Client Recommendations

Unforgettable half-day trip to Herodium (posted on TripAdvisor, July 2022)

Shmuel is the consummate tour guide—organized, engaging, and incredibly intelligent. We took a half-day tour to Herodium, which is a site that not many tour guides are even offering on their itineraries, and Shmuel made it come alive for us. His knowledge of ancient Israeli history is encyclopediac: I can’t remember learning more from a tour guide in so short a time! When we come back to Israel, we want Shmuel to take us everywhere! If you can get him as a guide, you should do it without hesitation. You will not regret it!

Best Tour Guide in Israel: Brilliant, Enthusiastic, Knowledgeable and Balanced

Shmuel is hands down the BEST tour guide we’ve ever had and our tour of Jerusalem was literally the highlight of our trip to Israel! Shmuel is brilliant. His knowledge of history, politics, archaeology, architecture and religion is unsurpassed, He is very thoughtful, interesting, and clearly loves what he does. Rather than taking us to see “everything”, he consistently gauged our interest and provided an in-depth understanding of where we were and what we were seeing. His enthusiasm for learning and exploring was infectious, and our family, including our teens, soaked it up and had a truly memorable experience.                         Katherine Simonetti, USA

16 Wonderful Days (posted on TripAdvisor)

We spent 16 wonderful days in March 2022 in Israel and Jordan thanks to the outstanding guiding services of Shmuel Browns. We visited areas from north to south of Israel and also spent 3 days in Jordan at Petra and the Dana Biosphere Reserve. Highlights included: 1. Gamla Nature Reserve (Flying vultures and the remains of the ancient village), 2. Nimrod Fortress (Crusader castle), 3.The old city of Akko on the sea, 4. The Mount of Beatitudes and Capernaum on the Kinneret/Sea of Galillee, 5. Touring many other archeological sites including Caeserea, Masada, Herodium, and Moa (part of the spice route), 6. Seeing Ibex and bountiful wildflowers in the Negev desert around Mitzpe Ramon, 7. Walking through and under the old city of Jerusalem and the city of David and walking though the Kidron Valley also full of wildflowers, 8. Viewing Judean palms that were grown from 2,000 year old seeds, 9. Hiking in the large canyon of Dana reserve in Jordan and 10. Visiting the amazing mosaics of Hisham’s Palace in Jericho With Shmuel as our guide we visited well known sites as well as special areas “off the beaten path”. Shmuel provided great information and interpretation everywhere we went. We highly recommend Shmuel for anyone wanting great insights in visiting Israel.                                                                                                                                                                                   Andy & Paula Holman, USA

I wanted this trip to be the trip of a lifetime and bring to life everything I have read, watched and am passionate about.
Without you, that would not have happened. Not even close.
I am incredibly grateful to you and what is more, I thoroughly enjoyed every moment in your company. Thank you Shmuel.

It was fun Phil, thoroughly enjoyed it. Lots more to experience in this crazy country. Maybe bring your family.

My son would love it!!! My head is spinning with everything we did. I’m an emotional chap and it was an incredible experience; thanks only to you. All flashing past like an amazing dream now.  Phil Day, Leicester, England

Truly excellent!
Our day with Shmuel was extraordinary! We’ve been to Israel many times but never to Herodian and boy was this memorable! Shmuel is an expert on Herod and this site and all things of that time period. He had great stories and a wonderful way of presenting so much information, keeping us engaged the entire day. Plus he surprised us on the way there and on the way home with hidden gems, and found us a fantastic lunch spot. We highly recommend Shmuel!
     Elyse Goldstein, Toronto, Canada
Herodium and Jerusalem tours
We’ve spent almost two days with Shmuel exploring Jerusalem and Herodium (if you don’t know what it is, look it up and ask Shmuel to take you there, you won’t be disappointed). As a fellow tourist guide I must say that Shmuel does know his history and architecture and without him it would have been difficult if not impossible to make sense of the convoluted history of Jerusalem. We have thoroughly enjoyed his tours and I won’t hesitate to recommend him as a knowledgeable and reliable tourist guide.
       Sergei Senin, London England

Dear Shmuel,
“Just a note to say thank you for all you did for us on our day tour of Herodion and the Israel Museum. It has given us so many wonderful memories. Next time we come on holiday we hope Jericho will be available. Please put our comment on your web site that the tour was excellent, full of very interesting information, you led it at our pace (we are both pensioners) and we learned so much about Herod the Great during the day. You are truly an expert in all things Herod. The personal attention to our needs and the warm friendship made the day so memorable. Oh! and by the way the day was great value for money.”
     Many thanks, Ray and Beryl Briddon, UK
Update: Ray & Beryl came to visit about 2 years later and I took them to Herod’s palace spanning Wadi Qelt at the edge of Jericho. Then we entered Jericho and visited Hisham’s palace. It was an incredible day.
Update to update
(Aug 26, 2020) On a tour to Wadi Qelt & off-road to Cypros we continued to the Hasmonean and Herodian palaces outside of Jericho excavated over 15 years by Prof. Netzer in 1973. To our amazement we discovered that Israel is doing new excavations at the site and there is lots to see!
(Oct 25, 2021) As soon as I read that the conservation work at Hisham’s Palace in Jericho had been completed we went to see the site and the incredible mosaic floors. When you visit Israel next, ask me to take you to Jericho, it’s another world, you won’t want to miss it.
(2022) I’ve guided Jericho and Hisham’s Palace numerous times this year. I’m now offering a new tour that I call “From Jerusalem to Dead Sea” that can include in addition some of the following: the museum at Inn of the Good Samaritan, off-road above Wadi Qelt, Hasmonean & Herodian palaces, Cypros and Dagon/Dok fortresses, hiking in Nahal Og, Qumran, float in Dead Sea, baptismal site at Jordan river, Quarantal or St. George monasteries, photographing at Dead Sea..
I was introduced to Ferrill Jenkins via the Internet but just met him for the first time. I took him and his friend Dan, both photographers, to Mar Elias, Kathisma church and Herodium. He blogged about it at
I had been to the Herodion several times but had never spent much time at Lower Herodion. I was impressed with the things Shmuel showed us there…You need a guide in Jerusalem if you have never been there before. Shmuel would be a good man to call.
We had a great morning. Thanks, Shmuel.”
       Ferrill Jenkins (US)
“We just returned to the USA after our 9 day tour of Israel. I will do what I can to promote your ancient, friendly and safe country. It was a trip of a lifetime which we will never forget.
   Thanks for all your help, especially the in-depth excursions to Herodium, Jericho, exploring the Qumran caves, the tombs at Ketef Hinom and your lesson in ancient Hebrew. I was so excited I bought the Rosetta Stone Hebrew edition.
   Thanks too for the references and for just being the personable, approachable, kind and knowledgeable person you are. We felt so at ease with you. I’ll be back next year, God willing, with my wife and a priest friend. We will look you up!
   My congratulations on your new granddaughter. May she inherit her Grandpa’s love of history.
  Go well, stay well, my friend.”
        Bill Bennett, ME
I guided a couple who came to Israel on a cruise ship for a private day tour of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
“Thank you so much for your email with the details of our tour itinerary, it will help no end in labeling my photos. I was expecting Jerusalem to be the highlight of the whole trip and it was. Your personal tour made the day and we will highly recommend you to anyone who needs a guide. We spoke to a person on the ship who had taken the cruise tour and was very dissatisfied due to the large crowds and inability to move about or to see properly, which only emphasized how lucky we were to have you guide us.”
Pete and Milli
I guided a couple, both photographers down at the Dead Sea.
“We got some amazing sunrise photos at the Dead Sea, we hiked through canyons and got lots of cool shots there, then Shmuel found some unique salt formations back at the Dead Sea. We captured some great photos of sinkholes.
To sum it up this was the highlight of our 17 day trip to Israel. Shmuel delivered beyond our greatest expectations.”
      Mary & Vern Schlabach
dead sea_02
I guided two people, one a young woman who is a jazz singer living in NYC and she sang a hymn in the Church of Santa Anna – now that was a treat.
“Thank YOU for such a wonderful morning in Jerusalem.  Your tour was one of my favorite experiences on my trip, and I take your lessons with me into the world, eager to share them with everyone I meet.  Keep up the fabulous work – I have been describing you as a must-do to anyone traveling to the Holy Land.”
Kat Gang, NYC
I guided a couple and her 70-year-old mother focussing mostly on Christian sites in the Old City.
” … a very professional and dedicated guide – Shmuel was super – he went above and beyond what was expected and left us with one of the most beautiful days of memories of our trip – He was patient and kind and incredibly knowledgeable! Again, an exceptional guide who I highly recommend!!!” (posted on TripAdvisor)

I recommend Shmuel Browns as a tour guide if you want to see deeply: Shmuel offers a quiet narrative (good for taking things in deeply), with a fine-tuned historical knowledge infused with understanding of geology, botany, birding, cultural clashes and developments, Deep Ecology. He has a fabulous photographic eye so if you want to commune with the land and terrain in embodied fashion, he’s a great choice.”

Rabbi/Prof. Elliot Ginsburg (US)

“We recently completed our tour to the Dead Sea with guide Shmuel Browns and it was wonderful. the region, sights and locale we give a 10, but our guide deserves more than an 11. He was the perfect choice for us… fielding questions regarding places not even on the tour. Certainly a well versed guide with knowledge, integrity and a means of making the seemingly unrelated pieces… relate. His empathy was even able to bring a 47 year old memory back to life, making him a large part of a now lifetime memory.”
Rick Cohen (US)

“We presented Shmuel with a number of challenges and he far exceeded our expectations. We asked Shmuel to take us through the Old City during chol hamoed Pesach – in itself a challenge. We were an eclectic group of people to guide – Italians, Israelis, and Americans, both Christians and Jews. There was no language spoken by the entire group so a lot of simultaneous translation occurred.  At the last minute, we both added to the itinerary and added two additional people.  None of this was a problem.  In fact, Shmuel seemed very happy to accommodate our request.  Everyone was very impressed by his knowledge, patience, caring, and sense of humor.  I was also very impressed by his work ethic. We met him at 10:00 and he left us at 6:00 only after ensuring we indeed had our kotel tunnel tickets.  It made a huge difference to our Jerusalem experience and I can’t stress enough how much a knowledgeable guide adds even if you have visited the Old City and think you know it. We had a wonderful experience.  
Thank you Shmuel!” 
KBishburg, US

I guided a father and his 22-year-old son, both engineers. It’s not the first time I’ve had a client who has a Nikon digital SLR and iPhone but this is the first time a client is blogging about the tour. Check it out here.
I guided 2 families, 4 parents and 5 children (Emily, Olivia, Marcy, Courtnie and Tyler), and Bernie blogged about our time together at
… we highly recommend Shmuel as a guide.  He is extremely knowledgeable about the history, architecture, and the archaeological sites in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas.  He is religiously unbiased in his presentation and politically neutral in his presentation of Israeli/Palestinian relations (and we really pushed him on the issue a few times.)  He made sure we had a balanced itinerary with plenty to keep the kids entertained and the adults educated and a good mix of natural and historic sites.  He went beyond the call of duty with long hours, helping with taxi arrangements, recommending restaurants (and pubs) and being flexible with our big group (which included sometimes cranky kids).  He has a good heart, an intellectual mind, and a lot of energy!
I guided an extended family of 8 (both sets of grandparents, parents and children, 11 and 13) for 5 days.
“A million thanks for being a great guide. Your high energy but mellow demeanor was perfect for our group and your deep historical knowledge kept it all interesting and in context for us.”
I guided a mother and her 16-year-old son on their first trip to Israel.
“Thank you for helping to make our trip to Israel so memorable!
Without your vast grasp of the beautiful land of Israel and Jerusalem we would have been lost…
Thanks for your great service. Take care and good luck with your guiding.”
I guided a couple who were interested in archaeology and specifically Herod’s palace/fortress at Herodium.
“The tour of Herodium was awe-inspiring, largely because of Shmuel Browns, our guide. He is highly knowledgeable, and comes equipped with graphic documentation that fills the gaps of what one sees. He gave us a taste of the detective work of archaeologists. Further, Shmuel is very professional and a real “mensch”.”
I guided a Christian couple interested in archaeology and Israel.
“Mr. Browns was a 6 star guide. His knowledge of his subject was encyclopedic and made our visit to the site come alive. We will heartily recommend him to anyone we know who may be planning a visit to the Holy Land in the future!”
I guided a couple who were visiting their daughter who is studying International Medicine here.
“We are back in the US with lots of wonderful memories from our time in Israel. We want to thank you for being our guide in Jerusalem. You well earned your fee and we are grateful… Know that your skills as a guide are recognized and deeply appreciated.
I guided a father and his 2 grown daughters around Herodium, visiting for a family bat mitzvah.
… my thoughts often drift back to that memorable afternoon with you and my kids at Herodium. I appreciate the time that you took and the knowledge that you shared.”
I guided a couple and his older parents (the father used a walker or wheelchair for longer distances). We drove from Tel Aviv through the Negev down to Sde Boker.
“We really enjoyed the day we spent with you, and now that I have digested all that we accomplished that day, I am even more pleased! Thanks for the update on the argan nut. Your pictures of Nahal Zin in today’s Arutz Sheva are beautiful!”

I’ve been with ToursByLocals, a site designed to connect travelers with excellent, local guides for 12 years and have guided hundreds of clients for them.
I am registered on the Viator, local expert guides website.
I’m one of eight guides recommended by Frommer’s Jerusalem Day by Day guidebook (see page 21).

1 thought on “Client Recommendations

  1. Dick and Alice Tataryn

    Dear Shmuel. We write to tell you what a wonderful guide you are, with so much knowledge in so many areas. You gave of yourself in true professionalism and were attentive to our interests and more. You were so genuine, friendly that we felt you became part of our family by the end of our two weeks. We were sorry to say goodbye and hope we meet again. You indeed left part of yourself with us. Thank you for a superb, learning experience done in your special way. Your knowledge so freely given was indeed appreciated.
    God Bless and a big thanks from Dick and I. We will and have given your name to our friends interested in a tour of Israel.


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