Israel: A Visual Odyssey,  Photo Tour of Israel

Tour Intro

Guide and Driver tips included in land cost.

Israel appeals to travelers on more levels than any other country in the world. For some, a journey here is a spiritual adventure. Others are simply enamored with the history, both ancient and contemporary, that makes this destination so unique. Explore ancient biblical lands, while capturing the sights, sounds, flavors, and history of this region with your eye. You will see more than landmarks and landscapes, as you will truly have a chance to explore Jewish and Christian heritage under the guidance of experienced travel professionals.

Jerusalem has something for every photographer. It is a beautiful, hilly, historical city, from the old narrow streets, bustling markets, to the historical architecture of the ancient cities walls. It will certainly delight your senses. Masada allows for a completely different photographic opportunity, from the mountaintop fortress surrounded by barren landscape, to the basin of the Dead Sea. Travel along the Sea of Galilee (also known as Lake Tiberias or the Kinneret) to the North and enter the mountain region known as "Golan Heights". Here you will find a beautiful, natural landscape, bursting with flora, fauna, and waterfalls.

Safed offers a completely different view of Israel, with winding alleyways, and artist galleries; it is a mystical town that is sure to provide a plethora of photographic opportunities. Capture the colors and shadows that change the character of the surrounding mystical hills. From the Dead Sea, to the Red, and now on to the Mediterranean, you find the city of Akko. You will photograph the seaside crusader fortress, explore the sea views and ancient walls, as well as the winding streets and markets. Also on the Mediterranean is Caesarea, the Roman ruins are sure to impress any photographer. The Romans, Arabs, and Crusaders have each left their mark on the ancient structures. In Tel Aviv, you will photograph the old and the new. Half the city has been rebuilt in the last decade, providing architectural photographers an amazing combination. The ancient port city of Jaffa has a medieval appearance, and the area known as Old Jaffa, is set in seaside winding alleyways, hiding beautiful art galleries.

John Weiss welcomes you to join him on this amazing journey. He has been a passionate photographer for more than 30 years. John began at M.I.T. as an apprentice to Minor White, the legendary photographer and educator. An inspiring and gifted teacher, John established his own reputation as director of the photography program at the University of Delaware, where he was the recipient of an "excellence in teaching" award. Numerous prominent public institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, have collected Weiss’s photographs. John received the 2006 teacher of the year award from the Santa Fe Center of Photography.

An important element of your photographic experience is John's critique of your work and his presentations on making creative photographs. In addition to a personal one-on-one review session with John, he will offer two group critiques of the photographs you make while on tour. It's important that you have a laptop or some other storage device so you can access and download your images. For those shooting film, we suggest you bring a folio of up to 20 photographs (hard copy).

Tour Highlights

Photo education and critiques with John Weiss.
Tips to drivers, guides, and hotel staff are included in land cost.
The best that Israel offers: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, The Dead Sea, and winding alleyways and markets of Safed, Akko, and Caesarea.
Optonal Extension to Petra Jordan photographing the famous Treasury and Ciq.
Unique visits with your expert Israel and Jordan guides.

Tour Itinerary

September 13: Home

There are overnight flights from the U.S. to Ben Gurion International Airport.

September 14: Jerusalem

Group arrival time will be announced. If you arrive early there is a metered official taxi stand available at the airport (drive time 1 hour). Early this evening you will stop atop the Haas Promenade for a special “Sh’hekiyanu” blessing as you look out over the City of Gold. Enjoy a wonderful welcome dinner this evening at Mishkenot Shaananim, overlooking the Old City Walls. Overnight Prima Royal Hotel (D)

September 15-16: Jerusalem

After breakfast begin a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Southern Steps, which led up to the Temple Mount thousands of years ago. Enjoy a moment for personal reflection at the Kotel before continuing with a fascinating tour of the Western Wall Tunnels. Walk through the Jewish Quarter, including time for lunch and a walk along the Cardo, the ancient Roman road. Discover historic landmarks such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Via Dolorosa, as you photograph the Arab Market and Christian Quarter.

Visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to the Holocaust, where you view the many moving exhibitions, including the Hall of Names, Avenue of the Righteous, Among the Nations, and the Garden of Gethsemene. Take in the scintillating sights, sounds, and smells of Jerusalem’s main open air marketplace, Machane Yehuda. Watch as the people of Jerusalem welcome the coming Sabbath at the Western Wall. One of the last photo locations in Jerusalem is Yemin Moshe, the first neighborhood built outside the old city. A Shabbat Dinner follows at the hotel. Overnight Prima Royal Hotel (B; B, D)

September 17: Dead Sea

Passing the Qumran Caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, you reach the Dead Sea Basin. Ascend the desert plateau at Masada via a cable car to view the remains of King Herod’s palace and fortifications. Continue to the Dead Sea for an afternoon at leisure and a chance to float in its healing waters. Travel to a Bedouin encampment in the Negev desert, where the group will have dinner and learn about their nomadic culture. Overnight Bedouin camp (Sleeping bags provided) (B, D)

September 18: Sea of Galilee

After breakfast travel north along the Jordan Valley, stopping in Beit Shean and Beit Alpha to view the ancient ruins and intricate mosaics. Arrive in Tiberias, overlooking the Kinneret waters. Dinner will be at a lovely seaside restaurant, after which, continue the drive to a Kibbutz for the evening. Overnight Kibbutz Nof Ginosar (B, D)

September 19-20: Golan Heights - Safed

Morning tour of the Golan Heights, including stops to visit ancient excavations and panoramic views stretching into neighboring Syria. The Banias waterfall is one of the natural wonders of the North, gushing out of a limestone cave creating natural pool-like enclaves. Continue to the mystical city of Safed for dinner and overnight.

Early the next morning there will be a chance to photograph Safed in the first light of day. After breakfast there will be a tour of the Ha’ari and Caro synagogues, and time to browse among the winding streets, with many studios and galleries in the artists quarter. Late this afternoon or early evening there will be a photo discussion and critique. Overnight Ruth Rimonim Hotel (B, D; B, D)

September 21: Safed – Akko – Tel Aviv

Travel west to Akko, through the beautiful hills and countryside. Explore the seaside crusader era fortress, photographing the sea views, ancient walls, and narrow winding streets and markets of Akko. Continue south, stopping in Caesarea to view the Roman-era ruins, including the Roman Theater and Aqueduct. The final destination is Tel Aviv, after checking into the hotel, enjoy time at leisure. Overnight Carlton Hotel (B)

September 22: Tel Aviv - Eilat or Home

Enjoy an extended walking tour through the Old Jaffa area as you learn about this port’s ancient history. There are interesting markets, artist galleries, winding alleyways, and intricate ancient buildings. This afternoon there will be a walking tour of the Bauhaus architecture that gives Tel Aviv its UNESCO Heritage designation, and the nickname “The White City”. In the Carmel market, you will have opportunity to photograph the countless vendors selling fruits, vegetables, fish, flowers, and colorful spices. Those not attending the extension will have return flights home this evening from Tel Aviv. (B)

The majority of flights leaving Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, are red-eye flights; therefore, you could be arriving back in the U.S. September 23.

Tour Extension

Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 9 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $400 if 6-8 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.

Single rooms are subject to availability. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.

Testimonials

Additional Notes

This itinerary has been carefully constructed to assure participants the best Israel has to offer. However, should events arise that are beyond our control, itinerary, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.

Terms and Conditions

Unless otherwise noted, this information applies to all tours.

Airfare

Contact Strabo Tours if you would like rates on International Airfare. Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties. Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.

The land cost includes:
  • Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
  • Accommodations based on two people sharing a room, singles are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
  • Services of driver, English speaking cultural guide (if applicable) and photographic leader, during the tour.
  • Meals as listed in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).
  • Park entrance fees, day tours and excursions as shown in the itinerary.
  • Extensive pre-departure information and services.
The land cost does not include:

Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, photographic equipment, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; fuel surcharges; exchange rate surcharges; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.

Fitness and Health

The majority of trips are not strenuous (see exceptions below for particular destinations) and anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to take part in most of the activities. You may experience general fatigue due to the long flights and the change in time zones. You will need to be sufficiently agile to climb in and out of the tour van and be able to carry and manage your own equipment. We will frequently hike trails ranging from easy to moderate. Some hotels do not have elevators or air conditioners.

If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).

You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.

Exceptions:

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

Deposits, Cancellations AND Refunds

A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic tours) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.

If a passenger wishes to cancel they must send notification in writing to: Strabo International Tour, Co., P.O. Box 580, Dryden, NY 13053; fax 208-545-4119. At the time we receive your notification, the following per person charges apply:

  • 91 days or more before departure: $300 cancellation fee ($150 fee on domestic tours), plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation.
  • 61-90 days before departure: $500 ($250 on domestic tours) minimum cancellation fee, plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation. Fees may range from 25% to 100% of tour costs.
  • 60 days or less before departure or anytime after departure: NO REFUND.

Refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you cannot be made.

Insurance

Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.

We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out insurance on your trip. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short your trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum you’ve invested in it (see the section “Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds” in the trip brochure).

Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.

There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll free number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.

Subject to Change

Itineraries have been carefully constructed to assure participants the best each destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. The itineraries summarize typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.

Photo Release

Strabo International Tour Company, Inc. reserves the right and permission to use photographs of individuals on tour for use in promotional and publicity purposes. We also reserve the right to use clients photographs for promotional and publicity purposes, when submitted to Strabo International Tour Company, Inc.

Accommodations

All our accommodations will be clean and comfortable, all being three or four star, with Tel Aviv being five star. The hotels have been chosen for your comfort as well as their proximity to prime photographic locations. Our motor coaches will be modern, clean, and comfortable. This itinerary has been carefully constructed to assure participants the best Israel has to offer. However, should events arise that are beyond our control, itinerary, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.

loading icon