Little Town of Bethlehem Half Day Trip from Jerusalem
The hub of religious activity in Bethlehem is Manger Square which is flanked by the Church of the Nativity and also the Mosque of Oman - a site of importance for the many Muslims who live in the city.
At the Manger Square you can walk on the ground where Jesus was laid down after his birth.
Visit the Greek and Catholic churches, before moving onto the Shepherd Fields where the 'shepherds watched their flocks by night'. Returning by air-conditioned coach to Jerusalem, you'll take home special memories of your visit to this must-see Holy Land city.
- Hotel pickup
- Professional guide
- Air-conditioned vehicle
- Hotel drop-off
- Food and drinks
- Confirmation will be received at time of booking, unless booked within 12 hours of travel. In this case confirmation will be received as soon as possible, subject to availability
- A current valid passport is required on the day of travel
- A moderate dress code is required to enter places of worship and selected museums. Please refrain from wearing shorts. Knees and shoulders must be covered for both men and women. You may risk refused entry if you fail to comply with these dress requirements.
- A current valid passport is required on the day of travel
- Please note this tour is not suitable for children under the age of 4
The tour began when we were picked up from the hotel over an hour late. We were taken to a central meeting area where we were told to get on bus 19. There was no numbered bus but we finally found it. After several of us got settled in they told us that this was bus 19 Spanish and German and we had to move to another bus which was not labeled either. It was very confusing. By the time we left the central bus area for the tour, we were over 2 hours late. We were immediately told we would not see the grotto. We got into Bethlehem and were dropped off at the bottom of the hill and had to walk a steep incline to the church. This climb would be difficult for anyone with knee, hip or foot problems. We were huddled into the church and then told again we would not visit the grotto. Our Bethlehem tour guide told us the lines were too long and we would have to book, at minimum, 2 months in advance. He then showed us the picture of a star and told us he would email it to us or photo drop it. Then he said that the star may be the location of where Jesus was born that the really is no proof to support it. His attitude was very blasey about it. After a short tour of the churches inside we walked down the hill to central bus area and then drove to the ruins at shepherds field where we stayed for about 15-20 minutes looking at a cave and excavated area. The disappointing part is I have actually done this tour before and been in the grotto. The grotto area is amazing and there is more than just a star there. If the tour would have begun on time there certainly would have been a shorter line and the availability to see the grotto. Also I paid $70 for a tour on Viator that was also advertised on Viator for $39. This is a big difference in price.
Bethlehem had always been on my 'Bucket List' This was a once in a lifetime trip that my parents had bought me for my birthday. Our initial tour guide was Israeli, then on arrival at the Shepherd's field we were joined by a christian Palestinian guide. The Israeli guide (Ami) suggested that since the group was 32 people that the group to be split between english and non-english speakers. He would guide the english speakers and Miriam (Palestinian Guide) would take the non english speakers (it was clear to see Miriam was not hapy with this arrangement, as I assume she would be hoping for tips from everyone and now she would have to share these) either way, I was just keen to see the sites. It seemed that Ami knew what he was talking about so I was quite happy. on arrival at the Church of the Nativity, the two guides spoke to each each other and concluded that since it was very busy at the Greek Orthodox entrance we would go in through the catholic entrance and move over to the Greek Orthodox. On entering the Catholic side, we were taken to the Grotto, which Ami said was the location of the birth of Jesus. He stated that the grotto on the other side in the Greek orthodox was thier version of where christ was born, however he assured us that this side was the accurate location. I was content, however it did seem odd that there were no adornments or idols to mark the spot as there is in the other churches (e.g Church of the Holy Sepulchre) we then made our way to what we were told was a christian cooperative shop and all proceeds supported the discrimnated christians of Bethlehem and therefore all of our souvenirs should be purchased here. After purchasing my gifts I noticed the name above the door was Johnny's souvenirs and not the 'christian' shop as we were made to believe. On returning to the hotel that evening I started to read the pamphlet I had purchased at the church. there were images of the 'Milk Grotto' and 'Manger Site' which I had not seen, when looking at the map of the church I noticed that the Greek Orthodox Grotto was in fact the believed site of the nativity and the grotto we entered was that of the burial of ' Innocents' and 'Gerome' obviously I was absolutely devastated to find out that the guide had purposly lied to us, as he hadn't wanted us to wait in the line for the 'REAL' grotto and preferred to spend over 45 minutes in the gift shop which I am now convinced that he made a commission from. I Feel absolutely Betrayed!!!!!
If it had been any other day I am sure we would have been able to see the cave. The day we went, Christmas Eve, it was a zoo. I don't think Christmas Day is any better. There was a 3 hour line. We did see the church and the holiday parade.
Safe and interesting tour
OK tour but the transportation is not great. We were told that they would pick us up at 8:30 AM at our hotel. A Taxi pulls up late and tells us he is taking us to the tour start. We get to a location and the taxi drive tells us to get out and the tour will start here. There were lots of groups of people all going to tours in different parts of Israel, so we had to keep asking around for the Bethlehem tour. We found the right person and he put us in a van with a few others and drove us to a hotel in Jerusalem were we waited another half hour for a different van to come get. That van took us half way to Bethlehem where we met another van and a car. The van could only hold six so our group split up between the car and the van. We were wondering if we would ever make it to Bethlehem but we eventually did. We visited the Shepherds field and cave and the Mary's Milk Cave. The guide provided very little information about each of the sites but you did get to see them and walk around. We went to the Church of the Nativity which was in use because our tour was on Sunday. The guide took us in part of the church and initially said we couldn't see any more because the church was in use. We also wouldn't be able to see the birth cave of Jesus because the line was too long, our group of 8 was too big, and the tour of the birth cave wouldn't be able to start until after the church service was open. Our guide found another guide who could take part of our group and we eventually were able to see the cave but we had to tip the other guide at least 20 shekels per person. We ended the tour at a store in Bethlehem were the put strong pressure on you to buy things that are expensive and then to eat at a restaurant. I wouldn't do a tour with this group again but we did get to see all the important sites.
The trip was good and the guide excellent. However, and this was mentioned by our guide, it is NOT recommended to do this trip on a Sunday as the Church of the Nativity is crowded and there are restrictions in place for seeing it all
Low cost. Shopping time in the store is too long.