Israel and Jordan: Walking in the Footsteps of Abraham


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    The story of Abraham, Ibrahim, the ‘Friend of God’ – as he has been named in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition – is the beginning of Monotheism. Abraham is perceived in all monotheistic traditions as the ultimate host, opening his tent to any person in need. In this spirit we encounter the culture and places, share the food and the hospitality of the people of the three Abrahamic religions we meet along the way. This comprehensive journey goes beyond the usual touring and biblical itinerary with day walks amongst the most iconic sights and the myriad landscapes of Israel and Jordan. From vibrant seaside Tel Aviv to the captivating Old City of Jerusalem and the renowned holy sites of Nazareth, Galilee and Bethlehem. Hike in the Golan Heights and to the majestic fortress of Masada overlooking the Dead Sea, follow remote pilgrimage trails through the Judaean Desert to the ancient byzantine Chariton Monastery, and experience the unique Kibbutzim lifestyle. Also visit many sites of historical significance and natural beauty in Jordan with walks to the magnificent Red Rose City of Petra and Dana Nature Reserve, breath-taking Wadi Rum under the stars, and the impressive Greco-Roman ruins of Jerash, making this an all-encompassing and memorable adventure.

    Highlights

    • Discover the captivating Old City of Jerusalem and the vibrant seaside cities of Tel Aviv and Old Jaffa
    • Trek through the breath-taking archaeological treasures of the magnificent Red Rose City of Petra
    • Take a dip in the Dead Sea
    • Experience the unique Kibbutzim lifestyle
    • Explore the spectacular desert landscape of Wadi Rum
    • Walk to the majestic fortress of Masada and through the Judaean Desert to the ancient byzantine Chariton Monastery
    • Visit the renowned holy sites of Nazareth, Galilee and Bethlehem
    • Hike in the Dana Nature Reserve
    • Visit the impressive Greco-Roman ruins of Jerash
    • Hike and wine tasting in the Golan Heights

    Itinerary

    Day 1 Join Tel Aviv, transfer to Nazareth
    You will be met by your local guide on arrival at Ben Gurion (Tel Aviv) Airport. If time permits we will visit the aquaduct of ancient Caesarea enroute. (D)

    Day 2 Visit Sea of Galilee, Tabgha, Mt of Beatitudes and Capernaum
    We will start our day by visiting the Church of the Annunciation, stroll through the Arab market and walk up to the top of the City with its magnificent view over the landscape of the lower and upper Galilee. A short drive will take us to the fantastic lookout of Arbel cliff where we will look over the Sea of Galilee to the Horns of Hittim – the site of the Battle of Hittim, Saladin’s victory over the Crusaders in 1187; and the shrine of Nabi Shweib – the holiest site of the Druze religious community. We will then hike to Wadi Hamman – the biblical Valley of the Doves, and down to the shore of the Sea of Galilee. After lunch (optional St. Peter’s fish) we will visit the Holy Sites of the Mt of Beatitudes, the Church of the Multiplication of Fish & Bread (Tabgha), and the headquarters of the early community around Jesus at Capernaum. A swim (depending on the time of year) in the Sea of Galilee will complete our adventures for the day. (B, D)

    Day 3 Hike and wine tasting in the Golan Heights and Kibbutz tour
    After breakfast we will have a guided tour through the Kibbutz, and talk with a Kibbutz veteran about this unique collective community lifestyle. A short drive will take us to the Golan Heights where we will hike through one of the basalt canyons, with springs and waterfalls along the way (including a swim between April and October). (B, D)

    Day 4 Border crossing into Jordan, visit Jerash
    This morning we drive to the “Sheikh Hussein” border at Beit Shean. Here we will cross into Jordan and meet our Jordanian guide and bus. Our first stop will be the town of Jerash, where we visit one of the largest and best-preserved Greco-Roman ruins in the Middle East. Its colonnaded streets, public spaces, theatres, temples and exquisitely preserved mosaics provide a vivid picture of the grandeur of Imperial Rome. This afternoon we will continue to our hotel in Madaba, the “City of Mosaics”. If time permits, we will take a detour to visit the Monastery in Mount Nebo, a high hill overlooking the Dead Sea from where Moses is said to have seen the Promised Land. (B, D)

    Day 5 Visit Madaba mosaic, hike in Dana Nature Reserve
    After breakfast we will walk to St George Church with its world-famous mosaic depicting the Middle East from the Byzantine period. Then we drive on the ancient “King’s Highway” along the mountains of Moab and Edom and through steep valleys down to the Dana Nature Reserve. Here we will take a hike along ancient terraced gardens and past giant boulders. Afterwards we continue to Wadi Musa (Petra) for overnight. (B, D)

    Day 6 Trek from Little Petra to Petra
    A short transfer brings us to the far less visited area of Little Petra (or Beidha). From here we begin the Petra “back door“ trail. This area is relatively untouched, with the colourful reddish and rose sandstone for which Petra has become famous as the Red Rose City. We reach the Ed-Deir Temple with its fantastic view over the Petra mountains, before heading down the ancient staircase to the Roman Cardo. After lunch, we will continue onto the King’s Tombs. From here, we will leave the Petra Valley through a colourful and narrow gorge. (B, D)

    Day 7 Visit Petra, transfer to Wadi Rum bedouin camp
    Today we have a full day visit of classical Petra. The soul-stirring, Red Rose City of Petra is chief among Jordan’s archaeological riches, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Petra is the legacy of the Nabateans, an industrious Arab people who settled in south Jordan more than 2,000 years ago. We enter the site through the famous Siq, a 1km long narrow gorge flanked by towering cliffs. We will stop at Petra’s most spectacular monument, the Khaznet al-Faraoun (or Treasury) and afterwards visit the Roman amphitheatre, with free time for independent exploration of the area. This afternoon we will depart Petra and transfer to Wadi Rum, where we will enjoy a traditional dinner at our Bedouin camp. (B, D)

    Day 8 Jeep exploration & hike in Wadi Rum, border crossing into Israel
    Amazing landscapes await us with scenery from the famous Hollywood production “Lawrence of Arabia”. We will ride in jeeps and do some exploring on foot through desert landscapes and unique valleys; between reddish sandstone, yellow sand and black rocks. Afterwards we will depart from Wadi Rum and drive to the Arava border crossing and cross back into Israel, and meet our Israeli guide and bus. After a swim in the Red Sea, we continue to our Kibbutz accommodation for overnight. (B, D)

    Day 9 Hike to Masada, swim in the Dead Sea
    Today we drive through the Arava Valley to the Masada National Park. Masada’s majestic mountain fortress is uniquely located in the middle of the desert, overlooking the Dead Sea and the Judean Desert. We will hike up via the “Shvil Ha’Ratz” or the Snake Path. After our visit, we will enjoy a dip in the famously buoyant waters of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth with a saline level around 30 per cent. (B, D)

    Day 10 Hike to Chariton Monastery, enter Jerusalem
    Hike a desert oasis along a pilgrimage trail through the upper part of the Wadi Qelt riverbed to the Chariton Monastery – the first byzantine monastery in the Judaean Desert. At the end of our hike we will refresh ourselves with a soak in the Officer’s Pool. From here it is a short drive up to Mt Scopus, the highest point of the Mount of Olives range. We will enjoy a splendid view over Jerusalem, before hiking down to enter the Old City of Jerusalem through the Lions Gate. (B, D)

    Day 11 Walking tour of Old City of Jerusalem, afternoon free at leisure
    This morning we will enjoy a walking tour in the Old City of Jerusalem with its Jewish, Muslim and Christian Quarters. We will visit Mt Zion with its Judeo-Christian traditions (Last Supper Room, Tomb of King David, Burial Place of Maria), see the Western Wall, pass by the City of David and the Via Dolorosa up to the Church of the Resurrection. In the afternoon, you will have free time for independent discoveries in the Old City. (B, D)

    Day 12 Hike to Bethlehem, return to Jerusalem, afternoon free at leisure
    We will drive to Battir village (UNESCO World Heritage) and meet with local Palestinian environmental activists attempting to save the ancient terraces of the village. We will hike through biblical landscapes towards Bethlehem and visit the Nativity Church and the Shepherds Fields. Return to Jerusalem where the afternoon is free at leisure. (B, D)

    Day 13 Visit Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, Tel Aviv and Old Jaffa walking tour
    Today we will visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, Mt Herzl Cemetery, the Children’s Memorial, the Tent of Commemoration and the Valley of the Lost Communities. Then it’s onto the vibrant city of Tel Aviv. We will take a stroll along the many remnants of Bauhaus architecture, pass through the Carmel Market, and walk along the seaside promenade to Old Jaffa – one of the oldest cities in the world. Here we will visit the Artisan’s Quarter, and perhaps take a swim in the Mediterranean. This evening, we will enjoy a farewell dinner in a local fish restaurant in the Old Jaffa Harbour. (B, D)

    Day 14 Morning free at leisure, transfer to Tel Aviv airport, trip concludes
    This morning will be free at leisure to absorb the sights and sounds of Tel Aviv. (B)

    Inclusions

    • 13 breakfasts and 13 dinners
    • Airport transfers (day 1 and 14 only)
    • 8 nights in 3 star hotels on a twinshare basis
    • 4 nights in Kibbutzim on a twinshare basis
    • 1 night in Bedouin camp on a twinshare tent basis
    • English speaking local guides in Israel and Jordan
    • Wadi Rum 4WD tour
    • Entrance fees and sightseeing as listed in itinerary
    • Private transport

    WEX-IJA

    Images courtesy of WorldExpeditions