St. George’s Monastery, Wadi Qelt, Mar Saba Monastery, and Bethlehem Private Day Tour
Enjoy a comprehensive overview of historic Bethlehem and around on this 8-hour private tour. You’ll visit religious monuments, including St. George’s Monastery, Mar Saba Monastery, the Church of the Nativity, the Church of St. Catherine, the Milk Grotto Shrine, the Cave of St. Jerome, and Shepherd’s Field, where the angel appeared to the shepherds. Along the way, enjoy a falafel lunch and see some of Banksy’s graffiti art.
Duration: 8 hours (Approx.) | Offered in: English
We meet at Bethlehem 300 Checkpoint if you are coming from Jerusalem: Checkpoint 300 is about 30 minutes from Damascus Gate by bus.
Women should dress modestly and bring a scarf to ensure admission to St. George’s Monastery.
Relax in air-conditioned comfort as you drive for around 45 minutes to 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.
The largest monastery in the Jerusalem Wilderness, Mar Saba Monastery 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.
Your next stop is Beit Sahour, considered the city of the shepherds. Visit the Shepherd’s Field, where the angel appeared to the shepherds and told them about Jesus’ birth, then drive to a local restaurant for a classic falafel lunch.
From here it’s not far to Bethlehem proper, where you’ll start at 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. You’ll also visit the Cave of St. Jerome, below the church, where many believe he translated the bible.
Finally, you’ll visit the Church of St. Catherine and the Milk Grotto shrine, and see Banksy’s graffiti pieces, before you drive back either to Checkpoint 300 or your Bethlehem hotel, where your tour will finish around 4 or 5 pm.
End of the day.
- Private driver guide
- Professional guide
- Private tour
- Pickup and drop off from Bethlehem 300 Checkpoint or from your hotel if you are staying in the city of Bethlehem.
What's Not Included
- Hotel pick up and drop off outside of Bethlehem
- Entrance fees
- Gratuities (optional)
- Alcoholic drinks (available to purchase)
Departure & Return
- 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.
Returns to the original departure point.
- 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
- 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.