We've found 36 Bethlehem reviews from Viator.com travelers and members: what they loved, what they liked and what they think could be improved. It's all here to help you make the most of your next trip.
This is a great tour to get a taste of Jerusalem and Bethlehem but don't plan to spend time at each stop other than the souvenir shop. Our tour guide was good at telling the facts but horrible at organization. He got mad at us when he did not inform those splitting off to go to Bethlehem to take our belongings with us from the bus and he had to rearrange things. It worked out ok but he was not professional. Also, these tours spend a lot of your time shuttling between buses depending on where you will be dropped off and therefore shutting into the time at the actual sites. Not enough time to really appreciate and take in where you are.
A very good tour. I will say you get to see the main sites most people want to see when coming to this part of the world. If you expect a lot of free time to just roam around, this isn't the tour for you. If you want to get in and see the main sites (burial cave, stations of Jesus's final walk, etc) then you'll enjoy it!!! You'll especially love the trip to Bethlehem when you cross over what looks like a war border..lol
I took this tour last week with 9 co-workers. The guides were extremely knowledgeable and gave great descriptions of the historical and cultural significance of the sites without adding any cultural or political bias. The cross over to Bethlehem was very interesting, as I expected it to be. The crossing into and out of the Palestinian Territory was definitely memorable. It was an interesting mix of "recent" politics with Biblical times. We did some touring on our own to different parts of the country after this tour and I really missed having the guide to ask questions.
The guides (one for Jerusalem, one for Bethlehem) were really good and gave us a good perspective on history and the different points of view in the region. Also on the Jerusalem tour, we went down streets you'd never have known about, and got stories that you won't get from guidebooks or research. Our Jerusalem guide made sure we were getting what we wanted out of the tour while we were there, so we could ask for more or less, which was great.
What you will really see on this excursion is Wailing Wall, Holy Sepulchre and Bethlehem. The rest of the places of interest you are going to literally 'pass". As in "see from the distance". You will walk through the Old City and spent considerable time in shops. If you are fine with that - it's a good tour. The only reason I give 4 instead of 3 stars is the excellent efforts of the guides in Bethlehem.
Review by Darren J W, January 2012
Doing what: Little Town of Bethlehem Half Day Trip from Tel Aviv
While the trip was well organized I was disappointed. Since the tour was Christmas Eve I expected a little more flexibility. Everyone on the tour wanted to spend some more time in Bethlehem and then make our own way back to Jerusalem. We were soundly encouraged to stay with the group or we could be 'stranded at the border late at night'. The tour ended at 1pm just as the celebrations were beginning in Bethlehem. I was also very disappointed that the tour would pick up customers in Tel Aviv and then return them to Jerusalem. I have never been on a tour (been travelling the world the past year) that didn't bring guests full circle back to the location that they were picked up from. Adding a second mini bus that would return to Jerusalem later in the day would give customers the option of staying a little longer on this most holy day to Christians. And offering a shuttle back to Tel Aviv is the least that could have been offered. I was given no help whatsoever and had to make my way back to Tel Aviv on my own (by taxi)... which cost as much as the entire tour. I have used Viator for tours in Europe and was very pleased but this tour of Bethlehem does not meet those same standards.
Jerusalem is a marvelous and controversial place with lots of history. It is impossible to grab it in one day, but this tour will show you the essentials. Even though the visit to Bethlehem is just to the Church of the Nativity, it has enormous meaning for Christians. Plus the experience of crossing the border to Palestina is... "unique".
This tour was exceptional, our tour guides were amazing Haya was excellent; I would definitely recommend this tour to those who wish to get an overview and see the sites of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. They do take you to souvenir shops but you are not required to buy anything. I thoroughly enjoyed walking around the old city.
An outstanding tour through Jerusalem and also over to Bethlehem. Definitely a must.
Great opportunity to see the holy sites of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Tour Guides are very friendly, knowledgeable and respectful of your time. Crossing into and out of Bethlehem was a breeze with the assistance of the guide!
This was a great excursion. There are so many interesting places to see in Jerusalem that you want to see them all and this trip hit the high points. The views of the city are spectacular and the Church of the Sepulchre is a sight to behold (though quite crowded). Also you are able to go to the Western (or Wailing) Wall. Even as a Catholic I found that I was in awe of the experience there. To be amongst the people praying and celebrating initially gave me chills. There is more but I wasnt to get to Bethlehem. To those who do not know Bethlehem is in Palestine. This is also an experience since you have to go through the checkpoint to get there. Some people may find this intimidating but I found it to be a once in a lifetime experience. In Bethlehem we went to the Church of the Nativity where we saw the place designated as the birthplace of Jesus and the location of the mager (though obviously no manger is still present). This was overall one of the best day trips I have ever taken.
Review by Mrs S I D, August 2011
Doing what: Little Town of Bethlehem Half Day Trip from Jerusalem
Having been to Bethlehem on a previous tour ( with a different company) we consider that this tour of Bethlehem was very informative and presented with knowledge of all the places we attended, another good guide explained all places well.
An enjoyable and worthwhile trip with an informative and helpful guide. I would have liked to have spent more time in Bethlehem as we only saw the Church of the Nativity and Johnny's Tourist shop! I think a trip that advertises these two great cities should include some of the other sights in Bethlehem.
The trip to Bethlehem was not the one detailed and was very rushed. There was no time given for lunch, or refreshments during a very long day.
The tour of Jerusalem was facinating and very enjoyable, but the two together with all the different changes of buses and guides were very confusing and not satisfactory.
Fantastically full day trip with so much to see and take in. Visitors should definitely include Bethlehem on their trip to Jerusalem. The Palestinians were incredibly welcoming and really need tourists to boost their economy. They were so grateful we had taken the trouble to go there. Crossing the border was no problem and there was no delay. I am not sure why previous reviewers have had a problem here but, on the day we went, it was very smooth and easy and security was relatively low key. So please do include Bethlehem in your trip - you will not regret it!