5 DAYS FROM $2,199
5 DAYS FROM $1,599
Once lost to time, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra is now a not-to-be missed icon, whose beauty is as spellbinding as the history that surrounds it. Here, intricate temples, treasuries, and palaces dating to the ancient Nabataeans still stand, hewn into the red rock of the jebels, or desert hills. Walk through the dim, narrow gorge of the Siq to reach Petra's elaborate ruins and explore the many highlights of the Rose City. Your Jordan stay also includes a chance to swim in the Dead Sea; visits to the ancient cities of Madaba and Jerash; a night in Jordan’s capital, Amman; and more. Make the most of your time in the Middle East by adding these travel milestones, at a great value.
Fly to Amman and transfer to Petra
Transfer to Cairo airport for your flight to Amman, Jordan. From here, we set out towards Madaba on the 5,000-year old King’s Highway, a scenic route that was mentioned in the Bible. Our first stop is Mount Nebo, from which Moses was said to have finally gazed upon the Promised Land before he died. It is also believed that his tomb lies here. Take in the spectacular views of the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea before we continue to Madaba, the famed "City of Mosaics,” known for its exquisite, vibrantly colored mosaics from the Byzantine era. After lunch at a local restaurant, we’ll continue along the King’s Highway toward Petra.
Upon arrival in Petra, we’ll check into our hotel and enjoy an afternoon at leisure. Petra’s strategic location at an important trade crossroads prompted the nomadic Arab Nabataeans to establish a settlement here around 300 BC. Carving beautiful buildings directly into the rose-red rock, they also applied ingenious methods to control the water supply, creating a prosperous oasis. The city declined under Roman rule and eventually was abandoned, falling into obscurity until its rediscovery by the Swiss explorer Johann Burckhardt in 1812. Our hotel is set directly across from the entrance to this spectacular archaeological site, where you will enjoy a day of discovery tomorrow.
Exploring ancient Petra
Today, you’ll set out for a guided walking tour of Jordan’s greatest archaeological treasure — awe-inspiring Petra. Dating back to approximately 300 BC, this prehistoric city was carved into the pink sandstone cliffs of Jordan’s southwestern desert by the ancient Nabataean people. As you explore Petra’s Great Temple and tombs, your Adventure Leader will share some of this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site’s long and intriguing history. Then, with the afternoon at leisure, discover the area on your own or relax until joining your fellow travelers for dinner at the hotel.
Discover the Dead Sea
Today we depart for the Dead Sea — the low-elevation salt lake that’s among the world’s saltiest bodies of water, and one of its first health resorts. Its remarkably high salt concentration allows for effortless floating, while its rich mineral content is believed to offer therapeutic benefits. On a visit to the Dead Sea Museum, we’ll learn about the area’s geological and cultural history. After lunch at your leisure, we’ll continue to our resort, where you’ll have the opportunity to swim in the Dead Sea from the private beach. We’ll enjoy dinner together at the resort tonight.
Amman’s historical and architectural highlights
After breakfast, we’ll check out of our resort and travel to Jerash. Often called the “Pompeii of the East” this prehistoric Jordanian city has well-preserved Greco-Roman ruins that reflect its illustrious past. We’ll continue on to Amman, where we’ll enjoy a city tour once we’ve checked into our hotel. After lunch at a local restaurant, take the afternoon and evening at leisure to explore Jordan’s capital city on your own. Enjoy the city’s liberal culture, thriving art scene, and many beautiful churches and mosques.
Depart Amman and fly to the U.S.
After breakfast this morning, you’ll transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S.
Start your adventure in the Middle East with a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Bethlehem in Israel, the ancient land of the great stories of the Old and New Testaments. Explore the intricate tapestry of culture, religion, and history on a fascinating journey to some of the most important sites of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Follow in the footsteps of Jesus's life, from the Altar of the Nativity in Bethlehem to the scenes of his Last Supper and crucifixion. On this unforgettable five-day extension, we'll peel back the palimpsest of thousands of years to reveal the complex, vibrant, and captivating history of one of the world's holiest places.
Fly overnight to Jerusalem, Israel
Your Middle East adventure begins with an overnight flight to Jerusalem.
Arrive in Jerusalem and transfer to your hotel with views of the Holy City
On arrival at the Ben Gurion International Airport, you’ll transfer to your hotel in Jerusalem, stopping at Mt. Scopus — the Mountain of the Sentinels — to enjoy panoramic views of Jerusalem’s Old City. Your afternoon and evening are at leisure to relax and revitalize yourself after your journey.
Visit the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Church of the Nativity, and more
Enjoy a hearty buffet breakfast this morning, as you prepare for a full day of discovery in and around this fabled city. We’ll start with a visit to the Mount of Olives. Named for the olive groves that once covered its slopes, the mount has been used as a Jewish cemetery for over 3,000 years and holds around 150,000 graves. According to the New Testament, it is also the place from which Jesus ascended to heaven.
After an orientation, we’ll drive down to the foot of the mountain to Gethsemane to see the church and garden, most famous as the place where Jesus prayed while his disciples slept the night before his crucifixion. Proceed through Kidron Valley, or Valley of Josephat, to Mount Zion, where we’ll visit the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. The church takes its name from the Latin word meaning cock's-crow, in commemoration of Peter's triple rejection of Jesus ". . . before the cock crows twice." Look out for the golden rooster on the sanctuary roof and the two Byzantine era mosaics, found during excavation. We’ll then pay our respects at the Cenacle — also known as the “Upper Room” — in David’s Tomb, traditionally held to be the site of the Last Supper.
We’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and then continue on towards Bethlehem. On our way, we’ll pass Rachel’s Tomb, the third holiest site in Judaism, and one of the cornerstones of Jewish-Israeli identity today. In Bethlehem, we’ll take a pilgrimage to the Church of the Nativity. The grotto it contains — the place where Jesus is said to have been born — is the oldest site continuously used as a place of worship in Christianity, and the exact spot where Jesus was born is marked by a 14-pointed silver star. After this immensely significant and incredibly moving day, we’ll return to Jerusalem for dinner at a local restaurant.
Walk in the footsteps of Jesus on the Via Dolorosa and delve into Jerusalem’s incredible history
This morning, we’ll visit the Tower of David, also known as Jerusalem’s Citadel, with its archaeological ruins dating back 2,700 years. Here, we’ll take some time to explore the museum, which depicts 4,000 years of Jerusalem's history under different rulers using maps, holograms, and models. You can also ascend the tower’s ramparts, which command 360-degree views of Jerusalem.
Next, we’ll proceed to the Temple Mount, which has been venerated as a holy site for thousands of years by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam alike. Gaze on the magnificent golden Dome of The Rock, under which, according to Jewish tradition, lies the foundation stone of the world, and the place where Abraham almost sacrificed his son Isaac. Returning to the Old City, we’ll follow the Via Dolorosa west to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher on Cavalry, where we’ll see the two holiest sites in Christianity: the site of Jesus’ crucifixion and his empty tomb, where he is said to have been resurrected.
After a traditional Israeli falafel lunch, visit the Western Wall, considered Judaism’s holiest site for prayer, and perhaps slip your own prayer note into its ancient limestone crevices. We’ll continue to explore more of the Old City, including the Christian Quarter, Arabic Quarter, and Armenian Quarter. You’ll also see several Roman ruins in the Jewish Quarter on your way back to the hotel, where you’ll enjoy an evening on your own.
View the Dead Sea Scrolls and an excursion to the Holocaust museum
Today, we’ll visit the Israel Museum, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed in the incomparable Shrine of the Book. You’ll have time to see the scrolls as well as explore the other treasures in this vast museum, which include exhibitions of European and Israeli art, a collection of Holy Land archaeology, and the Second Temple Model, which shows the city as it was in Jesus’s time.
We’ll also stop at the Hadassah Medical Center to see the chapel where a set of 12 stained-glass windows by Marc Chagall depict the 12 tribes of Israel. After lunch in a local restaurant, we'll visit Yad Vashem, Jerusalem’s official museum of Holocaust remembrance. Your final evening in Jerusalem is at leisure.
Fly to Cairo to begin your Egyptian Adventure
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Cairo, where your Egyptian adventure will start.