From desert to Dead Sea and all the Holy Land highlights, this journey takes you through breathtaking landscapes and a fascinating human history.

Tread some of the most ancient, revered paths known to humankind as you travel through Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Begin in Amman, Jordan's capital, and make your way through the desert sands of Wadi Rum to the lost city of Petra. Head into Israel and visit holy sights including the Church of Nativity, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Church of the Annunciation, as well as the Masada fortress. Explore the Ramon Crater, camp out in the Negev Desert and float in the Dead Sea before this trip comes to an end.


Start
Amman, Jordan
Finish
Tel Aviv, Israel
Destinations
Israel, Jordan
Style
Comfort
Code
ELCIC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Discover the Holy Lands with the right balance of holy relics, cities, beaches and deserts.

  • Experience the feeling of weightlessness as you float in the super salty Dead Sea not just one but twice.          Spend the night trying to count the billions of stars or chat with the locals at our Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum and then sleep under another blanket of stars in the Negev Desert an internationally acclaimed stargazing destination.

  • Check out the rock cut tombs and the remains of the ancient city of Petra.   

  • Discover the sights, sounds and tastes of Jerusalem's Old City.

  • Devour classic Israeli staples like hummus and falafel in the bustling metropolis that is Tel Aviv.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip can be enjoyed by just about anyone with a reasonable level of fitness.

  • There is quite a bit of walking involved in visiting Jordan's historic sites, especially in Petra and Wadi Rum, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. Most of the time there is no shade so remember to bring a hat, sun protection, and sturdy, comfortable walking shoes.

  • Winters can get quite cool, so if you're visiting at this time, don't forget to pack some warmer layers too especially for your desert camps.

  • In Wadi Rum we stay in a permanent tented camp with shared bathroom facilities, and in the Negev Desert we stay in private bungalows with shared bathrooms.  The deserts can be hot in the day but once the sun dips it can get very cool, warm clothes and a sleeping bag is highly recommended when travelling outside of the summer months.

  • Sites can get congested during peak travel periods with coaches of large pilgrim groups. We do our best to plan our visits around these times but sometimes it is unavoidable. There may be delays, queue's and private services that prevent us from entering the site. Your trip leader will manage this as best as they can on the day.

  •  These are by no means 'cheap' destination and you should budget accordingly. The good news is that you have expert local leaders to help uncover the best deals!

  • Known as 'baksheesh' in the Middle East, tipping is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry. If you are satisfied with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate and always appreciated. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. Don’t be taken back if this tipping culture is even more apparent in Israel.

Itinerary

Ahlan Wa Sahlan! Welcome to Jordan, a cosmopolitan and contemporary city steeped in biblical history. On arrival at Amman's Queen Alia International Airport, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel and your adventure begins by meeting your group at 6 pm. If you do happen to arrive early, highlights include the citadel with its amazing sweeping views of Amman, the Jordan Museum – home to the Dead Sea Scrolls – or the Roman Theatre, right in the middle of downtown Amman. Either way, get out on to the streets this evening for an optional group dinner or to explore on your own and pick up a coffee from one of the cafes, partnering it with an ara’yes, a toastie filled with spicy mincemeat.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Intrepid. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
After breakfast today you’ll  journey down the Desert Highway to the spellbinding Wadi Rum (4.5hours), a landscape of rugged sandstone mountains standing tall among an ochre desert floor. Meet your Bedouin hosts on arrival, then take a browse around the excellent and informative visitor's centre and some free time for lunch before heading into this desolate, romantic area. Transport into the Rum is by way of rather rickety old jeeps operated by the local Bedouin community, part of an attempt by the Jordanian Government to bring much-needed income into this region - an initiative we also support. They are safe and good fun. Take a tour including a visit to several of Wadi Rum's distinctive rock formations and an opportunity to soak in the vast silence and spectacular desert landscapes. Meet up with your new Bedouin friends and ride camels to your traditional Bedouin tent situated deep within Wadi Rum. The Bedouins live in scattered camps throughout the area and you'll enjoy an evening with at one of these camps.
Accommodation
  • Desert Camp (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Wadi Rum - Desert Jeep tour
  • Wadi Rum - Camel ride (30 min.)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Enjoy a spectacular sunrise at your desert camp and maybe check out a few more of the local Wadi Rum sites or just take a walk through this vast emptiness. Depart Wadi Rum mid-morning for the city of Aqaba on the Red Sea. Check into your hotel on arrival and head out for a brief orientation of Aqaba with your leader.The small Ottoman Mamluk Fort, dating from the 14th century and from where Lawrence of Arabia rode to Cairo, is worth a look. Otherwise, most of the fun is to be found in the water. Acquaint yourself with the hotel's pool or head to the beach – some of the best snorkelling in the world can be found around the untouched coral reefs just south of the town.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Aqaba - Snorkelling Boat trip - JOD35
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel to the fabled city of Petra and enjoy free time on arrival. This site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was discovered by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, a Swiss explorer and was described by John William Burgon as 'a rose-red city half as old as time'. Simply put, it's an incredible ancient site you'll probably recognise from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade if nothing else.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Take a guided tour of UNESCO-listed site of Petra. Make your way through the long, narrow path, known as the Siq, past towering cliffs until you get your first glimpse of the iconic Treasury. This intricately-decorated building was hand-carved out of the rock and served as an important caravan centre for goods from India, China and Arabia.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Petra - Guided tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Depart after breakfast the is morning for the ancient Crusader castle at Shobak which makes an imposing sight as you make the short drive up to it. It was 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. Stroll the site and discover a small chapel, original gatehouse, and find out where a long, dark secret passage leads. Continue half an hour to the ancient village at Dana, on the edge of the Dana Biosphere Reserve, where local artisans sell attractive silver jewellery and charms. Drive on to Madaba (approximately 3 hours), home to a number of fine Byzantine mosaics. Visit the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George and see an impressive mosaic map of the Holy Land that clearly depicts Palestine and Lower Egypt around 550 AD. You will arrive in Amman in the late afternoon, where you can spend the evening in one of its several fine restaurants.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shobak - Shobak Castle
  • Dana - Ancient Village Visit
  • Madaba - St Georges Church
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will leave Amman for a short drive north (approximately 1 hour) to Jerash, once one of the grandest ancient Roman cities in the world. These are some of the best Greco-Roman ruins around. Reaching its zenith as a favourite of the emperor Hadrian, it has a striking collection of archways and theatres, baths, public buildings and colonnaded streets, and is a beautiful place to spend a morning exploring. Grand ionic columns encircle the city's centrepiece, the Oval Plaza, a wonderfully atmospheric place to linger after exploring Jerash's riches. Then, you’d better have brought your swim gear as you can wash off the dust from exploring with a dip like no other. Drive approximately 1.5 hours to the shores of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth (420 metres below sea level). This isn’t actually a sea but a super-salty lake (dead because of the lack of life in it) where the density of the water means you’ll go for a float, not a swim. Spend some time relaxing here and get some classic floating pictures. The mud here is supposed to have healing properties, so why not cover yourself from head to toe for a nutrient-rich natural mineral mud bath. Afterwards you will return to Amman for the evening (approximately 1 hour). Maybe spend your final night at one of the many bars and restaurants in West Amman, or ask your leader about the traditional cafes dotted around the city where locals spend their evenings.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Dead Sea - Visit including lunch
  • Jerash - Roman ruins
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
This morning farewell the Hashimite Kingdom of Jordan as you transfer to the modern cosmopolitan city of Tel Aviv a city that truly does not stop. With its lively cafe culture, relaxed Mediterranean beach scene, and renowned nightlife, Tel Aviv is a great place to start your exploration of the Holy Lands.

On arrival check into your accommodation and then your day is free to discover this lively capital.  There will be a welcome meeting at 6.00pm this evening to meet your new Leader and your new travelling companions. After the group meeting, get acquainted with the streets (and street foods) of Tel Aviv on an orientation walk, and sample some mouth-watering falafel and hummus.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
You will be transfered by road this morning to the border crossing and cross the border from Jordan to Israel  unaccompanied where your Israel and Palestine Representative will be waiting to transfer you to Tel Aviv
Today, make like a wise man for Nazareth, stopping at a few significant ports along the way. First up is Jaffa, now a vision of modernity but reputed to be one of the oldest ports in the world. According to the Bible, it’s also where Jonah set off in defiance of God’s wishes before being tossed into the sea and swallowed by a whale. Continue to the crumbling remains of a fortress at port Acre and explore the vast complex of buildings once occupied by the Knights of St John. A large hall, a dungeon, a dining room and the crypt of an ancient Gothic church are among the excavated rooms on display. Enjoy a a glass of wine (or two) at the Tulip, a socially responsible winery that employs adults with emotional and developmental difficulties before arriving in Nazareth in the afternoon. An orientation walk will help you get your bearings so that you can make the most of your free evening in this holy city.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Akko - Templar's Tunnel visit
  • Haifa - Baha'i Gardens
  • Tulip Winery Visit
  • Jaffa - Town Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Grab breakfast then make a stop at the Church of the Annunciation, the site where Mary received the news of her Immaculate conception. From here, the group will travel to the city of Tiberias, established in AD 20, on the western shores of the Sea of Galilee. Continue to Bethlehem, the biblical birthplace of Jesus, and visit Manger Square, which is the the religious heart of the city. You'll find the Church of Nativity nearby, as well as what could possibly the world's best falafel. Your first glimpse of Jerusalem will be from the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus is said to have prayed and accepted his betrayal while his disciples slept. See the Church of All Nations, which holds a section of bedrock where Jesus supposedly prayed, before checking into the hotel and enjoying a free evening.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bethlehem - Church of the Nativity & Shepherds' Field
  • Tiberias - Sea of Galilee visit
  • Nazareth - Visit to Church of Annuniciation & Mary's Well
  • Jerusalem - Mount of Olives
  • Jerusalem - Garden of Gethsemane
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Explore the Old City on a guided walking tour, beginning with the Courtyard of the Dome and the Wailing Wall. Run your hands over the remains of the Temple Mount, where written prayers are slid into the cracks between stones. Embark along the 'Way of Sorrows', which follows the biblical path of Jesus to the crucifixion, beginning at the narrow stone arch of St Stephen's Gate. Walk by the medieval church of St Anne and arrive at the Pool of Bethesda, located in the Muslim Quarter, before continuing to the stone-cut Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus is believed to have been crucified and buried. Sip some tea and nibble some fresh local bread, then head to Jaffa Gate for some lunch. The afternoon is free for your own exploration. Perhaps make your way through the stairwells and archways of Yemin Moshe, or maybe sit back with a cold beer at one of the many laneway bars near Machane Yedhua Market.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jerusalem - Guided tour of Old City
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you'll visit Masada, a spectacular cliff-top fortress built by King Herod around 35 BC that is now reached by cable car. The fortress is seen as a symbol of the bravery and self-sacrifice of the Jewish people. Travel on to Ein Gedi, where the afternoon is free to wash off during a swim like no other. The Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth, sits at 420 metres below sea level and is so salty that you'll float on the surface. Perhaps rub the nutrient-rich mud on your body and later in the afternoon, as the sun cools, the group will slip into the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve and explore the botanical gardens. Take a short walk on one of the gentle hiking trails before a relaxing evening at the hotel with an included dinner.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Masada - Masada visit
  • Dead Sea - Dead Sea visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Perhaps tackle another short trail in the nature reserve this morning, an area bursting with waterfalls, springs and streams. Leave the gardens behind and travel to the Negev Desert, which covers over half of the country's total land area and is home to the nomadic Bedouin people.

Visit the small community of Mitzpe Ramon, perched on the edge of the Ramon Crater, and take a 4WD for an adventure into the crater and its surrounds. Spend the night in a desert camp on the rim of the crater in comfortable, simple eco-tents with shared facilities. Spend the evening gazing up at the stars which shine bright, unimpeded by light pollution.
Accommodation
  • Desert Camp (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ramon Crater Jeep Safari
  • Ein Gedi - Botanical Gardens
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
This evening we spend the night in a Desert Camp on the edge of the Ramon Crater. Accommodation facilities are twin share with shared bathroom facilities. The camp is a unique and comfortable accommodation experience. Breakfast and dinner are included. A single supplement is available.
Take in a spectacular sunrise then visit the Lakiya Negev Weaving Initiative, founded in 1991. The project seeks to empower Bedouin women in the Negev region, both personally and economically, by applying their traditional weaving skills to the manufacture and sale of woven products. Spend some time learning about the women's work, and join them for a cup of tea and local lunch during a presentation on the project. Afterwards, journey to Tel Aviv with a stop at Be'er Sheva, the only city built by the Ottomans during their rule over this land. We'll also stop at Tel Be'er Sheva, a World Heritage site believed to be the remains of the biblical town of Beersheba. Continue to Tel Aviv and, after checking in at the hotel, join your leader and group for some farewell drinks and perhaps check out the thriving nightlife.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Beersheba Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Your journey through the Holy Lands comes to an end after breakfast today and there are no activities planned until check-out.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

14 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 5 dinners

Transport

Private Bus, 4x4 Vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (12 nights), Desert Camp (2 night)

Included activities

  • Wadi Rum - Desert Jeep tour
  • Wadi Rum - Camel ride (30 min.)
  • Petra - Guided tour
  • Shobak - Shobak Castle
  • Dana - Ancient Village Visit
  • Madaba - St Georges Church
  • Dead Sea - Visit including lunch
  • Jerash - Roman ruins
  • Akko - Templar's Tunnel visit
  • Haifa - Baha'i Gardens
  • Tulip Winery Visit
  • Jaffa - Town Visit
  • Bethlehem - Church of the Nativity & Shepherds' Field
  • Tiberias - Sea of Galilee visit
  • Nazareth - Visit to Church of Annuniciation & Mary's Well
  • Jerusalem - Mount of Olives
  • Jerusalem - Garden of Gethsemane
  • Jerusalem - Guided tour of Old City
  • Masada - Masada visit
  • Dead Sea - Dead Sea visit
  • Ramon Crater Jeep Safari
  • Ein Gedi - Botanical Gardens
  • Beersheba Tour

Dates & availability

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Important notes

Single Supplement
A single supplement is available on this trip with the exception of day two 

Destination Updates
In May 2019 Tel Aviv will host the 2019 Euro Vision Song Competition (May 14-May 18) Due to the impact this global event is having on accommodation facilities in Tel Aviv during the month of May, confirming additional accommodation is very difficult. For this reason, will not be able to supply additional accommodation services from 13 May until 19 May.

Itinerary Changes
Due to the Euro Vision Song Competition Departure ELCIC190502 will finish in Jerusalem and not Tel Aviv, please refer to your Essential Trip Information (this document) or your booking agent for further details.

Safety Update
Following recent safety incidents, we recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest information on travelling in Israel (particularly within the West Bank) before your departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas of your itinerary. We have links to prominent government travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting this trip on our Travel Alerts page - www.intrepidtravel.com/au/travel-alerts

Essential trip information

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