Departures from February to November 2019
Jordan is a remarkable country, with extraordinary landscapes of red-hued dunes and windswept sandstone, and world-class monuments that include Roman amphitheatres and Crusader castles. From Moses to Alexander the Great, Saladin and our own Lawrence of Arabia, all have left outstanding legacies. Combined with the legendary ancient city of Petra, you’ll have a captivating and unforgettable tour. There’s so much to see in this wondrous corner of the world, so why not extend your stay with three more nights in Jerusalem - an unmissable experience!
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.
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 world’s 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 4x4 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.
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.
Along with the Taj Mahal and the Pyramids, Petra is one of the world’s ‘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, there’s 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.
Heading north towards the Dead Sea we travel on the scenic King’s Highway, following an ancient caravan route. It passes through some of Jordan’s most spectacular scenery with views across arid, rocky peaks. We visit the Crusader castle at Shobak, one of the region’s 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 George’s 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, it’s one of life’s ‘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!
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.
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, it’s 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.
This morning we visit Yad Vashem, the world’s 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 world’s 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.
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 Great’s 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.
Transfer to Tel Aviv airport for your return flight to London Heathrow.
The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room. Nine nights’ accommodation in four-star hotels with daily breakfast and dinner (plus camp-style accommodation in Wadi Rum); scheduled flights to Amman and from Tel Aviv; all guided tours and entrances to Wadi Rum, Little Petra and Petra, Shobak & Ajloun castles, Mount Nebo, Madaba and Jerash, Jerusalem Old City guided walking tour, the Mount of Olives, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Yad Vashem and the Israel Museum; all transfers; hotel porterage of one item of luggage and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager.
The Jordan departure fee of 10 Jordinian dinar per person is not included. This is payable locally.
All transfer times listed here are approximate, and dependent on traffic. If you have a question regarding transfer times please don't hesitate to contact us.
|Arrival airport||First hotel location||Transfer time||Final hotel location||Departure airport||Transfer time|
|Amman Queen Alia International Airport||Amman||50 mins||Jerusalem||Tel Aviv - Ben Gurion Airport||1 hr 20 mins|
We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to call us to discuss these concerns. General information on mobility in connection with our tours can be found here.
UK and Irish citizens require a visa for entry into Jordan. However, when travelling with a group, this is issued on arrival at the airport in Amman and is included in the cost of the tour
Whilst the travelling schedule shall pose no problems for people of any age in normal physical health, we would point out that in visiting a number of historical sites, paths may be uneven and uphill and we often enjoy walking tours of the main sights. Therefore, this holiday may not be suitable for clients of greatly impaired mobility. Please consult your GP regarding the appropriate inoculations required for Jordan and Israel at least a month before departure.