This special crafted tour is specifically designed for Latter-Day Saints families and groups. It offers an intense and in-depth excursion of the Holy Land. It covers many of the significant historical landmarks in Israel, with an optional extension of touring Jordan. The destinations are a mix of Old Testament, New Testament, and Mormon heritage related sites. The tour also includes some fun and extreme activities, all combined to generate an awsome and unforgettable experience!
Day 1 – To the Galilee
WELCOME TO ISRAEL! Upon arrival, we will head to the north for a few days. Pending on the time of your landing, we could make a visit to Caesarea, where we will review the wealth of finds, and especially those relating to Paul’s prison (Acts 23-26) and the baptism of Cornelius by Peter (Acts 10).
We could also visit Megiddo, identified in the Apocalypse with “Armageddon” (Revelations 16:16), Mount Tabor, possible site of the transfiguration (Luke 9), or Nain, where Jesus raised from the Dead the Widow’s son (Luke 7).
Day 2 – Jesus and the Sea of Galilee
This day is devoted to exploring holy Christian sites around the Sea of Galilee. We start with a visit to the first century synagogue discovered in Magdala, hometown of Mary Magdalene. We then continue to the exhibition of the 2,000 year old wooden boat at Ginosar “Sea of Galilee Boat,” from where we can also go for a sail on the Sea of Galilee. After lunch, in a local fish restaurant, we continue to the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fish (Luke 9), the nearby Church of the Primacy of Peter (John 21), and of course – Capernaum, the “town of Jesus.” We end the day at the Mount of Beatitudes, the possible locations of the Sermon on the mount (Matthew 5).
Day 3 – On the Way to Damascus
Heading to the sources of the Jordan River, at one of its springs we exlpore ancient Caesarea Philippi (Banias), where Jesus named Simon- Yona “Peter”. Next we head up the Golan Heights, along the possible historical path “On the way to Damascus” (Acts 9). In the Golan heights, we will have a lunch break at a Druze village, and then head up to a panoramic view from the top of Mt. Bental. We will also drive along the Syrian border and learn about the modern conflicts in this region.
Day 4 – Nazareth and its Vicinity
Returning to the Galilee, our first stop will be te Wedding Church at Cana, where we will learn about Jesus’ First Miracle (John 2), and possibly conduct a renewal of the vows ceremony.
Next, we will head to Jesus’ hometown – Nazareth. Strolling through the local market we will visit the Church of Annunciation (Luke 1), its Archaeological Museum, the Synagogue Church (Luke 4), and S. Gabriel Church next to Nazareth’s main spring in antiquity (Mary’s Well). If time permits, we will also drive to Mount Precipice before heading to Jerusalem.
Day 5 – Biblical Jerusalem
The first day in Jerusalem will be devoted to learning about its foundation and Old Testament era by exploring the City of David. Under the Visitor Center we assess possible remains of King David’s Palace. Heading underground, we walk from Gihon Spring along the Canaanite Tunnel, to the Pool of Siloam, also known as the spot Where Jesus healed the blind man (John 9). We continue into the old city by walking along the underground Herodian era Drainage Channel, up to the Western wall at the Southern Wall Archaeological Park.
After a lunch break in the Jewish Quarter, we could visit the Temple Institute, and the possible location of Jesus’ interogation and arrest by the High Priest in the Herodian Quarter. We will also review some remains of Jerusalem’s fortifications from the time of King Zedekiah. These might be the wall and gate mentioned in I Nephi 4:5.
We end the day with visit to the site of the Last Supper (Cenacle) on Mount Zion. If time permits, we will also visit the sites of the Pentacost event and the rest place of Mary (Dormition Abbey), the First Century Church on Mount Zion?, and the site of Peter’s denial of Jesus (Petrus in Gallicantu).
Day 6 – Along the “Stations of the Cross”
We start the day at the famous Mount of Olives Viewpoint, where we can also visit the Chapel of the Ascension, the site where Jesus’ taught the Lord’s Prayer and the site where the Lord Wept (Dominus Flevit ). At the foot of Mount of Olives, we will visit the Garden of Gethsemane and Grotto, and Mary’s Tomb. We then enter the old city throught the Lions Gate, and visit the Pools of Bethesda, where Jesus healed a sick man (John 5). Next, we will join the Via Dolorosa. This is the holy path, by Christian tradition, from the place of Jesus’ trial to the site of his crucifixion – the Golgotha. After a lunch break along the way will reach Church of the Holy Sepulchre to see the Golgthotha and possibly enter the Tomb of Jesus.
Day 7 (Saturday) – BYU, Orson Hyde Memorial Park and Bethlehem
Saturday (Shabbath) will start with attending morning prayers at the beautiful Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center campus on Mount Scopus, followed by a visit to Orson Hyde Memorial park on Mount of Olives , the Garden Tomb, and a shopping opportunity at Jimmy’s Bazaar. Later, you will be lead by a Palestinian guide into Bethlehem, and learn about the birth of Jesus at the Church of Nativity. If time permits, you may also visit the Shepherds’ Field and Herodium.
Day 8 – Tour of the Dead Sea
Heading to the lowest point on the planet, we pass by Jericho and visit the baptism site (“Qasr el-Yahud”), where we could also conduct a ceremony, and later view the caves where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were found (Qumran). Among others, this is where the Copper Scroll was found. Its discovery forms a great parallel to the story of hiding the Brass Plates in antiquity.
Next, we will pass by the oasis of Ein Gedi, and possibly spot some local ibex. The main focus will be on the magnificent site of Masada, famed for its dramatic and tragic history. We end the day with an optional swim at the Dead Sea.
Day 9 – Temple Mount and Israel Museum
An early start will take us up to the Temple Mount, where we will be able to appreciate its current architecture and also learn about remains from the Jewish Temple period on the Temple Mount. We then continue to the Israel Museum, to see the famous Dead Sea Scrolls at the Shrine of the Book, assess Jerusalem at the time of Jesua at the First Century Model of Jerusalem, and review the highlights at the museum’s Archaeological Wing.
Day 10 – Tracing Goliath, Samson and Prophet Lehi
A day devoted to the low hill country side of Israel (the Shephela) will start at ancient Beth Shemesh, where we will learn about the capture of the Ark of the Covenant by the Philistines, as well as the unsuccessful love affairs of Samson. We then continue to the battle site of David and Goliath, and possibly collect a few pebbles from the local brook (deadly weapons as David proved…).
After lunch, we explore the major Biblical site Tel Lachish. If we set off-road transportation, we could drive to the site related to the estate of Lehi – Khirbet Beit Loya / Beit Lehi. If time and will permits, on the way back to Tel-Aviv we could also visit Emmaus-Nicopolis, where Jesus appeared after his resurrection according to Luke (24:13-31).
Day 11 – Jaffa and Tel-Aviv
The last day of the tour will be devoted to Old Jaffa and modern Tel-Aviv. We start with a review of remains from Canaanite times at Ramesses II’s Gate Garden, and then search for the House of Simon the Tanner at the Armenian home of the Zakarians. We continue to modern Tel-Aviv, and at Rothschild Boulevard present the site where the modern State of Israel was declared (“Independence Hall“), as well as Rabin Assassination site.
Optional Extension Tour to Jordan:
If you wish, we can also arrange an extensted Three days tour in Jordan, with a focus on Biblical history and archaeology.
Here is a possible schedule –
Day 12 – Tabernacle in the Wilderness
A 5 hour drive will get us to Eilat, with an optional stop (on the way) at Tel Be’er Sheva, Abraham’s Well in Beer-Sheva, or the Tabernacle Replica in Timna. We cross the border into Jordan, and drive another 1-2 hours to Wadi Rum or Wadi Musa for the night.
Overnight: Bedouin tents in Wadi Rum or a hotel in Wadi Musa
Day 13 – Petra and Lot’s Cave
An early start will get us to start on the hike into Petra along the Siq ahead of the crowds, and the heat. We will stop to gaze at the iconic tomb facade known as The Treasury (Arabic “Al-Khazneh”). We will later continue strolling along the main street of this fascinating ancient Nabatean city. If time and will permits, we could include a hike to the Monastery (Arabic: Ad Deir), the High Place of Scrifice, or to the Tomb of Aaron (Arabic: Jabel Haroun). Around noon, we will head north, with optional stops at Shobak, Lot’s Cave or Bab Edh-Dhra / Sodom and Gomorrah possible sites.
Overnight: Ma’in Hot Springs
Day 14 – Facing the Promised Land
In the morning, we will visit the site where John the Baptist was executed – Machaerus. We will then head into Madaba to appreciate the famous Madaba map, as well as a selection of other ancient mosaic floors. We will end the day with a visit to Mount Nebo, to view the Promised land Where Moses did!
Day 15 – Baptism site
Depending on the time of your departure from Amman, on the last day, we could visit the Baptism Site on the Jordanian side (Bethany beyond the Jordan), and/or visit Amman before flying out from the Amman airport.
We look forward to working with you to create an unforgettable tour experience. It will be our pleasure, and honor, to be part of your meaningful visit!
Contact Us to Inquire More about a Latter-Day Saints Tour to Israel
|(Lisa Sun, USA, from Tripadvisor)|
Amazing family trip!
Danny is every bit as good as all of these glowing reviews suggest. In December 2017, my extended family (a total of 17 people – including 6 adults and 11 children between the ages of 7 and 17) took a two-week tour with Danny.
The trip was the best trip of our lives, and Danny was an amazing guide.
He was patient with us as we tried to decide what we wanted to see and gave us excellent advice about what he thought our diverse group would enjoy seeing. Danny was infinitely knowledgeable, both about the logistics of visiting sites (and quick to make and suggest changes as conditions changed), and about the history of the places we visited.
With his guidance and willingness to adapt on the fly, we were able to see everything we had hoped to see and more. Danny has an extensive background in history and archaeology, including about the history and archaeology of Christian sites. My family is Christian (LDS/Mormon), and Danny did a great job of helping us to find and learn about sites that were of interest to us.
Sometimes we were interested in doing our own presentations/discussions at various sites, as well, and Danny always sensed when we wanted a little family time to discuss the religious significance of different places and was very respectful of our beliefs and the kind of experience we wanted to have together as a family.
Danny was equally engaging with adults and with kids, and he did an amazing job of keeping even the youngest in our group interested, entertained, and well fed.
He also organized our trip to Jordan, which was terrific as well. By the end of our two weeks, we had come to see Danny as a dear friend, and we loved meeting his son and the son of our amazing driver and playing a great game of soccer together.
I give Danny my highest recommendation and, indeed, I have since recommended Danny to a number of other friends and family members, some of whom are currently planning their own adventure with Danny.