Experience the ultimate Christmas Eve celebration with this full-day tour of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, including dinner and the celebration of midnight mass. Visit the Church of the Nativity, the very site where Jesus was born in Bethlehem. See where Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane; where he was crucified on the Hill of Calvary; and where he ascended into heaven on the Mount of Olives. Then enjoy a delicious buffet dinner and midnight mass at Manger Square in Bethlehem.
View of Jerusalem from Mount of Olives
On Christmas Eve, your full-day tour begins with a Jerusalem hotel pickup in an air-conditioned coach.
First, stop at the Mount of Olives for a scenic overview of the entire city of Jerusalem. This mountain ridge is east of the Old City and named for the olive groves that once covered its slopes. According to the gospels, a number of important events in the life of Jesus took place here, including where he ascended into heaven. The Mount has been a site of Christian worship since ancient times and continues to be a place of pilgrimage for Eastern Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant believers.
Next, head down to the Garden of Gethsemane, where it is believed that Jesus prayed on the night he was arrested by Roman soldiers. In the Christian Quarter, walk along the Via Dolorosa, the street that Jesus traveled on the way to his crucifixion. Here, look for the 14 stations of the cross while retracing Jesus’ steps to the the Hill of Calvary, now the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Also, see the Stone of the Anointing, where Jesus was believed to have been placed before his burial.
In New City Jerusalem, catch sight of the Israel Museum, the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) and the Valley of the Cross. Get a twilight view of Jerusalem from the Hill of Evil Counsel before continuing to Bethlehem for the evening.
Grab a light snack and beverage at a local Christmas shop, then take in the festive atmosphere in Manger Square — the beautiful Christmas tree, the carolers singing, the bell towers of the nearby Church of the Nativity ringing. Afterward, enjoy a delightful Christmas dinner and watch midnight mass on a large outdoor screen in the Square, weather permitting.
This memorable Christmas celebration adventure concludes here, as Christmas Eve turns into Christmas Day. Then board the coach for a relaxing return trip to the Jerusalem hotels.