Tours with Shmuel

Day Tours

If you only have a short amount of time and are interested in more than what you’d get from a package tour or trying to do it by yourself, then contact me about one of these special tours – I’ve created them from my experience as someone who is local and knowledgeable and each can be customized to your interests:

  • You may have heard of Sandeman’s *FREE* tours, I call this tour the Old City $1 tour because it is a walking tour (less expensive, small carbon footprint) made up of 4 quarters; of course to cover 3 religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) and more than 2000 years of history, architecture, art in 4-8 hours does cost more than $1.
  • Taste Jerusalem tour, a walking tour with food tasting in the Old City shuk and/or Mahane Yehuda market, where along with the history and stories you get to taste freshly squeezed juice in season, pita with zatar and olive oil, hummus, meze, stuffed breads, bureka, khachapuri, coffee, desserts like mtabak or knafe.
  • German Colony, a walking tour, can include arrangements for dinner afterwards
  • Someone to Tour With, a kids-oriented walking and eating tour of Jerusalem based on David Grossman’s book, accompanied by a golden retriever called Sumsum.
  • An alternative Hurva Synagogue tour, following in architect Louis Kahn’s footsteps visit St George and Mar Saba monasteries in the Judean desert and then hear the real story of the Hurva, its destruction in 1948 with the fall of the Jewish quarter; then fast forward to the Six Day War, the capture of the Old City, the archaeological excavations and rebirth of the quarter and the Hurva.
  • Barluzzi Churches, a walking tour of the incredible buildings in Jerusalem designed by Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi in this last century
  • Herod the Great tour, a comprehensive tour of the archaeological site at Herodium that includes Lower Herodium excavated by Prof. Netzer outside the archaeological park and other sites connected to King Herod.
© 2010, Bezalel Haberman-Browns, used with permission

Shmuel guiding at Lower Herodium, one of his specialties

In general, I build a tour itinerary in consultation with you so that you get a tour that matches your interests. I do tours of Jerusalem (I live in the German Colony), the Old City, Jewish Quarter, tours of Christian sites, the ancient City of David including wading through Hezekiah’s tunnel – these tours combine history, archaeology, religion, architecture, etc. I guide a food and people tour of Mahane Yehuda market. I guide tours in Tel Aviv-Jaffa a combination of history, architecture, art and culture.

I am happy to take you farther afield, day trips from Jerusalem to Herodium, desert monasteries, Qasr el-Yahud, the traditional site in the Jordan River where John baptised Jesus, Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, the oases of Ein Gedi and Ein Feshka in the Judean desert, hiking Nahal Arugot or for the more adventurous Nahal Darga, the Dead Sea and Masada.

Planning your Itinerary

For people who have a week or more in Israel I can work out a customized itinerary including historical and archaeological sites like Caesarea, Akko also spelled Acre (learn about the “greatest jail break in history” and visit the other Holocaust museum and Bahai gardens, Tsippori/Sepphoris, Beit Shean/Scythopolis, Sussita/Hippos and Banias. We can explore the Golan in the north or the Negev desert in the south. I can share with you nature spots off the beaten track, just a quiet spot for a picnic or hikes suited to the whole family or more challenging hikes, for example, the Yehudia Reserve has some great hikes with water which is a delight in the hot summer months.

For some sample itineraries that I’ve done and suggestions on places to visit please review the articles that I’ve posted by clicking on the “Blog” tab. You can also search by keyword or category to help you find what you’re looking for. Here are some samples itineraries:

I am very excited to be able to offer two additional specialty tours: 1) tours that focus on Israeli wines and food and 2) tours for those interested in photography and who want to experience Israel through a camera’s lens.

I am now authorized by the Ministry of Tourism to guide tourists in Bethlehem and Jericho. Contact me for details.

I am able to add the fun experience of riding on a Segway (Personal Transporter) to a tour, for example, on the promenade at Armon HaNatziv overlooking the Old City, to get around the Biblical zoo or traverse the Valley of the Cross to Israel Museum or Knesset; it is also possible to ride along the Jaffa-Tel-Aviv promenade, a magical introduction to the city that never sleeps.

With the re-opening of the Israel Museum I am pleased to offer an architecturally focussed tour of the new museum explaining the renewal of the museum that James Carpenter Design Associates and the Israeli firm of Efrat-Kowalsky Architects have accomplished. Included are other highlights like the Shrine of the Book, that has been called “a milestone in the history of world architecture” and the Second Temple Period model. I also do tours of the museum’s main 3 galleries: Archaeology, Judaica and Art.