Trailblazing your heritage

Trip Highlights

  • 1 night at Xenia Palace, Volos
  • 1 night at Larissa Imperial Hotel, Larissa
  • 2 nights at Les Lazaristes Hotel, Thessaloniki
  • 2 nights at King George Palace Hotel, Athens
  • Flight to Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion Airport
  • 2 nights David Citadel Hotel, Jerusalem
  • 1 night at Beresheet Hotel & Spa, Mitspe Ramon
  • 1 night at Mitspe HaYamim Hotel & Spa, Mitspe HaYamim
  • 1 night at Akkotel Hotel, Acre
  • 2 nights at Carlton Hotel, Tel Aviv

Trip Highlights

Lifetime Discovery invites you to spend 2 weeks of exploring Jewish heritage in Greece and following the track of the trailblazers, your own roots, during the pioneering days of the State of Israel. In Greece, there is a compelling story about the Greek Jewish population, its triumphs and its tragedies, that speaks to everyone, Jew and non-Jew alike. While focusing on the cities, sites and communities with an extraordinary Jewish heritage, we will visit all the major classic destinations in mainland Greece. Once in Israel, an exploration and discovery of the major sites will be linked to the footprints that your “landsmen” laid down as immigrants when they made “aliya” to Israel. We will prepare a trip based on the pioneers from your country, and, if you have family – and if you choose – Lifetime Discovery staff will do the research before your arrival to track their route as trailblazers. Their journey will be interwoven with yours as highlights of the tour. There is an option to connect between the two countries either air or by sea. The myriad options are up to you.

Lifetime Discovery also offers this Heritage & Trailblazer itinerary individually in each destination, priced from *$275.

  * Rate is per person per night based on double occupancy, depending on time of travel, chosen hotels, availability and number of passengers.

Xenia Palace | Volos

Days: 1

With absolute respect to the cultural heritage of “Xenia” buildings that had been some of the most brilliant examples of Greek architecture in the 20th century, the hotel build in the 60’s is characteristic of the postwar modernism in Volos. It has been fully renovated, the services have been updated and the hotel has been transformed into a modern 5-star city and conventions resort for a relaxing Volos accommodation.  Pelion, according to the Greek mythology was the summer residence of Gods and the Centaurs’ homeland.

 

Larissa Imperial Hotel | Larissa

Days: 2

Our Luxury Larissa Hotel is ideally located on the outskirts of Larissa, the vibrant capital of Thessaly, administrative, commercial, industrial and cultural center of the province. The Larissa Imperial hotel lies in the middle of the fertile plains of the eastern coast of central Greece.

Les Lazaristes Hotel | Thessaloniki

Days: 3 4

Les Lazaristes is one of the best hotels in Thessaloniki. Domotel Les Lazaristes is a member of the luxury hotel-chain Domotel and welcomed its first guests on the 1st of June 2004. Domotel Les Lazaristes is a fresh hotel, located at an area fully characterized by the arts. Its neighboring position, nearby Moni Lazariston Cultural Center, State Theater of Northern Greece, School of Fine Arts, State Museum of Contemporary Art, inspired its design philosophy.  Its ideal geographical position offers a high quality stay in a quiet but central area of the city. It is situated at the city’s entrance, at the junction of all major motorways, and connects Thessaloniki with the rest of Greece and the Balkans. Domotel Les Lazaristes Thessaloniki hotel presents 74 spacious rooms, suites in their majority, fully equipped with all contemporary amenities, which offer a comfortable and unforgettable stay.

 

King George Palace Hotel | Athens

Days: 5 6

Recipient of the highest score in the 2009 Guest Recognition Award of Excellence from members of the Leaders Club, the King George Palace was created for people who recognize quality and demand excellence in all they do. It combines the grace and stature of a historic landmark with ultra-modern amenities and personal service that puts guests’ comfort above all. A total renovation has recently restored the King George to its original glamour, while the experienced hotel personnel offer discreet and competent service around the clock.

David Citadel Hotel | Jerusalem

Days: 7 8

The David Citadel Hotel, with a majestic view of the Old City, is within walking distance from the city center and is situated directly across from Alrov Mamilla Avenue and other major attractions. The hotel boasts impeccably designed suites and guestrooms, fine cuisine, a luxury gym and a holistic innovative spa, year-round heated pool, and private Executive Lounge. The hotel’s exquisite modular banquet halls and reception rooms host a variety of social and business gatherings.

Beresheet Hotel & Spa | Mitspe Ramon

Days: 9

The Beresheet Hotel, part of the Isrotel Exclusive Collection, is located amid a breathtakingly beautiful primeval landscape, near the ancient Spice Route, and right on the edge of the towering cliffs that slope down into the Ramon Crater – an extraordinary natural phenomenon without equal anywhere in the world. The hotel’s unique location, at 800m above sea level, ensures a cool and comfortable climate.

Mitspe HaYamim Hotel & Spa | Mitspe HaYamim

Days: 10

In the Eastern Galilee, the Mitspe HaYamim Hotel & Spa has a spectacular panoramic view of The Hermon Mountains, The Golan Heights, The Sea of Galilee.  It is situated  between the artist village Rosh Pina and the deep-rooted Kabbalistic city of Safed.

Akkotel Hotel | Acre

Days: 11

Akkotel in Acre is a boutique hotel built into the walls of the UNESCO World Heritage site of the old city of Acre. The building is a beautifully renovated historical building that was constructed by the Ottomans and served as an accommodation for the army officers.  Akkotel is the winner of the 2012 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Hotel Awards for the Middle East region in the categories of service and bargain.

Carlton Hotel | Tel Aviv

Days: 12 13

Perfectly situated on the beachfront, The Carlton Tel Aviv Hotel is all about details and comfort; from our award-winning breakfast to our exclusive Carlton bath amenities.  Our personal service and ‘We’ve got you covered’ attitude will guarantee an unforgettable experience; whether you’re in town for business or leisure.

Day 1: Athens and on to Volos

Accomodation: Xenia Palace | Volos

At Venizelos Airport you will be greeted by Lifetime Discovery staff who will deal with all your arrival details before getting underway towards our first destination: the  magical town of  Volos at the foot of Mt. Pelion.  We will continue through the mountains to the magical town of Makrinitzia, a UNESCO World Heritage site.  After return to Volos, you will be met by a member of the Jewish community who will introduce us to Jewish heritage in  Greece and  Volos in particular.

Day 2: Via Trikkala to and Meteora for Heritage and Cultures

Accomodation: Larissa Imperial Hotel | Larissa

Jewish heritage everywhere in the world is one of both triumph and tragedy.  Greece is no different, with one exception: the almost surrealistic blend of extraordinary beauty  running in tandem with some very gloomy history. The Holocaust Memorial Monument, in the nearly fairytale-like town of  Volos,  is the first of such examples.  We will visit the city’s Romaniote Synagogue before heading towards Trikkala, where we find its Romaniote Synagogue, before taking a break from the history to enjoy the here-and-now with a casual  stroll through the charming alleys of the old city of Trikkala.  Next, we will continue to Meteora, one of the most amazing wonders of nature known in the world.  The monasteries at the top of the cliff will give us a glimpse into what was transpiring in other cultures outside Judaic circles, and is a site for exquisite  Byzantine art and architecture.  From the cliff of Meteora we will travel to Larissa the capital of Thessalia, where you will settle into a luxury hotel of a lifetime for some pampering.

Day 3: On to Thessaloniki

Accomodation: Les Lazaristes Hotel | Thessaloniki

Begin the day with a walking tour or a guided tour of Thessaloniki’s own  Jewish Museum, (http://www.jmth.gr/) and then to both the “Malka de Israel” (Queen of Israel) and “Yad LeZikaron” (memorial) synagogues.  The city was home to the largest and most important Jewish community in all of Greece before WW II.  During the tour we will hear the amazing story of the Jewish community by one of its members.  Thessaloniki is also the city where the first Jew was ever appointed assistant mayor in all Greece.  The day concludes with a visit to the Thessaloniki Holocaust Memorial Monument which commemorates the more than 150,000 Jews of the city who perished at the hand s of the Nazis.

Day 4: Olympus & Heritage in Veria

Accomodation: Les Lazaristes Hotel | Thessaloniki

Start the day by rounding off your visit of Thessaloniki by a walk around the colourful markets of Thessaloniki.  We will then head north towards Veria, stopping on the way for a  view of Olympus, the “mountain of the gods”, Zeus, Hera and friends and will learn a bit about the Greek mythology as an aside to the Jewish heritage.  When reaching Veria, on the slopes of the magnificent Mt. Vermion, we will have a walking tour of the old Jewish district of Barbuta. This will be followed by visits to the recently restored synagogue and to the Jewish cemetery.

Day 5: Depart Larissa

Accomodation: King George Palace Hotel | Athens

The day begins with a lovely walking tour of the Jewish district of Larissa, including a stop at the Square of the Jewish Martyrs and then onto the Sephardic Synagogue.

Day 6: Jews and Non-Jews of Athens

Accomodation: King George Palace Hotel | Athens

Day Six is devoted to a tour of Athens, including of course the Acropolis and Parthenon.  After paying tribute to the glories of ancient Greece, we will continue with a visit to the Jewish Museum and then to the Beth Shalom and “Etz-Hayim” (Tree of Life) synagogues.  Both houses of worship are located in the old historical Jewish quarter of Thission. Which is fascinating for all visitors of any persuasion.  Later in the day we will visit the Hill of Lycabettus, a site which provides us with a spectacular panoramic view of Athens and the port of Piraeus.  At the hotel a special farewell dinner awaits you.

Day 7: Welcome to the Homeland

Accomodation: David Citadel Hotel | Jerusalem

Upon arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport or Haifa port if you are connecting from our Jewish Heritage program in Greece, you will be greeted by the Lifetime Discovery  representative to expedite arrival formalities before setting out to Jerusalem.  Spend your first few moments in the city of gold at the Haas Promenade before checking in to your hotel and acclimating to the magic of being in Israel.  In the evening, walk the walls around the old city by star-light in a specially marked trail.

 

Day 8: Jerusalem and its History

Accomodation: David Citadel Hotel | Jerusalem

After your Mediterranean breakfast, we will start each morning with a story about your “landsmen”, or even your particular family, and where they walked on the path you are about to re-live.  Day 2 begins with the one-of-a-kind  and recently opened “Ir David” (City of David) taking you back 3000 years in the blink of an eye.  Continue with a guided walking tour to the Jewish Quarter, including the Cardo Davidson Center archaeological park and of course to the “Kotel” (Western Wall).  This meaningful moment is followed by an exciting visit to the Western Wall Tunnels, below the Wall.  There is time to browse the amazing “shuk” (market), to smell and sample the food or take away souvenirs.

In the second part of the day a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial can be made, committed to commemoration, documentation, research and education.  The mood lifts when the family plants a tree in the Jerusalem Forest. on the way out of the Old City on the way back to the hotel for another overnight in the golden city.  We recommend the “Sound of Light at the Citadel” show as a program for the evening.

 

Day 9: Desert, Dead Sea and Great Revolt

Accomodation: Beresheet Hotel & Spa | Mitspe Ramon

After having the family’s footsteps mapped out  for you by the Lifetime Discovery guide who has come to know your family narrative like the back of his or her hand, we head south from Jerusalem towards the desert .  We will start by climbing Masada, the last stronghold against the Romans and deemed a World Heritage site by UNESCO.  A cable car assists in the expedition, but if someone wants to brave the steep climb, it’s doable.  Next is the fascinating walk through the Ein Gedi nature reserve before stepping into the world-famous Dead Sea, at the lowest spot on earth.  The option of getting muddy with the world famous Dead Sea mud treatment is totally  up to you Next we head for our overnight digs, which is also a choice to make: either the super-luxurious Beresheet Hotel near the Ramon Cater, or,  going to the other extreme, an overnight of campfire and  Bedouin hospitality.  This is also up to you.

 

Day 10: Galilee, Tiberius, Safed and Environs

Accomodation: Mitspe HaYamim Hotel & Spa | Mitspe HaYamim

Picking up the trail of the Syrian-Africa Rift, we will head north through the Jordan Valley for Beit Shean to see its fascinating archaeological site.  We will stop for  lunch at Bet Gavriel, the conference center situated on the Sea of Galilee, famous for meetings between the two peace-makers, the late  Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Jordan’s  King Hussein.  We will drive the parameter of the “Kinneret” seeing Tiberius, one of the four sacred cities to Judaism.  We will take a trip to the Ancient Tiberias Synagogue, with it’s beautiful zodiac mosaic floor.

Next is another of the Jewish sacred cities, Safed,  also the seat of the mystical preaching of the Kabbalah. Our overnight will be in the very special artist colony town of Rosh Pina at one of the country’s most in-demand luxury hotels.

Day 11: Western Galilee Wonders

Accomodation: Akkotel Hotel | Acre

Wake up and, after your daily “debriefing” about where your “landsmen” figured into the northern scenario, we will drive on the picturesque North Road through the Galilee mountains to reach the Montfort Crusader fortress. Next visit one more spectacle of nature, “Mearat HaKeshet” (Arched Cave) followed by another spectacle, this one water-based, at the Rosh Hanikra grottoes. A cable car transports guests to the sea-level caverns and grottoes, at Israel’s border crossing with Lebanon.  The next and final stop of the day is in”Akko” (Acre), visit the ancient fort where during the British mandate, it was turned into a prison where the Jewish Underground Movement were held.  Later on we will also take a moment to take a walk around the ancient port, with its great bazaar in the old city and its fabulous fish restaurants by seaside, where we will have dinner before checking into the great boutique hotel we have reserved.

Day 12: Bahai, Atlit, ruins in Caesarea and on to Tel Aviv

Accomodation: Carlton Hotel | Tel Aviv

Leave Akko by the coastal road heading for Haifa, the city built into the spectacular Carmel mountain, specifically to see the gorgeous Bahai Temple and gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Continue south with the Mediterranean on your right to the Atlit historical landmark commemorating the plight of the Jewish refugees after WWII in their efforts to reach the homeland.  We will lunch at the Ein Hod artists’ colony before reaching Caesarea on the sea, with its mix of ancient and modern wonders.  Continue south for overnight in Tel Aviv, the modern metropolis.

Day 13: Tel Aviv and Old Jaffa Roots

Accomodation: Carlton Hotel | Tel Aviv

Today we will explore Ancient Jaffa, the time when the Jewish people broke out of the walls and founded Tel Aviv.

Awake and enter the bustle of Old Jaffa and the popular “Shuk HaPishpashim” (flea market) before a walk through the gentrified neighborhood of Neve Tzedek.  Continue a stroll on Rothschild Boulevard, site of the 2011 “tent-city” with a stop at Independence Hall to see where the declaration of independence from the British was announced in 1948.  We will stop at “Kikar Rabin” (Rabin Square) to pay tribute to one the country’s foremost trailblazers before heading back down the coastline towards Jaffa and the unique stop at “HaTachana” (The Station), once the Jaffa-Jerusalem Railway that now features a museum and fabulous restaurants from which you can choose on the last evening of your trailblazing discovery.

Day 14: Signing off and Homeward Bound

Today the Lifetime Discovery representative will sign off after you are safely on your way after an enriching discovery about your roots.

HAVE A SAFE TRIP AND COME BACK SOON FOR MORE DISCOVERIES OF A LIFETIME.