Great Continental Railway Journeys

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Haifa to the Negev

Series 3 - Episode 5 Haifa to the Negev



After all of his jaunts through Europe, our Bradshaw’s-toting guide Michael Portillo opts for a dramatic change of scenery when he arrives in Haifa at the start of a trip to explore Israel and the West Bank.

Of course, no Portillo journey is complete without a bit of light cooking and dining, so he has a go at rustling up a Middle Eastern takeaway before getting down to the serious business of modern politics and its periodic catastrophic effect on the region.

Later Portillo visits the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and the city’s Western Wall. He ends the trip at the Dead Sea, where of course he has a bounce around in the water as he takes a quick dip.


Michael Portillo uses his 1913 copy of Bradshaw's Continental Railway Guide to venture beyond Europe as he travels through the Holy Land. He begins in Israel, learning about the Baha'i faith and how it spread to Britain in the Edwardian era, hearing the story of the origins of Tel Aviv, and visiting the Christian, Jewish and Muslim quarters of the capital Jerusalem. Michael then crosses the separation barrier between Jerusalem and the West Bank in the company of his Palestinian guide and meets the embroiderers of the Arab Women's Union in Bethlehem, before finishing his journey in the Negev desert.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Michael Portillo
Executive Producer John Comerford
Series Producer Alison Kreps