Egypt, Jordan, Israel & Palestine are ancient lands that conjure images of river valleys, powerful Pharaohs, pilgrims and cities carved from stone. Dive headfirst into Cairo, sail up the Nile on a felucca, party in Tel Aviv, take a jeep safari across Wadi Rum and experience more World Heritage Sites than you can shake a stick at: Battir; Petra; the Old Cities of Cairo, Acre and Jerusalem; the Church of the Nativity… it goes on – and so will you as you trek, swim, explore, photograph and taste your way across the best of the Middle East. This adventure will leave you with a greater appreciation for life here and a hands-on experience of some of the most significant religious and human history in this part of the world. Before booking on this trip we recommend that you read the ‘Safety’ section in the trip notes regarding special safety considerations for Egypt trips.

Theme

Explorer

  • Highlights

    • Be amazed by the beautiful scenery as you cruise down the Nile on a felucca.
    • Be amazed by the Pyramids of Giza.
    • Discover the sights, sounds and tastes of Jerusalem's Old City.
    • Experience the feeling of weightlessness as you float in the super salty Dead Sea.
    • Explore vibrant Cairo with its bustling markets and colourful streets.
    • Hear the personal stories behind some of Bethlehem's graffiti walls.
    • Spend the night trying to count the billions of stars or chat with the locals at our bedouin camp in Wadi Rum.
    • Take a cable car to view the incredible caves of Rosh Hanikra.
  • What's Included

    Meals

    21 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners

    Transport

    Private vehicle , Felucca , Jeep , Overnight sleeper train , Plane

    Accommodation

    Hotel (15 nights), Desert camp (2 nights), Eco-Lodge (1 night) Felucca (1 night), Overnight sleeper train (2 nights)

    Included Activities

    • Akko - Templar's Tunnel visit
    • Aswan - Nubian Village Visit and Dinner
    • Bethlehem - Grafitti Walking Tour
    • Bethlehem - Church of the Nativity & Shepherds' Field
    • Caesarea - Roman Amphitheatre & Aqueduct
    • Cairo - Camel ride at the Pyramids
    • Cairo - Khan al-Khalili bazaar visit
    • Cairo - Pyramids and Sphinx
    • Cairo - The Egyptian Museum
    • Cairo - The Egyptian Museum headset
    • Dead Sea - Dead Sea visit
    • Dead Sea - Dead Sea visit
    • Haifa - Baha'i Gardens
    • Jerash - Roman ruins
    • Jerusalem - Guided tour of Old City
    • Jerusalem - Mount of Olives
    • Jerusalem - Yad Yashem Jewish Holocaust Memorial
    • Kerak - Kerak Castle
    • Luxor - Colossi of Memnon
    • Luxor - Karnak Temple
    • Luxor - Valley of the Kings (3 tombs)
    • Madaba - St Georges Church
    • Masada - Masada visit
    • Mt Nebo - Mt Nebo visit
    • Nazareth - Church of Annuniciation - Mary's Well
    • Petra - Guided tour of Petra
    • Petra - Second day entrance (no guide)
    • Rosh Hanikra - Cable Car & Grottoes
    • Tiberias - Sea of Galilee visit
    • Wadi Rum - 4WD jeep safari and desert camp
    • Wadi Rum - Guided trek
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  • Itinerary

    Day - 1

    Location: Cairo - Welcome to Egypt! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 4 pm this afternoon. For those arriving early, why not take a walk to get your bearings of the neighbourhood, or escape the hustle and bustle and explore the Christian Coptic sector. After your important meeting, head out with your new travel buddies and discover Khan al-Khalili Bazaar, located in Cairo's Islamic centre. This traditional souk is a labyrinth of narrow alleys lined with local merchants; a perfect place to get introduced to daily Egyptian life.

     

    Day - 2

    Location: Cairo - This morning, head to Giza –home to some of the world’s most iconic sights. Approach the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx by camel, with panoramic views across the dunes. Explore these structures that have stood tall for 4500 years, and for an additional charge you may be able to go inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu, although occasionally it may be closed to visitors. Afterwards, make your way to the Egyptian Museum – home to one of the world's great collections of antiquities. Wander the treasure-filled halls of the museum, and make sure to check out the optional Mummies Hall for a close encounter with some of the country’s most important queens and pharaohs. Later in the evening, meet your leader and travel to the nearby train station, where you will board an overnight sleeper train bound for Aswan (approximately 13 hours).

     

    Day - 3

    Location: Aswan - The Nile, Elephantine Island and white-sailed feluccas. Welcome to Aswan – Egypt's southernmost city. Its easy-going charm is due in no small part to its large Nubian population. Today is a free day so take the opportunity to see such Aswan sites as the unfinished obelisk or the High Dam. The Nubian Bazaar is a must, while the excellent Nubian Museum is top of many visitors’ lists. Highly recommended is the beautiful Temple of Isis (the Goddess of health, marriage and wisdom) that was rescued from the rising waters of the Nile and relocated on Philae Island. The waterfront promenade, or Aswan's Corniche, runs alongside one of Nile's most appealing stretches and is the perfect place to stop for a mint tea. This evening you’ll experience modern Nubian culture first-hand with a visit to a nearby village. You’ll join a local Nubian family for a memorable dinner and get an unforgettable insight into the daily life of the local people.

     

    Day - 4

    Location: Aswan - Today perhaps head out of Aswan and book in to visit stunning Abu Simbel this morning. With the four gargantuan statues of Ramses guarding the Great Temple, carved directly out of the mountain on the west bank of the Nile, this is one of Egypt's most memorable sights. Please note this optional activity has a very early start (but it’s totally worth it). There’s two ways to get there – a 40-minute flight, or renting a minivan with your group and leaving very early. The journey by land is 3 hours each way, with an early departure from Aswan at 5–6 am. Instead, you could take a sailboat ride around the islands in a traditional felucca, stopping off at the botanical gardens on Kitchener's Island. Or, take a camel ride to the Monastery of St Simeon, an abandoned seventh-century fortress monastery located in the desert on the Nile's west bank. Your tour leader will be on hand to help you arrange any excursions. Otherwise, simply relax and take in the beauty of the Nile or do some shopping in the local bazaar.

     

    Day - 5

    Location: Nile Felucca - With some free time this morning, perhaps head down and grab a felucca out to the Tomb of the Nobles or stock up on snacks for your evening on the Nile. Board your included felucca journey just before lunch and spend the afternoon out on the river, watching Egyptian daily life play out on the banks, then spend a night under the stars. Your Nubian sailing crew provides all the meals which are hearty and delicious. Being a traditional wooden boat with broad canvas sails, your felucca offers some shade and protection from the elements. However, there is no cabin or enclosed section. Nonetheless, watching the sun setting across the Nile in the evening is a sight you won't forget. This is the absolute highlight of the trip for many, especially with some local Nubian entertainment from your crew.

     

    Day - 6

    Location: Luxor - This morning, say goodbye to your Nubian friends and take a private van to the ‘open-air museum’ of Luxor (approximately 3.5 hours travel time). From the spectacular temple complex of Karnak to the Valley of the Kings, Luxor is full of wonderfully preserved reminders of the Pharaohs. On the way, there's the option to visit either the unique mirror-image design of the Temple of Kom Ombo, or the beautifully preserved Temple of Edfu. This afternoon you will explore the magnificent Karnak Temple, which is perhaps the most impressive of all the ancient Pharaohs' monumental works. One of the world's most celebrated temple complexes, Karnak is a house of the gods built over a period of some 200 years. The rest of the day will be free to relax, shop in the bazaar, which is open until quite late, or perhaps experience the atmosphere of a local teahouse.

     

    Day - 7

    Location: Luxor - Today you’ll hop in a private minivan and discover some of the wonder of ancient Thebes. Your first stop is the Colossi of Memnon – two 17-metre-high statues on Luxor's west bank. Carved from granite blocks, they represent the Pharaoh Amenhotep III and were once part of an impressive colonnade. Continue on to the spectacular royal burial site of the Valley of the Kings. Buried under the arid hills here are over 60 richly decorated tombs of pharaohs. With your leader, explore this sprawling and spectacular place, where the pharaohs of the New Kingdom (16th to 11th century BC) were secretly interred for all eternity, and where discoveries are still being made. Your group leader will explain the history and legends of these remarkable people, and the significance of the many paintings and hieroglyphics. Afterwards, join a local family for lunch to try some traditional home cooking. The rest of your afternoon is free to explore – with the Luxor Museum a great place to visit. Keep in mind that tonight you’ll board an overnight sleeper train from Luxor back to Cairo (approximately 10 hours).

     

    Day - 8

    Location: Amman - Today you will farewell Egypt and take a short flight to Jordan. This flight is currently scheduled for the afternoon to allow for delays from the overnight train. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your Amman hotel, where your Jordanian Group Leader will be waiting for you. There may also be new group members joining the trip in Jordan. Welcome to Jordan, cosmopolitan and contemporary, yet steeped in biblical history. Tonight consider a visit to Rainbow Street where you will hear “Welcome to Jordan” from the locals, and maybe pick up a coffee from one of the cafés and partner it with an ara’yes, a toastie filled with spicy mincemeat

     

    Day - 9

    Location: Wadi Rum - Follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia with a journey to Wadi Rum (approximately 5 hours). A half-day jeep safari will take you through some of the most striking desert scenery on the planet. Wadi Rum is full of weird and wonderful lunar-like rock formations, and traces of ancient civilisations can be seen in the many carved inscriptions found throughout the area – from pictographs to Thamudic, Nabataean and Arabic texts. The most enduring monuments in Wadi Rum are those carved by nature – the natural rock bridges, towering rose-coloured sand dunes and scattered rocky peaks. Tonight, sleep in a simple Bedouin desert camp, with the choice of sleeping under a camel hair tent or out under the stars. Enjoy dinner cooked in an earthen oven by your Bedouin hosts. Meaning ‘desert dwellers’ in Arabic, the Bedouins are a semi-nomadic people, and in Jordan up to 40 per cent of the general population is thought to have Bedouin ancestry. Conditions are basic at the desert camp, but the hospitality of your hosts as well as the chance to sleep beneath the twinkling desert night sky will sure make up for it.

     

    Day - 10

    Location: Wadi Rum - After waking up in the unique surrounds of the camp this morning, head out on a trek around the area (approximately 12 to 15 kilometres), with a stop for tea and a lunch break. You might scale one of the large sand dunes for sensational views of the valley – the perfect chance to snap some unbelievable pictures. Explore the distinctive rock formations and bask in its eerie silence. 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 1917–18. Tonight is again yours to enjoy the traditional Bedouin hospitality and the clear night skies of the desert.

     

    Day - 11

    Location: Petra - This morning you'll leave your desert camp, taking 4WDs to the main entrance, which is opposite the Seven Pillars of Wisdom – the mountain named after Lawrence of Arabia’s book. The visitor's centre here is also a great spot to buy some jewellery and handicrafts, mostly made by a women's co-operative aimed at supporting local industries. Continue your journey to the fabled city of Petra by private vehicle (approximately 2 hours). The site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was discovered by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt – a Swiss explorer. In 1985, Petra was designated a World Heritage-listed site. Once arrived, spend the afternoon on a guided tour of Petra. Squeeze through a mile-long narrow path, known as the Siq, through huge towers of rock and get your first glimpse of the iconic Treasury complex. It’s amazing to think that this enormous, intricate building entrance was hand carved out of the rock.

     

    Day - 12

    Location: Petra - Enjoy a free day of self-discovery as you explore Petra on your own. The site is surprisingly big, and so it is up to you to choose your own route around the complex. You could explore the old Roman road, other smaller temples and several old tombs, as well as the rock-hewn amphitheatre. For those who are feeling a bit more active, there's the challenging but highly rewarding 1-hour walk up the steps to the secluded yet stunning Monastery.

     

    Day - 13

    Location: Madaba - Traverse the King's Highway to the historic crusader castle of Kerak, which stands on a cliff commandingly overlooking Wadi Karak and the Dead Sea in the distance (approximately 2.5 hours). You’ll have time to explore the ruins and discover the legends of centuries-old battles. Pack your swim gear as next you can wash off the dust in the Dead Sea – the lowest point on Earth (420 metres below sea level). This super-salty lake is a perfect place to spend some time relaxing and get some classic floating pictures. For those who are game, why not cover yourself from head to toe for a nutrient-rich natural mineral mud bath. Continue to Mt Nebo – the spot where the prophet Moses is said to have seen the ‘promised land’ and where he’s supposedly buried. Explore this sanctuary and view the remarkable mosaics of the fourth-century church. Afterwards, continue to Madaba, famous for its Ottoman-style houses and beautiful Byzantine-era mosaics, including the acclaimed sixth-century mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land at St George's Church. Other mosaic masterpieces from the fifth to seventh centuries can be found throughout Madaba’s churches, museums and homes.

     

    Day - 14

    Location: Madaba / Jerash - Today you will leave Madaba for a short drive to Jerash – once one of the grandest ancient Roman cities in the world (approximately 1.5 hours). These are some of the best-preserved Greco-Roman ruins around. The ancient walled town that survives today is a remarkable evocation of life 2000 years ago. It has a striking collection of archways and theatres, baths, public buildings and colonnaded streets, and is a beautiful place to spend a day exploring. Discover Hadrian’s arch, the partially restored hippodrome, ornate public fountains, the south amphitheatre, and see the collection of daily artefacts uncovered during excavations. Grand columns encircle the city's centrepiece, the Oval Plaza. After a full day of exploring, maybe gather your travel buddies together and share a celebratory shisha as you reminisce on your memories of majestic Jordan.

     

    Day - 15

    Location: Jerusalem - This morning we farewell Jordan and make the hour journey to the Alenby Bridge Crossing for your onwards journey to Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Your Tour Leader will escort you to the crossing and provide you with instructions for the border officials. Once you have cleared the border there will be a representative to escort you to your hotel in Jerusalem. Welcome to Israel and Jerusalem, a city steeped in spirituality and legend; a rich tapestry of the many cultures, religions and nationalities that call it home, be they Palestinian Muslims & Christians, Sephardic Jews, Ashkenazi Jews, Armenian Christians, Ethiopian Copts or Greek Orthodox monks. Your arrival at the hotel should be just in time for lunch and the rest of your day is free to explore Jerusalem. We recommend checking out the range of tours on offer from Urban Adventures. There will be a meeting this evening at 6 pm with your Tour Leader and any fellow travelers, please look for this note in reception.

     

    Day - 16

    Location: Jerusalem - Explore the Old City this morning on foot. Start with the Courtyard of the Dome and the Western Wall, then continue to St Stephen’s Gate, passing the crusader church of St Anne and the Pool of Bethesda. Continue along the ‘Way of the Cross’ (Via Dolorosa) and stop by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built where Jesus is believed to have been crucified, buried, and resurrected. Sip tea, sample fresh local bread and then walk through the Christian Quarter up to Jaffa Gate. This afternoon use your free time to explore more of the city. This evening enjoy a homecooked meal of chicken maqloubeh (an upside-down layered dish) with a Palestinian family. With a full belly, enjoy a traditional oud performance from a local musician.

     

    Day - 17

    Location: Jerusalem - Start the day off with a panoramic view of the city. Drive out to the Mount of Olives that looks over Jerusalem’s Old City and visit the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus is said to have prayed the night before his crucifixion. See the Church of All Nations (also known as the Basilica of the Agony), then drive the short distance out to Bethlehem and take a graffiti walking tour along the barrier wall. Graffiti by many artists has graced the wall over the years, including famous ones like Banksy. Hear the personal stories behind some of the more prominent pieces and walk past a large refugee camp and the sites of previous conflict. Continue to Manger Square and refuel with some of Bethlehem’s famous falafel. Visit the Church of the Nativity, marking the spot of the stable where Mary is said to have given birth to Jesus, then head back to Jerusalem. Visit the holocaust museum Yad Vashem. Later, meet a local rabbi who for a lively and informative discussion about the Israel—Palestine conflict, Jewish tradition and peace processes. After a fascinating day, retire to your Jerusalem hotel.

     

    Day - 18

    Location: Jericho - This morning drive out to the clifftop fortress of Masada. On the way stop at the sixth century Monastery of St George of Koziba and see the massive church built into the mountains. In Masada, take a cable car to the fortress built by King Herod around 35 BC. This UNESCO site is very important to the Jewish people, a symbol of their exile from the Holy Land and of bravery and self-sacrifice. Spend some time visiting the site, then drive around 30 minutes to the shores of the Dead Sea, where the dense and super-salty water means you’ll go for a float, not a swim. Spend some time relaxing here and soaking in the mud, which is supposed to have healing properties. Tonight you’ll stay at a local eco-lodge, where the accommodation is part of a cooperative that aims to protect the ecology of the Dead Sea and the Jordan City Valley.

     

    Day - 19

    Location: Haifa - Travel to the western shores of the Sea of Galilee today and Tiberias – established all the way back in AD 20. Swing by Hisham’s Palace in Jericho on the way. Continue via the Jordan City Valley and visit the ancient fishing village of Capernaum. See the site of two ancient synagogues and a church said to have been the home of St Peter. Pass by Tabgha, where the Bible says Jesus performed the ‘miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes’, then head up to Safed (Tsfat), one of Judaism’s Four Holy Cities. At over 900 metres above sea level, Safed is Israel’s highest city and is known as the centre of Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism. Spend a little time here before continuing to Nazareth to visit the Church of the Annunciation, where Mary is said to have received the news of the Immaculate Conception. Hit the road again and arrive in Haifa for the evening.

     

    Day - 20

    Location: Haifa - Leave early this morning and drive to the ancient crusader port of Acre (Akko in Hebrew, approximately 45 minutes). Here you’ll visit the vast complex of buildings occupied by the Knights of St John (Knights Hospitaller), excavated to uncover rooms including a large hall, a dungeon, a dining room and the crypt of an ancient Gothic church. Continue on to Rosh Hanikra for a cable car journey up the cliff to view the spectacular grottoes. In the afternoon, visit the Baha’i Gardens, where the elaborate terraces and a golden shrine sit overlooking the city. Enjoy a free night in Haifa.

     

    Day - 21

    Location: Tel Aviv - After breakfast, journey to Tel Aviv via the coast and Caesarea (approximately 1 hour), which served as the capital of Israel during the Roman and Byzantine eras. Built in 25 BC, the city was eventually abandoned and lost under the desert sands. Thanks to archaeological excavations since, its splendour is on show once again. Continue along the coast to Tel Aviv. Take a stroll through the Old City of Jaffa, then drop your luggage at tonight’s accommodation. Head out on an orientation walk with your leader, including Rabin Square. Finish up your walk at the promenade, the perfect place to find a restaurant for dinner this evening.

     

    Day - 22

    Location: Tel Aviv - This trip comes to an end today. There are no activities planned and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time after you check out.

     

    Egypt, Jordan, Israel & the Palestinian Territories
*Terms and Conditions
Offer subject to availability at time of booking. Prices are per person share twin based on best available tour price, inclusive of all discounts unless otherwise stated. Prices are subject to currency fluctuations and are based on cash or cheque. Tour deposit, amendment and cancellation conditions may apply. Travel agent service fees may apply. Special conditions apply - please ask for full details at time of enquiry.
HLO Ref# 9709
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