Holy Land, Istanbul & Cappadocia Pilgrimage
Moderate – High
Join us on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Istanbul & Cappadocia with Fr. Jose Sanchez and Martha Hernandez. We will begin our pilgrimage following in the footsteps of Christ as we explore Bethlehem, Galilee, Nazareth, and Jerusalem. We then continue to Istanbul where we will spend four days exploring this incredible city before ending our pilgrimage with two days spent in Cappadocia.
Book With Confidence
All new travel bookings automatically come with our Book with Confidence Travel Plan*—free of charge. This plan gives pilgrims the ability to move their booking to another destination or simply a different available departure date in our vast travel portfolio, no questions asked. They just need to let us know 120 days* before departure and we’ll waive all penalties and get them booked on a new pilgrimage.
*The Book with Confidence Travel Plan allows for any new booking made with Holy Land Travel Center to be changed to a different destination or to another available departure date. Notice of change in travel plans must be given 120 days before departure; standard cancellation penalties will apply for full cancellation without rebooking or changes made within 120 days to departure. Applicable price and eligible promotions for the new tour will apply; if new trip is less expensive, a future travel credit will be issued for the difference in price. Cannot be applied to Passion Play Pilgrimages. No cash value. Credit is fully transferable. Offer reliant on space availability. Effective 10.7.2020. May be withdrawn at any time. Additional restrictions may apply; see Travel Terms & Conditions for details.
Arrival in The Holy Land
Upon arrival into Tel Aviv, we will be greeted by our Holy Land Travel Center representative and tour guide who will be accompanying us during the pilgrimage. We will immediately transfer to our hotel in Bethlehem. Overnight: Bethlehem (Dinner)
On our first day in the Holy Land, we present an overview for a better understanding of its geography and some of the key sites surrounding the area and what makes it such a unique area to the three major religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We then head to the village of Ein Karem, the birthplace of St John the Baptist and to the Church of Visitation where the Blessed Virgin Mary visited her cousin, Elizabeth, and proclaimed the ‘Magnificat’. In the afternoon we drive to the Shepherd’s Fields where the angels announced the birth of Jesus. Then we visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem that stands upon the site where Jesus was born. Overnight: Bethlehem (Breakfast, Dinner)
After breakfast, we head to Nazareth and the Basilica of Annunciation where we will celebrate Mass. We continue Cana, where couples will have the opportunity to renew wedding vows. We continue to Tiberias where we will enjoy a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum to see the synagogue and St Peter’s house, a visit to the Mount of the Beatitudes where the Sermon on the Mount was given, to Tabgha to see the splendid mosaic about the miracle of the loaves and fishes, and to the nearby Church of Peter’s Primacy where Peter was told ” Feed my lambs, feed my sheep.” There will be an unforgettable Mass near the shores of the Sea of Galilee at the Primacy or Mt Beatitudes. Dinner and overnight at our hotel. Overnight: Tiberias (Breakfast, Dinner)
This morning we head to Mount Tabor, the site of the Transfiguration where we celebrate Mass. Continue to the river Jordan where we remember Christ’s Baptism. Afterwards we proceed to the Oasis town of Jericho, visit the excavations of the oldest city in the world and view Mt. Temptation where Jesus fasted and was tempted by Satan. On the way back there is time for a swim (or rather a float!) in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea. Continue to Bethlehem for dinner and overnight. Overnight: Bethlehem (Breakfast, Dinner)
Jerusalem, The Passion of Jesus' Last Hours
We begin our day with a visit to the Mount of Olives where Jesus prayed, continue to the Chapel of Ascension where Jesus ascended into heaven. Next, we visit the church of Pater Noster where Jesus taught the disciples the Lord’s Prayer. Next, we walk the Palm Sunday road, stopping at Dominus Flevit, where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. Then to Gethsemane, the Rock of Agony where Jesus prayed His last prayer before his arrest. Next, we head to Mount Zion, visiting the cave of Assumption (Dormition Abbey) of Mary to heaven. We visit the room of the Last Supper, and the Church of St. Peter Gallicantu, where Peter denied Jesus three times. We end our day visiting the Palace of Caiaphas, home of the corrupt Jewish high priest. We enjoy dinner and overnight at our hotel. Overnight: Bethlehem (Breakfast, Dinner)
The Way of the Cross
After breakfast we head to Jerusalem and start our visit with St Anne Church (the traditional birthplace of the Virgin Mary). Continue to view the Sisters of Zion, Ecco Homo where Pilate proclaimed “Behold the man.” Next, we retrace the last steps of Jesus as we walk along the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrow), through the markets of the Old City praying the Stations of the Cross at each station shrine, we reflect on the greatness of His sacrifice. Finally, we arrive at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Mass. We visit the Notre Dame Center in Vatican property, where we visit the Museum of the Shroud of the Man (three-dimension replica of the Shroud of Jesus). Dinner and overnight at our hotel. Overnight: Bethlehem (Breakfast, Dinner)
This morning we board our short flights to Istanbul. After visa formalities, we immediately begin our pilgrimage by enjoying aerial views of hillside neighborhoods and the Golden Horn as you ride a cable car to an atmospheric café named for writer Pierre Loti, a perfect spot for getting panoramic photos of the city, then visit the elegant Rustem Pasha Mosque before pausing for lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch get on a private boat for a cruise over the Bosphorous. Disembark at Hisar and step in to Istanbul’s history at Rumeli Fortress, a 15th century fortification built by an iconic sultan. Overnight: Istanbul (Breakfast, Dinner)
This morning we head to the Sultanahmet district. This World Heritage-listed district is crammed with historic buildings and enough magical atmospheres to keep you enthralled for days. We will visit the Blue Mosque with its six minarets and thousands of blue tiles, the Basilica of Hagia Sofia, (church of the sacred wisdom), now a museum, converted to a mosque from a Christian basilica after the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Basilica Cistern to learn how it protected the palace water supply, the Obelisk of Theodosius, and the Walled Obelisk. Overnight: Istanbul (Breakfast, Dinner)
Istanbul / Grand Bazaar
We begin our day with a visit to the Topkapi Palace; overlooking the Sea of Marmara. We then visit the Grand Bazaar for shopping. The Grand Bazaar is an amazing place – literally a maze of streets. It is one of the largest undercover bazaars in the world and is even divided into areas like the leather section, or the rug section. Overnight: Istanbul (Breakfast, Dinner)
Explore the Eastern Orthodox Christian sites of Istanbul, known in Byzantine times as Constantinople. Visit the Orthodox Patriarchate in the beautiful Church of St George, and check out other richly gilded places of worship including the Church of St Mary of the Mongols, and Chora Church, famous for its glittering Byzantine mosaics and frescoes. This evening we enjoy a night on the Bosphorus Strait filled with belly dancing and Anatolian folk music during this dinner cruise from Istanbul. This Bosphorus dinner cruise traverses over the strait’s beautiful evening waters and passes Istanbul’s best sights. See the illuminated Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge and Blue Mosque as you watch a traditional performance and savor great food and drinks. Overnight: Istanbul (Breakfast, Dinner)
Excursion to Cappadocia
This morning we depart for our short flight to the enchanting city of Cappadocia. Upon arrival, we begin our day with a day trip to Derinkuyu. Here we will tour the famous underground city, carved into soft rocks resembling a labyrinth of tunnels, rooms, kitchens, wine cellars, and passageways. A huge chimney ventilates this multi-levelled dwelling, which was used by Christians hiding from their Roman and Byzantine persecutors. Continue on to Cappadocia for dinner and overnight. Overnight: Cappadocia (Breakfast, Dinner)
Enjoy an early morning breakfast before we head out for a guided tour of Cappadocia and Goreme. Visit the Apple Church, decorated in colorful frescoes that date seven to eight centuries old. Next, we will visit the Church of St. John the Baptist, one of Cappadocia’s oldest, largest, and most prestigious cave churches dating back to the early 500’s. Time for lunch before we continue on to visit the Church with a Buckle in Goreme, considered to be the finest of all Cappadocian cave churches. This beautiful church is adorned in colorful mural paintings and is actually a complex of four churches and a hermitage, all dating back to the 900’s. We then head to the airport for our short flight back to Istanbul. Overnight: Istanbul (Breakfast, Dinner)