressive and worth every penny of that day's cost.
I would recommend booking just the Masada/Dead Sea single day option and seeing the Old City of Jerusalem on your own with a guidebook at hand, so you could stroll at leisure and reflect more at sights of YOUR own selection. This is especially recommended as long as Viator uses the Prima Park Hotel as their overnight option in Jerusalem, as it is SO below the acceptable standard in terms of food options in the hotel.
This tour was all about getting all of us to a souvenir shop in Bethlehem that the tour guide had a deal with. They were so blatant about it they left his commission sheet right by the cash register and he repeatedly was checking it.
They had us in a restaurant and asked that we return by 12:30. When we got back, our guide was sleeping on a couch.So as one of the others on the tour put it, "We ate cafeteria food and watched the mass on TV."
The only reason I gave it 2 stars was that we were two of the fortunate ones that got to see the shrine where tradition states that the manger actually was. Most of the people on our tour didn't.
Also, the tour of Jerusalem was all about rushing through everywhere but the 'Wailing Wall'. No time to speak of in the Church of the Sepulchre.We had taken a free tour of the city the day before that was far more informative. The guide on the Viator tour was either misinformed or simply lying when talking about many of the different places in the Old City.
Jerusalem, Masada and Dead Sea were great experiences. We learned a lot and got to see a lot of Israel and float on the Dead Sea. Bethlehem was another story. Our guide there was trying to get money from us so we wouldnt have to wait in line to see where Jesus was born and he got mad when we said no
Guides was great in both Jerusalem and Bethlehem. (separate guides for each city) They were very helpful and I really enjoying their knowledge of the city and answered as many questions as they could. We had a short wait for the bus to pick us up, instead of having dead time we were able to shop while waiting.
Only part I did not like was hotel pick ups were very late and caused the day to start later than planned.
Doing what: Day Tour of Jerusalem and Bethlehem
Good tour, covered the basics, and included Bethlehem, but skipped some listed things like the Milk Grotto (because there was a 3 hour wait to view it). Guides were a mixed bag.
Guide Very Good on first part of tour our guide was Knowlegable and helpful.
Guide on second leg of trip only interested in rushing us to get fast tracked past the long lines of people
waiting to enter The Crypt for Money.
We travelled a long way for our first visit to Bethlehem and this spoilt it
The Jerusalem part was excellent with a great guide and a lot to learn. The Bethlehem part was a failure. This part of the tour is in Palestinean territory so remember to bring your passport. Our Palestinean guide was the worst guide. He was sneaky and freaky and we felt we couldnt trust him.
This was a great day trip to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. I was a little disappointed that our tour did not go directly to the Dome on the Rock but we could certainly see it from many of our vantage points.
Word of advice, we were taken to a shop in both Jerusalem and Bethlehem. If you do not want to be sold to simply leave the store. Sometimes that is far easier than saying "no" multiple times or giving in and buying something you don't really want.
Going to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve is an amazing experience. Our bus was clean and comfortable. Our tour guide was nice and informative. He went out of his way to get us into the church. I could have done without spending up to an hour in one designated gift shop, which was overpriced.
I went on this trip on Christmas Day - the morning started with stunning views from the mount of olives - there was still some snow on the ground from the previous week which made it more spectacular then it was down to the old city of Jerusalem visiting the Jewish and Christian quarters. As you can imagine it was very busy in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre but you did manage to see the stations of Christ and the holy stone. In the afternoon it was off to Bethlehem and a visit to the Church of the Nativity. Again it was very busy but you still saw the spot where Jesus was born. I felt the tour was a bit rushed but it was probably due to the amount of people visiting the church and the manger square but all in all it was a very good trip
Doing what: Day Tour of Jerusalem and Bethlehem
These are all incredible places to visit and this trip covers them way better than youd be able to do yourself. Day 1 starts in Jerusalem which was completely overwhelming, its a complete shock to the senses, all this ancient history, incredibly diverse cultures and religions all crammed between the old walls, it was great to have the guided tour as you see and learn so much in the short time you have. Next is Bethlehem, and even getting there is quite an experience. Overnight in Jerusalem. Day 2 starts at Masada, amazing, then off for a mud bath and floating on the dead sea. A brilliant trip. The only negatives I would mention is the very average overnight hotel in Jerusalem (upgrade if you can) and the tour guide on day 2 must have been doing the tours in King Herrods time as she appeared pretty bored of doing the tour again.
Remarkable history. Perhaps due to off season, we did not have a consistent 2 day tour with the same group. We were shuffled around a few times to get on the right bus to the right location. Each day we did have one tour guide and main bus driver. The first day, the women was difficult to understand and her depth of knowledge seemed limited; and the pushed getting a tip. The second - trip to Jerusalem and Bethlem - our guide (named David?) was very knowledgeable and could go into to depth on many areas. He presented things in an entertaing and interesting way. There was no tip basket but we did have to pay extra to expedite through the line in the Bethlehem church. Hotel they put us in in Jerusalem was ok but not near anything and I would not stay there again. For the price, I would have expected a higher level of quality and service. I would still recommend going via tour group.
It is ridiculous that they trip picks you up in Tel Aviv and ends in Bethlehem and then they have the nerve to tell you it will cost $140 each to get back to Tel Aviv. It is more problematic as Tel Aviv is in one country and Bethlehem in another (Palastine) with all the problems that implies. I would not recommend this trip to anybody! If you cannot do better than then JUST DROP THE TRIP.
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