Join this gay Israel adventure tour for a high-adrenaline exploration of the antiquity, geography, and culture of Israel! Soak up thousands of years of history by exploring the famous cultural sights of the region, and also hiking, canyoning, caving, kayaking, and more. This is Not your grandma’s church tour! Consider an optional extension afterward to visit Petra and other landmarks of Jordan.
If you are serious about visiting Israel, but you don’t want to join your grandmother’s church tour, then this is the tour for you. This itinerary is an order of Israel with a side of adrenaline. While Israel is well known for being the home to three of the world’s most important religions and filled with significant historical and religious sites, Israel is unlike anywhere else in the world when it comes to extreme adventure sports.
Each day of this gay tour is filled with action-packed adventure! From rappelling down waterfalls, cliffs and salt tubes, to swimming through canyons, kayaking the Mediterranean, and riding camels into the sunset. Enjoy the view of the dead sea, after hiking the snake trail to the ancient fortress of Masada.
We start and end our tour in modern Tel Aviv. We will explore central and northern Israel to visit the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights. We will also visit the most famous sites in and around Jerusalem including King David’s tomb, the room of the Last Supper, the Western Wall and the Arab market And for those with more time, our three-night extension to Petra, Jordan adds another rich chapter to your exploration of the region.
• Start and end the tour in a beachfront hotel in modern Tel Aviv, near the gay beach.
• Experience Tel Aviv by day and night including a Mayumana Performance (if available that night).
• Kayak and hike in northern Israel and the Galilee.
• Snorkel the Northern Coastline near Cesarea.
• See the famous sites of Jerusalem including the Western Wall, Mt. Zion and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
• Soak your troubles away in the rejuvenating waters of the Dead Sea.
• Hike up Masada’s famous Snake Trail
• Enjoy an evening camel ride under a canopy of stars.
• Join the optional extension to see the cliff-buildings of Petra, Jordan, and the Red Sea city of Eilat, Israel, where you’ll have a chance to dive or swim with dolphins.
Day 1 -
Our Israeli hosts will meet you upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) and provide a private transfer to our Tel Aviv hotel. We’ll have our orientation tour and our Welcome Dinner tonight at a Tel Aviv restaurant.
Day 2 -
Begin the day with a drive along Tel Aviv’s coastline to Jaffa. Visit the artists’ quarter and Jaffa’s ancient flea market. Pass by Jaffa’s recently renovated Turkish governor’s offices (the Seraya Building). Proceed to the area of the old Turkish train station, now called “HaTachana” (the station).
Proceed to Neve Tsedek (Oasis of Justice), Tel Aviv’s first neighborhood outside of Jaffa. The architecture of Neve Tzedek is definitely one of the highlights in the area, including beautiful old houses restored to grandeur by modern architects and designers. We’ll continue on to Rothschild Blvd. where there are over 5000 Bauhaus buildings, the largest number in any one city in the world. UNESCO has recognized this district as a “World Heritage Site.”
Enjoy a lunch break at Tel Aviv’s Gay Community Center. This afternoon enjoy a Segway ride along the seaside promenade from the old north Tel Aviv port to the entrance of Jaffa. Once in Jaffa, you will have the opportunity to kayak in the warm Mediterranean waters and appreciate the beauty of the port from the sea.
This evening we’ll enjoy a Mayumana music and theatrical performance (if available on that night).
Day 3 -
Drive to ancient Caesarea – an enchanted place that contrasts unique architecture against the blue of the sea. This is King Herod’s masterpiece, in which he fulfilled his dream and built a magnificent Roman city that was the largest city in Israel.
We’ll next stop at the Mei Kedem (“Ancient Water”) water tunnel in Alona Park for a perfect day of adventure, especially if you don’t mind getting wet. When built 2000 years ago, it was used to supply water to ancient Caesarea. Today, we will walk through the water tunnel built during the period of Herod and Hadrian and explore the network of canals, tunnels, and aqueducts engineered so long ago. Though the tunnel is six kilometers long, today’s tour only goes through 280 meters of it, (but with water up to your knees).
Time permitting, we will pass by the Baha’i Temple in Haifa.
Our next stop is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Akko, where we will tour the remaining sites of this underground Crusader city. We will walk through the ancient Templar tunnel, visit the ancient port, walk along the city walls and visit the colorful market. The old port area of Akko, surrounded by walls, has been occupied since the time of the Phoenicians. The present-day city features an Ottoman fort from the 18th and 19th centuries and mosques.
Our next stop is the city of Nahariya where we will bike along the sea from Nahariya to Rosh Hanikra. If weather and sea conditions allow, we will transfer from bikes to kayaks to see the grottos that are accessible only from the sea.
Day 4 -
As we drive east toward the Western Galilee, get ready for a spectacular overlook and hike near the Rainbow Cave Arch. The ceiling of the cave collapsed millennia ago, leaving only an arch. The arch provides one of the most beautiful views in all of Israel. From here you can see the sparkling Mediterranean Sea to the west, and the entire Galilee to the east.
Rappel off this mammoth stone arch, sailing through the air with an amazing panoramic view surrounding us. Then pull yourself up with cables for the stunning and adventurous 25-minute hike back up. And don’t be surprised if you are accompanied by curious mountain goats (who need neither rope nor cable to traverse the arch).
Next we will visit the village of Beit Jann, home to 10,200 people, all of whom are Druze Bar (a single Muslim family that arrived in 1948). Today we will enjoy our lunch with the Druze and experience their hospitality.
This afternoon we will drive across the Galilee to Mount Arbel where we will marvel at the sheer cliff, from whose peak we have a spectacular view. Then we will descend the Arbel on foot, on a narrow path assisted by implanted grasp spikes, to Wadi Hamam.
Mount Arbel, like Masada, was a Jewish outpost against the Romans. The Jews would hide in the caves in the middle of the cliff, where the Romans couldn’t reach them. The Jews would have to rappel down or climb up to get to the caves. One of the fiercest battles of the Roman invasion took place here. The Jews would throw rocks at the Romans as they were climbing up and knock them back down the cliff.
Day 5 -
After breakfast, we will enjoy one of the best activities in Israel: canyoning in the Black Canyon, a deep canyon of volcanic stone. Get ready for the most amazing hiking, rappelling and swimming experience, near the breath-taking Golan Heights. This exhilarating canyoning experience is a must for all water-lovers! You will see beautiful birds, small animals and lots of water (especially as you rappel down waterfalls) on this captivating tour through the wild jungle, hidden in this canyon oasis.
Day 6 -
This morning we start our day on bikes. We will bike around the perimeter of the Hula Valley, through the fruit orchards and along the waterside. This 8.50 km (5.28 mile) course is level and paved. We stop at the bird-observatories before returning to our hotel to check out.
From here we will make a short drive to the Mount of Beatitudes. This is the traditional site of Jesus’ delivery of the Sermon on the Mount, probably the most famous sermon of all time. It is located on a small hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee near Tabgha.
We proceed to St. Peter’s hometown of Capernaum, where ruins of a majestic synagogue were found. Our path continues to Tabgha, which is the traditional site of the miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fishes by Jesus Christ, and of his fourth appearance after the resurrection.
We will next drive along the shores of the Sea of Galilee to the capital of the Galilee, Tiberias. We’ll stop along the way at the amazing excavations of Beit Shean, which are located at the crossroads of major thoroughfares. Beit Shean was first established during the 5th Century BC in the heart of the fertile Galilee area and is known for being blessed with plenty of water. During the Roman period, pagans lived here side-by-side with Jews and Samaritans. During its Hellenistic period, the city was the capital of the 10 Greek cities (including Jerash in Jordan) that were collectively known as the Decapolis.
From here we proceed south through the Jordan Valley along the banks of the Jordan River. We will pass by the ancient town of Jericho and ascend through the Judean desert until we reach Jerusalem. We will stop at one of the hilltops surrounding Jerusalem for an amazing view before checking into our hotel.
Day 7 -
Today we explore the Old City of Jerusalem, home to three great religion traditions: Jewish, Christian and Muslim. We will begin our tour at Mount Zion where we see the traditional tomb of King David and the Room of the Last Supper. We then proceed to the Jewish Quarter, where we will visit the Western Wall, and view the Southern Wall excavations. Here we can also view the Dome of the Rock, Islam’s third holiest site.
Next is the Broad Wall and the Cardo, the shopping street of Jerusalem 2000 years ago. We will then follow the Via Dolorosa through the narrow lanes of the Old City to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. No visit to the Old City would be complete without testing your negotiating skills in the old marketplace.
When we leave the old city through the Jaffa Gate, don’t forget to pay your respects in front of the two almost forgotten tombs – those of the architects of the Old City Walls who were killed by the Ottoman Sultan Suliman the Magnificent in 1538, since they were the only people that knew all of the “secrets of the wall.”
Tonight we attend the Sound and Light Show at the Tower of David Museum. The walls of the Citadel serve as the stage for a nighttime show of sight and sound. Watch as the story of Jerusalem unfolds through giant breathtaking virtual reality images, accompanied by original music. All of this is presented amidst the archaeological sites in the Citadel’s courtyard.
Day 8 -
After breakfast, we will proceed to Yad Vashem, Israel’s hallowed memorial to Holocaust victims. As the Jewish people’s living memorial to the Holocaust, Yad Vashem safeguards the memory of the past and imparts its meaning for future generations. Yad Vashem was established in 1953 as the world center for documentation, education, research and commemoration of the Holocaust.
After the visit to Yad Vashem, we continue on to the Dead Sea. We will drive east across a portion of the Judean Desert to get to Dead Sea Basin, then south on the seaside road. Once we arrive at our hotel, we will have the opportunity to enjoy the hotel’s spa facilities and treatments, as well as floating in the Dead Sea.
Day 9 -
This morning we take a dawn hike up the winding snake trail to Masada, the ancient fortress of King Herod. We will tour the fortress and see the ruins of the ancient palace, bathhouse, synagogue and fortification on top of this isolated plateau. We will return to our bus by a cable car and drive a short distance to Ein Gedi, a natural oasis with four natural springs.
From here we hike the Tsafit Trail. The combination of Ein Gedi’s location and freshwater sources allows a wide variety of plant and animal species to thrive side by side in this otherwise completely barren landscape. Flora includes the Acacia, the Christ-Thorn, and the Sodom Apple. Alongside the streambed, vegetation such as giant reeds and cattails abound, while the cliff walls are home to various types of moss and ferns. Among the mammals in Ein Gedi are herds of ibex and groups of hyrax, which visitors can meet up close. Nocturnal animals include foxes, wolves, hyenas, and even the occasional spotted leopard.
Many remnants of human settlement have been found in the reserve, including a temple going back to the Chalcolithic Period, the copper and stone era more than 5,500 years ago. A Jewish settlement existed at Ein Gedi for more than 1,200 years, beginning in seventh century BC. In the third century, they built a synagogue whose beautiful mosaic floor is a highlight of the visit to Ein Gedi. The remains of an ancient irrigation system show how the inhabitants of the past lived.
Tonight we take a sunset camel ride to our Bedouin camp for a bonfire and feast. We will enjoy traditional dishes of our nomadic hosts such as vegetable and rice dishes, kebabs, stuffed chickens, and salads. We will sleep in authentic Bedouin tent-cabins and enjoy a tranquil night in the desert. Before turning in for the night, be sure to spend a few minutes away from the lights of our camp to drink in the panoply of stars in the deep clear sky.
Day 10 -
Today we will take a completely different kind of hike. We will explore Fox’s Chimney, a natural salt cave of a type that is unique to Israel and Iran. We will don headlamps and helmets for some exciting caving and rappel in the dark.
We will start with a gorgeous 30-minute hike up small canyons and over the mountainous desert terrain. As we hike, we’ll have magnificent views of Mount Moav and Mount Edom. Soon we will come to a big hole in the ground, where we will rappel down 65 meters (over 210 feet) through a beautiful and massive tube of salt, down into the belly of the earth. At the bottom, it is pitch dark. We will use our headlamps to explore these ancient caverns. This is real caving, crawling through tight spots, climbing into huge chambers, and seeing sights that few other people have ever seen! We will see fabulous salt formations such as snow white stalactites and stalagmites. (As you may recall from visiting caves as a kid, stalactites stick tightly to the ceiling, while stalagmites might reach the ceiling someday.)
At the end of our expedition, we will exit into the daylight of a Dead Sea beach. After this unique and exciting tour, we will drive to the city of Tel Aviv, where we will enjoy a farewell dinner in a Tel Aviv restaurant, and spend our last night at a Tel Aviv hotel.
Day 11 -
The morning is free to wander Tel Aviv until time for your included transfer to Ben Gurion International Airport.
For those with additional time to spend in the region, we invite you to join us for our extension to the citadel of Petra in Jordan, selected in 2007 as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. On this extension, we also pause for a couple of nights at a beachfront hotel in Eilat, Israel, where we offer activities in the warm waters of the Red Sea.
Day 11 -
We start the extension with a morning flight from Tel Aviv to Eilat. After a short transfer from Eilat Airport to the Arava border crossing, we will clear border formalities for both Israel and Jordan, then meet our Jordanian guide on the Aqaba, Jordan side of the border.
From Aqaba, we will drive north through the barren desert hills to Wadi Rum, where we will have a sunset jeep ride through the dunes where Lawrence of Arabia once made his headquarters. From there we will drive to our hotel in the town of Wadi Moussa, just outside Petra.
Day 12 -
This morning our guide will give us a tour of the renowned archaeological site of Petra. We start on a plateau, then gradually descend through a crack in the mountain until we round a bend and see the Treasury, the most famous view among numerous buildings that were carved out of the rock cliffs long ago. Our guide will show us several sites of interest, then we will have some free time to explore more of the historic buildings on our own.
In the late afternoon, we will return to Aqaba, cross back over the border, then transfer to our beachfront hotel in Eilat, where we will stay for two nights.
Day 13 -
After breakfast, we will go to Dolphin Reef, where we will have a chance to swim and snorkel with dolphins. Experienced divers may also have an opportunity to scuba dive at the facility.
After returning to our hotel in the early afternoon there will be free time until we meet up with a jeep driver for an excursion into the Eilat Mountains, with the desert displaying the rich hues of late afternoon.
Day 14 -
Today’s main activity is a lunch cruise on the Red Sea. Then in the late afternoon, we will fly back to Tel Aviv, with flight times allowing for connections with late night flights home. If your flight is the next day, or if you would like more time in Israel, we can add a Tel Aviv hotel stay for you as well.