The 7 Best Israel Tours of 2021

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Israel is a fascinating place: It's a holy land for several of the world’s major religions, a place of social and religious diversity and home to some of the most important historical sites in the world. And this geographically fascinating area also has everything from great beaches to seemingly endless olive groves and striking, barren mountains. Because of all this, it remains a highly popular traveler’s destination, even despite social and political tensions that are pervasive within the country.

Whether you’re looking at an Israel visit for religious reasons or are fascinated by its history in general, a tour might be a good option for you. Visits to historical sites, in particular, are often improved by a good tour guide, who can fill you in all the historical background information and can provide you with insight into art and cultural context. Tours are particularly excellent options for visiting Israel, and each offering a different experience of this intriguing place.

If you're in need of some guidance when it comes to selecting which tour is right for you, take a peek below at our list of the best Israel tours to book today.

01 of 07

Best Express Tour: Two-Day Best of Israel Tour From Tel Aviv

Western Wall

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Mini-tours are great for both travelers who don’t have a long time to spend in the country as well as those who are planning on an extended trip but would like the option of combining some guided experiences with other days on their own. This two-day highlight trip departs Tel Aviv in the morning on an air-conditioned coach bus, stopping at Mount Scopus outside of Jerusalem for a view of the city and then continuing on to the old city, passing the Garden of Gethsemane on the way. You’ll view the Western Wall, walk the Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre before taking the six-mile drive out to Bethlehem, where you’ll visit the Church of the Nativity, and then it’s back to your overnight accommodations (tourist grade) in Jerusalem.

Day Two takes you out into the Judean Desert to the ancient mountaintop fortress of Masada, and then on to the Dead Sea, where you’ll have two free hours to relax on the beach or float in the salt-dense water. The entire tour is guided by a local professional with deep knowledge of both history and culture. Overnight accommodation, breakfast and transportation are included.

02 of 07

Best History Tour: Four-Day Christian and Jewish Sacred Sites Tour

Church of the Holy Sepulcher

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If you’re fascinated by the world-altering history of Israel and want to visit the most famous sites from the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Scriptures (as well as some Muslim holy sites) but aren’t looking for a specifically religious tour, this is a great choice. A non-doctrinal guide will show you through many of these famous sites, giving historical and biblical context to the areas, but also explaining the reverse: how the geography and physical reality of the locations contextualize those biblical stories. Among the stops: the Mount of Olives, the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, The World Holocaust Remembrance Center, the city of Jericho, Bethlehem, the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, the Church of the Multiplication, Capernaum (the site where John the Baptist baptized Jesus), plus Mount Tabor. Three nights’ accommodation, breakfast, entrance fees to several sites and transport by air-conditioned coach are all included. 

03 of 07

Best Christianity-Focused Tour: Seven-Night Israel Highlights and Biblical Tour

Dormition Abbey

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For Christians or those interested in Christian history, this tour includes just about everything except airfare and lunches. It's a fascinating and logistics-free way to see Israel—hop in a coach, follow your guide, and learn. You’ll see Christian sites like the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Via Dolorosa, Calvary, Mt. Zion, the tomb of King David, the room of the Last Supper, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the villages of Nazareth, Capernaum and Tiberias, and the Crusader fortress at the ancient city of Acre. You’ll also choose between a free day to explore Tel Aviv or a trip out to the Dead Sea for a soak in its famous mineral-rich waters. It’s a dense tour, filled with a lot of motion and action, but if that’s your speed, you won’t find a better one.

04 of 07

Best Northern Israel Tour: Two-Day Northern Israel Tour From Jerusalem

Yardenit

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If your Israel trip is Jerusalem-based but you’d like to get out of town and see some of the sights of the countryside, consider this overnight trip through some of Northern Israel’s most interesting places. On the first day, you’ll travel to Golan Heights, passing through Galilee and the Jordan Valley. You’ll take a walking tour of the ruins of Katzrin, an ancient Jewish village which includes the remains of a 6th-century synagogue. Then you’ll head to the top of Mount Bental, from where you can see Syria. Your overnight accommodations are in Galilee. Day Two takes you to Nazareth, The Church of the Annunciation, along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and the Mount of Beatitudes. Finally, you’ll make stops at Yardenit, the site of Jesus’s baptism, to learn about ancient and modern baptismal rituals, and at Mount Tabor. From there, it’s back to your Jerusalem hotel.

Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07

Best Dead Sea Tour: Tour of Masada, Dead Sea, and Qumran From Jerusalem

Dead Sea

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The Judean Desert is a fascinating place—so sparse, in the modern era, and yet so packed with history. This single-day tour visits some of its most fascinating locations, and also allows for a good several hours of relaxation in or next to the legendary healing waters of the Dead Sea. The tour departs from Jerusalem in the morning, following the shores of the Dead Sea to the Qumran Caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Then you’ll take a cable car to the peak of Masada, the ancient mountaintop fortress, before being returned back to your hotel in Jerusalem.

06 of 07

Best Tel Aviv Tour: Tel Aviv and Jaffa Private Tour

Jaffa

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Led by an art historian, this private tour offers guests an in-depth, customized look at this culturally-rich, urban area. The tour begins with a hotel pick-up, and the first site on the docket is Jaffa, a bustling ancient port that was first built around 4,000 years ago. From there, you’ll head into the much more modern city that surrounds it, Tel Aviv. Your guide will show you around the White City neighborhood, one of the world’s most extensive collections of Bauhaus buildings, and Sarona, a former German missionary colony that looks rather like a charming European village, and its spectacular Farmers’ Market. The tour involves both walking and driving and gives visitors a great sense of both ancient and modern Tel Aviv.

07 of 07

Best West Bank Tour: Hebron Day Trip from Jerusalem: Israeli-Palestinian Sites

Tomb of the Patriarchs

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It’s difficult for even the most sophisticated political and theological minds in the world to fully grasp the nuances of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but this tour offers visitors a rare, purposefully-balanced look at the historical and contemporary issues facing the people who live in the area. The first half of the tour, you’ll be guided through the Israeli side of Hebron with an Israeli-Jewish guide, who will speak on the history of the conflict from his perspective, while visiting several important Jewish sites, including the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Tel Rumeida (believed to be the site of biblical Hebron).

On the second half of the tour, you’ll travel into the H1 sector to meet with your Palestinian guide. You can choose to have lunch in a Palestinian family’s home and then tour the main part of the city, including the Ibrahimi Mosque (which lies on the Muslim side of the Tomb of the Patriarchs), all while hearing about the conflict from the Palestinian perspective. It’s unlikely that you’ll end the day with a new solution to the conflict there, but at the very least, you’ll have an informed, thoughtful, well-rounded look at the human side of things. It may not be a traditional sightseeing tour, but it’s no less interesting.

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