Christmas Eve in Israel: Jerusalem Sightseeing Tour from Tel Aviv with Dinner and Midnight Mass Viewing in Bethlehem
- All entrance fees included
- Comprehensive tour of the city
- Free snacks included
- Get inside tips from a local
- Hotel pickup included
First, head by comfortable coach on a one-hour drive to Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives, used as a Jewish cemetery for 3,000 years and named for the olive trees that once grew there. From the hilltop ridge, admire the panoramic view of Jerusalem before embarking on a short drive around the Old City walls, which surround what was once the entire city.
Along the way, see Kidron Valley, which houses the Tomb of the Virgin Mary, as well as the beautiful Garden of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives, where Jesus and his disciples assembled before his crucifixion.
Enter the Christian Quarter on foot, situated in the northwestern corner of the Old City, and visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of Christianity's holiest pilgrimage sites since the 4th century. Here, admire the murals, metalwork and iconographic mosaics.
When your walking tour is over, continue a relaxing drive through the New City and see the Israeli parliament (the Knesset), the Israel Museum—housing the world’s largest archeological collection from the Holy Land—and Valley of the Cross. Keep an eye out for the amazing 11th-century monastery built with high, castle-like walls.
As evening descends, stop at the Mount of Evil Counsel on the way to Bethlehem for another vista of the city illuminated below, and take in breathtaking views of many of the sites you visited throughout the day. When you enter Bethlehem at the border crossing into Palestinian territory, switch vehicles for ease of transport.
After your arrival, enjoy light refreshments (included) at a souvenir store showing off its Christmas décor. Then, gather at Manger's Square in central Bethlehem and admire the giant Christmas tree lights as you listen to carols sung by locals and pilgrims.
Look up at the bell towers at the Church of the Nativity, the world’s oldest Christian church, built on the site of Jesus’ birth. You’ll visit the basilica (time permitting), a UNESCO World Heritage Site rebuilt in 565 AD, before the midnight mass begins.
Delight in a festive Christmas dinner in a restaurant located on the stone-paved pedestrian square, and watch the midnight mass on the large outdoor screen (weather conditions permitting) before returning across the border to your hotel in Tel Aviv.
Select a month to view a calendar of availability and departure details.
Hotel pickups commence approximately 30 - 60 minutes prior to this time, exact pickup time will be advised on reconfirmation.
Click the link below to check pricing & availability on your preferred travel date. Our pricing is constantly updated to ensure you always receive the lowest price possible.
Christmas Eve in Jerusalem and Midnight Mass in Bethlehem
- Local guide
- Hotel pickup and drop-off
- Transport by air-conditioned minivan
- Gratuities (optional)
- Confirmation will be received at time of booking, unless booked within 7 days of travel. In this case confirmation will be received within 48 hours, subject to availability
- A current valid passport is required on the day of travel
- You will be required to change vehicles at the Israel-Palestine border
- The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is solely responsible for the management and performances of the evening's events in Bethlehem. The local tour operator cannot be held responsible should changes to the evening's events occur within PNA territory
- Hotel pickup provided from the following hotels: Grand Beach, Crown Plaza, Leonardo Basel, Metropolitan, Dan Tel-Aviv and Dan Panorama. Please contact your local operator to reconfirm time of the service
Reviewed by: David R, January 2014
Going to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve is an amazing experience. Our bus was clean and comfortable. Our tour guide was nice and informative. He went out of his way to get us into the church. I could have done without spending up to an hour in one designated gift shop, which was overpriced.
Reviewed by: Darrin P, February 2014
This tour was all about getting all of us to a souvenir shop in Bethlehem that the tour guide had a deal with. They were so blatant about it they left his commission sheet right by the cash register and he repeatedly was checking it.
They had us in a restaurant and asked that we return by 12:30. When we got back, our guide was sleeping on a couch.So as one of the others on the tour put it, "We ate cafeteria food and watched the mass on TV."
The only reason I gave it 2 stars was that we were two of the fortunate ones that got to see the shrine where tradition states that the manger actually was. Most of the people on our tour didn't.
Also, the tour of Jerusalem was all about rushing through everywhere but the 'Wailing Wall'. No time to speak of in the Church of the Sepulchre.We had taken a free tour of the city the day before that was far more informative. The guide on the Viator tour was either misinformed or simply lying when talking about many of the different places in the Old City.