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Israel Trip - We'll be there in about 9 days

Oceanside...
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Israel Trip - We'll be there in about 9 days

We are on our way to start our Israel trip. I was in Israel in 2012 but my friend is on her first international trip.. I would appreciate advice on our northern part of our trip . We are renting a car on King David Street a week from Monday (Aug 25th). We will go to Caesarea and possibly Megiddo on our way to spend the night in Haifa. We need dinner suggestions for Haifa,, Akko,, or Mt Carmel…We are meeting a friend who just moved there. The following is our tentative itinerary for each day:

Tuesday:

Zippori

Nazareth

Lodging at Tiberias

Wednesday

Christian Galilee sites

quick trip to the Safed artist quarter

Tel Dan

MT Banias?

lodging at Tel Hai

Thursday

Mt Bental

Long drive

En Gedi

Lodging at Masada

Friday

Sunrise Masada hike

Dead Sea float / mud - where?

Lodging in Jerusalem

We are Christian and interested in biblical, cultural, historical sites and National parks and hikes. We also wanted to see the Pools of Sachne and Nimrod's Castle, but I don't know which day or in which order.

I would appreciate any help with reordering the trip into more efficient activities each day or transportation directions and timing of each activity. We could possibly add an extra day in the north if we take one from Jerusalem I appreciate any help that you can give us. Thank you

Israel
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1. Re: Israel Trip - We'll be there in about 9 days

First of all welcome to Israel, your friend is going to love it as much as you. Regarding your itinerary you will need to make a few adjustments, and I propose the following:

On Monday you will have a lot of driving, so once you have finished with Caesarea check your timing for Megiddo as it is out of the way from Haifa and takes about 40 to drive between the two. If Megiddo will not be a possibility you can drive up the Carmel via Daliyat al-Karmel and stop at Mukhraha the traditional spot of where Elijah fought the Gds of Baal.

Tuesday: Looks good, you can stop in Kfar Kana on the way to Tiberias and visit the Wedding Church.

Wednesday: Too many sites for one day. I would skip Safed as it is out of the way, if you want to get to the north and visit Tel Dan. You probably won't make it to the Banias if you spend any time at the other sites you mention. If you can depart from Tiberias by 8 a.m., it may be possible to visit both northern parks, but you will have to play it by ear. The Banias is on the Golan Heights and is not a mountain but a nature and archaeological park.

Thursday: If you didn't make it to the Baniyas, do so today on the way to Mt. Bental. Then start your 5 hour or so drive to Masada, stopping on the way at Ein Gedi. Keep in mind that last entry to that park is at 4 -- no acceptions.

Friday: Great idea. You can go to any of the beaches on the northern end of the Dead Sea, such as Mineral or Qalya. Both offer free mud, chairs, umbrellas, showers, towels and have food available. I suggest stopping at Qumran on your way to Jerusalem, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.

Due to the distances between sites, there is not much chance of stopping in Sachne, although if you know you will skip Ein Gedi this is possible. The Nimrod Castle is sort of on the way to Mt. Bental (about half an hour driving detour each direction). Again if you are willing to skip Ein Gedi, it might be possible, but will require a very early start that day like at 7:30 a.m.

Chana

Israel

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2. Re: Israel Trip - We'll be there in about 9 days

I agree with Chana especially on the suggested itinerary for Wednesday. I would keep Wednesday Christian Galilee sites and quick trip to the Safed artist quarter before going to Tel Hai.

Gippsland, Australia
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3. Re: Israel Trip - We'll be there in about 9 days

Looking at Wednesday I wonder which Christian sites you had in mind. There are several.... Capernaum, Bethsaida, the Jesus Boat, the Church of the Beatitudes, Magdala, Tabcha, Chorazim.... You wouldn't fit all those in plus Safed, but maybe you just had a couple in mind. If you want a clearer idea of some of them to help make your choice then check the links from this page:

biblewalks.com/Sites/sea_galilee_gallery.html

I would agree with Chana to skip Safed on this visit, assuming it's your first visit to the area. Safed is lovely and is high on the list for Jewish people to visit, but isn't generally on the list for Christians on their first visit (My husband and I went on our third trip.)

Oceanside...
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4. Re: Israel Trip - We'll be there in about 9 days

Thank you for your suggestions.

On Tuesday, we walked on one terrace of the Bahai Garden, went to the Church of the Annunciation, had lunch and a tour of Nazareth Village, and closed out Zippori with a quick visit to some of the mosaics. Rabie from the YMCA Three Arches rebooked us into the Peniel-by-Galilee for the night, which lived up to its reviews. It was a bitt grimy, but charming with a welcoming staff and full of repeat visitor/ vacationing families. Swimming in the refreshing spring-fed pool with the fish, just above the Sea of Galilee was a definite highlight.

Today, we visited Tagbha, Primacy of Peter, Capernaum, Mount of Batitudes, Tel Dan, Banias Waterfall, and closed out Nimrod's Fortress. We are definitely on a highlights tour and making the most of our National Park pass.

Tomorrow, we hope to leave Tel Hai early to visit Mount Bental, possibly have a peek at Hula Valley NR, and drive down to En Gedi. What time do we need to get to the park in order to visit both the waterfall and David's Spring? Is it possible to safely do a Dead Sea float somewhere after 6pm, when the parks are closed?

Israel
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5. Re: Israel Trip - We'll be there in about 9 days

You probably won't have access to Bental today so skip going that route and start your drive south. You must be at Ein Gedi by 3:45 the latest. So if you are coming from the Baniyas leave no later than 11:30 a.m. Some of the Dead Sea beaches are open till 7 so you should be okay for a quick float after Ein Gedi, since you need to be out of the park by 5.

Chana

Israel

Oceanside...
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6. Re: Israel Trip - We'll be there in about 9 days

This reply didn't show up until after I last checked. You are correct. We went for our 90 minute detour to see the entrances all blocked. We stopped at Hula Valley and Gan HaShlosha and made it to David's waterfall, but we have to do the spring later after Masada at sunrise and a float, before returning to finish with 4 more days in Jerusalem. Thanks for all your help. We feel like the only tourists in so many places we go. We love seeing all the families playing together and music everywhere in the evening. We were told that the Masada Youth Hostel is full of families getting a break by the government. Discovering Teddy Park in the evening is a highlight of this trip.

Oceanside...
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7. Re: Israel Trip - We'll be there in about 9 days

This reply didn't show up until after I last checked. You are correct. We went for our 90 minute detour to see the entrances all blocked. We stopped at Hula Valley and Gan HaShlosha and made it to David's waterfall, but we have to do the spring later after Masada at sunrise and a float, before returning to finish with 4 more days in Jerusalem. Thanks for all your help. We feel like the only tourists in so many places we go. We love seeing all the families playing together and music everywhere in the evening. We were told that the Masada Youth Hostel is full of families getting a break by the government. Discovering Teddy Park in the evening is a highlight of this trip.

Pennsylvania
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8. Re: Israel Trip - We'll be there in about 9 days

Try to do Hezekiah's Tunnels when in Jerusalem. It was an amazing experience!

Oceanside...
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9. Re: Israel Trip - We'll be there in about 9 days

We did that last weekend and I agree that it was great. We just spent 4 nights in the north and south, and most of the best stops involve some kind of pool, river, or natural spring.

Oceanside...
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10. Re: Israel Trip - We'll be there in about 9 days

Chana,

I posted another question and saw that the time post I see was 9 hours behind, as if I was back at home. So it was my fault for not posting a few days earlier, although it would probably have been open then. By the time you answered, I think we saw the roadblocks. I am thankful that they were rescued!