Jordan & Israel Explorer Trip Notes
At Imaginative Traveller we always aim to provide accurate information for our travellers. Unfortunately information such as the price of optional activities is occasionally subject to change, and this means that we are constantly revising our trip notes. In order to ensure that you have the most up to date information for your trip we suggest that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure.
Trip code : PGJI
Trip length : 13
Trip starts in : Amman
Trip ends in : Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel
Maximum group size : maximum 16
- Desert camping with the Bedouin
- UNESCO World Heritage-listed Petra
- Wadi Rum's red earth desertscapes
- Crusader castle at Shobak
- Bethlehem's Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity
The Dead Sea is the lowest point of land on Earth, and sits over 400 metres below sea level. The water contains more than 30% salinity (around 10 times more salt than sea water) so avoid getting it in your eyes. Many travellers wear goggles when they float on the water for extra protection. The mud here is full of minerals and it’s fun to cover yourself in the thick, black goop.
- On arrival at Amman's Queen Alia International Airport, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. This is simply an arrival day so you may arrive in Amman at any time.
- Note that hotel rooms are generally only available after midday. The balance of the day is free to explore your surroundings, but normally a welcome meeting is held in the evening where you meet your tour leader and fellow travellers.
- After breakfast you will be transferred to the bus station for the JETT bus direct to Aqaba. This is a very efficient service and the journey takes around four hours. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel and the rest of the day will be free for you to explore the town and port.
- In the evening you will meet your tour leader along with any group members arriving from Egypt.
- You will enjoy a brief orientation of Aqaba with your guide. You can visit the old castle (time permitting) before driving to Wadi Rum. After time for lunch you will head into the protected area in rather rickety old jeeps, operated by the local Bedouin community.
- This is an attempt by the Jordanian Government to bring much-needed income into this region - an initiative we also support.
- You will visit several interesting rock formations and enjoy the spectacular desert landscapes for which Wadi Rum is deservedly renowned.
- It's well worth rising early to watch the cliffs change colour as the sun comes up. You will enjoy a walk in the morning (the length of the walk will depend on how energetic you are feeling) before scaling one of the large dunes to enjoy sensational views of the surrounding area. Keen photographers will be delighted.
- You will then take 4WDs from your camp back to the main entrance. The visitor's centre is also a great spot to buy some jewellery and knick-knacks, mostly made by a women's co-operative which is aimed at supporting traditional local industries.
- You will then continue your journey to Petra. On arrival, there is time in the afternoon to check out the town, withdraw or change money and just relax…ready for a big day of exploring Petra tomorrow.
- A regular and fully justified contender for the '8th Wonder of the World' title, the iconic Petra view – the Treasury's glorious façade, glimpsed from the narrow cleft known as the Siq – is arguably the single most striking sight of the entire region.
- The first glimpse of this exquisite craftsmanship among such stark scenery is a moment that manages to be both eagerly anticipated and also an unlikely and almost surreal surprise.
- Petra's greatest surprise, however, is its size. With your guide you will explore the old Roman road, amphitheatre and several old tombs. You will also climb up to the Monastery – the site's second beautiful façade – from where you will have a magnificent view of the entire site.
- This is a memorable day exploring a truly extraordinary destination and sure to be one of the highlights of your trip. There is a cafeteria on the site, where you will enjoy a light lunch. In the mid-afternoon you will return to your hotel and your tour leader will attempt to persuade you to take a Turkish bath! This is the perfect time to enjoy a bath, and it is also a great experience - Petra is an excellent and safe place to try this tradition of the region. The rest of the day will be at your leisure.
Shobak - Dana - Madaba - Amman
- This morning you will drive along the King's Highway, a road that pre-dates Old Testament times. You will reach 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.
- You will stroll through the site and continue on to the ancient village at Dana, where local artisans sell attractive silver jewellery and charms.
- You will then reach Madaba, where you'll visit the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George that houses an ancient mosaic map. This is of particular interest as it clearly depicts Palestine and Lower Egypt around 550 AD.
- You can expect to arrive in Amman in the late afternoon, where in the evening you will try one of its several fine restaurants. (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 can also arrange an optional visit to Kerak Castle. Many travellers however prefer to spend extra time in Amman.)
Jerash - Dead Sea - Amman
- The Roman city of Jerash is one of the grandest ancient cities in the world, its archways and theatres, baths, public buildings and colonnaded streets constitute a striking collection and make it a beautiful place to explore.
- Grand ionic columns encircle the city's centrepiece, the Oval Plaza, a wonderfully atmospheric place to linger after exploring Jerash's riches. You will visit the site in the morning and later drive down to spend the afternoon at the Dead Sea.
- Relax on the shore or take a dip like no other – the warm, highly saline waters make swimming difficult but bobbing on the water's surface a unique pleasure.
- Afterwards you will return to Amman for the night.
- Today will be an early start as you leave Amman and head for Israel, crossing into the country over the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge some 40 kilometres from Amman. It is important that you read the notes below regarding this border crossing. Once you have cleared Immigration and Customs, you will be met by your Israeli guide and head off down the western coastline of the Dead Sea.
- Your first stop is the clifftop fortress of Massada whose tale of doomed resistance by the Zealots against the Romans resonates deeply for the Jewish people and the modern state of Israel.
- From here you will retrace your steps to Qumran, an archaeological site of a small monastic community from the time of Christ who produced the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were found by a shepherd in caves nearby.
- Then to Jericho, a slow-paced West Bank townconsidered by some to be the longest inhabited city in the world, before continuing on to Jerusalem.
- Jerusalem has one of the great urban skylines – 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.
- You will 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 you will walk to St Stephen’s Gate, where you will enter the Old City. You will visit the 'Cardo' in the recently restored Jewish Quarter, which was the old north-south axis in Roman times, then the Western (Wailing) Wall, the Via Dolorosa (Stations of the Cross) and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
- When entry is permitted you will also visit the Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque. Jerusalem is one of those handful of cities in the world where there is so much to see all in one place; after lunch (not included), the rest of the afternoon will be free for you to further explore neighbourhoods within and beyond the walls of the old city to make your own discoveries.
- Tonight you will have dinner at Azzahra restaurant where you should try musakhan, a local speciality.
- This morning you will embark on a short drive to Bethlehem. En route you will pass through a gap in the controversial security wall that separates Israel proper from the West Bank. You will park in Manger Square and visit the Church of the Nativity, the world's oldest continually operating church that marks the birthplace of Jesus.
- The history alone of the building itself is impressive, as is the devotion of some visitors. You will continue to the outer edge of West Jerusalem to visit Yad Vashem, Israel's memorial to the Holocaust, an event that still reverberates strongly in the national psyche. A number of memorials are scattered over landscaped grounds, with a very sobering museum at it centre.
- Nearby is the gorgeous village of Ein Kerem where, after a quick tour of its lanes of stone houses, you can take an optional lunch. In the afternoon you will return to Jerusalem for one last afternoon of free time to take in the city's myriad of attractions.
Nazareth - Sea of Galilee - Tiberias
- This morning you will drive through the Jordan Valley, whose fertile lands were chronicled in the Bible, to Nazareth. There you will 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.
- Passing through Tiberias, one of Judaism's four holy cities, you will sail across the Sea of Galilee to Tabgha, where Jesus performed the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. You will return to Tiberias to visit Yardenit - the new commemorative site of Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River - and stop off at the site of the ancient settlement of Capernaum situated on the banks of the Kinneret, where Jesus once lived and Peter's house still stands.
- You will have lunch at a restaurant and try the local delicacy - St Peter's fish - fresh from the water opposite. The day ends in Tiberias where you will stay overnight in a hotel on a kibbutz.
Tiberias - Haifa - Caesarea - Tel Aviv
- You will leave Tiberias and head north to the ancient crusader port of Acre, a World Heritage-listed site and a place alive with an eventful history from the crusades through to the Napoleonic battles, and on to the present day.
- You will visit the massive complex of buildings occupied by the Knights of St John as well as the Knight Templars' secret tunnel. You will then head down the coast to Haifa where you'll visit the spectacular Baha'i Gardens.
- The perfectly manicured gardens are one of the holy places for the Baha'i faith, one of the world's youngest religions. After lunch, you will 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.
- Afterwards, you will arrive in Tel Aviv where you'll spend your 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 your adventure.
- Your trip will come to an today after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around 12 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. Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you wish to spend more time exploring Tel Aviv.
While the information presented here details our planned itinerary, including routes taken, activities included, accommodation and meeting times, please accept that unforseen changes may occur. We are constantly on the lookout to improve our program and further enhance your experience. Naturally, we will keep you up to date with any last minute amendments to your tour.
Discovery tours are all about exploring & experiencing the world with like-minded people, dipping your toe beneath the usual tourist surface & discovering the real essence of a region. They are genuinely innovative, exciting & imaginative tours that offer that little bit more to travellers.
- Enjoy a destination in depth and comfort
- Tourist class hotels and family homestays
- Both private and local transport
- A number of included activities and meals throughout
- Fully trained and experienced leader.
Our Plus tours allow you to immerse yourself within a destination or culture whilst travelling and sleeping in comfort. They are packed with highlights to ensure you get the most out of your valuable time away yet are also slower paced allowing you time to savour the culture, traditions and sights of your destination – the perfect balance.
On some trips we’ll push you out of your comfort zone to ensure an authentic experience, on other trips you will stay in amazing places where there is no ‘roughing it’ involved. There is plenty of choice so you can select a trip with as much activity or as little as you wish. Our small groups ensure a more intimate experience and that the impact on the local environment and community is kept to a minimum. Extra Comfort tours offer rich and rewarding adventures and are stress-free, safe and, most importantly, fun!
- Innovative itineraries offering authentic travel encounters
- A mix of active adventure, culture, wildlife, sightseeing and relaxation
- Well appointed, quality hotels in central locations
- Arrival transfers, transport (mostly private) and accommodation included
- Many meals and adventure activities also included
- Fully trained and experienced local leaders
This tour is operated by our partners Peregrine Adventures
- English-speaking local tour leader in both countries, and professional local guides at some sites
- Sightseeing (including entrance fees where applicable): Aqaba; Shobak Castle; Dana ancient village; Madaba; Roman city of Jerash; Massada; Qumran; Jericho; Bethlehem; Jerusalem; Garden of Gethsemane; Tabgha; Beit Shean; Yardenit - commemorative site of Jesus' baptism; Nazareth; ancient settlement site of Capernaum; ancient crusader port of Acre; and Caesarea
- Full day exploring Petra’s old Roman road, amphitheatre, tombs and the ‘Monastery’
- Exploration of the Wadi Rum including a camel ride to a traditional Bedouin tented camp for an overnight stay (mattresses and blankets provided).- Sailing excursion on the Sea of Galilee
- Overnight stay in a hotel on a kibbutz in Tiberias
- Time to relax at the Dead Sea
- Free time to explore Amman, Aqaba, Petra, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv
- Arrival transfer.
Flights, meals unless specified, drinks, visas, departure taxes, travel insurance, tips (see below), spending of a personal nature, optional sightseeing, departure transfer.
12 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 5 dinners
Most of our travellers like the thought of travelling with a few like-minded souls. There are NO compulsory single supplements on most tours as we simply arrange twin shared accommodation for you and another tour member of the same sex. But don't worry if that doesn't appeal. We do understand there are times when you just want a bit of privacy and 'me' time so we are more than happy to arrange a private room upon request when you book.
There is ample free time in Jerusalem for you to explore and make your own discoveries.