Christmas in Bethlehem’s Manger Square is one of the most iconic settings in the world for celebrating Christmas Eve. Bethlehem, the Palestinian town in which Jesus was born, is located in the West Bank, just a few minutes south of Jerusalem, and whilst entering the Church of the Nativity is not possible, watching the performances on the large stage in Manger Square, as well as other surrounding activities, complete with soaking in the unique Christmas atmosphere, is a very strong experience. Every Christmas Eve, a number of group tours are available, and joining one of these is recommended to maximize your Bethlehem Christmas Experience.
Bethlehem Midnight Mass Tour from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem
For those who are mostly interested in the Midnight Mass, this tour begins at 2pm with pickup from Tel Aviv and 3:30pm with pickup from Jerusalem. There will be an drive past Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives, Kidron Valley, and Old City Walls, before heading to Bethlehem, with the first stop at the Mount of Evil for a city panorama. There will be a festive dinner at Bethlehem’s Manger Square (with viewing of the ceremony big-screen available), and possible entrance to the Church of the Nativity (subject to availability). Price is $135 per person from Tel Aviv or $125 per person from Jerusalem. Online booking is from here
Bethlehem Christmas Eve Tour from Jerusalem
From Jerusalem, starting at 7am a special Christmas Eve Tour including a special tour of Bethlehem on Christmas Eve (December 24, 2014) – Shepherds Field, Church of the Nativity, Manger Square and Star Street, lunch near the Shepherds Field, and joining the locals in festivities. The tour has two options, with a return to Jerusalem at 4pm, and a later return transportation available for those who wish to stay and watch the Midnight Mass. Price is from $65 per person for those returning at 4pm, or $25 per person for those who would like to stay for the Midnight Mass and return in the early hours of the following morning. More details and booking online is from here
NB – the Midnight Mass Events are managed by the Palestinian Authority and are subject to change, often without notice.