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 legendary route from biblical lore. Our first stop is Mount Nebo, from which Moses is said to have finally gazed upon the Promised Land before he died. It is also believed that his tomb lies here. Take in 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, check into your hotel and enjoy an afternoon at leisure. Your hotel is set directly across from the entrance to this spectacular archaeological site, where you will enjoy a day of discovery tomorrow.
Explore ancient Petra
Today, you’ll set out for a guided walking tour of Jordan’s greatest archaeological treasure — awe-inspiring Petra. 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 was eventually abandoned, falling into obscurity until its rediscovery by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812. As you explore Petra’s intricately carved Treasury, 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 famed lake set at the world’s lowest elevation on land. For millennia, people have come to soak in these salty waters known for their therapeutic properties. A remarkably high salt concentration makes these waters among the most buoyant on Earth, and you’ll have a chance to experience the sensation of effortless floating during your stay. But first, visit the Dead Sea Museum to learn about the area’s geological and cultural history. After lunch at your leisure, continue to your resort, don your swimsuit, and head to our property’s private beach. Enjoy dinner together at the resort tonight.
Amman’s historical and architectural highlights
After breakfast, travel to Jerash. Often called the “Pompeii of the East,” this prehistoric Jordanian city boasts well-preserved Greco-Roman ruins that reflect its illustrious past. After a visit, continue to Amman for a city tour. 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 arts 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, the ancient lands where the great stories of the Old and New Testaments unfolded. 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 reveal the complex, vibrant, and captivating history of one of the world's holiest places.
Fly overnight to Tel Aviv, Israel
Your Middle East adventure begins with an overnight flight to Tel Aviv.
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 storied city. You’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, head 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 you visit the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. The church takes its name from the Latin word meaning the “cock’s crow,” in commemoration of Peter's triple rejection of Jesus: three times "before the cock crows." Look out for the golden rooster on the sanctuary roof and the two Byzantine era mosaics that were found during excavation. Then step into the Cenacle — also known as the “Upper Room” — in David’s Tomb, traditionally held to be the site of the Last Supper.
Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and then continue on towards Bethlehem. On the way, you’ll pass Rachel’s Tomb, the third holiest site in Judaism and one of the cornerstones of Jewish-Israeli identity today. In Bethlehem, visit the Church of the Nativity, built atop the grotto where Jesus was born. This is the oldest site continuously used as a place of worship among Christians; the exact spot where Jesus was born is marked by a 14-point silver star. After this immensely significant and incredibly moving day, return to Jerusalem for dinner on your own.
An exciting day of discoveries awaits you in Jerusalem
This morning, you'll enjoy breakfast at your hotel before heading out to the Yad Vashem Museum, Israel's offcial memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, before continuing on to see the stained glass windows designed by artist Marc Chagall in the early 1960s. You'll stop for lunch at a local restaurant before continuing on to the Israel Museum, the largest cultural institution in Israel and one of the leading art and archaeology musuems in the world, where you'll see The Shrine of the Book, built as a repository for the first seven scrolls discovered at Qumran in 1947. After an exhilirating day of discoveries, you'll enjoy dinner at a local restaurant before returning to your hotel.
Walk in the footsteps of Jesus on the Via Dolorosa and delve into Jerusalem’s incredible history
This morning, you’ll visit the Tower of David, also known as Jerusalem’s Citadel. Its fascinating archaeological ruins date back 2,700 years. There’ll be time to explore the museum, which chronicles 4,000 years of Jerusalem's history using maps, holograms, and models. You can also ascend the tower’s ramparts, which command 360-degree views of Jerusalem. Next, proceed to the Temple Mount, venerated as a holy site for thousands of years by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike. Gaze on the magnificent golden Dome of the Rock under which, according to Jewish tradition, lies the foundation stone of the world, and where Abraham almost sacrificed his son Isaac. Back in the Old City, follow the Via Dolorosa west to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher on Cavalry, where you’ll see the two holiest sites in Christianity: the site of Jesus’ crucifixion and the empty tomb from where he is said to have been resurrected. After a traditional falafel lunch, visit the Western Wall, considered Judaism’s holiest site for prayer. We’ll get as close to the wall as doctrine allows, taking a moment to observe and share a quiet moment as devout locals slip prayer notes into the ancient limestone crevices. 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. The evening is free for you to pursue your own interests.
Fly to Cairo to begin your Egyptian Adventure
After breakfast, transfer to Tel Aviv airport for your flight to Cairo, where your Egyptian adventure begins.