Holy Land Travel Orientation

Holy Land Travel Orientation


Understand that half of what there is to see in the Holy Land is hidden from most that walk her paths. They are unseen spiritual truths, only revealed to the sensitive and spiritual of heart.


This page is designed to help you get the most out of your travels in the Holy Land. Whether you're going with a group, or as an individual, below is information to prepare you for your experience in Israel!

Holy Land Travel Part 1


Historical Periods in Israel’s History


Why it's important to understand a brief overview of the historical periods of Israel.


The Holy Land is an old place, about the oldest in the world! While in the Holy Land, you’ll be seeing things as old as 6,000 years. That’s old! Different periods of history will be referred to when describing Israel’s holy sites and places. Please realize that at a particular site, there will likely be several key events that have taken place there. Each event will have happened during a specific period in Israel’s history. If you can understand the different periods a little, you’ll get much more out of your experience. 


Please click here for time periods of Israel

Holy Land Travel Part 2


Preparing Yourself to See the Holy Sites in Israel


The Need to Understand What You’re Going to See


It would be wonderful if the Holy Land was exactly the same as it was 2,000 years ago when Christ walked its paths, or 4,000 years ago when Abraham traversed its hillsides and valleys. However, 4,000 years is a long time, and there have been many changes that have taken place during this time span. It’s hard for us to understand, but 4,000 or even 2,000 years is a long time! Because of its strategic location in the world, no other country has had as many kingdoms occupy it, or as many battles fought on its soil as Israel. This, along with time, has led to much change to Israel and its holy sites.


The good news is that many of the biblical sites are in their natural state and appear much the same as they did when the events that happened there occurred. Other sites have had monuments, churches, or basilicas built near, or on them and are not exactly as they appeared as when the events that occurred there happened. Also, many sites have had many events happen in one spot over thousands of years so it would be impossible to have each event preserved just the way it happened.  


Understanding What Some of The Holy Sites Will Be Like


Many of these monuments, churches, or basilicas will have a Catholic, Arabic, or Mid-Eastern style look. They’re very different from what we’re accustomed to seeing, and at first glance, you might find this unattractive. You also might disagree with the religious backgrounds of some of these sites and feel somewhat uncomfortable as well. In addition, you most likely will find other people visiting the Holy Land from other countries who are actually worshipping and kissing some of the adornments on these sites. On a previous trip to Israel, some in our group found all this a little repulsive and chose not to enter some of these holy sites. Because of these possible negative reactions, we would like to provide you with a little background and history about how these holy sites have been preserved so your sightseeing experience can be the best as possible during your time in the Holy Land.


A Little History


Even before the time of Christ and afterward, many of the holy sites were marked out and preserved. Then, about 300 years after the time of Christ, the Roman Empire (world power at that time) embraced Christianity. At that time, the mother of Emperor Constantine (Helena) was one of the first of the royal family to convert to Christianity. Later, Emperor Constantine did as well. Helena came to the Holy Land and wanted to preserve some of the holy sites, so she had churches, monuments, and basilicas built over some of the key holy places. These included the Church of the Holy Sepulture, Church of the Nativity, Basilica in the Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Annunciation, and others. Helena and others throughout history felt such emotion and awe at these holy sites that they wanted to honor and preserve them for future generations. The Early Church during this period was the first to be in charge of these sites, and then because the Early Church slowly evolved into what we know as the Catholic Church, many of these holy sites came under the care of the Catholic Church. The monuments, churches, and basilicas were not always Catholic in nature, so we shouldn’t assume that they shared the same religious views at their inception.


There were others as well that came to the Holy Land to build churches, monuments, and basilicas on these holy sites (Armenians, Russians, Greeks, etc.). Their hearts felt the same awe and emotion as others who came, so they too built on or by these holy sites to honor and preserve them.


Some of these holy sites are ancient (from as old as 5,000 years), and the churches have a Mid-Eastern style look.    


Gratefulness to Those Who Preserved the Holy Sites


If it hadn't been for those who preserved the biblical sites, they would have been lost or had other buildings, roads, and infrastructure built over them. They would have been lost to the world forever. These early pilgrims felt the same awe and emotion you will feel. We certainly can’t fault them for this.


Because of all the adornments and construction over the centuries, it's hard to imagine how some of these sites would have looked in their original setting. However, the years of activity and tradition at these holy sites give greater weight to their authenticity. And while we might disagree with the decorations and atmosphere of these places, we should appreciate and admire all the devotion and sacrifice made to preserve them.


Some Might Find These Churches, Monuments, and Basilicas Repulsive


Part of the reason some might find the places they see in Israel as repulsive will have to do with a difference in religious faith. Another reason is due to a misunderstanding of style. These holy sites have a very different style than what we’re accustomed to in modern churches. Most of the old churches we see are just a few hundred years old and have somewhat the same architecture and style from our modern era.  


Closing Thoughts


1. Entering these churches, monuments, and basilicas to see these holy sites doesn’t mean we’re in any way embracing and accepting their religious beliefs.


2. While the style, religious background, and adornments might not be to our taste, the motives of those who preserved these sites seem to be noble and honorable. As you see these sites, you will understand why these early pilgrims wanted to preserve them.


3. It’s important to note that we, from a modern mindset, have a different view and taste regarding building styles. Because to us something 200-400 years old seems really ancient, we need to realize that seeing something 1,500 years old has an entirely different architectural look and sense to it than what we’re accustomed to seeing.


Hopefully, this info will help you. As mentioned, on a previous trip to Israel, some didn’t really understand these things beforehand, and it took them a bit to get themselves wrapped around some of these concepts. It was kind of a self-discovery process. For this reason, this orientation and background are provided so you can get the most out of your Holy Land Experience Trip and not get bogged down in this area.

Holy Land Travel Part 3


How to Get the Most Out of Your Holy Land Trip



How to See What Many Don’t See in the Holy Land


Understand that half of what there is to see in the Holy Land is hidden from most that walk her paths. They are unseen spiritual truths, only revealed to the sensitive and spiritual of heart. Try to get as close to God as you can prior, and during your time in the Holy Land, so you can see and hear things that many don’t see during their visit there. The Holy Land is not just places and historical artifacts; it’s an experience, an experience that is spiritual in nature and eye-opening for those who can see in this realm.


You Won’t Be Able to See Everything


It would be great to see every detail at every holy site, but that would take months, if not years, to do. It’s important to understand that there is a lot to see and, therefore, just the highlights can be seen. You’ll be eating the frosting off the cake and won’t be able to eat the whole thing. As a result, please don’t be discouraged if you can’t spend as much time in each place as you’d wish. You’ll have to move along to see just the highlights, and if you stay too long at one place, that means you’ll be saying “No” to another.


Your Trip Won’t be Perfect


It would be fantastic if you could be guaranteed a perfect trip with a perfect experience, but that’s just not reality. Going to the Holy Land is undoubtedly the closest you’ll get to the “Trip of a Lifetime,” but please don’t get your hopes up so high that you’re let down and feel discouraged if it doesn’t turn out as you dreamed. Your trip won’t be perfect. Your leader and the rest in your group will probably not live up to your expectations either. The only perfect person on the trip will be you (well, maybe not exactly perfect, but pretty close to it, lol). So just prepare yourself to understand that things just aren’t going to be flawless.


Trust God for Your Experience


It’s also easy to have preconceived ideas of what to expect; the emotions you’re going to feel, the dreams you might have of the Holy Land, and the experience you want to have. Please try to set some of these aside and trust God to give you the experience He has for you. Don’t get everything built up so high that it would be impossible to fulfill them. Trust God to bless you and teach you what He has for you. He’s the One who’s worked everything out for you to go, and I’m certain He has special things to teach you. Trust in Him and be looking for what He has for you. And after everything is said and done, be content with what He gives you. It’s His trip, and you need to be happy with the outcome, whatever it may be.


Holy Land Travel Part 4


Understanding Group Travel Dynamics


Traveling with Others


Part of the joy and richness of your Holy Land Experience will come from sharing it with others. Going somewhere alone is never as much fun as doing it with someone else. The impact and fullness of the experience will come alive as it’s experienced as a group rather than as an individual or couple. For this reason, you’ll want to consider a few things to make your Holy Land Experience the best as possible.


Try to Think as a Group and Not as an Individual


Traveling as a group is very different from traveling as an individual or couple. There will be other team members in your group, and each person needs to realize they’re part of a larger event than just themselves. The whole team will be depending on others to be punctual, courteous, thoughtful, and pleasant. Try to take into consideration that what you do affects everyone else on the team. 


Try to Keep Up with the Group


It will be important that you keep up with the group and not linger too long seeing things during your travels. Each day it is wise to appoint a “Follow-up Person” who’ll bring up the group's rear and make sure everyone stays together. Because you’ll be seeing some really interesting things, it will be easy to get lost in these and forget that there are other things to see as well.  

Try to Be Punctual


Everything from wake-up times, mealtimes, arrival times, departure times, and the site-seeing schedule for each day needs to be considered. Because you are spending a lot of money and taking precious time out of your busy life to experience the Holy Land, you’ll want to be as punctual as possible so you and your team can see everything as planned. Your group can only be as fast as the slowest person, so try to be punctual and thoughtful of others. If you tend to be a late person, consider getting a head start on things by starting earlier than normal so you can be on time.

Try to Be Patient & Courteous


Be aware that sometime during the trip, you’ll likely feel tired, a bit irritated with others, or upset at something that’s happened. Do your best to overlook the faults of others and try to keep yourself in check. Also, realize that we have an enemy who will do his best to take away from our experience by using others or problems. Be alert and prayerful! Keep yourself close to God and do your best to love others and take everything in stride. 


Try to Be Rested Up Before Your Holy Land Trip


Because you’re going to be expending a lot of energy during the trip, try to get as rested as possible before departure. To illustrate this point, we’ll use the term “gauges” to help us out. We all know that most of our vehicles have gauges: gas gauge, temperature gauge, oil gauge, etc. Using this analogy for our bodies, we all have bodily gauges as well. We have physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual gauges. 


Before your trip, try to get your bodily gauges as full as possible. By doing so, you’ll get more out of your trip and be more joyful and patient with others.


Here are a few tips for filling up your bodily gauges before trip departure:


  • Try and scale down on your activities and output before the trip. For example, cut back on meetings, outings, get-togethers, and social events.


  • Get plenty of sleep.


  • Get plenty of exercise (you’ll be doing quite a bit of walking, so try to get in walking shape before the trip). 


  • Get as much of your responsibilities and commitments done ahead of time, and don’t wait until the last minute to take care of things. There will be plenty of last-minute things to do, so don’t add to them by procrastinating.


  • Try to get packed and ready at your earliest convenience. If you need to shop for trip items, try to do so plenty of time in advance.


By doing the following, you’ll start your trip with your bodily gauges full and not empty. And when you think about it, who would start a long journey with their car having an empty gas tank and little or no oil in the engine?

Holy Land Travel Part 5


Travel Tips for Israel

1. Get in shape physically before you go to Israel. You will be doing a lot of walking, so the better shape you’re in, the easier and more pleasant your time will be. Several months prior to your trip, start walking at least 15 minutes a day.


2. Activate your credit/debit cards before departure to Israel.


3. Make sure your Passport is up to date and valid. It must have 6 months of time left before expiration (of your dates in Israel) to be valid.


4. Don’t shave your body before taking a dip in the Dead Sea. The salt and minerals will irritate your skin.


5. Don’t show public display of affection with the opposite sex, 

especially on the Temple Mount and Muslim sites.


6. Don’t be afraid to bargain for purchases at marketplaces. It’s expected, so take part in it.


7. Establish meeting places at each site so that if for some reason you get lost or separated, you can find each other.


8. Carry a water bottle and stay hydrated.


9. Pack layered types of clothing instead of heavy clothes.


10. Carry your personal items in a safe place on your person.


11. Take a good camera or video camera.


12. Get used to people smoking as it’s very common in Israel and the Middle East.


13. Many Israelis are not religious, but secular. This might seem weird, but it’s true.


14. Carry a copy of your Passport.


15. Women should dress very modestly, especially when visiting holy sites.


16. Men should wear hats when visiting Jewish holy sites.


17. Men should not wear hats when visiting Christian holy sites.

Holy Land Travel Part 6


Packing List



Dressing in layers is best when considering your clothes. For the most part, the weather will be warm and sunny during the summer and cooler in the winter. Following are some suggestions that might be helpful: 


  • Slimline Travel Bible

  • Small notebook and pen for taking notes

  • Casual pants for hiking sightseeing (casual can be worn the whole trip)

  • Casual long sleeve shirts

  • Short sleeve shirts

  • Bathing suit (for the Dead Sea if you want to take a dip)

  • 2 Plastic bags for wet clothes

  • Undergarments

  • Socks

  • Light jacket

  • Sturdy walking shoes with traction for the many stone paths and roads you’ll traverse. FYI ~ Many of the streets are paved with stone so it's challenging to wear shoes with awkward heels/soles on uneven pavement.

  • Sleepwear 

  • Hat for sun protection purposes

  • Travel alarm

  • Flashlight (mini)

  • Camera

  • Film or Storage Disks for your camera (bring plenty, because it's much more expensive in Israel)

  • Day Pack/Back Pack (can be used as a carry-on and for travel in Israel)

  • Ziplock bags for lunches and for putting the relics you might gather along the way in Israel.

  • Umbrella - Small contractible type

  • Sunglasses

Note: The outlets in Israel are different from the states. You’ll need this adapter for plugging things in to be charged, etc.

Note: Electricity in Israel is 220 volts. In America, it’s 110 volts. Many electronic devices today can adapt to both voltages. If you plan on taking an item that cannot use 220 volts, then the above link is a charger converter that you’ll need. 




In Israel, most of the same products they sell in America are available, although they are at a substantially higher cost.  Following are some reminders of items you might want to take:


  • Shampoo/Conditioner

  • Soap

  • Toothbrush

  • Toothpaste

  • Deodorant

  • Lip balm

  • Razor

  • After-shave

  • Band-Aids

  • Feminine items

  • Sunscreen

  • Tylenol/ Ibuprofen

  • Eyeglasses/ contact lenses

  • Anti-bacterial hand lotion

  • Any prescription medicine


Documents & Items to Carry with You at all Times


There are several options for carrying your money and important documents with you on your trip. You can use a money belt (waist style or necklace style) or pockets on your pants or shirt that can be buttoned and are secure.


  • Passport ~ Must not expire until 6 months after your trip.

  • Copy of your Passport

  • Driver's License

  • Cash

  • Credit/Debit Card (make sure to activate your cards for Israel or international travel)

Note: It’s a good idea to have your debit card activated so you can draw out Shekels for spending in Israel (for entrance passes to the parks we’ll see, boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, etc.).

  • Travel Visa received in Israel at customs

Special Note: When arriving in Israel, you’ll go through customs to receive your visa for your stay in Israel. It will be a small piece of paper. Please don’t lose it! You will need it on several occasions while in the country. You can tuck it away in your passport if you’d like.

Biblical Sites of Israel


Israel Overview Tour of All Biblical Sites

Jerusalem Sites


Jerusalem Overview

Jerusalem Holy Sites Overview


Antonia Fortress

Chapel of the Ascension: Ascension & Return of Christ

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

City of David Overview


Dominus Flevit Church: Triumphal Entry

Eastern Gate


Garden of Gethsemane


Garden Tomb: Resurrection of Christ


Gethsemane to Golgotha:

Christ's Path to the Cross

Hezekiah's Broad Wall


Hinnom Valley Overview


House of Caiaphas: Peter's Denial of Christ


Kidron Valley: Judgment of God


Mary's Tomb


Mount of Olives Overview


Pater Noster Church: Lord's Prayer

Pilate's Palace: Trial of Jesus

Pool of Bethesda & St. Anne 



Pool of Siloam

Prophecy, Proof the Bible Is True: Mount of Olives


Solomon's Temple

Temple Mount Overview

Temple Location


Temple Southern Stairs


Temple Cleansing by Jesus


Temple & the Early Church

Tomb of the Prophets


The Upper Room

Via Dolorosa


History Of Jerusalem's Walls and Gates


Western Wall & Tunnels Tour

Other Sites In Jerusalem

Sea of Galilee Sites


Sea of Galilee Overview




Calling of the Disciples


Capernaum Overview




Feeding of the 5,000


Jesus Walks on Water, Calms the Sea


Kursi: Demonic Man Healed


Magdala: Mary Magdalene


Mount Arbel: The Great Commission

Mount of Beatitudes


Sower's Cove: Parables of the Kingdom


Tabgha: Restoration of Peter

Yardenit Baptismal Site

Other Sites Around the Sea of Galilee

Northern Israel Sites


Beth Shean

Beth Shean Amphitheater


Caesarea Maritima


Caesarea Philippi


Cana: First Miracle of Jesus

Dan (City of Dan)

Gideon's Spring


Jordan River Overview

Megiddo: Armageddon


Mount Carmel & Elijah

Mount Tabor: Transfiguration of Christ


Nazareth Overview


Nazareth: Church of Annunciation


Nazareth: Mt. Precipice

Sepphoris (Tsipori, Zippori)


Other Sites In Northern Israel


Central Israel Sites







Emmaus Road 


Gezer: On Crossroads of the World

Gibeon - Nabi Samwil



Inn of the Good Samaritan


Jericho ~ Tell Es-Sultan


Joppa (Jaffa, Yafo) Overview

Jordan River: Crossing into the Promised Land

Jordan River Baptismal Site of Jesus (Qsar al-Yahud)

Judean Wilderness

Judean Wilderness: Testing of Jesus

Qumran: Dead Sea Scrolls


Samaria (Sabastia)



Shechem: Jacob's Well


Shiloh: Center of Worship

St. George's Monastery (Wadi Qelt)

Valley of Elah: David & Goliath

Other Sites In Central Israel

Southern Israel Sites


Beer Sheba: The Patriarchs


Bethlehem Overview

Bethlehem: Church of Nativity


Bethlehem: David & the Psalms

Bethlehem: Herodian Fortress


Bethlehem: Naomi, Ruth, Boaz


Bethlehem: Shepherds' Field

En-Gedi: Living Waters


Exodus, Red Sea Crossing, Mt. Sinai


Hebron Overview


Kadesh Barnea





Mount Sinai


Sodom & Gomorrah


Timnah: Life of Samson

Timna Park: Tabernacle, Moses


Other Sites In Southern Israel

Other Biblical Sites

Noah's Ark & the Great Flood

Holy Land Site

Experience the Holy Land Online!

Digital Book Cover Front - Israel Book (
Israel Biblical Sites Bible Companion (L