Jordan, Petra & Jerusalem
|Resort:||Jordan, Petra & Jerusalem|
DAY 1ARRIVAL IN AMMAN
ARRIVAL IN AMMAN
Fly to Amman and transfer by coach to the vibrant Shmeisani area of the city, where we stay for one night at the four-star AlQasr Metropole Hotel, with breakfast.
Route map Route map
DAY 2WADI RUM
We set off early to make the most of the day, travelling south along the Desert Highway through the sandy heart of Jordan to Wadi Rum the Valley of the Moon. Nothing prepares you for the awe-inspiring sight that greets us: the sandstone massif that TE Lawrence described as vast, echoing and god-like. The magnificent cliffs and stone buttresses rise sheer from the sea of red sand, together forming a timeless panorama of monolithic rocks. The twisted huge bulk of this network of canyons, rock bridges and ravines is one of the worlds most stunning desert environments. Quite apart from the visual experience the silence is almost unnerving; bizarrely you cannot hear anything at all. After transferring to 4×4 vehicles, we tour the canyons and valleys before arriving at the Wadi Rum Space Village, a Bedouin-style tented camp.
This afternoon, you have the opportunity to experience an optional camel ride in the desert before enjoying a traditional zarb dinner a delicious barbecue cooked for hours under the hot desert sand. All tents have twin or double beds with private shower and WC.
Wadi Rum desert rocks Wadi Rum desert rocks
DAY 3LITTLE PETRA
First, we see where vast caravans, some with over a thousand camels, gathered for their epic journeys, exploring the mysterious rock-carved rooms of ancient hotels in the area, known as Little Petra. We stay two nights, with breakfast and dinner, at the four-star Old Village Hotel & Resort.
Little Petra street facades Little Petra street facades
Along with the Taj Mahal and the Pyramids, Petra is one of the worlds must-see sights, firmly deserving of its accolade as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Famous throughout history, its huge wealth was amassed from its time as the centre of the ancient caravan routes, which traded as far as China and rivalled that of the Romans. A city to match was created, with sophisticated public buildings and libraries, lavish houses, colonnaded streets, and astonishing villas carved from solid rock.
We walk down the increasingly narrow gorge and, just as you think the vertiginous sides could not get any narrower, the incredible vista of the Treasury appears like a mirage through a slit in the rock. The perfection of its proportions and the sheer vastness of this edifice are astounding. Beyond, theres an entire city waiting to be discovered: the amazing Royal Tombs, the theatre, the Street of the Facades, the Great Temple, early-Christian churches, and the main colonnaded road that ran through the centre of this ancient but tremendously cultured city.
The afternoon is at leisure, so you may wish to return to your hotel and enjoy its facilities or remain at the site to continue exploring.
Entrance to the Treasury, Petra Entrance to the Treasury, Petra
DAY 5KINGS HIGHWAY & MOUNT NEBO
KINGS HIGHWAY & MOUNT NEBO
Heading north towards the Dead Sea we travel on the scenic Kings Highway, following an ancient caravan route. It passes through some of Jordans most spectacular scenery with views across arid, rocky peaks. We visit the Crusader castle at Shobak, one of the regions best-preserved forts, before continuing to Mount Nebo, where Moses first saw the Promised Land. According to Jewish and Christian tradition, the climb was so arduous that this remains his final resting place, leaving Joshua to lead his people over the River Jordan. We also visit nearby Madaba, where St Georges Church houses a superbly intricate, 6th-century mosaic map of the Holy Land.
We stay for two nights at the four-star Holiday Inn Dead Sea, with breakfast and dinner, 400 metres below sea level. It has several swimming pools, spacious air-conditioned rooms, as well as a small beach. You must take a dip in the Dead Sea, its one of lifes must-do experiences. Due to the salt content being 30 per cent, compared with normal seawater at 3 per cent, you float so easily. You cannot actually swim, but bob around like a cork and even while wading, you physically have to push your feet to the bottom to stand up!
View from Mount Nebo View from Mount Nebo
DAY 6JERASH & AJLOUN CASTLE
JERASH & AJLOUN CASTLE
Ancient Jerash is the largest and best-preserved Roman city in the region, known as the Pompeii of the east. Its beautifully colonnaded main street and forum, the hippodrome, baths and theatre are a superb example of Roman town planning on a truly grand scale. The 12th-century Saracen Ajloun Castle was originally built on the site of a Christian monastery and commands panoramic views over the surrounding hills.
Nymphaeum at Jerash Nymphaeum at Jerash
DAY 7DRIVE TO JERUSALEM
DRIVE TO JERUSALEM
Our tour continues to Israel for a three-night stay in Jerusalem.We drive from the Dead Sea to the famous Allenby Bridge (King Hussein) crossing. After the border formalities, its a short drive to Jerusalem, where we visit the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane. After some time for lunch we continue to the Israel Museum. Our hotel for three nights is the four-star Grand Court or Leonardo Hotel, with breakfast and dinner.
Garden of Gethsemane Garden of Gethsemane
This morning we visit Yad Vashem, the worlds largest memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. We then enter the remarkable warren of streets that make up the Old City of Jerusalem. Within its one square kilometre area are some of the holiest places for more than half the worlds population. We visit the Western Wall, known as the Wailing Wall and the holiest spot in Judaism, as well as the Dome of the Rock above. Walking along the Via Dolorosa we finally come to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre built over Golgotha, the place where Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead. Containing the final five Stations of the Cross, the church is shared between the Catholic, Orthodox and Armenian churches.
Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem
You have an entire day at leisure to enjoy a more detailed personal exploration of the numerous sights in and around the Old City. The Tower of David Museum at the Jaffa Gate provides a particularly impressive history of the city. Built on the remains of one of Herod the Greats palaces, there are spectacular views from the top, and it was in front of its entrance where General Allenby accepted the surrender of the Ottoman Turks in 1917.
Tower of David, Jerusalem Tower of David, Jerusalem
DAY 10RETURN FLIGHT
Transfer to Tel Aviv airport for your return flight to London Heathrow.