Private Day Tour: St. George's Monastery, Wadi Qelt, Mar Saba, And Bethlehem

Overview

Enjoy a comprehensive overview of historic Bethlehem and around on this 8-hour private tour. You'll visit religious monuments, including St. George's Monastery, Mar Saba Monastery, the Church of the Nativity, the Church of St. Catherine, the Milk Grotto Shrine, the Cave of St. Jerome, and Shepherd's Field, where the angel appeared to the shepherds. Along the way, enjoy a falafel lunch and see some of Banksy's graffiti art.

Highlights

  • Step back in time on a history tour
  • Private tour is operated with just your party and a guide/driver
  • Informative, friendly and professional guide
  • Lunch included

Details about this tour

Greet your private guide-cum-driver at 8am your Bethlehem hotel or the Bethlehem side of Checkpoint 300 if coming from Jerusalem: Checkpoint 300 is about 30 minutes from Damascus Gate by bus. Women should dress modestly and bring a scarf to ensure admission to St. George's Monastery.

Relax in air-conditioned comfort as you drive for around 45 minutes to St. George's Monastery in Wadi Qelt. Along the way, you'll pass by various religious sites: St. Theodosius' Monastery, where some believe the wise men hid from Herod the Great after they visited the baby Jesus in Bethlehem, and al-Eizariya, which many believe to be Lazarus' Bethany village.

Stroll a short way down Kidron Valley to reach the monastery, which dates back to the fourth century, when monks first settled in the desert. They believed the site was where the Prophet Elijah was fed by ravens. Explore the complex with your guide, before driving a few minutes towards Bethlehem to Mar Saba.

The largest monastery in the Jerusalem Wilderness, Mar Saba Monastery dates back to the fifth century AD, and perches amid the southern cliffs of the Kidron Creek. Founded by Saint Sabas (Mar Saba in Arabic), it's been extensively expanded and fortified over the years. Please note: women are not allowed to enter the monastery. Everyone will enjoy a panoramic view of the site, but only men will be allowed to go inside and tour the monastery.

Your next stop is Beit Sahour, considered the city of the shepherds. Visit the Shepherd's Field, where the angel appeared to the shepherds and told them about Jesus' birth, then drive to a local restaurant for a classic falafel lunch.

From here it's not far to Bethlehem proper, where you'll start at the famous Church of the Nativity, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that's built on the spot where many believe Jesus was born: it's the world's oldest church in regular daily use. You'll also visit the Cave of St. Jerome, below the church, where many believe he translated the bible.

Finally, you'll visit the Church of St. Catherine and the Milk Grotto shrine, and see Banksy's graffiti pieces, before you drive back either to Checkpoint 300 or your Bethlehem hotel, where your tour will finish at 4pm.

Inclusions

  • Driver/guide
  • Private tour
  • Pickup from Checkpoint 300 or Bethlehem hotel
  • Drop-off at Checkpoint 300 or Bethlehem hotel
  • Entry/Admission - Church of the Nativity
  • Entry/Admission - St. George's Monastery
  • Entry/Admission - The Church of St. Catherine
  • Entry/Admission - Milk Grotto
  • Entry/Admission - Shepherd's Sanctuary
  • Entry/Admission - Cave of St. Jerome

Exclusions

  • Gratuities
  • Alcoholic drinks (available to purchase)
  • Food and drinks

Additional Info

Confirmation will be received at time of booking

A current valid passport is required on the day of travel

Not wheelchair accessible

A current valid passport is required on the day of travel

Passport name, number, expiry and country is required at time of booking for all participants

Walking is involved

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Cancellation Policy

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Tours booked using discount coupon codes will be non refundable.

Reviews

  • Donald C
    21-May-2017

    Michael was an amazing guide. The tour was everything we expected and more. Michael's knowledge was so appreciated, giving us an insight into the West Bank both Historically and Currently. I wouldn't hesitate sign up for this tour.

  • Ronan H
    24-Apr-2017

    This tour was excellent. More expensive than other tours but well worth it as we were able to customise the day to our liking. We visited Wadi Qelt, Jericho, Mar Saba, Herodium, Shepherd's Field and Bethlehem. Our guide, Michael Giacaman, was excellent. We honestly could not fault him. He was professional, courteous, very knowledgeable and gave us an unbiased glimpse of life in the West Bank. We were a bit apprehensive about visiting the West Bank, but we need not have been. Everyone we met made us feel very welcome and we actually felt safer in Bethlehem than we did in Jerusalem. Michael seemed to know everyone in Bethlehem, which was great for us, as we got access to areas we would not otherwise have got access to. We went on Easter Saturday and were lucky enough to be in Bethlehem for the Easter Holy Fire celebration, which was a wonderful experience.

  • Rubi X
    28-Mar-2017

    customized private tour, this is the best way to get around in that area.highly recommend.
    Michael is also really friendly and knowledgeable.

  • Antonia V
    25-Aug-2016

    Be aware there is no guide on the isreali side but you can take a taxi or public bus. There is no check exiting from israeli side but there is a check coming back so take your passport to get back. Our guide, Michael met us on the Palestine side of checkpoint 300. We were nervous going to and through check point on foot and the area is bleak and on the palestinian side it looks a bit untidy so doesn't inspire confidence but once through checkpoint we felt safe enough to the point of taking a public bus to return to Isreali side late afternoon.Michael is a great guide and he gave an unbiased view of what its like living as a christian in palestine. The tour hit all the spots including Banksy murals. We had a great lunch and this tour was the highlight of my trip. There are some great hotels so we may go back for a couple of days so we can explore more as there is so much to see. The people we met were very friendly and in my unbiased opinion it felt more welcoming than Jerusalem but it may be that its because I never thought I would get to visit Palestine which always sound dangerous on the news. There were lots of tourists in Bethlehem and Jericho. The holy sites are well looked after. This tour is recommended for all those who are curious about Palestine and what its like to live there as well as anyone wishing to see the holy sights. Michael is kind and generous. There are group tours but I don't think you can get the same level of information and see as much unless you do a private tour. Please go Palestine is so much more than what is shown on the news.

From
USD 440
Per Person
4 Reviews