- Day trip to Masada and Ein Gedi from Jerusalem
- Travel through the Judean Desert, passing the Inn of the Good Samaritan and the Dead Sea shores
- Ride by cable car to the top of Masada’s UNESCO-listed mountain fortress
- Learn about Masada in the 1st century, during the days of King Herod and a brutal Roman invasion
- Cool down from the heat with a walk through Ein Gedi, a glorious desert oasis
- Relax with a hotel pickup and drop-off from central Jerusalem
What You Can Expect
First, stop at the ancient mountain fortress of Masada, for a cable car ride to the top. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Masada is located in the Judean Desert and situated on top of an isolated rock plateau overlooking the Dead Sea. Aside from admiring the breathtaking view from the summit, spend some time exploring the archaeological ruins here, originally a palace complex built in the style of the early Roman Empire by Herod the Great, King of Judaea.
Travel back down the mountain by cable car and take a break for lunch (own expense) at a cafe near the base station, and then continue through the desert to the beautiful Ein Gedi Nature Reserve and National Park (entrance fee not included). This is one of Israel’s premier hiking spots with a wide variety of landscapes, waterfalls and botanical gardens.
Take a hike along one of the trails. See herds of ibex and groups of hyrax, which visitors can see up close. Other animals include foxes, wolves, hyenas — even spotted leopards. There are two year-round streams and four springs. Plant life includes acacia, the Christ’s thorn and Apple of Sodom alongside giant reed and cattail. It is believed that the oasis is where King David once hid from King Saul.
The tour concludes here, after which you board the minivan for a return trip to Jerusalem — passing by the Qumran Caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.
Completely satisfied with the tour. Amir gives insight to some of the reasons and passions involved as well as conveying a fascinating presentation of the historical significance of the place. My number1 guy for Israel tours.
Very good tour to Masada and Ein Gedi Nature Park. The lady guide was very good and took particular good care of the older members of the group.
Amir once again was AMAZING!! Masada and Ein Gedi were beautiful!
the sites were fabulous to see. The lunch at the restaurant was eaten in the buffet line as there was not enough time to sit and eat. It was the worse meal I had during my entire trip. Wish we had known about the museum upstairs. That would have. been better time spent. Not much time to take pictures. The tour was rushed
Pick up was very late. We were then taken to a location where we had to get off one bus and onto a 2nd bus. It was after 10:00 AM by the time we left Jerusalem. Our 2nd bus had two tour groups on it; one for Masada and Ein Gedi and the other for Masada and the Dead Sea.
When we got to Masada the guide kept us moving fairly rapidly, with no time to explore on our own (missing places that others were going to). Often the guide moved quickly to a location and begun talking before the slower (older) part of the group caught up. I believe this was because of the late start and resulting time constraint.
After leaving Masada the Ein Gedi tour group was taken there and left on our own without a guide. The tour bus and guide continued on to the Dead Sea. The bus then came back to pick us up about one and a half hours after drop off. We then went to the Dead Sea and waited to pick up the guide and the people from that tour. Next we went to near Jericho and waited to meet another tour bus. People going to Jerusalem got on one of the buses and people going to Tel Aviv got onto the other bus (both buses had people from both locations). We ended up spending far more time waiting for buses and on buses than we did touring sites.
The description of Ein Gedi does not adequately describe the difficulty of the hike. A minor portion of the trail is on a blacktop path. The majority of it is on a rocky trail with steep slopes and carved steps with loose gravel and sand on them. Of course there were no railings. Many on the tour did not go on the entire trail and I (age 72 with so-so knees) felt it was too dangerous to hike more than a few yards as I quickly encountered downward steps where one was so small that I could not put both feet on the step. My very fit wife was extremely glad I didn't attempt it as the path and steps only got steeper in its undulations.
We did see Ibex, Rock Hyrax and a variety of birds and lizards, so not a total loss for me.