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Highlights of Jordan and Israel
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11 Days / 10 Nights Trip to Israel & Jordan

Highlights of Jordan and Israel

Incredible ancient cities, some of the holiest sites in the world, other-worldly landscapes, and one-of-a-kind experiences await.
This trip takes in the fascinating history and cultural sites of both Jordan and Israel. Explore the deserts of Negev and Wadi Rum, visit ancient sites, including Petra and Jerash, and learn about the Holy Lands.
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  • Duration
    11 Days
  • Starting From
    Twin sharing
  • Travel Operator
  • Flights
    Not Included
    Flight booking assistance will be provided.

Trip highlights

Amman for the urban adventurer
Highlight #1
Amman for the urban adventurer
Jordan’s capital has a pulsating energy, where remnants of the past blend with the modern.
Highlights of Jordan and Israel
Highlight #2
Welcome to Rome (outside of Rome): Jerash
The ancient ruins of Jerash were ruled by an empire famous for tales of nobility, love & betrayal, with arenas hosting epic battles between gladiators and beasts.
Highlights of Jordan and Israel
Highlight #3
Float on the Dead Sea
You’ve seen it in movies, you’ve seen it in magazines, now experience it for yourself. Jump into the Dead Sea and find yourself not sinking!
When in Petra, you can’t help but feel like Indiana Jones
Highlight #4
When in Petra, you can’t help but feel like Indiana Jones
One of the seven wonders of the world, Petra makes you feel like an adventurer wherever you go.
Wadi Rum: Where Martians and Bedouins roam
Highlight #5
Wadi Rum: Where Martians and Bedouins roam
Well, not exactly, although the vast, red-washed desert is eerily similar to a Martian landscape.

The Unsinkable : Dead Sea

There's something in the water and it won't let you sink. What does it take to swim in the Dead Sea? (Tip: don’t swim like you normally would and never, ever shave before you get into the water!) Are you ready for the Dead Sea challenge?

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Join tour Amman

Your tour starts today in Amman, the capital of Jordan. Amman is a fascinating city of contrasts - a unique blend of old and new. The Temple of Hercules is in the commercial heart of the city along with ultra-modern buildings, hotels, smart restaurants, art galleries and boutiques. These comfortably rub shoulders with traditional coffee shops and tiny artisans' workshops. Due to the city's modern-day prosperity and temperate climate, almost half of Jordan's population is concentrated in the Amman area. The residential suburbs consist of mainly tree-lined streets and avenues flanked by elegant white houses in accordance with a municipal law, which states that all buildings must be faced with local stone. The downtown area is much older and more traditional with smaller businesses producing and selling everything from fabulous jewellery to everyday household items.

AM tour of Amman, then drive to Jerash and visit site

This morning we visit the cultural heart of the Hashemite kingdom with a tour of its vibrant capital. The origins of this remarkable city have been traced back some 9,000 years but it was the arrival of the Ammonites in 1200BC that saw the city begin its rise to prominence as the great city of Rabbath Ammon. The intervening centuries saw it fall under the influences of the Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Ptolomids, Seleucids and the Romans, under whose auspices it thrived as one of the 10 cities of the Decapolis. Our tour this morning will take in some of the highlights of ancient Amman (Philadelphia), including the Citadel and the Temple of Hercules, the 8th century Ummayad Palace and the Roman Theatre and Nymphaeum. This afternoon we depart the city and head north, towards ancient Jerash, located in the Gilead Hills. One of Jordan's major attractions, this beautifully preserved Roman city is considered to be the best preserved of the Decapolis, a confederation of ten Middle Eastern cities under the Emperor Pompey. One of the highlights of the Middle East, a triple arch gateway gives way to colonnaded streets, theatres, temples and baths and it is estimated that this represents only about 10% of the entire city, the rest is still to be uncovered. We will tour this magnificent site with a local guide before returning to Amman.

Dead Sea visit and travel to Petra with afternoon guided tour

Today we venture south to the Dead Sea. We will take some time to enjoy and float in the remarkable saline waters. At 418m below sea level this salty expanse of mineral rich water has been revered for centuries for its beneficial properties. We then head back to the main road to drive to Petra, the most famous of Jordan's treasures. Abandoned centuries ago Petra was the rock cut stronghold of the Nabateans, a fortress city built to protect the lucrative levies its citizens imposed on the rich caravans heading north. Surrounded by imposing mountains and approached through a deep, narrow cleft in the rocks, known as the Siq, it is a unique and unforgettable place and, enhanced by the play of light and shadow, an altogether overwhelming experience. Entering the Siq on foot we follow its towering sandstone walls towards the site of the captivating and iconic splendour of the beautiful Khazneh (The famous Treasury). A guided orientation tour will take us to some of the key parts of this remarkable site. We'll take in the Colonnaded Street and the Royal Tombs and marvel at the amazing theatre, with its 8,000 seats carved from solid rock. After our guided tour there will be free time to explore independently. This evening we enjoy a Bedouin cookery demonstration and meal at a nearby restaurant, learning how to make a traditional Makloubah (upside down) dish, with meat, rice and fried vegetables, followed by Um Ali, a creamy Arabic dessert with croissant pieces, raisins and nuts.

Full day sight seeing in Petra

Today we have a full free day at Petra. Returning to the city we climb steep paths to the sacrificial 'High Places' (altars) and hike to the top of Jebel Harin (1396m) for a stunning view over Wadi Araba and the Negev Desert. The Monastery is the largest of Petra's monuments and certainly worth the steep climb up to it. Towering to a height of 40m its doorway alone measures 8m in height, dwarfing anyone framed within it. We also recommend a trip to El Beidha (or 'Little Petra' as it is known) or to an excavated Stone Age village where you can see the remains of houses, fireplaces and workshops dating from around 6000BC. This evening there may be a possibility of enjoying an enchanting tour of the city by night (optional).

Drive to Wadi Rum; optional camel trek

This morning there is the opportunity to spend some more time at Petra if you wish before we continue our journey to the haunting vistas of Wadi Rum. We enter another world, one inhabited by the nomadic Bedouin peoples for generations and steeped in the legend of Lawrence of Arabia. Indeed scenes from the remarkable film of his life were shot here, deep in the fabulous purpleblack mountains that rise from the sand of the desert. On arrival we transfer into 4 wheel drive vehicles and cross the dramatic desert landscape, to marvel at the panoramas of what is surely some of Jordan's most dramatic wilderness. We arrive at our camp in time to watch the golden glow of the sunset cast its pall over the desert landscape and settle in to enjoy dinner and a night under the stars. The campsite we use presents the opportunity to experience traditional Bedouin living arrangements in a large communal style goat hair tent, which provides the best protection against typical desert extremes of hot and cold weather. The tent is laid out with rugs, mattresses, pillows and blankets and is where each tribe would commune to eat, sleep and socialise. A toilet and wash block with limited washing facilties is also available during your stay.

Drive to coastal town of Aqaba

This morning we drive to Aqaba and have a day to enjoy the Red Sea. The day is your own but your tour leader will be on hand to offer advice on any optional activities to maximise your time here. You can explore both above and below the waves, taking a boat trip or hiring snorkelling equipment.

Cross into Israel; Ascend Masada by cable car for dramatic views over the desert and the Dead Sea

This morning we'll have an early start to make our way to border, as we say goodbye to Jordan and our Jordanian leader before crossing into Israel and the Palestinian Territories where we will be met by our new local leader and driver.

Making our way north, we'll have a long drive of about three hours before arriving at the isolated hilltop fortress of Masada. Once the last stronghold of the Zealots, against the Romans during the First Revolt AD70, the tale of Masada is shrouded in mystery. Originally fortified by Herod the Great the fortress became renowned for withstanding a further two years of assault after the crushing of the Jewish resistance in Jerusalem by the Romans, before succumbing to the invasion. We'll take a cable car up to the citadel where there are stunning views of the surrounding desert, Mount Moab and the Dead Sea. We will have time to explore the ruins and take in the dramatic scenery before returning to the bus for our journey north, crossing into the West Bank to our kibbutz.

In Israel today kibbutzim communities have evolved from when they originally began in the early 1900s, however, the values of fair pay, shared commodities and everyone being equal remains throughout many. There are strict rules on who can join a kibbutz community and many kibbutz have their own speciality when it comes to making money such as agriculture, innovation or technology. This evening, we'll eat in the communal dining hall.

Visit Qumran National Park before spending the day exploring the ancient city of Jerusalem

After breakfast this morning, we will depart for Jerusalem, visiting Qumran National Park enroute. Located just a five minute drive from our kibbutz is Qumran National Park, once the home of the Essenes, a strict and devout Jewish sect who lived in the area until early in the 1st century AD. It is believed that the Essenes were the authors of the 2,000 year old manuscripts found among the hillside caves in 1947; the ancient Dead Sea scrolls. We'll spend some time here exploring the site and learning about the history as our guide takes us around.

After this morning's visit, we will drive for one hour leaving the West Bank to the viewpoint at the Mount of Olives, stopping to see the panoramic view over the old city of Jerusalem. Continuing on we'll leave the bus and begin a walking tour of the ancient city with our leader. Passing through Herod's Gate and making our way along the narrow winding streets overflowing with stalls and shops to the Via Dolorosa, traditionally believed to be the route taken by Christ on the day of his execution. We will follow the 'Stations of the Cross' to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the holiest site in Christendom and the reputed place of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Jerusalem is unique in that it is a place held sacred by the three great monotheistic religions of the world and after having visited Christendom's most sacred site we'll continue exploring these ancient streets, including a visit to Mount Zion including the Last Supper rooms and King David's Tomb.

This evening will be free to relax and get some rest after a busy day. Jerusalem has so much choice when it comes to food including international options but if you still have a taste of Middle Eastern food then Jerusalem is arguably home to the tastiest hummus.

Spend the morning exploring the old city of Jerusalem before an afternoon in Palestinian Bethlehem

We'll have an early breakfast this morning before returning on foot to the Old City, where we'll continue in our in depth discovery with our leader. Along the way we will visit Temple Mount, the City of David and the Western Wall. Temple Mount, known as Haram esh-Sharif in Arabic, is a small hill inside the walls of the Old City and one of the most contested religious sites in the world. Continuing on, we'll also visit the historic City of David, the first city of Jerusalem and thought to be the place that Jesus healed a blind man. Another stop of utmost importance this morning is the Western Wall, sometimes referred to as the Wailing Wall, this spot is believed by Jews to be the last remnant of the second sacred Temple and, as such, considered the most revered of all sites for the Jews. Here you will see and hear many Jews praying at the wall, so atmospheric that at this spot, no matter your beliefs, it's a memorable experience.

After lunch we will drive to Bethlehem, about one hour's drive away. Along the way we will pass the Knesset - Israel's Parliament - and the Supreme Court. Shortly before arriving to Bethlehem we will cross the border back into Palestinian Territory and our leader will swap with a local Palestinian guide, who will lead us around the town that is an icon in religious history as the biblical birthplace of Jesus Christ. The Bus will park in the central bus station and we will continue on foot up a cobbled street to the Church of the Nativity before continuing by bus to the Shepherd Fields and the Milk Grotto.

Please note, Bethlehem can become very busy with tourist and pilgrims therefore we are unable to guarantee the time access inside each of the sites. Queueing times are unpredictable and areas have little shade so please be prepared for long waits if you wish to see inside the Church of Nativity and the Milk Grotto.

This evening will be free to continue exploring Jerusalem. You may wish to explore the more modern areas outside of the Old City and the main pedestrianised street - Jaffa Street.

Visit Yad Vashem the official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust

Today we will take the light rail with our leader and make our way to Yad Vashem, the world's official memorable centre for the victim of the holocaust. Yad Vashem is based outside of Jerusalem's centre and is a large state-of-the-art museum where you can learn the facts of the holocaust period in a linear format taking you through the years as this period evolved. There are also true life stories and a memorial for the 6,000,000 people those who were lost. The centre has been created to share historic information and ensure the victims are never forgotten. The architecture itself is a site to behold and the museum offers panoramic views over Jerusalem.

This afternoon we return the bustling city centre for another walking tour in the Old City. The Old City of Jerusalem is packed inside ancient walls and is home to numerous world-famous religious sites but it's also full of street-vendors, hole in the wall shops and some lesser known places of interest. For this reason, this afternoon's exact routing will be dependent on how much we have managed to pack in to our time in Jerusalem already and our leader's areas of expertise. There will be the option to have a free afternoon if preferred to rest, do some last minute shopping or perhaps return to some of the important sites for more time.

Trip ends in Jerusalem

Tour ends in Jerusalem after breakfast.


 Included meals - 10 breakfast, 3 dinner.

 Trip staff - Expert tour leader, camp crew, driver(s), local guide(s)

 Transport - Bus 4WD

 Accommodation - 3 nights standard hostel, 4 nights standard hotel, 1 night premium hotel, 1 night standard kibbutz, 1 night simple tented camp.

Not Included

 Additional 5% GST

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This Trip Is Operated By Explore

At Explore, we're the experts in adventure travel. Our small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981. Our authentic travel experiences explore the sights and culture of a country, with hand-picked accommodation that balances comfort and location. Our average group tour size is just 12; perfect for meeting new people and getting to the heart of our destinations.

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