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Far more than the sum of its history, Israel is a fascinating and diverse country with both attractive countryside and a buzzing and glamorous capital. Israel's historic and cultural credentials need little introduction. This small country is at the centre of several world religions and has a history which has changed the world and a legacy which can be felt virtually everywhere, from the Crusader city of Akko to the atmospheric sights of Jerusalem and Nazareth. Perhaps the only thing that defines the country is incredible diversity;this is a true melting pot of people, cultures, traditions and religions which have co-existed for thousands of years –albeit not always harmoniously. If curiosity outweighs your hesitation, you'll be pleasantly surprised to discover a beautiful country with much to enjoy. Many visits begin in Tel Aviv, arguably the Middle East's most cosmopolitan city where you'll discover excellent modern culture –including delicious food, world-class art, fantastic shopping and throbbing nightlife –juxtaposed against thousands of years of history. Jerusalem, Nazareth, the Mount of Beautitudes and the Sea of Galilee are all of great historical importance, but offer more, too. Israel's people are passionate, spirited and diverse;city neighbourhoods provide an insight into the true modern Israel. Rural areas are not only beautiful but allow you to meet local food and wine artisans. For relaxation, recline on the beach in Tel Aviv or head to the Dead Sea to bathe in cleansing waters and enjoy a mineral treatment.
Israel with A&K
Israel maybe small, but as a cultural, historic and religious destination, it's a giant. A complex giant. Witness Friday in Jerusalem's Old City. At noon, thousands of Muslims head for prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock, followed, three hours later, by Christian pilgrims from around the world retracing the Way of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa, and then, at sunset, throngs of Jewish worshippers ushering in the Sabbath at the Western Wall. All within a few hundred yards.
To get the most out of this remarkable country, where history oozes from the sun-bleached stone and desert wilderness sits alongside vibrant contemporary life, you need the most highly qualified, passionate guides. And that means A&K. We select our's to match our guests' interests, be it biblical archaeology, Byzantine history or modern art. Perhaps its Jewish heritage, flora and fauna, or even cuisine - the Old City's premium hummus, Bethlehem's ultimate kebab or Mahne Yehuda Market, where falafel and shawarma stands, cafes and restaurants are laced through250 stalls. Add in the best vehicle fleet and long established contacts, and we arrange safe seamless travel through this intoxicating nation.
Take an Abercrombie & Kent luxury holiday to Israel in 2014 and 2015 and we'll reveal two very contrasting cities. As locals say: Go to Jerusalem to pray, Tel Aviv to play. They aren't joking. Just 45 minutes from Jerusalem's Wailing Wall, Holocaust Museum and Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean coast, belongs to a different world. It's modern, rich and dynamic, with hi-tech start-ups and a hedonistic beach scene.
You'll find a very different sea at Galilee. At the waterside town of Capernaum, one of the oldest synagogues - Jesus once taught - is overlooked by Mt Beatitudes, scene of the Sermon on the Mount, just 400 yards from where Peter was appointed the first among the apostles.
And you're only just starting. There's the subtropical Red Sea playground of Eilat, the Judean desert wilderness: site of John the Baptist's teachings, Masada's dramatic fortification, and the salt-rich Dead Sea - the earth's lowest point with its unique mud spa treatments - overlooked by Qumran, hiding place of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
It's a compelling mix - and with A&K it's all possible.
Best time to be there
Israel can be visited throughout the year although the ideal time is in the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). The climate is cooler and temperatures are mild in these months making it the perfect time to explore the country.
Tel Aviv (British Airways, Easyjet)
4 hours 50 minutes direct
GMT +2 hours
No mandatory vaccinations
An outstanding trip from the start to the finish. The local guides in China were knowlageable, friendly and went the extra mile. A unique experience and having been A & K'd it is difficult to imagine how anyone else can top the experience.
- JM, Carlisle
Our experts can tailor-make the perfect holiday to suit your individual requirements, however, if you need inspiration or a starting point, below are some of our suggested trips and experiences:
Below are some of our suggested places to stay:
To find out more about our Europe team, click on the consultant links below or call them on 01242 547 703 or enquire online
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Our recent awards
I am most grateful for your (Nicola Wallington) guide selection. Our guide was knowledgable, patient, polite, considerate, perfect in German and can be highly recommended. It was a stroke of genius on your part to have him with us during the whole trip. We would have been lost without him.
- CE, Switzerland