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I looked into trips to Jerusalem very carefully and picked this trip on the basis that it would be more of an in-depth exploration of the city but I ended up feeling that this was a very standard trip round the tourist highlights which could have been achieved in very much less time.It is probably not the trip for you if you are not religious as it focuses very heavily on religion (bible stories) and does not really ‘explore’ the old city or cover aspects of culture or history in the way I would have enjoyed. Firstly the pick up was 30 mins late which is forgivable given the traffic in Tel Aviv, however we were then offloaded in a carpark outside Tel Aviv and split up onto different tour coaches which is not what I was led to believe would happen. It took over 3 hours in total to get from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, with a stop off in a pointless Elvis themed petrol station café on the way.We were taken to an area outside Jerusalem to take pictures over the city and then driven around to look at the mount of olives, the cemetary and various other sites. The tour of Jerusalem focused on visiting the church of the dome of the rock, Via Dolorosa and the western wall, with a stop off in a souvenir shop. We were scheduled to have lunch in Bethlehem, by the time we arrived there it was after 2pm and we were taken to a truly awful buffet restaurant which was freezing and had all the atmosphere of a 1970’s motorway service station, the food was dreadful and overpriced. We did not have much time left to explore Bethlehem only to visit the church of the holy family which had a 45 minute wait to get into the nave and then the obligatory stop and a souvenir shop.Given that the tour was pretty much 12 hours in duration from pick up to drop off, I feel the time management was poor, given that ‘seeing’ some of the sights consisted of looking out of the coach window as we drove past them.In retrospect I wish I had done a tour that included the dead sea as it might have been a better use of my limited time in the area and I would have given an average rating if the lunch had been decent local food in a pleasant restaurant.
Mi aspettavo molto di più da questo tour. Innanzitutto il monte degli ulivi che era nel programma non lo abbiamo visitato, semplicemente ci è stato indicato da lontano. Mattinata intera spesa a Betlemme per vedere la chiesa della natività ed aiutare a dire della guida la comunità cristiana del posto, con tempo perso in un negozio di souvenir e addirittura un pranzo alle ore dodici pur di mangiare in quella zona. Risultato abbiamo cominciato il tuor a Gerusalemme alle due del pomeriggio. Li è andato tutto bene. Guida preparata e professionale. Ma Gerusalemme merita sicuramente più tempo. A mio avviso il tour poteva essere organizzato molto meglio. Non perdendo tutta la mattinata inutilmente per Betlemme e soprattutto visitando davvero il monte degli ulivi, tappa mancata di questo tour.
This trip was a great tour and our guide Itimar Buk did a fantastic job. He is quite passionate about his work and ensured he provided as much detail about the history and culture of Israel. This was our first trip in Israel so to start with Jerusalem and Bethlehem was quite exciting. The trip was well organized and we were briefed at the start of the tour as to what to expect and how to best prepare for the day. The trip was well paced and not rushed and the group size appeared to be appropriate as well. Some of the highlights included following the Via Dolorosa through the stations cross to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Western Wall, walking through the markets in the Muslim quarter and crossing over to Bethlehem. The only opportunity to improve is the actual pick up from the designated hotels. Our voucher indicated pickup for 7:15am and we were picked up at 8am. During this time we were worried that perhaps we were at the wrong location or missed. A bit more clarity on the vouchers would reduce this concern and calls to the tour company. Regardless everything worked out perfectly and we understand earlier times are listed to ensure travellers are on time and there are no delays. Overall this was a great trip with a very knowledgeable guide Itimar who was quite chilled out and with effort even funny at times . Highly recommended.
from start to finish, everything was great. we booked the night before, loved that the website let you know if they had availability even with less than 8 hrs. before the tour started. and that they had hotel pick up/drop off. and it was just the right size under 20 people so you could hear/see what the guide was pointing out. very informative and a full day. would use them again