Firstly, the 5 guides (especially Amir, Eyal and Rami) were very good. It is deceptive to advertise this as a 5 day tour - it is 5 individual 1 day tours (different guides, drivers and tourists every day).
There was no continuity and much repetition. Dual language tours wasted more time. The result was very limited time at many Holy City sights, particularly in the Christian, Armenian and Muslim Quarters. Everything listed on the itinerary was "seen" (but in a fly-by manner, or only from a distance). If transport issues were resolved, more time would be available for these amazing sites.
Our advice - get your own guide and driver to avoid the logistical issues apparently common in this tour.
Expect a total of 4-5 hours wasted daily in transit before and/or after the actual guided tours (tours ended on time at app 4PM regardless of time wastage on unnecessarily long lunches etc). Expect a 30-45 minute late pickup (4 days out of 5), numerous stops to pick up/drop off other tourists for their tours (different to yours), meeting at bus checkpoints to transfer everybody between buses.
The order in the itinerary advertised in Viator was changed. A call after the first day's travel to the Bein Harem office resulted in an email with our revised itinerary (not previously provided). Prior to the call, we had no idea of our collection times, nor did the guide of the day. However, the staff in the Bien Harem office were very helpful.
The accommodation in Prima Park Hotel was good ( and we learnt later that compared to others, we should be grateful to be here). The restaurant in the hotel was the only viable option for dinner and was good, as was their breakfast. The Nof Tavor Hotel was basic - no restaurant and no eating options within walking distance, bar snacks (6-8 options) only. The breakfast was acceptable.
This was unlike any Viator "tour" that we have previously experienced. We have done many throughout Europe but this one was most disappointing.
The guide was great!
The time in capernaum needed to be longer and it would be great to see the field of the Armageddon and take photos from the hills.
Ok but too long spent trying to get you to buy stuff in the shops. The lunch stop was awful as there were a mass of coach trips in . The food was very mediocre and lunch was an extra- definitely not worth having but
there wasn't anything else nearby. Seeing people get baptised in the river Jordan was interesting and the Sea of Galilee was very peaceful.
What a Wonderful experience in every way!
Can HIGHLY recommend this tour! Had a Superb guide too (many thanks Norbert)....!
Just by way of some positive feedback (for the future); would it be possible to include a quick visit to the village of Kfar Kama, to see the Circassian community, perhaps on the way back from the Sea of Galilee?
Great tour guide very entertaining.
Our guide was very nice and even bought us some bread for breakfast in Nazareth because we left Jerusalem very early to meet up with the rest of the group in Tel Aviv. We were kind of rushed through a number of sites and had limited time to take pictures. I understand we are on a schedule in order to see everything. We loved Capernaum and being at the Sea of Galilee. A highlight of the trip.
Very enjoyable day, good guide, just a long day in heat from Jerusalem.
The tour was great in the sense that it covered a lot of Israel, and gave us a picture of the country. There was a good mix of history, scenic beauty, current life. The Sea of Galilea, the Talmudic village and Nazareth were great experiences. The guides were very well read, and articulate, though on the first day one was inclined to speak a little too much on Israel's war victories. Too much time was spent on picking up tourists from various places and changing buses. Despite the tour promise we were not picked up from our hotel.
It was a learning tour for us. We missed Church of Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor and Mary Magdalene church at Migdal which we just viewed at a distance, and a visit to Cana Wedding Church which we peeked at in between half open gate.
An enjoyable tour with a lot packed into the day. However the visit to a souvenir shop in Nazareth is not something I signed up for and a waste of an hour. I would prefer to have spent that hour at the Sea of Galilee after Lunch.
The guide was knowledgeable but not the most friendly and I found his accent difficult to understand.
The guide makes the difference! The bus was certainly adequate and the areas interesting but the tour guide was pretty pathetic in comparison to the 3 other tours we have taken in the Jerusalem area. The guide was pleasant was not particularly knowledgeable nor did he encourage questions. We would not take this tour again or encourage others to do so unless they first check the credentials of the guide.
The first day of the tour was pure hell. Our itinerary said that our first day would be a tour of Jerusalem with an 8:30 a.m. pick up. We got a call at 6:00 a.m. telling us that we were late for our tour. We had 10 minutes to pack and head down to the bus. We ended up taking a bus to the Northern region of Israel. We were hungry, angry and completely unprepared.
The bus was comfortable. The hotel pickup was 30 minutes after we were told it would be. The time we were picked up was fine but we rushed through breakfast just to sit and wait. The tour guide was in general unprofessional. His level of knowledge was low. He praised the group for not asking questions. He gave some uninformed or incorrect answers instead of saying I don't know. The overall structure of the tour was weak. We stopped in one or two places where no substantial information was given, we were dropped off, given 10 to 15 minutes to explore, and we were encouraged to shop at the souvenir shop. I would not recommend this tour to others, unless they simply want a comfortable bus ride to each of the places just to see them for a short while.
Very disappointing tour.
- 45mins delay in picking-us up. Especially as we were told it it was a 5:50am pick up
- Then another 45mins delay in waiting for someone coming from TelAviv to join the tour. so 1h30 delay on the tour which was not acceptable.
- Guide's english was very poor. It was impossible to understand him especially in the bus.
- We were rushed from site to site
- At the Baptism site, I asked the guide what there was to do at the site, if there were priests there etc.. and he said he had no idea because he was Jewish ! Now, as a tour guide, regardless of your religion, when you get to a stop which is featured on the tour, you need to be able to supply a minimum of information at least !
- This tour was outsourced to a local tour provider which I didn't know beforehand until I had purchased the ticket from Viator.
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