- 12-hour Christmas Eve tour of Jerusalem and Bethlehem from Tel Aviv
- Admire panoramic views of the Holy Land from the Mount of Olives and Mount of Evil Counsel
- Explore the Old City’s Christian Quarter on foot
- Visit sacred Christian sites like the Church of the Sepulchre
- Celebrate with a Christmas dinner in Bethlehem
- Watch midnight mass, on screen, held at the Church of the Nativity
- Hotel transport from Tel Aviv included
What You Can Expect
First, head by comfortable coach on a one-hour drive to Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives, used as a Jewish cemetery for 3,000 years and named for the olive trees that once grew there. From the hilltop ridge, admire the panoramic view of Jerusalem before embarking on a short drive around the Old City walls, which surround what was once the entire city.
Along the way, see Kidron Valley, which houses the Tomb of the Virgin Mary, as well as the beautiful Garden of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives, where Jesus and his disciples assembled before his crucifixion.
Enter the Christian Quarter on foot, situated in the northwestern corner of the Old City, and visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of Christianity's holiest pilgrimage sites since the 4th century. Here, admire the murals, metalwork and iconographic mosaics.
When your walking tour is over, continue a relaxing drive through the New City and see the Israeli parliament (the Knesset), the Israel Museum—housing the world’s largest archeological collection from the Holy Land—and Valley of the Cross. Keep an eye out for the amazing 11th-century monastery built with high, castle-like walls.
As evening descends, stop at the Mount of Evil Counsel on the way to Bethlehem for another vista of the city illuminated below, and take in breathtaking views of many of the sites you visited throughout the day. When you enter Bethlehem at the border crossing into Palestinian territory, switch vehicles for ease of transport.
After your arrival, enjoy light refreshments (included) at a souvenir store showing off its Christmas décor. Then, gather at Manger's Square in central Bethlehem and admire the giant Christmas tree lights as you listen to carols sung by locals and pilgrims.
Look up at the bell towers at the Church of the Nativity, the world’s oldest Christian church, built on the site of Jesus’ birth. You’ll visit the basilica (time permitting), a UNESCO World Heritage Site rebuilt in 565 AD, before the midnight mass begins.
Delight in a festive Christmas dinner in a restaurant located on the stone-paved pedestrian square, and watch the midnight mass on the large outdoor screen (weather conditions permitting) before returning across the border to your hotel in Tel Aviv.
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.
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.