Israel & the Palestinian Territories Real Food Adventure
From 16/10/2024 to 19/12/2024
Share authentic home cooked meals with Druze villagers and a local family in Bethany, and join an insightful cooking class with Palestinian women.
In between snacks, don’t miss any of the sights and sounds of this diverse country.
Take a dip in the famously salty Dead Sea, discover the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and see the sights in Jerusalem.
Feast on classic dishes in Israel’s legendary local eateries, from falafel, knafeh, and maqluba and fresh sabich to a selection of local favourites at Machane Yehuda in Jerusalem.
Take a refreshing stop at a family-run brewery in Taybeh, taste their lagers and ales and learn about their evolution to become sustainability champions in the region.
Locals always know best when it comes to the region’s best food and drinks and the winemakers, chefs, brewers and market stallholders you'll meet on this trip are no exception.
Breakfasts Included: 8.
Lunches Included: 6.
Dinners Included: 1.
Hotel (8 nights).
Age: min 15.
Group Size: 1 - 12.
Tel Aviv - Welcome Dinner.
Haifa - Bahai Gardens view & photo stop.
Jaffa - Old Port.
Druze Village - Cooking demonstration and home-cooked meal.
Nazareth - Wine Tasting.
Akko - Old Town walk.
Nazareth - Knafeh maker visit and tasting.
Nazareth - Church of Annunciation & Mary's Well.
Nazareth - Old City walking tour.
Jordan River - Baptism Site.
Jericho - Tel Jericho.
Bethany - Home-cooked meal of maqluba.
Dead Sea - Visit and float.
Jerusalem - Mount of Olives.
Jerusalem - Garden of Gethsemane.
Jerusalem - Church of All Nations.
Jerusalem - Guided tour of Old City.
Jerusalem - Guided tour of Machane Yehuda Market and Nachlaot.
Ramallah - Food tour with a local chef.
Taybeh - Brewery tour and tasting.
Nablus - Samaritan & Tahini Factory visit.
Battir - Guided Village Walk.
Bethlehem - Church of the Nativity & Shepherds' Field.
Bethlehem - Leader-led walking tour.
Bethlehem - Refugee Camp Cooking Class.
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 6pm. After this briefing, take a short walk to the market area and get to know your fellow travellers over dinner, sampling sabich - a delicious vegetable and pita dish boasting fresh Mediterranean flavours with Middle Eastern roots.
2 - Haifa Your first stop this morning is the Jaffa Old Port of Tel Aviv where you'll have time to look around and take photos. Your next stop is a Druze village to meet a lovely host family, who will invite you in for a cooking demonstration, where you'll share local culinary secrets and a delicious Druze lunch. 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. By late afternoon, you'll have reached Haifa. Make a stop to take in the view of the ornately landscaped Baha'i Gardens before heading to your hotel for a well-earned rest. Dinner is free this evening and your leader can make the best local restaurant recommendations.
3 - Haifa This morning, visit the town of Akko, taking in the picturesque coastal views of a town that has been continuously inhabited since the Bronze Age. Your leader will show you around the markets and port, sharing just a few stories from the centuries of history seen by this town. Tuck into a lunch of hummus, falafel, pita, pickles and cabbage salad and see if you love it as much as the locals. After lunch, travel to Nazareth and visit a knafeh producer for an insight into the production of this much-loved sweet and, of course, to enjoy a taste. Stop in at a local winery for some sniffing, swirling and sipping of Israel's finest wines, before returning to your hotel in Haifa for the evening.
4 - Jericho After breakfast, return to Nazareth and visit the Church of the Annunciation and Mary's Well. Drive on to the UNESCO World Heritage archaeological site of Tel Jericho and the banks of the Jordan River where Jesus is said to have been baptised. Head to downtown Jericho, the oldest inhabited city in the world, with free time for the remainder of the day. While free to choose your own adventure this afternoon, you may like to try musakhan for lunch first. This Palestinian roast chicken dish is warm with spices like sumac, allspice and saffron and is a firm favourite with the locals. After lunch, wander the streets of this timeworn town or visit Hisham Palace, an 8th century Umayyad dynasty Islamic site, resplendent with mosaics. This evening your leader may be able to arrange an optional home-cooked dinner with a local family.
5 - Jerusalem This morning, visit 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. Your leader can also share the environmental challenges faced by the Dead Sea and Jordan River, as well as the work being done to protect these important natural environments. Travel onwards to 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 and Church of All Nations.
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 - and taste it for yourself. 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. Having worked up an appetite, head to the renowned Machane Yehuda food market for lunch. Your leader will likely select a variety of dishes for the group, allowing you to sample more of the vendors wonderful specialties. Get moving again with an afternoon tour of Nachlaot, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in West Jerusalem. The area is full of winding lanes, hidden courtyards and tiny synagogues, and has a fascinating history of different residents that has created a relaxed, creative and religious neighbourhood today. With a free evening, you may like to return to Machane Yehuda or ask your leader for their best restaurant recommendations.
7 - Jerusalem Head north to Mount Gerizim where you'll meet the local Samaritans - a Jewish minority group living near 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. Returning south, visit Ramallah, the capital city of the State of Palestine. Learn more about the city and Palestinian food from a local chef, tasting as you go. You might try the city's best falafel or kebabs, but be sure not to miss manakish - flatbread topped with fragrant za'atar and melted cheese. In the nearby town of Taybeh, pay a visit to the Taybeh Brewing Company. Established in 1994, this family-run brewery hasn't just been crafting refreshing lagers and ales, they've been developing and evolving to become a sustainability champion in the region. Enjoy a tasting while hearing more of their fascinating story. Return to Jerusalem for a free evening.
8 - Jerusalem 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 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. Take a leader-led walking tour of this acclaimed city, passing Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity. Visit the Aida Refugee Camp and join some passionate home cooks for a cooking class. Learn about everyday life for those who live in the camp as you whip up authentic Palestinian dishes with the families of those who were forced to leave their villages during the 1949 Israeli-Arab war. At the end of the class, enjoy your culinary creations during a shared lunch. Head back to Jerusalem, where you might like to share one last delicious meal or drink with your newfound friends.
9 - Jerusalem There are no activities included and you're free to depart your accommodation at any time today. If you would like to spend some more time in Jerusalem, we're happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability). Ask your leader for more tasty local recommendations if you plan to spend more time in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
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