Gaze in awe at the towering wind-swept rock formations at Wadi Rum on an included 4WD adventure, and note how the colours change as the sun makes its way across the sky on your way to a premium Bedouin camp.. The unique sensation of floating in the Dead Sea is like nothing else. Venture to the coastline and enjoy a night in its midst, perhaps taking a swim in the salty waters with your small group.. Experience for yourself some of the world’s most renowned religious sites – the Church of the Annunciation, the Church of the Nativity, Via Dolorosa and the Western Wall.. Get a local perspective of daily life at dinner with a Christian family, and meet a local Rabbi to gain a better understanding of the Israel–Palestine conflict and its progress towards peace.
To explore the lands of Jordan and Israel and the Palestinian Territories is to come face to face with various epochs of history. Jordan’s capital, Amman, and its central Roman theatre remind us of the glories of that great empire. Mysterious Petra appears out of nowhere – a remarkable rose-coloured city hewn from the sandstone cliffs by Nabataean people. And there is Jerusalem – one of history’s great cities and a holy site for many of the world’s religions. The Western Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Temple Mount – it’s all in one place. Discover all of these cultural hotspots with the guidance of local leaders, staying in premium accommodation and appreciating authentic experiences. This is the heart of the Middle East, loud and proud.
Welcome to Jordan – cosmopolitan and contemporary yet steeped in biblical history. On arrival at Amman's Queen Alia International Airport, you will be met by a Peregrine representative and transferred to your hotel. You are able to arrive at any time today, keeping in mind hotel rooms are available for check-in generally after 12 pm (midday), and there will be an important welcome meeting with your group and local leader tonight. If you arrive early, perhaps take a walk and pick up a coffee and ara’yes – a toastie filled with spiced meats – at one of the cafes. Otherwise, head to the Old Town’s Roman Amphitheatre, find some culture at the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts or look down on the city from the hilltop Temple of Hercules.
After breakfast, drive from Amman to Wadi Rum (approximately 4.5 hours). Enjoy some lunch in the small village of Rum and browse the informative visitor’s centre. Afterwards, jump into a local jeep and journey into Wadi Rum with your Bedouin hosts. This region is probably best known for its connection with the British officer T E Lawrence, who was based here during the Great Arab Revolt of 1917 and 1918. Much of David Lean's movie on his exploits, 'Lawrence of Arabia', was actually filmed in Wadi Rum. Visit several of the area’s distinctive rock formations and appreciate the vast silence and spectacular desert landscapes. These landscapes are home to Bedouin communities that live in scattered camps. You will enjoy an evening with them at one of their camps, set in an amazing location deep in the desert.
Wadi Rum – Petra
After waking up in the unique surrounds of your Bedouin camp this morning, take a walk around the area – the length of which depends on the group’s desires – before scaling one of the large dunes to enjoy panoramic views of your surrounds. Afterwards, head in 4WDs back to the main entrance opposite the Seven Pillars of Wisdom – the mountain named after Lawrence of Arabia’s book. The visitor's centre here is also a great spot to buy some jewellery and handicrafts, mostly made by a women's co-operative dedicated to supporting local industries. Continue your journey to the fabled city of Petra (approximately 2.5 hours). On arrival, there is time to check out the town that has grown around the site and to relax, ready for a big day of exploring Petra tomorrow.
Petra, dating back to the sixth century BC, is the jewel of Jordan, the lost city of the biblical Nabateans, an impressive series of tombs and dwellings carved directly into the rock. The iconic view – the Treasury's glorious facade, glimpsed from a narrow cleft known as the Siq – is perhaps the single-most striking sight of the entire region. The Siq leads through the rock and is sometimes only a few metres wide, with walls soaring up to 180 metres on either side. With your guide, explore the old Roman road, amphitheatre and several old tombs. You will also climb up to see the Monastery, providing a magnificent view of the entire site. There is a cafeteria on the site, where you can enjoy your own light lunch. The rest of the day will be at your leisure. This evening, perhaps take the chance to witness Petra by night if your dates align. Seeing the Treasury plaza lit up by candlelight while Bedouin music plays is a truly memorable experience.
Petra – Dead Sea
For another glimpse at Petra, rise very early for an unguided morning visit, if you wish. Afterwards, drive to the ancient Crusader castle at Shobak – 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. Enjoy superb scenery and stop off at the viewpoint overlooking the Dana Nature Reserve before arriving in the late afternoon at your Dead Sea premium accommodation. Named for the lack of life in its waters, this lake is so intensely salty that the water density makes swimming and getting underneath the surface very difficult.
Dead Sea – Madaba – Amman
Enjoy a relaxing morning spent at the Dead Sea, perhaps heading back to the lake shores for a swim. The warm, highly saline waters make bobbing on the water's surface a unique experience. After lunch, leave the Dead Sea for Mount Nebo, considered to be where Moses saw the Promised Landed before he died. The modest church here with foundations dating back to the fourth century houses some of the best mosaics in Jordan. Continue to Madaba – or the City of Mosaics – and stop at St Georges Church, best known for its Byzantine mosaic depicting a map of the Holy Land. Head back to Amman and spend the evening here.
This morning, leave Amman for a short drive north to Jerash (approximately 1 hour) – once one of the grandest ancient Roman cities in the world. These are some of the best ruins Greco-Roman ruins around. Reaching its peak 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 the morning exploring. Grand columns encircle the city's centrepiece of the Oval Plaza – an atmospheric place to linger after exploring Jerash's riches. Afterwards, return to Amman for the evening (approximately 1 hour). Perhaps spend your night at one of the many bars and restaurants in West Amman, or speak with your group leader about the traditional cafes dotted around the city where locals spend their evenings.
Today, you will transfer to the Allenby Bridge Border Crossing in private transport with your Jordanian group leader. On arrival at the border, a VIP crossing service has been arranged for you. After departure formalities with Jordanian customs, there will be private transport to transfer you the six kilometres to the Israel and Palestinian Territories border. After clearing customs again here, your Peregrine transfer representative will collect you and transfer you to your hotel in Jerusalem. The journey from Amman to Jerusalem takes approximately 2 hours, but this can vary depending on the time of year and how busy the border crossings are. There are no activities planned today until a welcome meeting at 6 pm, where you’ll meet your local leader and fellow travellers. Afterwards, join your leader on an orientation walk and drink, then consider having dinner with some of your group members on your free evening.
Meet your leader for a walk, beginning at St Stephen’s Gate (or Lion’s Gate) to enter the Old City, and visit the church of St Anne and the Pool of Bethesda. Walk along the Via Dolorosa – the 'Way of the Cross’ or ‘Way of Sorrows' following Jesus’ path to crucifixion – and stop by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built where Jesus is believed to have been crucified. Continue along the Cardo in the Jewish Quarter – a road that ran the entire length of the city in Byzantine times. Visit the remains of the Western Wall on the Temple Mount, where written prayers are slid into the cracks between stones. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to wander around the city at your leisure. Meet up with your group later this evening for a meal with a local family in the Old City, learning about living a Christian life in the Holy Land.
This morning, drive to the biblical town of Ma'aleh Adumim and the Inn of the Good Samaritan in the Judean Desert. This inn is a museum located near the original site mentioned in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Continue to Masada and take a cable car to discover the clifftop fortress of Masada. This World Heritage-listed site is important to Jewish people – a symbol of exile from the Holy Land, of bravery and self-sacrifice. Afterwards, drive to Qumran, an archaeological site on the West Bank, home to major discoveries such as the Dead Sea Scrolls. You will also have a chance to float in the extremely salty and buoyant Dead Sea. Discover the slow-paced town of Jericho in the West Bank, where people have lived for over 11,000 years. See the Mount of Temptations and a Sycamore Tree mentioned only in the Luke’s Gospel. Return to Jerusalem and meet up with a local Rabbi, learning of Jewish traditions and a different perspective on the Israeli–Palestine conflict.
In the morning, drive out to visit the Garden of Gethsemane – the place where Jesus prayed beside his sleeping disciples before crucifixion. See the Church of All Nations, which holds inside a section of bedrock where Jesus is said to have prayed before his arrest. Continue to Yad Vashem for a sobering and moving visit to Israel’s memorial to the victims of the Holocaust and take a guided tour with a local. Travel to Bethlehem and visit the Church of the Nativity – marking the spot of the stable where Mary is said to have given birth to Jesus, and the Shepherds’ Fields in Beit Sahour just a couple of kilometres east of the city. This area has been identified as the scene where angels visited the lowly shepherds and informed them of Jesus’ birth. The rest of the evening is free for you to explore.
This morning, travel to Tiberias and, weather permitting, take a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee. Afterwards, visit Tabgha. This is where the Bible says Jesus performed the ‘Feeding of the 5000’ with loaves and fishes. Here, you can see the church and its ancient mosaics that were built to mark the spot of this miracle. A short way up the lakeshore is Capernaum, where you’ll see the site of two ancient synagogues and a church said to have been the home of Saint Peter. Here you will have the traditional St Peter’s Fish lunch – ask your leader about his significance. Visit the Church of the Annunciation, where Mary received the news of the Immaculate Conception, along with the well where she drew water every day. Continue to Haifa for the evening, perhaps taking a late stroll through the Baha’i Gardens. With 19 terraces flowing down to a domed shrine, these gardens are considered Haifa’s crowning glory.