A guided walking tour, starting in Tel Aviv and finishing in Bethlehem, is a unique way to get off the beaten track and experience some of the most remote and untouched parts of Palestine.
Anyone with an interest in the Middle East knows that Palestine has a rich and fascinating history dating back thousands of years, and its vibrant culture, ancient traditions and many sites of great religious significance, mean that a walking tour through what is the epicentre for Christians, Jews, Muslims and Samaritans, following such well- trodden paths, is like stepping back into history.
The beauty of the desert may come as a surprise, offering amazing sunrises and sunsets. Hiking through this harsh landscape can be reasonably challenging, but it will also lead you well away from the crowds of the big cities so that your efforts are amply rewarded.
Along the way you will have the chance to visit many monasteries and churches, including the beautiful Mar Saba Monastery, which is set in isolation in the desert and surrounded by mountains. A visit to a Samaritan church will provide a fascinating overview of their culture and traditions.
Other highlights include taking a drink from the Well of Mary, floating in the Dead Sea, hiking across mountains and hidden valleys, and visiting the Nativity Church in Bethlehem to touch the spot where Jesus was believed to have been born.
You’ll also get to enjoy traditional, simple but tasty Palestinian cuisine, which is prepared with fresh local ingredients: spiced flat bread with hummus, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, fried chicken, yoghurt and soft cheese with olive oil and zaatar spice. In the village of Nablus, be sure to try the local speciality: a traditional dessert called kanafeh.
Alcohol is not freely available in Palestine, but the village of Taybeh, which is the only Christian village remaining in Palestine, has its own brewery and winery so you’ll be able to sample their wares. For the rest of your time in Palestine, you’ll be more than happy to settle for sweet, strong Palestinian tea or delicious, cardamom-spiced coffee.
Palestine is a fantastic destination for anyone with an interest in ancient history and religion, and a sense of adventure. The Palestinian people themselves live in a testing environment, with limited access to water and few material possessions, but their wonderful warmth, resilience and perseverance will make your time here truly memorable.
It’s well worth allowing yourself time for further exploring beyond your walking tour, to visit the ancient cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Jericho. Ask your personal travel manager for details of walking tours and coach tours that will introduce you to this fascinating part of the world.