Overview for Judaean Hills: Trails to Jerusalem
The Judaean Mountains, or Judaean Hills, is a mountain range in Israel, where Jerusalem and several other biblical cities are located. The Judean Mountains include the Mount Hebron ridge, the Jerusalem ridge and the Judean slopes. They formed the heartland of the Kingdom of Judah, where the earliest Jewish settlements emerged.
The trip follows the Judean Hills route to Jerusalem while discovering natural scenery and ancient sites and offers first-hand encounters with the diverse and friendly local communities.
- Neve Shalom – binational community of Jewish and Muslim Arab Israeli citizens
- Emmaus – Roman-era archaeological site
- Burma Road – A bypass to the besieged Jerusalem in 1948
- Yad Hashmona – a community of Messianic Jews and Christians living together
- Bellmont – a crusader fortress
- Ein Karem – A quiet romantic village, now a neighbourhood of Jerusalem, the birthplace of John the Baptist.
Itinerary for Judaean Hills: Trails to JerusalemGo to top of page
Day 1: Neve Shalom – Wahat al-Salam
Arrive at Neve Shalom – Jewish-Arab community village. Public transport from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem is available. A taxi from Ben Gurion airport is about 40 minutes drive. Private transfer is available on request. Stroll around the village, situated in a beautiful valley.
- Overnight in Neve Shalom / Wahat al-Salam Guesthouse, dinner
Day 2: Circular walk in the Ayalon Valley
The circular walk starts and ends at Neve Shalom. The route goes through the Tuscany-like landscapes of the Ayalon Valley. Visit the archaeological site of Emmaus – where according to the New Testament, Jesus appeared after his resurrection. Walk through the Canada natural park and back to the Latrun memorial site and museum. An optional visit to the Latrun monastery of the silent monks just before arriving back to Neve Shalom. You can walk the whole route or only part of it.
- Walking for the day: 17 km, 6-7 hours (full route), ↑250m ↓250m
- Overnight in Neve Shalom / Wahat al-Salam Guesthouse, breakfast, lunch box, dinner
Day 3: The Burma Road, Old Trees nature reserve
The trail leaves Neve Shalom in the Ayalon valley toward the slopes of the Judean hills, easterly direction. The track follows the path of the “Burma Road” – a bypass to besieged Jerusalem during the 1948 war of independence. Toward the end of the hike, there is an amazing viewpoint offering spectacular views over the Israeli lowlands.
- Walking for the day: 13 km, 5 hours ↑400m ↓50m
- Overnight in Shoresh Green Hills, breakfast, lunch box
Day 4: Abu Gosh, Yad Hashmona
Today’s trip starts with a nice walk in the forest just outside Shoresh and later through historic and heritage sites. The route crosses settlements and communities which are typical to Israel e.g. Moshav, a cooperative village, or the Arab village of Abu-Gosh and the unique community in Yad Hashmona where Messianic Jews and Christians are peacefully living together.
- Walking for the day: 13 km, 5-6 hours ↑150m ↓150m
- Overnight in Yad Hashmona Country Hotel, breakfast, lunch box, dinner
Day 5: Tzuba-Bellmont, Sattaf, Ein Karem
The trip begins with a morning car transfer from Yad Hashmona to Kibbutz Tzuba. The trailhead is at the remains of the Crusader fortress of Bellmont. Start with a short walk crossing the Kibbutz. Continue through the Sattaf nature reserve. Jerusalem is visible from the high points of the route. The highlight and the final destination of this day is the atmospheric village of Ein Karem – a neighbourhood of Jerusalem. A stroll along the alleys of the village and visiting its churches, historic sites and cafés is a lovely way to finish the day.
- Walking for the day: 11 km, 4-5 hours ↑200m ↓200m
- Overnight in Notre Dame de Sion guesthouse, breakfast, lunch box
Day 6: Departure or Onward Travel
Hotels for Judaean Hills: Trails to JerusalemGo to top of page
5 nights in 3-star quality hotels or guesthouses. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.
*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Breakfast is included. When no restaurant location is available on route lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, packed lunches are included. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your accommodation or restaurants in the village near your hotel.
Travel for Judaean Hills: Trails to JerusalemGo to top of page
Our recommended arrival airport for this holiday is Ben Gurion (Tel Aviv International).
Please note that flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Please do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking.
Transfers to/from Airports
You will arrive at Tel Aviv Airport. You can use either public transport or book a private transfer with us. The detailed bus schedule will be provided in the pre-departure info pack.
Airport transfers by public transport are possible, or you can book a private transfer with us.
All hotel to hotel luggage transfers on walking days are included (maximum one piece of 20 kg per person).
The areas where this holiday takes place are considered safe. Up-to-date travel advice on Israel is available here.
Detailed travel information and hints will be provided in your holiday information pack.
Trip Info for Judaean Hills: Trails to JerusalemGo to top of page
Difficulty Grade: Moderate
Suitable for regular walkers who are generally fit. Total walking is 54 km, on average 14 km (4-6 hours) per walking day (read more about difficulty grades).
We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to Go
This trip is available all year round. Best months are February until June and September until November.
The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date in the season – so please indicate desired beginning date when booking.
The climate is subtropical. In July and August, it can become very hot for walking, be sure to take enough water!
What to Bring
We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing not more than 20 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact a reputable outdoor retailer or us.
- Good hiking boots
- Hiking socks
- Several t-shirts (cotton or preferably breathable/fast drying)
- Packable waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
- Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
- Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside accommodation
- Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
- Hat/Baseball cap
- Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)
Included for Judaean Hills: Trails to JerusalemGo to top of page
- Detailed pre-departure holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps (electronic copy + one printed copy per party)
- 5 nights in 3-star hotels with breakfast included
- 3 dinners and 4 packed lunches
- Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office in Tel Aviv
Single Room & Solo Traveller Supplements
- Single room supplement: Where individual members of a group require a single room, a single room supplement is applicable
- This holiday is available for solo travellers. As costs are not shared, a supplement is payable on the standard trip cost.
(please click the CHECK AVAILABILITY button above to see the price of the holiday and the different options and supplements for your desired dates)
Other Trip-Related Costs
- Entrance fees for attractions and museums
- Flights and airport transfers
- Lunches and dinners other than the included 3 dinners and 4 packed lunches
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
- Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the program
Extensions and Extras
- Extra nights in tlv88, a boutique hotel in Tel Aviv, located very close to the beach and in the heart of the vibrant Tel Aviv downtown
- Optional private transfer Tel Aviv (Airport or centre) to hotel on Day 1
- Optional private transfer from last hotel to Tel Aviv (Airport or centre)
Gallery for Judaean Hills: Trails to JerusalemGo to top of page
Reviews for Judaean Hills: Trails to JerusalemGo to top of page
Thank you both for an amazing holiday. We thoroughly enjoyed it. Definitely one of the best trips we've been on.
Alon, thank you very much for all your help and support. Your routes are outstandingly detailed and it was great to know you were always available when if we needed you. As I said, your routes are the best I've seen for a self-guided tour. Thanks again and hopefully we'll see you again next year.