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Not only is Israel and the Palestinian Territories steeped in religious history and longstanding cultures, it has a food and wine scene to rival any other. Embark on an epicurean odyssey, spending nine days exploring the sights and sounds of this country, with a focus on memorable and local culinary experiences. Feast on sabiach in Tel Aviv, savour the many snackable items at Machane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, sample some of the finest wines in Zichron Yaakov, learn age-old food secrets at a traditional Druze village, and understand what it's like to live as a Palestinian woman at a local village cooking demonstration. Indulging on daily sights and feasting on the history and culture surrounding you, both your hunger for the best food and your mind for the most authentic experiences will be filled.
Day 1: Tel Aviv
Welcome to Israel and the Palestinian Territories – a region steeped in spirituality, and a rich tapestry of the many cultures, religions and nationalities that call it home, be that Palestinian Muslims and Christians, Sephardic Jews, Ashkenazi Jews, Armenian Christians, Ethiopian Copts or Greek Orthodox monks. Your Real Food Adventure begins with an important welcome meeting at 6 pm. After this briefing, take a short walk to the market area and get to know your fellow travellers over dinner, sampling sabiach – a delicious vegetable and pita dish boasting fresh Mediterranean flavours with Middle Eastern roots.
Day 2: Haifa
Pay a brief visit to Jaffa, then continue to Mount Jerazim and meet the local Samaritans - a Jewish minority group living in Nablus - who are the only group to hold Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian passports. After learning about their culture, visit a tahini factory to see how the sesame seeds are crushed and turned into the finished product! You will have the opportunity to purchase goods on site before heading to enjoy a wine tasting at one of Israel's finest wineries! By late afternoon, you’ll have reached Haifa, and if you’re up for it, catch a glimpse of the Bahai Gardens, containing ornate works of landscaped art. Retire to your hotel afterwards for a well-earned rest. Dinner is free this evening and your leader can make the best local restaurant recommendations!
Day 3: Nazareth
This morning, drive to Akko, visit the Old Town and explore the Templar Tunnels built during the Crusades. Then take a drive up to Golan Heights to visit a Druze village called Buq’ata. Historically, the Druze have been an agricultural people, tending olive groves and fruit orchards, and growing mostly apples and cherries. Many families also grow their own vegetables, bake their own bread and live on a largely vegetarian diet. Here, you will be greeted by a lovely host family, and be invited in for a cooking demonstration, where you’ll share local culinary secrets and a delicious Druze lunch. Afterwards, travel to Nazareth and settle into your hotel for the evening.
Day 4: Nablus/Jericho
After breakfast, visit the Church of the Annunciation and Mary’s Well – two of the most significant sights in Nazareth. Then head to Tiberias for a stroll along the famous Sea of Galilee - Israel's largest freshwater lake. Continue on to Nablus – one of the West Bank's largest cities – most famous for the Arabic sweet knafeh. You'll visit the local chapter of the 'Slow Food' network for a cooking class, focusing on some classics of Palestinian cuisine. Enjoy your creations over lunch and discover what life is like for women in this small, Palestinian town. After lunch, visit a knafeh maker for insight into local sweet making, and of course to taste! Drive to Jericho for your night's stay.
Day 5: Jericho/Dead Sea/Jerusalem
This morning, visit the old Tel in Jericho, also known as the ancient Jericho, then continue to the Dead Sea – the lowest-altitude place on earth! You will have the chance to experience what it's like to float in the world's saltiest body of water. This relaxed West Bank town is considered by some to be the longest inhabited city in the world. On the way, make a stop in Bethany, known biblically as the site of the resurrection of Lazarus, to visit a local family for a home-cooked meal. Today you’ll feast on maqluba – an 'upside-down' style dish consisting of chicken and vegetables. Afterwards, drive to Jerusalem via the famous Mount of Olives – an important pilgrimage site and home of the Garden of Gethsemane.
Day 6: Jerusalem
Enjoy a full day tour of Jerusalem, starting with a walking tour of Via Dolorosa (the Way of the Cross) in the Old City. Stop at one of the city's favourite eateries and watch a master prepare mutabbaq – a stuffed pancake of Yemeni origin. Continue to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to visit the Golgotha – where Jesus was crucified – and then down to the Tomb where he was buried. Walk through the spice market to the Jewish Quarter and witness the pilgrims at the Western Wall. For lunch today, sample the local hummus and falafel at one of the most famous places in the Old City. Afterwards, continue to Nachlaut for a tour of one of the oldest neighbourhoods in West Jerusalem, finishing at the renowned Machane Yehuda food market. The best way to tackle these wondrous food stalls is with a Machane Yehuda Bites Card – where you’ll be able to sample a broad selection of foods while you wander. Alternatively, this area is ideal to just pull up a chair and grab an early dinner at one of the nearby restaurants, perhaps with some shakshuka – a North African dish served in a pan, consisting of eggs poached in a sautéed tomato, chilli and vegetable sauce.
Day 7: Jerusalem (Negev Desert)
After breakfast, head south into the Negev Desert to meet some food producers. Your first stop is a goat cheese farm. Next, be welcomed into the home of a Jewish resident of the Negev. Here we will gain insight into the life and food traditions of an Israeli in the desert. Lunch will be a feast of vegetarian dishes and a sampling of the local goat's cheese. After lunch, drive up to visit the Tomb of David Ben Gurion – the first prime minister of Israel and one of its founders. Before the drive back to Jerusalem, visit an ancient winery that dates back to the Nabatean era. In recent years, an Israeli couple replanted the winery along with other fruit trees, producing an interesting selection of wines and jams that are only sold in that farm. Arrive back in Jerusalem by evening for a well-deserved rest.
Day 8: Jerusalem (Bethlehem)
Enjoy breakfast in one of the Old City’s most beloved hummus restaurants. Take a short drive to World Heritage-listed Battir, where villagers continue to practice ancient agricultural methods. The village is surrounded by an impressive Roman-era system of stone-walled terraces and a unique irrigation system fed by seven springs. Continue on to the holy city of Bethlehem, and along the way, pass through a gap in the controversial separation wall that separates Israel from the West Bank. Once arrived and settled in, take a leader-led walking tour of this acclaimed city, passing Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity. For lunch, enjoy traditional barbecue where you’ll try your hand at mincing your own meat the authentic way – with two huge cleavers! Take your food coma back to Jerusalem and settle in for the afternoon.
Day 9: Jerusalem
With no activities planned for this morning after breakfast, you are free to leave at any time. However, that doesn’t mean that your food adventures have to come to an end! If you would like to consider continuing your journey with a culinary escapade through Jordan, learn about Jordan Real Food Adventure by searching trip code ‘EEZF’ on the Intrepid website.
- Tel Aviv - Welcome Dinner
- Haifa - Baha'i Gardens
- Israeli Winery visit
- Nablus - Samaritan & Tahini Factory visit
- Golan Heights - Druze Cooking Demonstration and Home-cooked Meal
- Akko - Old Town Walk, including Templar Tunnels
- Nazareth - Visit to Church of Annuniciation & Mary's Well
- Bait Al-Karama - cooking class
- Jericho - Maqlubeh Dinner
- Jerusalem - Guided tour of Old City
- Negev Desert - Desert Producers Tour
- Battir - Guided Village Walk
- Bethlehem - Church of the Nativity & Shepherds' Field
8 Breakfast(s) Included
7 Lunch(es) Included
1 Dinner(s) Included
Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?
Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?
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The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.
The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations
Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.
Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.
Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.
Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.
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