$4,100 (plus air)
The Holy Land is reopening to vaccinated AND unvaccinated travelers beginning March 1st and I want to bring one of the first post pandemic groups on pilgrimage.
I expect the Holy Land will start getting crazy crowded again by summer. This is (hopefully) a once in a lifetime opportunity for you to experience a Holy Land pilgrimage before it is overrun with pilgrims and tourists.
As with all The Catholic Traveler pilgrimages, this one includes daily Mass, my favorite local guide, excellent hotels, amazing meals in some of the best restaurants, wine with meals, and all your tips to local guides and our driver.
Is this pilgrimage trip for you?
You need to be flexible.
This pilgrimage is not for grumpy people or those unable to be joyfully flexible. The Holy Land is getting back to normal, but the world is still a bit uncertain. While I don’t expect any complications, we have be able to adjust our plans if needed.
So if you are easy-going and excited to travel, even with some uncertainties mixed in, this could be the trip for you!
If this pilgrimage doesn’t work for you, no worries, I’ve been doing this for nearly 17 years and plan to do many, many more.
You should be in good physical shape.
We will do a lot of walking, much of it outside, and much of it on uneven ground. We average around 5 miles per day. Please do consider this before signing up.
March 15: Arrive TLV. Transfer to our hotel located on the beach in Tel Aviv. Dinner included.
March 16: We begin our pilgrimage with a visit to Caesarea, Haifa, and Carmel. This afternoon we travel to Nazareth to visit the Basilica of the Annunciation. We’ll also visit Saint Joseph’s Church. Next we’ll visit the spot of the first miracle in Cana. Lunch and dinner included. Overnight on the Sea of Galilee.
March 17: This morning we sail across the Sea of Galilee. Next we travel to Caesarea Philippi to the spot where Christ said “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Dinner included. Overnight on the Sea of Galilee.
March 18: We will visit Capernaum and visit the church built over Peter’s home. Next we will visit the Mount of Beatitudes, site of the Sermon on the Mount. From here we will go to Tabgha where Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes. We’ll take a short hike down a trail Jesus walked and visit the town of Magdala. Lunch and dinner included. Overnight on the Sea of Galilee.
March 19: This morning we head to Mount Tabor to the Basilica of Transfiguration. We will stop in Jericho for lunch. Then we will visit the Jordan River and end the day with a float in the Dead Sea. Lunch and dinner included. Overnight in Jerusalem.
March 20: This morning we’ll travel to Bethlehem to visit Shepherd’s Field and then the Church of the Nativity. After lunch, we’ll travel to Ein Kerem to the Church of the Visitation. We’ll also visit the birthplace of Saint John the Baptist. Lunch and dinner included. Overnight in Jerusalem.
March 21: Today we visit the Mount of Olives, including Ascension Chapel and Pater Noster. We will walk Palm Sunday Road to Dominus Flevit, where Jesus wept over Jerusalem, then continue into the Garden of Gethsemane. We will visit the Church of Agony, the Grotto of Gethsemane, and the empty tomb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. After lunch, we will go to Mount Zion to visit Saint Peter in Galicantu, Dormition Abbey, the Upper Room, and King David’s Tomb. Lunch and dinner included. Overnight in Jerusalem.
March 22: We will begin with an early morning walk along the Via Dolorosa, ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This morning we will also visit the Temple Mount. Later we will visit the Church of Saint Ann and the Pools of Bethesda. Then it’s over to Ecce homo and Judgment hall, where Jesus stood before Pontus Pilate. Dinner included. Most flights to the US depart late tonight.
$4,100 per person – ground only.
The cost is per person, in double occupancy, meaning two people to a room.
I match singles with other traveling singles (of the same sex) and that always works out great. If you are uncomfortable sharing a room with a stranger, you can request a single room for an additional $900. Single rooms are limited.
Included in the price
Accommodations for 8 nights
We are staying one night at Herods on the Mediterranean Sea in Tel Aviv.
We are staying three nights at the boutique hotel Sofia, right on the Sea of Galilee.
We are staying four nights at Notre Dame in Jerusalem, just a few minutes walk to the Holy Sepulcher.
Breakfast daily plus 14 additional meals, including 9 meals in some of my favorite restaurants.
Drinks, including wine, is included in all our restaurant lunches and dinners.
Airport transfers both ways between TLV and our hotels.
All group ground transportation
We’ll be traveling in a private motor coach.
Full time service of a local tour guide
My local guide Shafik will be with us throughout the pilgrimage.
Full time service of a tour director
I’ll be with you at all times.
No hidden costs
If we do it as a group, it’s included in the price! You are responsible only for the meals you have on your own, souvenirs you wish to buy, and anything you want to do in your free time.
Once I receive your deposit, your tour price will not go up!
All tips for group meals, guides, and drivers
Would you believe that many tour companies require you to tip as you go? Not only does that add to the advertised sticker price of a tour, it’s also a huge hassle to you! No need to worry about that here. Tips are already included.
Entry fees and tours
All entry fees and tours to our included group activities.
We have a lot planned, but time on your own is important. We take our time in churches to give you the opportunity for prayer and reflection. We also include free time for you to explore, shop, relax, even get tattoos on your own.
*** Before you book a flight, wait for me to confirm we have enough people to make the trip happen.
You should arrive at TLV no later than March 15th. Send me your flight info once booked.
You should depart no earlier than the evening of March 22nd. We have dinner together on the 22nd before heading to the airport. Most direct flights to the US depart around 10 or 11 PM. If you have a European connection, your flight may depart in the morning of March 23rd. Just let me know and I’ll arrange your airport transfer and hotel stay at no extra charge.
Most airlines are offering free changes should anything happen to the trip. Some airlines are not offering refunds, but rather a credit.
If you need to cancel your trip for any reason, if the situation in the Holy Land changes and we need to cancel or postpone the trip, it’s your responsibility to work with your airline to cancel, reschedule, or request refunds.
Your COVID tests
You’ll need a PCR before your flight to TLV, an antigen on arrival, and a rapid before the flight the the US. Full details in the next section…
Entry & Exit Requirements
Starting March 1st, Israel will allow anyone (vaccinated or unvaccinated) with a negative PCR COVID test taken within 72 hours before arrival to enter the country.
You will also take an antigen test on arrival in TLV. This test is not included in the price as you will pay them directly.
To go home: The US requires everyone, regardless of vaccination status, returning to the US from abroad to pass a COVID test within 24 hours before departure. The test is $35 per person and will take place at the airport – the price of the test is NOT included, you’ll pay directly to the nurse.
What if you test positive on arrival or before departure?
If you test positive at any point in the pilgrimage, you will have two options…
Quarantine at the current hotel (depending where we are in the trip). The room and meals (beyond the already included nights) will be at your own expense, but figure about $300 per day.
Or we will arrange for you to quarantine in a studio apartment with a fully stocked refrigerator, and 3 meals a day delivered to you. This too would cost about $300 per day. Israel requires a 7 day quarantine for a positive test. At the end of the 7 days, you must test negative with a PCR. Travel insurance can help with all of this.
Since Israel is allowing anyone in who passes a negative test, know that we could have people who are vaccinated on the trip and some who are not.
If you are uncomfortable around those who are not vaccinated, or those who are vaccinated, this is not the trip for you.
As of this writing, masks are only required inside public places, with no exceptions made for vaccinated people. No exceptions are made for those who are unable to wear masks for medical or personal reasons. We are all visitors to a foreign country, so we must be willing to follow their laws.
We will follow the local laws and the request of our bus driver. That means if masks are required while outside in crowded places and/or on buses, we will comply. But it also means that if masks are not required outside and/or on buses, then it will be up to the individual to wear a mask or not.
If you are uncomfortable around those who do wear masks, or those who do not wear masks when not required by law, this is not the trip for you.
Openings and Closings
Currently, everything in the Holy Land is open, including churches, museums, restaurants, cafes, and bars. But keep in mind that things can change. Again, we need to be flexible. If something unexpectedly closes, we will look for a good alternative.
I want you to feel comfortable signing up for one of the first post-pandemic pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
As this trip is only 3 weeks out, I strongly recommend Trip Insurance. A “Cancel for Any Reason” plan will let you, well, cancel for ‘most’ any reason. Most plans should allow for at least a 75% refund should you need to cancel at any time before departure. I have a friend who specializes in trip insurance, you can contact him directly, but you are under no obligation to use him and I don’t get any sort of kick backs, so shop around and find what is best for you.
If for any reason I need to cancel or postpone the trip, you will be refunded 100% of the cost of the pilgrimage.
Use the form below to sign up for this pilgrimage. If you have any questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You’ll be able to pay by credit card or check. Payment info will be emailed to you once you sign up.