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Tailor-made Tour 15 days from £3995 per person

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  Places Visited: Amman, Petra, Wadi Rum, Aqaba, Dead Sea, Jerusalem (Bethlehem)

Combining Jordan and Israel in one trip makes complete sense to us. Utilising the border crossing at Allenby Bridge, not far from the Dead Sea, this tour takes in the history, culture and splendour of these fascinating Holy Lands. In a little over two weeks you will take in the magnificent Roman ruins of Jerash and the ancient city of Petra, immerse yourself in Bedouin culture with an overnight stay in a desert camp, relax in the waters of the Red Sea, and float in the healing waters of the Dead Sea before crossing into Israel to explore the sacred sites of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Holiday Types

Cultural Tours

 

Suggested itinerary

Day 1
Amman

Take a day flight from London. Arrive in Amman late in the evening and transfer to your hotel.

Day 2
Amman

Spend this morning exploring all that Amman has to offer. Start at the Roman Theatre, cut in to the hillside in downtown Amman, where you can also visit the Folklore Museum and Museum of Popular Traditions, before continuing to the hilltop citadel, home to large plazas and colonnaded streets along with a palace complex. Your tour will also take in the King Abdullah Mosque, the only mosque in Amman to allow non-Islamic visitors. This afternoon, drive out into the desert to visit the castles of Qasr Amra, Qasr El Azraq and Qasr Kharaneh.

The multicultural city of Amman has been inhabited by many civilisations through its long history and is ideal for exploring traditions of the Middle East. To dig deeper into the history of the region, we recommend visiting some of the many galleries and museums, as well as the Neolithic settlements and Bronze Age tombs. For those looking to buy local produce and traditional handicrafts, head to the souks, dazzling with an array of handmade jewellery, whilst the modern-day boutiques juxtapose them.

The desert castles of Qasr Amra, Qasr El Azraq and Qasr Kharaneh were built in the 7th and 8th centuries under the Umayyad dynasty. There are many theories behind the use of these buildings - from serving as fortresses, to Bedouin meeting places and hunting lodges. The castles display beautiful samples of frescoes and bas-reliefs in various states of preservation.

Day 3
Amman

Heading north today, you will visit the Roman city of Jerash, the Roman-Hellenistic ruins of Umm Qais and Ajloun, home to the 12th century ruins of the Islamic Ajloun Castle, built to protect the area from crusader attacks.

The Roman city of Jerash is one of the most important and best-preserved Roman sites in the area. The local guide will take you through the site to see the forums, theatres and colonnades. Highlights include the archway dedicated to the emperor Hadrian, and some superb mosaic church floors.

The nearby Roman- Hellenistic ruins of Umm Qais sit atop a hill and is said to be the site of the famous miracle of the Gadarene swine, where Jesus removed demons from two men and transferred them to a herd of pigs. Here you can enjoy spectacular views of the Jordan Valley and Sea of Galilee.

Day 4
Petra

Head south today to the mosaic town of Madaba, to see the 6th Century map of the Holy land laid out in the floor of the church of St George. Continue to Mount Nebo for its views out over the Dead Sea and into Israel before visiting the ruins of Kerak Castle, one of the largest Crusader castles in the area. Finish the day at Petra where you will spend the next three nights.

The Greek Orthodox Church of Saint George at Madaba, is home to the 6th century map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, made entirely from mosaic – 2 million pieces of local stone, displaying towns, villages, hills and valleys. Only rediscovered in 1894, it has since been brilliantly restored.

Mount Nebo is a significant site in Jordan. Step back in time and discover the remains of a church and monastery at the highest part of the mountain, dating back to the 4th century. The church has a typical basilica design and features a beautiful mosaic-covered floor. Mount Nebo also features a Cross Serpentine sculpture, symbolising a serpent and Christ’s crucifixion, as well as offering views of Jordan’s surrounding landscape.

Kerak Castle, sitting 900 metres above sea level, showcases Crusader masonry and Arab work in limestone. Tunnels and passageways await the brave to wander through them.

Day 5
Petra

Spend the day today exploring the ancient carved city of Petra. Your guide will take you through the Siq to the Treasury before leading you through the city to the Roman Theatre, stopping at the various tombs carved into the cliffs and introducing you to the many highlights of the city.

Given the popularity among foreign visitors today, it is hard to believe Petra remained forgotten by the outside world until 1812, when it was re-discovered by the Swiss explorer, Johann Burckhardt. Imagine his emotions when, after being led down the twisting, narrow defile deep in the desert, he first set eyes on the finely sculpted tombs and temples of the Nabataean kings who ruled here in the 3rd century BC.

Hollowed by hand from the sandstone cliffs, the structures were severely damaged by an earthquake in Roman times, and later squatted by local Bedouins, whose descendants nowadays ferry visitors to the site by camel.

Day 6
Petra

Take a morning tour of Little Petra, thought to have once been a suburb of Petra. The 350m Siq is packed with tombs, temples and houses, there are also frescoes dating from the 1st Century. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure before enjoying Petra by night.

The real highlight of visits to Petra today is the Night Walk when you can savour the Treasury’s ancient stonework by the light of flickering flames. The Siq is lit with thousands of candles to guide you as you wind your way slowly down to the treasury. Here you can enjoy a cup of Bedouin tea and listen to traditional music before wandering back down the candlelit pathway.

Day 7
Wadi Rum

Drive to Wadi Rum, also known as the ‘Valley of the Moon’. Take a 4x4 jeep tour, visiting the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, walk through narrow canyons and climb up the large rocks for views of this spectacular area. You can also opt for a camel safari (for an extra cost, paid locally) before reaching your Bedouin camp for your night in the desert.

Your tour takes you next to the natural landscapes of Wadi Rum, home to monolithic rocks, some of which reach 1,750 metres high, water holes, and canyons. The vast expanse of land is tranquil, unspoilt by modern development, and is inhabited by the Bedouins who maintain a nomadic lifestyle.

Day 8
Aqaba

Late this morning drive from Wadi Rum to Aqaba on the coast for a two-night stay. Spend the afternoon relaxing.

The resort of Aqaba is often overlooked by tourists and is, therefore, a quieter destination to enjoy. The friendly and welcoming locals create a positive atmosphere; relax in the cafes or sandy beaches and watch their world go by. The Red Sea provides visitors with snorkelling and diving opportunities – it is home to a fascinating array of coral and marine life, including sea turtles and dolphins. Boat trips are also available to view the sea life for those wishing to explore above sea level.

Day 9
Aqaba

Spend today at leisure, relaxing on the beach or perhaps discovering the enchanting display of coral and marine life.

Day 10
The Dead Sea

Drive to The Dead Sea for a two-night stay. Spend the remainder of the day relaxing and enjoying the unique experience of the Dead Sea.

At 400m below sea level, The Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth, and one of the most spectacular natural and spiritual landscapes in the world. Spend time floating in the therapeutic waters, whose high content of salt and minerals is world renowned for its health benefits.

Day 11
The Dead Sea

This morning visit Bethany, the original location of Jesus's Baptism, on the banks of the River Jordan. This is one of the most important recent discoveries in Biblical archaeology.

More than 20 churches, caves and baptismal pools have been excavated at Wadi Kharrar on the Jordan side of the Jordan River. It is believed that the area was the site of Bethany Beyond the Jordan, where John the Baptist lived and where he baptised Jesus.

It has only been since 1996 that it has been possible to unearth these Roman and Byzantine discoveries, as fighting between Jordan and Israel did not cease until 1994. In recent years a new road, visitors' centre and walkways have been put in place, making it easier to visit this sacred site.

Several new churches are also being built on the site, with the golden dome of the Greek Orthodox Church of St John the Baptist instantly recognisable. Other associations of the area with the Bible include Joshua crossing the river with the Israelites to the Promised Land; Elijah being taken up to heaven on a chariot of fire; and Jesus retreating to Bethany Beyond the Jordan when he was threatened with stoning in Jerusalem.

Day 12
Jerusalem

This morning you will cross the border, at Allenby Bridge, into Israel. Your representative from Jordan will leave you at the border and you will be met on the Israeli side and transferred to Jerusalem for a three-night stay.

Day 13
Jerusalem

A full day sightseeing of Mount of Olives and Jerusalem’s old walled city.

Start todays sightseeing with a drive to Mount of Olives, from which Jesus ascended to heaven after his resurrection. From the top you will have magnificent views out over ancient and modern Jerusalem. Visit the Holy Shrine and walk down the ‘Palm Sunday Road’ to the Chapel of Dominus Flevit, the Garden of Gethsemane and The Church of All Nations, where Jesus prayed on the night of his betrayal. Next you will enter the walled city of Jerusalem visiting the Pools of Bethesda and walk along the Via Dolorosa, following the 14 Stations of the Cross from Pilate's Judgement Hall to the empty tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Finally visit the last standing remnant of the ancient Temple at the Western (Wailing) Wall and visit some of the exciting archaeological sites in and around the Old City.

Day 14
Jerusalem

Visit Bethlehem today to see the city’s most important square, Manger Square, the Church of the Nativity, the Grotto of the Nativity, and Shepherd’s Fields.

The Nativity Circle of Bethlehem starts with Manger Square, perhaps the city’s most important square, named after the manger Jesus was born in, and home to the Church of the Nativity, one of the world’s oldest-standing churches still functioning to this day. Next visit the Grotto of the Nativity, a cave located under the Church, which according to Christian tradition, is the place where Jesus was born, the exact spot marked by a 14-pointed star of silver set into the floor. Proceed to the main Basilica of the Nativity, designed in the typical Roman-style Basilica and constructed on the ruins of its predecessor in 565 AD. After passing the Armenian Chapel of the Kings, tour the Catholic Church of St. Catherine, adjoining the Basilica of the Nativity.

Your last stop in your tour of Bethlehem, before returning to Jerusalem to end the day, will be a beautiful overview of the Shepherds’ Fields and the exquisite Church of the Shepherds’ Fields.

Day 15
Jerusalem - Tel Aviv - London

This morning you will leave Jerusalem and drive to the old city of Jaffa, one of the ancient gateways to the Holy Land. Continue for a drive through the modern city of Tel Aviv to Maqam Sidna Ali, located on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Continue to the airport for your return flight to London.

Tailor-made Tour 15 days from £3995 per person


What's included

-    International Flights

-   14 nights’ accommodation

-   All internal travel

-   English-speaking accompanying guide throughout

-   Breakfast daily

-   Entrance fees to sites and monuments listed in tour itinerary

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