Israel is one of the oldest, holiest and trendiest places on earth! For more than 3000 years it has been a number one vacation destination. Everyone - including the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Turks, French and other visitors – sailed to her shores, or crossed her borders on land. Today a Biblical past meets a cosmopolitan present and Israel is not just a destination for spiritual renewal. It’s a great leisure destination with fascinating history, culture, picturesque beauty and welcoming people. And now with new flights to Tel Aviv on Air Transat, there are different travel options that make it easy to discover Israel’s most beautiful sites and attractions.
Israel is a small country and less than 500 kms from North to South. It’s a 7hr drive from the Golan Heights in the North to the Red Sea Resort of Eilat in the South. From East to West it is only a 2hr drive! You start from the Mediterranean Coast in the East and arrive at the Jordan River Valley in the West. This means that the treasures of this compact country are very accessible from the major cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and the visitor can see Israel’s wonders without travelling vast distances.
Thanks to Israel’s chameleon culture – Tel Aviv easily combines its role as the ultimate beach destination with its position as one of the most ancient and holiest cities in history. It is a bustling, modern metropolis boasting excellent beaches with fine golden sand. It’s known for its hip atmosphere, authentic Middle Eastern flavour and ample opportunities for fun.
Tel Aviv - “the City that Never Stops” - is situated on 14 kilometers of glorious Mediterranean seacoast. The sea plays a huge part in the Tel Aviv lifestyle and water sports are very popular. From sailboats and windsurfing, to catamarans and jet skis, it is possible to rent and take lessons along the coast. Water skiing can be done in a man-made lake in South Tel Aviv, whilst rowing is available in the Yarkon Park. It is also possible to dive off the coast of Tel Aviv.
Tayelet, Tel Aviv’s beach area, is home to most of the city’s bigger hotels and also has a romantic waterfront promenade. However, Tel Aviv began its history as Jaffa and the Old City was built during the Ottoman Empire. It’s stone houses and narrow alleyways now comprise the picturesque artists‘ quarter and tourist centre. Among the main attractions of Old Jaffa are Gan HaPisga - the Summit Garden and walls of the old city.
The Tel Aviv port lies at the northwest corner and has a large concentration of entertainment centres, nightclubs, and restaurants. Old Tel Aviv port offers restaurants, bars, shops, and bakeries - many overlooking the sea. And the romantic Neve Tzedek neighbourhood is known for its pretty little streets and charming historic buildings as well as the sights, sounds and intriguing wares of the Carmel Market that are just minutes away.
It is perhaps not surprising that Tel Aviv boasts a UNESCO World Heritage designation. But how appropriate that this diamond of many facets has a completely unexpected and unusual claim to UNESCO fame! The central portion of Tel Aviv - which is known as ”The White City" - contains the largest group of buildings in the world built in the International Bauhaus style. This style, which originated in Germany and was based upon clean geometric shapes and asymmetry, flourished in the 1930s.
Just 45 minutes away you can experience an entirely different beat and pulse in Jerusalem. It’s a city of unparalleled beauty where thousands of years of glorious history intertwine with contemporary life. The city has modern infrastructure and museums – don’t miss the Israel Museum, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are located and Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. Yet at the same time - complex and interconnected Jerusalem is a Holy place for all three major world religions.
At Jerusalem‘s heart is the Old City, which is surrounded by a wall and divided into four quarters - Jewish, Armenian, Christian, and Muslim. Inside the walls are the important religious sites: the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount.
The Western Wall is an incredible sight and it is visited by millions of Jewish worshipers every year. The massive wall is a remnant of the Holy Temple and at the base the faithful offer prayers and notes containing heartfelt wishes are wedged between the crevices.
Many Christians are drawn to Jerusalem to follow in Christ’s footsteps. You can literally use the Bible as your guide book! The Christian quarter alone houses some 40 religious buildings (churches, monasteries and pilgrims‘ hostels). One of the most prominent and important sites in the Christian quarter is the Via Dolorosa or the Way of Sorrows. According to Christian tradition, Jesus‘ final path led from the courthouse to Golgotha Hill, where he was crucified and buried.
Several of the most important Christian relics are housed in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. At this church you will find the anointing stone on which Jesus‘ body was laid before his burial and Jesus‘ grave.
Jerusalem also has sites that are sacred to the Islamic religion. The Temple Mount, especially seen from the Mt. of Olives, is Jerusalem's most iconic landscape. It occupies roughly 1/6th of the land area of Jerusalem Old City, but it doesn't actually fit into any of the four quarters.
The Temple Mount, as it has stood for the past 2,000 years, isn't even a mountain, but rather a man-made platform. The 'platform', the largest in the classical world, was built by Herod, who erected a network of vaults and arches to create an expansive plaza around the Temple. The Western Wall is one of the retaining walls of this platform.
The Temple Mount is holy to both Jews and Muslims. There are both Jewish and Islamic traditions that revere the Rock as the foundation or, alternately, navel of the world. For most of the past 1,300 years the Temple Mount has been a Muslim holy place called Haram Esh-Sharif or the Noble Sanctuary. Its two main shrines, the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock are dedicated to the Night Journey of Mohammed, which made Jerusalem Islam's third holiest city.
With all this waiting for you – the exciting news is that Transat now flies to Tel Aviv and also offers a wide choice of city stays, twin centre holidays, day excursions and tours to help you explore the rich history, landscapes, beaches, city chic and culture of Israel.
This year Air Transat is flying to Tel Aviv for the first time operating service between June 21 - October 25, 2017. Flights are direct from Montreal with connections from Toronto and the flight time is 10 ½ hrs. Flights are on Wednesdays and Sundays from Montreal and on Wednesday from Toronto. Fly in comfort as Air Transat have been voted No 1 Leisure Airline in North America (3yrs in a row) and 2nd best in the World!
Plus there is lots of flexibility in how you put the various elements of your vacation together. Click on the brochure icon here to explore your options.
Transat offers city packages in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, or a combination of both cities. These combine your flights with a choice of hotel accommodation, transfers and breakfast every day. Stay at a Transat hotel in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem and you also receive a benefits card that includes free entry into selected attractions, as well as a discount booklet.
Transat offer a choice of five different hotels in Jerusalem. These are 4 and 5 star hotels in different districts of the city and some are close by the Old City. In Tel Aviv the choice expands to seven hotels than range between 3, 4 and 5 star accommodation. You can stay 2 mins from the beach, close to the city centre or right by the trendy Port entertainment district.
You can also book day excursions from Tel Aviv to get out and explore the rest of Israel.
If you want to tour the sites in depth then Transat has a number of dedicated tours to help you.
The “Discover Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Combo Tour” combines flights with a 9 days, 7 nights, tour that includes accommodation, 7 breakfasts and 20 visits to attractions and places of interest. You spend 4 nights in Tel Aviv and 3 nights in Jerusalem. There are days when you can explore on your own in each city, plus 4 days when you take guided tours to see some of the major sites.
The “Bible Land Tour" is exclusive to Transat and all departures are guaranteed. This tour combines flights with a 9 days, 7 nights, tour that includes accommodation, 14 meals (breakfast and dinner) and 20 visits to attractions and places of interest.
This is a motor coach tour and you stay in three different cities - 1 night in Tel Aviv, 2 nights in Tiberias on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and 4 nights in Jerusalem. The itinerary covers many of the top “must sees” in Israel.
Day 01 Toronto • Tel Aviv
Flight to Tel Aviv.
Day 02 Tel Aviv
Arrive in Tel Aviv and transfer to your hotel. (D)
Day 03 Tel Aviv • Jaffa • Caesarea • Megiddo • Tiberias 149 km
Take a short walking tour of the city of Jaffa and the picturesque alleys of the old, fortified town. We’ll pass by the House of Simon the Tanner and marvel at the views from the hilltop. We’ll drive north along the coast to the ruins of Caesarea, built by Herod the Great in honour of Augustus Caesar. Then it’s off to Megiddo, an ancient city inhabited continuously for more than five millennia and recognized as the site of Armageddon. After exploring its ancient ruins, we’ll drive to Tiberias for your overnight stay. (BB/D)
Day 04 Tiberias • Capernaum • Tabgha • Golan Heights • Tiberias 120 km
Start the day in historic Tiberias, where Jesus lived, sojourned and preached on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Our next destination will be Capernaum, the centre of Jesus’s ministry. Then we journey on to Tabgha, the site of the miraculous Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes, and a visit to the church with its famous mosaic floor. Then continue to the Mount of Beatitudes, the hill upon which Jesus was said to have delivered the Sermon on the Mount and picked his 12 apostles. We’ll then ascend the Golan Heights for a panoramic view of Mount Hermon, the rugged plateau of the Golan Heights, and beneath it the green pastoral Hula Valley. Return to Tiberias for your overnight stay. (BB/D)
Day 05 Tiberias • Cana • Nazareth • Beit She’an • Jerusalem 233 km
Travel to Cana to visit the Wedding Church, where Jesus performed his first miracle, turning water into wine. Proceed to Nazareth, where Jesus spent his childhood, and visit the Church of the Annunciation, built on the site where archaeologists believe the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary. You’ll also see Mary’s Well and the Church of St. Joseph. Travel through the Jordan Valley to Beit She’an. Explore the excavations of this beautiful preserved Roman city that was destroyed in an earthquake. Continue to Jerusalem for your overnight stay. (BB/D)
Day 06 Jerusalem • Massada • Qumran • Jerusalem 273 km
Travel from the Dead Sea to Massada, situated on an isolated cliff in the Judaean Desert and declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001. Take a cable car up to the fortress, which was the last stronghold of the Jewish zealots in their war against the Romans. Visit the excavations, King Herod’s palace, the synagogue, bathhouse and much more. Enjoy the breathtaking view of the Roman camps and the Dead Sea. En route to the Dead Sea, you’ll visit the Qumran Caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Time and weather permitting, you’ll have the opportunity to float in the salty, mineral rich waters of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the Earth’s surface. Return to Jerusalem for overnight stays. (BB/D)
Day 07 Jerusalem
Start the day at Mount Scopus and enjoy the spectacular panoramic view of Jerusalem. Your tour will include the Mount of Olives, a stop at the site where Jesus first gave the Lord’s Prayer, and the Garden of Gethsemane, where Judas betrayed Jesus. In the Old City, you’ll see the Western Wall and the actual site of the Second Temple, the Temple Mount. Walk along the Via Dolorosa and visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Just outside the Old City is Mount Zion, where you’ll visit King David’s Tomb and the room of the Last Supper. (BB/D)
Day 08 Jerusalem
Head to Yad Vashem, the official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, established in 1953 at the foot of Mount Herzl. Then explore the picturesque village of Ein Karem, known to be the birthplace of John the Baptist. Visit the Israel Museum and see its miniature model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period, as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls, housed in its Shrine of the Book wing. See the Knesset (House of Parliament) and the campus of Hebrew University. Then head to Bethlehem to see the Church of the Nativity and Manger Square. (BB/D)
Day 09 Jerusalem • Tel Aviv • Toronto 50 km
Transfer to the airport for your return flight (via Montreal). (BB)
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