|Day 1 Amman|
On arrival at Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport, you are met by our local representative and transferred to your hotel. The rest of your day is free for you to explore Amman.
|Day 2 Aqaba |
After breakfast, you are transferred to the bus station for the JETT bus direct to Aqaba. This is a very efficient service, and the journey takes approx. four hours. On arrival, you are met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to explore the town and port. In the evening, meet your tour leader along with any group members arriving from Egypt.
|Day 3 Aqaba/Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp|
After a brief orientation of Aqaba, you may visit the old castle (time permitting) before driving to Wadi Rum. After lunch in the small village of Rum and a browse around the excellent and informative visitor's center, you visit several of Wadi Rum's distinctive rock formations and soak in the vast silence and spectacular desert landscapes. Meet your Bedouin hosts and ride camels to your traditional Bedouin tent situated deep within Wadi Rum. The Bedouins live in scattered camps throughout the area. Enjoy an evening with them at their camp, set in this amazing location. Wadi Rum is a truly beautiful place with towering sandstone mountains. It fully deserves the amount of time we spend here, with the wind-sculpted rock formations changing hue throughout the day from sunrise to sunset. Wadi Rum is probably best known for its connection with the enigmatic British officer T.E. Lawrence, who was based here during the Great Arab Revolt of 1917-1918. Much of David Lean's film of his exploits, "Lawrence of Arabia," was actually filmed in Wadi Rum.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging: Bedouin camp
Bedouin tents in Wadi Rum
|Day 4 Wadi Rum/Petra|
It’s well worth rising early and watching the cliffs change color as the sun comes up. Enjoy a walk in the morning and scale one of the large dunes to enjoy sensational views of the surrounding area. Photographers will be especially delighted. Then take 4WDs from the camp back to the main entrance of Wadi Rum. The visitor center is a great spot to buy souvenirs, mostly made by a women’s cooperative which supports traditional local industries. You then continue your journey to Petra. On arrival, there is time in the afternoon to check out the town, or just relax in preparation for a big day of exploring Petra tomorrow.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
|Day 5 Petra|
For most people, the image of Petra is a narrow chasm with glimpses of the famous Treasury in the distance. You are sure to be surprised by the size and scale of this ancient city, built by the Nabataean people. Explore the old Roman road, amphitheater and several old tombs. You may also climb up to the Monastery for a fine view of the entire site. It is a memorable day and sure to be one of the main highlights of your trip. There is a cafeteria on the site where you may enjoy a light lunch. In the mid-afternoon, return to your hotel and consider enjoying a Turkish bath. This is a great experience and Petra is an excellent – and safe – place to try one. The cost is around US$21 per person. The rest of the day is at your leisure.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Treasury at Petra
|Day 6 Shobak/Dana/Madaba/Amman|
This morning, drive along the King’s Highway, a road that dates back to the time of the Old Testament. Stop at Shobak Castle, originally built to protect the eastern flank of the Latin Kingdom and its trade routes to the sea before it fell to Saladin in 1189. Enjoy a walk through the site and then continue to the ancient village at Dana, where local artisans sell attractive silver jewelry and charms. You then reach Madaba, where you visit the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, which houses an ancient mosaic map of the region. This is of particular interest, as it clearly depicts Palestine and Lower Egypt around 550 AD. Expect to arrive in Amman in the late afternoon. In the evening, you may try one of several fine restaurants for dinner. (Please note that Kerak Castle is not included in your tour, as it is often very congested and busy. However, if there is sufficient interest among members of the group, your leader may arrange an optional visit. Many travelers prefer to spend any extra time in Amman.)
Greek Orthodox Church of St. George
|Day 7 Jerash/Dead Sea/Amman|
The Roman city of Jerash is quite well-preserved. Founded in the time of Alexander the Great, by the 3rd century AD, it had become a center of considerable importance. Today it is one of the grandest ancient cities in the world with an imposing collection of archways, theaters, baths, public buildings, and colonnaded streets. Visit the site in the morning and later drive down to the Dead Sea. The afternoon is at your leisure to float in the warm therapeutic waters, the world's saltiest. Return to Amman for the night.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Roman ruins of Jerash
|Day 8 Bethlehem/Jerusalem|
Today is an early start as you leave Amman and head for the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge. Located only 40 kilometers from Amman, this marks the border with Israel. It is important that you read the "Additional Information" notes at the end of this itinerary regarding crossing the border from Jordan into Israel. Once you have cleared immigration and customs, you are met by your new driver and given a quick tour of Jericho - considered by some to be the oldest, longest inhabited city in the world - before being transferred to Jerusalem. In the afternoon we make a short journey south to Bethlehem, where we make our pilgrimage to Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity, built over the site that marks it as the traditionally-accepted birthplace of Jesus Christ and a sacred place for Christians and Muslims alike. Its impressive Constantine mosaics, colonnaded ancient basilica and the small grotto that marks Jesus' birthplace are all impressive. We then drive to Beit Sahour to visit one of the most sacred places for Christians, the Shepherds' Field, identified in the New Testament as the site where the Angel of the Lord visited the shepherds and informed them of Jesus' impending birth. At long day's end we return to Jerusalem.
Aerial view of Jerusalem
|Day 9 Jerusalem|
Begin your tour of Jerusalem with a panoramic view of the city's great urgan skyline - the serried buildings and ancient ramparts of the Old City, the churches adorning the Mount of Olives and the iconic gold of the Dome of the Rock. We start the day with a short drive to the Mount of Olives to take in a panoramic view of the city's extraordinary ensemble before driving to the Garden of Gethsemane. From there we walk to St. Stephen’s Gate through which we enter the Old City. Walk to the 'Cardo' in the recently restored Jewish Quarter, which was the old north-south axis in Roman times. Visit the Western (Wailing) Wall, Via Dolorosa (Stations of the Cross), and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. When entry is permitted we also visit the Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque. After lunch (not included), our tour continues with a visit to Yad Vashem (Israel's memorial to the Holocaust). Please note that Yad Vashem is closed on public holidays and also on Fridays and Saturdays. On these days, you will visit Mount Zion, the Cenacle and the Dormition Abbey instead.
Ancient olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemane
|Day 10 Nazareth/Sea of Galilee|
This morning we drive through the Jordan Valley, whose fertile lands were chronicled in the Bible, stopping en route at Beit Shean to view a well-preserved Roman theatre and a unique Byzantine mosaic floor. Passing through Tiberias, one of Judaism’s four holy cities, we stop at Yardenit - the new commemorative site of Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River. At Nazareth we visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, which incorporates, according to Roman Catholic tradition, the cave in which Mary received the news from Gabriel that she would give birth to Jesus. Afterwards we return to Tiberias to sail across the Sea of Galilee to Tabgha, where Jesus performed the Miracle of the Multiplication of the loaves and fishes. We stop off at the ancient settlement site of Capernaum situated on the banks of the Kinneret, where Jesus once lived and Peter’s house still stands, before returning to Tiberias for our overnight stay in a hotel on a kibbutz.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
|Day 11 Tiberias/Acre/Caesarea/Tel Aviv|
Leave Tiberias and head northward to the ancient crusader port of Acre, a World heritage listed site with an eventful history from the time of the crusades through the Napolionic battles to the present day. We visit the massive complex of buildings occupied by the Knights of St John as well as the Knight Templars' secret tunnel. Passing through Haifa we arrive at Caesarea, which served as the capital of Israel during the Roman and Byzantine eras and which nowadays holds some of the country’s finest classical remains, including an aqueduct and a graceful theatre which overlooks the Mediterranean. Around 5:00 pm we arrive in lively Tel Aviv, where we spend our last night in Israel’s liveliest city. With its lively cafe culture and relaxed beach scene, Tel Aviv makes for the perfect end point to our adventure.
Church of the Annunciation
|Day 12 Tel Aviv/Onward|
Your trip ends today, after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around 12:00 noon and you are free to leave at any time. If you have arranged a private airport transfer you will be advised of the pick-up time. Bid farewell to your tour leader and your group.
Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you wish to spend more time exploring Tel Aviv.