See popular sites of the Holy Land on this full-day Christmas Eve tour of Jerusalem and Bethlehem! Visit revered Christian basilicas like the Church of the Nativity and Church of the Holy Sepulchre, with commentary from an expert guide. Take in the views of the valley from the Mount of Olives and stroll through the Old City’s Christian quarter after a drive around its ancient walls. Dine at a delicious Christmas banquet and watch midnight mass from Manger’s Square in Bethlehem.
After pickup from your Jerusalem hotel, enjoy sweeping vistas of the Holy Land from the Mount of Olives, site of a 3,000-year-old Jewish cemetery where olive groves once flourished. Then, relax aboard your comfortable coach as you listen to your guide’s commentary and drive around the Old City walls that once encompassed the ancient city.
View Kidron Valley, where the Tomb of the Virgin Mary resides, and admire the gorgeous Garden of Gethsemane, which lies at the base of the Mount of Olives, where the disciples of Jesus gathered prior to the crucifixion.
Visit the 4th-century Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the most popular Christian pilgrimage sites, and walk through the Christian Quarter in the Old City’s northwestern corner. Stop to look at the intricate metalwork as well as the murals and mosaics of Christ.
Afterward, continue on a relaxing drive through the New City and see the Israel Museum—site of the biggest archeological collection of the Holy Land—as well as the Knesset (Israeli parliament) and Valley of the Cross. Be on the lookout for the remarkable monastery built of high stone walls in the 11th century.
Next, stop at the Mount of Evil Counsel for a twilight view of illuminated Jerusalem and beautiful vistas of the city’s now-familiar sites. Then, cross the border into Bethlehem, in one of the Palestinian territories, where you hop in another vehicle for ease of transport.
Once you arrive, enjoy a light snack and drink (included) at a Christmas souvenir shop, and go to central Bethlehem to see the huge, lit-up tree and hear Christmas carols sung by pilgrims and locals in the cobblestone, pedestrian square.
See the bell towers of the Church of the Nativity, a UNESCO World Heritage Site rebuilt in 565 AD where Jesus was born, and visit the world’s oldest Christian basilica (time permitting) before the midnight mass begins.
Dine on a celebratory Christmas dinner at a restaurant located on Manger’s Square, and watch the midnight mass on the large outdoor screen (weather permitting) before returning across the border to your hotel in Jerusalem.