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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
This is my first booking with A & K and the whole experience was outstanding. I would say it was 110%.
- NC, North Somerset
Suggested itineraries in Israel
Highlights of Israel
Highlights of Jordan & Israel
Small Luxury Group Journeys - Ancient Wonders: Jordan & Israel
Highlights of Jerusalem
Luxury Small Group Journeys - Israel: Crossroads of History