Cycle through the spectacular desert scenery of Jordan and visit the most
impressive historical can UNESCO sites.
The Kingdom of Jordan is the perfect place to combine a cycling tour with
some of the best sites in the Middle East. This bicycle trip takes us through
olive groves and hill top villages in the north, while further south we will
head along desert roads where the communities are sparse and nomadic and the
landscape vast and spectacular. If the cycling alone isn’t enough to entice
you, perhaps the UNESCO site of Petra, a night under the stars in the Wadi
Rum desert or a float in the Dead Sea will tempt you to visit this
* Cycle through spectacular desert scenery
* Visit the UNESCO site of Petra
* Camp under the stars in Wadi Rum
Day 1 Fly to Amman; transfer to hotel.
Fly to Amman, transfer to start hotel.
Visit Jerash; ride/drive through olive groves and villages to Madaba.
After an initial briefing, we transfer by bus for approximately 45 minutes to
the ancient city of Jerash. Known in Roman times as Gerasa, Jerash is one of
the best preserved examples of a Roman provincial town in the Middle East. It
is a vast site with incredible ruins that enable you to almost visualise
Roman life there, from the dramatic chariot racing to imagining the trading
and bartering that went on along the colonnaded streets. After a good couple
of hours absorbing the atmosphere of this incredible site we get back on the
bus for a short transfer to the beginning of our ride, having lunch en route.
When we arrive we will be introduced to the cycling team and our bikes.
This afternoon we will cycle for approximately 3 and a half hours through the
foothills of the Jordan Rift Valley. This is the most fertile region of
Jordan and also the most populated. We will wind our way down quiet roads and
through small villages taking in the landscapes of this region. The cycling
is on good roads and much of the time you will be descending. In places there
may be some loose gravel that you will need to watch out for and there is one
fairly long ascent. You will be briefed about the ride before you set off and
the support vehicles will always be on hand. At the end of the ride we will
leave the bikes for the day and transfer to Madaba, the ‘city of mosaics’.
The bus journey will take approximately 2 hours. There are a number of nice
restaurants in Madaba for you to choose from as well as coffee and sweet
shops for those of you that want to try your first mouth-watering taste of
Ride to Mt Nebo; exhilarating descent to the Dead Sea for a float in the
saline water; drive to Petra.
This morning we will wake up in Madaba, the ‘City of the Mosaics’. Madaba is
the most important Christian centre in Jordan and is famous for its Byzantine
era mosaics. The most important of these is the 6th Century mosaic of
Jerusalem and the Holy Land that covers the floor of the Greek Orthodox
church of St. George. This morning we will have the opportunity to observe
the mosaic and marvel at its detail and natural colour. We will then have a
very short transfer to take us out of the centre of town where we will be
reunited with our bikes.
Today’s ride starts with a 7km mild ascent up Mt Nebo. We will take a pit
stop at the top of Mt Nebo, reputedly the burial place of Moses but certainly
the site for a spectacular view over the valley below. From here it’s a
fantastic descent to the shores of the Dead Sea. Parts of this descent are
quite steep but support will be at hand and you can take your time. We follow
the coast on a smooth tarmac surface to Suwaima where we can change and take
a float in the famous waters. After a shower, it’s back on the bus for the
long drive south (approx. 3 hours) along the Kings Highway towards Petra. In
many places the route is spectacular and there will be a couple of stops to
admire the view on the way.
Explore the fascinating UNESCO city of Petra.
We now have two full days to explore Petra. Petra the ‘Rose-red city, half as
old as time’, was hidden for centuries until the Swiss explorer Burckhardt
made his great discovery in 1812. The Nabateans, an Arab tribe that arrived
here in the 6th Century BC, founded Petra. Building at Petra began in the 3rd
Century BC and continued through the Roman period, financed by taxes levied
on the desert caravans. Two features of Petra are unique: firstly, it is a
city made defensible by being built down a series of chasms, rather than on a
hilltop; and secondly, it is built directly into the rock – beautiful red and
yellow sandstone carved into the most impressive facades which glow in the
During our time in Petra we will have the opportunity to explore the site
from all angles. We will walk down the narrow Siq with the sandstone chasm
rising 80m to either side of us and revealing El Khazneh, the Treasury as we
reach its end. Set in stunning sandstone mountains there will also be an
opportunity to explore the higher caves and the ‘high place of sacrifice’
giving a fantastic panorama of the whole site. At ground level we will pass
the houses and tombs of the rich citizens, and the amphitheatre. A long walk
beyond the centre is El Deir, the Monastery, with its superb facade topped by
a huge urn. The Monastery is set in a more remote location of the site and we
will have to climb around 800 steps to reach it, but it is well worth it.*
Guided tour around Petra; cycle to Little Petra.
In the morning we cycle to the north of the main city to Little Petra and the
Siq Al-Barid. A classical temple stands guard outside the miniature siq,
which is believed to have been an important suburb to the city of Petra
itself. The narrow file, only some 350m long, is crammed with triclinia,
water channels and cisterns. Of particular note are the remains of painted
frescoes on plaster dating from the 1st Century AD, which are to be found in
one of the biclinia.
Ride via Wadi Araba to Aqaba on the Red Sea.
It’s an early start today to avoid the heat for our first real desert
experience. After a short transfer to Tayba village, we begin riding mostly
on tarmac to Ar-Rajif. The road cuts through traditional Bedouin territory
and is a seasonal stop for the nomadic shepherds of south Jordan so the
chance of a local ‘tea break’ are high! The road is in a good state of
repair, with some sections having been recently resurfaced. However, parts
are quite heavily potholed and there is a chance that sand and stones have
blown across the road and make for a loose surface on top of the tarmac, so
care should be taken. We head into the desert and follow the road down to
Gharandal via Dilagha to Wadi Araba. There are a few ascents and descents on
today’s ride and it is our longest and hardest day of riding. However, it is
also the most spectacular and rewarding. The road takes you on an amazing
journey through the desert and makes for a very satisfying day of riding.
This day is all about the cycling allowing us to immerse ourselves in the
landscape. After our desert crossing, it’s a short drive to Aqaba on the Red
Free morning to visit the beach, explore Aqaba or snorkel; afternoon
drive/ride to Wadi Rum and camp overnight in desert.
This morning we have free time to lounge on the beach, swim, or snorkel.
The transport and entrance to one of the private beaches is included in
your trip. The hire of snorkelling equipmentis extra to be paid on the
day. In the early afternoon we will transfer out of town for around 45
minutes and then we will get on the bikes for the last time. This ride will
take us into the Wadi Rum on a relatively flat desert road. The desert
scenery today is quite different to that experienced yesterday and will evoke
a sense of more recent history than what we have been experiencing until now.
This is where Lawrence of Arabia and Prince Faisal assembled the Arab tribes
for the attack on Aqaba in the First World War and also where sections of the
film of ‘Lawrence’ were shot. Tonight we will experience Bedouin hospitality
with a traditional meal, sweet tea and camping out in goat-hair tents in the
desert. We will be able to contemplate our week of adventure as we gaze up at
the star-lit sky, warmed by a fire. If you like you can pull your mattress
outside and sleep under the stars.
Day 8 Morning desert drive into the Wadi Rum; drive to Amman.
After breakfast we take a 4×4 drive vehicle into the area for around 2 hours
for a desert adventure. Following lunch, surrounded by the vastness of the
desert and towering rocky outcrops, we transfer back to Amman, a journey of
approx. 4 hours with a stop en route.
Day 9 Transfer to airport; fly to London.
Transfer to airport, fly to London.