Judean Desert Monasteries Full Day Private Tour


It’s a full-day tour with a private guide focusing on the only 5 monasteries that still exist in the Judean desert from the 4th century. You will enjoy the view of the desert and amazingly built monasteries and you will learn about the history and stories behind these monasteries. You will finish with a bonus visit to the Church of the Nativity.

Pay a 30% deposit per item

Duration: 8 hours (Approx.)     |     Offered in: English

Tour Itinerary

We will meet at Bethlehem 300 Checkpoint if you are coming from Jerusalem: Checkpoint 300 is about 30 minutes from Damascus Gate by bus.

Mar Saba Monastery

Relax in air-conditioned comfort as you drive to the largest monastery in the Jerusalem Wilderness, Mar Saba Monastery which dates back to the fifth century AD and perches amid the southern cliffs of the Kidron Creek. Founded by Saint Sabas (Mar Saba in Arabic), it’s been extensively expanded and fortified over the years. Please note: women are not allowed to enter the monastery. Everyone will enjoy a panoramic view of the site, but only men will be allowed to go inside and tour the monastery.


St. George Monastery

Explore the amazing St. George’s Monastery in Wadi Qelt. Along the way, you’ll pass by various religious sites: St. Theodosius’ Monastery, where some believe the wise men hid from Herod the Great after they visited the baby Jesus in Bethlehem, and al-Eizariya, which many believe to be Lazarus’ Bethany village.

Stroll a short way down Qelt Valley to reach the monastery, which dates back to the fourth century, when monks first settled in the desert. They believed the site was where the Prophet Elijah was fed by ravens. We will explore the complex before driving a few minutes towards Bethlehem to Mar Saba.

Women should dress modestly and must be wearing long skirt or bring a scarf to ensure admission to St. George’s Monastery.


Mount of Temptation Monastery

Drive to visit Jericho, the lowest and the oldest city on earth. In Jericho, we will take the cable car to reach Mount of Temptation and then walk the monastery.

After taking the cable car up to Mount of Temptation, you will walk to the Monastery of the Temptation, where Jesus was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:8). The cave inside the monastery is where Jesus had fasted and meditated for forty days and nights (Matthew 4:2). From the cable car, you will be able to see the ancient Jericho archaeological site.


Saint Gerasimos Monastery (Dier Hajla)

The Monastery of St. Gerasimos is one of the earliest of the 70-plus monasteries in the Judaean desert and is named in honor of a pioneering monk who is usually depicted with a pet lion. The monastery was built in 455 by Saint Gerasimos himself who came from the town Myra of Lycia. His presence was fundamental in the monasticism of Palestine.



Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

We will end our day with an additional visit to the famous Church of the Nativity, a UNESCO world heritage site that was built on the spot where many believe Jesus was born: it’s the world’s oldest church in regular daily use.

Drive back to Checkpoint 300 or your Bethlehem hotel.


The tour will end at Bethlehem 300 Checkpoint.

What's Included

Private driver-guide
Private tour
Pick up and drop off from Bethlehem 300 Checkpoint or from your hotel if you are staying in the city of Bethlehem.

Hotel pick up and drop off outside of Bethlehem City
Entrance fees (Where applicable)
Cable car to Mount of Temptation
Gratuities (optional)

Departure & Return

Departure Point

  • If you are coming from Jerusalem, you will meet your guide at Bethlehem 300 Checkpoint (known also a Rachels’ Tomb Crossing). It’s about 30 minutes drive from Damascus Gate by bus.
  • Your guide will meet you after you cross to Bethlehem side.
  • If you are staying in Bethlehem then a hotel pick-up is available.

Check How to get from Jerusalem to Bethlehem
(Click here to look up the location on google maps)



Departure Time

8:30 am


Return Details

Returns to the original departure point.

Additional Info

  • A current valid passport is required on the day of travel.
  • Saint Saba Monastery closed on Wednesdays and Fridays
  • Women are not allowed inside Saint Saba Monastery
  • Modest clothing is required
  • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
  • Not wheelchair accessible

Cancellation Policy

  • If you cancel your tour within (10 days) prior to the date of the tour, the deposit amount is non-refundable.
  • If you cancel your tour before (11 days or more) prior to the date of the tour, a full refund of the deposit will apply.
  • If you cancel a requested multi-day tour at any time, the deposit amount will be non-refundable.
  • If you cancel a requested customized tour that requires arranging/booking any non-recoverable out-of-pocket costs incurred on your behalf such as booking a separate driver, car rentals, admissions, hotel reservations, tickets etc. in less than (10 days) prior to the date of the tour, the amount for any non-recoverable out-of-pocket costs will be non-refundable in addition to the deposit amount.


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