JO9 Secrets of the Middle East TOUR

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TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

Jewish, Roman, Islamic, Byzantine sites; Jerusalem: Old City tour; Jerash, huge Roman site; Two full days at ancient 'Rose Red City' of Petra; Spectacular Wadi Rum; Vibrant Tel Aviv; Historic Nazareth; The Great Pyramids & Sphinx; Museum of Egyptian Antiquities; Massive Karnak Temple; Donkey trek into Valley of the Kings; Deluxe Nile River cruise; Camel trek to San Simeon Monastery

  • DATES & PRICES
  • FULL ITINERARY
  • MAP & HOTELS
  • TRIP INFORMATION

Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before taxes (if applicable) - All pricing reflects per-person Land Only expenses, however, we can book flights from virtually every city. Please call us for an air quote.


Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Sat 17 Oct 2015Sat 14 Nov 2015 $7930$7330 Last-minute Availability
Sat 05 Mar 2016Sat 02 Apr 2016 $7930$7330 Discounted
Sat 15 Oct 2016Sat 12 Nov 2016 $7930$7330 Discounted

Optional Single Supplement: $1680 (number of singles limited).


Tour Overview


This exciting itinerary that stretches over a whopping 30 days serves as one of the most comprehensive and insightful experiences a traveller can have in the Middle East. In a region whose roots stem from the very beginnings of human civilization, history takes on a whole new meaning--this place has seen it all and has the adornments and scars to prove it. Our time is well spent admiring Jewish, Roman, Islamic and Byzantine monuments and structures, from the significant religious sites in Jerusalem's Old City and historic Nazareth, to the 'Rose Red City' of Petra and the majestic Great Pyramids. Adding an element of authenticity, we embark on a donkey trek in the Valley of the Kings, ride on camelback to the San Simeon Monastery and cast off on the mighty Nile for a short cruise.

Regions visited: Middle East
Countries visited: Jordan; Israel and Egypt


Testimonials


We enjoyed the entire Jordanian trip, especially Petra and our afternoon in Wadi Rum. In Israel I enjoyed Megiddo, the sites of Christ at the Sea of Galilee, Masada and Jerusalem. Egypt a dream of a lifetime. The optional hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings/Queens was terrific.

Full Itinerary

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Day 1 Arrive in Amman
Arrival in Amman, Jordan.

Amman, the modern and ancient capital of Jordan, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, where the city's modern buildings blend with the remnants of ancient civilizations.

Overnight in Amman.

Meal plan: dinner

Day 2 Amman: Jerash & Amman City Tour
This morning we leave Amman by bus for a tour of the extensive Roman site of Jerash. In the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, Jerash was a wealthy city and is today considered one of the most important and best preserved of all Roman sites. We visit the famous elliptical forum, the beautiful amphitheatre with its superb natural acoustics, and the site of the huge Temple of Artemis.

This afternoon we tour Amman, visiting the Roman Amphitheatre, Archaeological Museum, and the ruins of the Temple of Hercules.

Overnight in Amman.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 3 Amman - Madaba - Mt Nebo - Shobak - Petra
This morning we travel to Madaba, a small town famous for its magnificent mosaic floors. A unique mosaic covers the floor of St. George's church and consists of a huge map of the Holy Land as it appeared in the 6th century AD.

Driving to the edge of the Jordan Valley we reach Mount Nebo from where Moses and the Children of Israel first saw the Promised Land. On a clear day you can look down to see the Dead Sea and the River Jordan. On the other side of the valley is the city of Jerusalem. Here we see a huge mosaic of hunting scenes covers the floor of a ruined Byzantine church.

We leave Mt Nebo and travel south via the King's Highway. Along this route, castles and towns were positioned a one day's travel distance apart. En route we see Kerak Castle, a 12th century Crusader fortress (photo stop only). Later we visit Shobak Castle, built by the Crusaders in 1115 and sacked by Moslem forces under Saladin in 1189. We finish our full day at Petra.

Overnight in Petra.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 4 Petra: Site Tour
Petra was the capital of the Nabataean Kingdom from the fourth century BC to the 2nd century AD. From the 12th century until its rediscovery in 1812, Petra was lost to the world -- a closely guarded secret of the local tribes. Today the 'rose red city half as old as time' is probably the most impressive archaeological site in the Middle East, rivaling the temples and pyramids of Egypt in grandeur.

This morning, on our way into the hidden valley of Petra, we will see the Obelisk Tomb and the irrigation system that carried water from a dam throughout the desert city. Access to the monuments of Petra is through a narrow gorge in the towering rocks called the 'Siq'. As we emerge from the 'Siq' you stand in awe in front of the 'Treasury' (El Kazneh), a graceful structure carved from the living rock. After pausing to admire the elegant columns and carvings we carry on into the valley where elaborate tombs are carved into the multi-coloured walls. Everywhere the sandstone swirls and twists in shades of red, orange, yellow, pink and white. Next we will see the Roman amphitheatre, carved directly out of the mountain, with space for over 3,000 spectators.

Further on in the main valley of Petra, are the Royal Tombs including the Palace Tomb and the Silk Tomb. We visit the temple of the Nabataeans' main god, Dushara, and we also see the 'Temple of the Winged Lion'. Our formal guided tour of the site terminates with a visit to the Petra Nabataean Museum.

At this point, you may explore further on your own, or return to our hotel to relax and / or shop. You may also take a strenuous walk up a narrow pass to see the magnificent 'Monastery' building, El Deir. The views of Petra and the surrounding area are expansive. The walk is steep, mostly on steps carved into the rock, and will take APPROXIMATELY one hour up (30 minutes down).

NOTE: Access to Petra is by means of footpath only. The main sites occur near ground that is level and well-worn, though the overall site is huge. Our pace is leisurely with frequent breaks; however, to fully experience Petra you must be prepared for a considerable amount of walking and little shade.

Overnight at Petra.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 5 Petra: El Beidha & Leisure Time
This morning we take a tour by bus to the nearby Nabatean site of 'el Beidha' (known as 'Little Petra'). We will also see a settlement dating from the Neolithic period, some 8,500 years ago. This is one of the oldest sights in the Middle East; it shows evidence of habitation by a "Pre-Pottery" population who were herders experimenting with agriculture. We return to our hotel by bus.

This afternoon, you can either relax or re-enter the breathtaking main site of Petra. You can join your Tour Leader on a steep walk to the 'High Place', which (some believe) was the site of human sacrifice to the Nabataean gods. From here it is possible to see the tomb of the Jewish prophet, Aaron. This site offers the best views of the entire site of Petra, but should be attempted only by the fit!

Overnight at Petra.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 6 Petra - Wadi Rum - Aqaba
Leaving Petra we stop briefly at 'the Spring of Moses', supposed to have magical properties. We then have an excursion into Wadi Rum where Lawrence of Arabia conducted many of his campaigns during the First World War. While at Wadi Rum we take four wheel drive vehicles out into the desert where the sand is red and the rocks look like gigantic multi-layered chocolate cakes melting in the setting sun. We may be invited into a goat-hair tent to share a glass of tea with some Bedouin tribesmen -- the nomadic herdsmen of the desert who made up Lawrence's army. Running along the floor of the valley is the Hejaz Railway that Lawrence blew up repeatedly. Today we include a traditional Bedouin lunch at Wadi Rum in lieu of dinner.

We overnight at Jordan's only port, Aqaba, located on the Red Sea. Though we acknowledge that Aqaba is of limited interest, it is the best place for us to conveniently overnight in the vicinity of Wadi Rum. Plus it's our only chance to see the Red Sea!

Overnight in Aqaba.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch

Day 7 Aqaba - Dead Sea
Today we travel along the Dead Sea Highway to the Dead Sea. En route we make a stop at Lot's Cave & Museum. Located 1,329 feet below sea level, the aptly-named Museum at the Lowest Place on Earth features important archaeological finds recovered from the Ghor es-Safi region of Jordan (ancient Zoar/Zoora), including artifacts from Lot's cave.

King David, King Herod, Jesus, and John the Baptist were closely linked with the Dead Sea and its surroundings. During the Egyptian conquest it is said that Queen Cleopatra obtained exclusive rights to build cosmetic and pharmaceutical factories in the area. Later the Nabataeans discovered the value of bitumen extracted from the Dead Sea used by the Egyptians. Our hotel is located on the shores of the sea where you will have the chance to swim and experience your amazing buoyancy in the ultra-salty waters.

Overnight at the Dead Sea.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 8 Dead Sea, Jordan - Tel Aviv, Israel
Today we travel overland across the border to Israel. En route we will stop at the stop at the site of Jesus Christ's baptism by John the Baptist.

We cross the border into Israel and travel to Tel Aviv, Israel's largest city and biggest commercial center. It is a busy metropolis that inspires its visitors with a unique energetic atmosphere. Tel Aviv presents a lively combination of entertainment venues, shopping malls, exotic markets, and golden beaches. It is also the country's greatest cultural center, home of a variety of museums, galleries, theatres and concert halls.

Overnight in Tel Aviv.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 9 Tel Aviv & Jaffa
Today we have a tour of vibrant Tel Aviv, a modern city with a unique mix of European and Middle Eastern influences. We see the Independence Hall and the colourful Carmel Market before visiting the Museum of the Diaspora, a multi-media depiction of the history of the Jewish people.

This afternoon we will visit the Old Port City of Jaffa (Yaffo), an ancient and beautiful city located in the south of Tel-Aviv. Jaffa claims over 4,000 years of history and is the place where the prophet Jonas was swallowed by the whale, and the Rock of Andromeda can be seen jutting from the water. The Turks, Napoleon and the British also established their rule of the region through control of this city. We have a walking tour of the old city of Jaffa, a major attraction with winding alleys full of cafes, restaurants and art galleries. You will have free time for independent exploration. Jaffa is a mixed city with Jews, Christians and Muslims living together in harmony.

Return to Tel Aviv.

Overnight in Tel Aviv.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 10 Tel Aviv - Caesarea - Akko - Haifa
Travelling north along the scenic Mediterranean coast road, we will cross Netanya and visit the impressive ruins of Caesarea, once Roman capital of the Holy Land. Caesarea, whose construction began in 22 BC was dedicated by Herod to his patron Augustus Caesar. When it was completed 12 years later, only Jerusalem outshone it in its grandeur. The Roman theatre here once seated 3,600 people. By the main gate to the theatre is proof that Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea during the time of Jesus, actually lived in this area. At various times in its history, this beautiful coastal town has been a Roman Capital, a port and a major conquest for the Crusaders.

We continue through this historic and dramatic landscape to Haifa via Megiddo, named in the Book of Revelations as the place of Armageddon, the place where the forces of good and evil will meet in the final battle for mankind. Of particular interest are the outlines of 5,000 year old early Bronze Age temples.

After visiting Acre (Akko), with its underground Crusader city and the crypt of St John, we arrive at the beautiful city of Haifa.

Overnight in Haifa.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 11 Haifa - Nazareth - Tiberias
We begin our day with a visit to the summit of Mount Carmel with its breathtakingly panoramic view of the town, the bay, and a considerable part of western Galilee. Later we will tour the Persian Gardens and the Bahai Shrine.

We travel onwards to Nazareth where we visit the largest Basilica in the Middle East -- the Church of Annunciation. According to one of the ancient traditions, it was here that the archangel Gabriel foretold the coming of Jesus to the Virgin Mary. The interior of the present church has a most beautiful design, incorporating fragments of much older buildings.

We continue to Tiberias on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (Yam Kinerett).

Overnight in Tiberias.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 12 Tiberias - Capernaum - Tabgha - Tiberias
At the northern tip of the Sea of Galilee we visit Capernaum, one of the most important Jewish and Christian sites of the Roman and Byzantine period and home of some of the Disciples. Jesus is believed to have moved here from Nazareth because it was the home of his first converts, Peter and Andrew.

Continuing, we arrive at Tabgha where Jesus performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes. We visit the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes. The mosaic floor is incredible, featuring ancient Egyptian motifs.

We then board our boat for a delightful cruise* across the emerald Sea of Galilee to ancient Tiberias, a relaxed seaside resort located in the cradle of Christianity. We have an opportunity to visit Kibutz Ein Gev.

* Ever-changing water levels may require that we defer this activity if impractical.

Overnight in Tiberias.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 13 Tiberias - the Dead Sea
Today we journey through the Jordan Valley to the Dead Sea stopping at Beit Shean and Beit Alpha on the way. Once we check in at the hotel (after 2 pm), you can use the hotel spa and beach where you will have the chance to bathe in the mineral-enriched mud or have a float on the Dead Sea.

Overnight at the Dead Sea.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 14 Dead Sea - Masada - Wadi David - Jerusalem
This morning we travel south to visit Masada.

This great flat-topped mountain and natural fortress was once held by a small band of Jewish zealots for three years despite the force of Roman armies. On this site 1,000 people committed mass suicide rather than be enslaved. Flavirus Josephus said, "Who decided a long time ago, brave soldiers that we are, not to be slaves of the Romans or of any person other than God; for he alone is the true and just master of men."

From Masada we travel northward to the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve. After a short walk we reach Wadi David (David's Spring), a waterfall hidden in an oasis of luxuriant green vegetation that hangs clustered in a canyon wall.

We continue our journey toward Jerusalem. On the northwest shore of the Dead Sea we encounter the settlement of Qumran. In 1947 it was here that two shepherd boys made one of the most significant discovery in religious history, the Dead Sea Scrolls (written texts of the Old Testament) hidden in the caves. The people who wrote them are believed to have been the Essenes who lived here until AD 68.

Later in the day we arrive in Jerusalem, the City of David.

Overnight in Jerusalem.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 15 Jerusalem - Bethlehem* - Jerusalem
Today we will see the Old City from the vantage point of the Mount of Olives.

We enter the old city and visit the Christian sites. Following the last steps of Christ along Via Dolorosa, we approach Calvary and the most sacred site in Christendom, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Most Christians venerate this site as the location of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

We stop at Mount Zion to see St Peter in Galicantu and the Upper room.

From Jerusalem we continue to Bethlehem.* We visit the Church of the Nativity, the birthplace of Jesus. Built like a citadel over the cave where it is believed Jesus was born, the original 4th century church commissioned by Constantine was altered in AD 530 by Emperor Justinian. It was later captured by the Crusaders and then came under the jurisdiction of Saladin and then the Mamluks.

*NOTE: Due to security concerns / procedures that change frequently, Bethlehem exists in our program on a provisional and tentative basis only. In the event that a visit to the West Bank is not appropriate by departure time, we may remain in Jerusalem and expand our sightseeing there with a visit to the Israel Museum to see the Dead Sea scrolls and a model of the second temple.

Overnight in Jerusalem.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 16 Jerusalem, Israel - Cairo, Egypt
Old and new merge seamlessly in Jerusalem. You may hear the Muslim call to prayer competing with the clanging of bells from Christian churches and the prayers of Jews bobbing before the Western Wall. Everywhere you turn you'll see reminders of the three religions - Islam, Judaism and Christianity - that have shaped this part of the world.

We have a morning visit to the Temple Mount, one of the glories of Islamic Jerusalem, where you will view the Dome of the Rock. We then enter through the Jewish Quarter to witness the Herodian Mansions, a lavish palace in antiquity and built formerly of white marble, followed by a visit to the most important site in Judaism, the Western Wall.

Our tour also takes us by way of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, to the President's House and the Yad Vashem Memorial and Museum to the Holocaust.

Later this evening we fly to Cairo.

Overnight in Cairo.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 17 Cairo: Memphis & Saqqara, Great Pyramids & the Sphinx
This morning we travel to Memphis and Saqqara, chronologically the two most important sites in all of Egypt. Memphis was the capital of Egypt during the Old Kingdom (ca 2700-2180 BC), and Saqqara was used as a burial place for residents of Memphis including kings, princes and nobles. Our drive this morning takes us past some small, colourful villages and plantations in the fertile Nile Valley. At the ancient city of Memphis we will see several statues in a garden-like setting, including the colossal statue of Rameses the Great.

From Memphis we travel a short distance to Saqqara, the ancient burial site. On the site, considered by many archaeologists to be one of the world's most important excavations, is the Step Pyramid, constructed by Imhotep in the 27th century BC. The pyramid began as a simple mastaba, or long, flat tomb building. Over the course of time, Imhotep added to this mastaba five times -- the pyramid eventually measured 62m (203 feet) in height!

After lunch we pay a visit to the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx. Impressive in their grandeur, the pyramids are estimated to have been constructed over a period of 20 years using more than 100,000 labourers each year. The Great Pyramid of Cheops, constructed from over two million stone blocks, is 135m (443 feet) high! You may enter one of the pyramids through a long, narrow passageway and explore the deep inner chambers (extra fee applicable - ask your Tour Leader).

Later we visit the Sphinx. This feline-human was named by the Greeks because it resembled the mythical winged monster with a woman's head and lion's body. Legend has it that this "Sphinx" proposed a riddle to the Thebans and killed all who could not guess the correct answer! The Sphinx was carved from one solid piece of limestone and measures 50m (164 feet) in length and 22m (72 feet) in height.

Overnight in Cairo.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 18 Cairo - Alexandria - Cairo
Early this morning we travel from Cairo to Alexandria. The second largest city in Egypt, known as "The Pearl of the Mediterranean", has an atmosphere that is more Mediterranean than Middle Eastern; its ambience and cultural heritage distance it from the rest of the country although it is actually only 225 km from Cairo (3-4 hours, depending on traffic).

We head to the southwest of the city and a hill littered with the remains of ancient walls, architectural fragments and rubble on which stands Alexandria's largest ancient monument, Pompey's Pillar, rising from the ruins of the ancient and famous Serapeion (Temple of Serapis). This column of red Aswan granite with a Corinthian capital, standing on a badly ruined substructure and rising to a height of almost 90ft / 27m, is traditionally believed to have been erected by the Emperor Theodosius.

We also visit the Roman Catacombs, the last existing major construction for the sake of the old Egyptian religion. Though the funerary motifs are pure ancient Egyptian, the architects and artists were schooled in the Graeco-Roman style. Applied to the themes of Ancient Egyptian religion, it has resulted in an amazing integrated art, quite unlike anything else in the world.

Another highlight today is a visit to Bibliotheca Alexandria. Once the greatest library in the ancient world, the Bibliotheca is dedicated to "the writings of all nations." Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the modern Bibliotheka cost some USD150 million, all by donation from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iraq.

We return to Cairo in time for dinner.

Overnight in Cairo.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 19 Cairo - Aswan & Felucca Sailing
Early this morning we fly from Cairo to Aswan in Upper Egypt.*

Upon arrival we have a leisurely sail on a felucca, a traditional sailing vessel used for centuries for carrying goods and passengers along the Nile.

* NOTE: The actual order of our Aswan area sightseeing may vary depending on incoming flight schedules and other logisitical considerations.

Overnight in Aswan.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 20 Aswan: Abu Simbel & Philae Temple
Early this morning we travel by road (3 hours, each way) from Aswan across the Western Desert to Nubia, or the "Land of the Gold". Our destination this morning is the impressive Abu Simbel -- the imposing rock temples of Rameses II and his queen, Nefertari.

We have a guided tour of this site, including the interior of the colossal temples. The Temple of Rameses II, with its immense statues of the Pharaoh seated on his throne, is one of the classic images of the power of the Pharaohs. Inside the temple you will see well-preserved wall decorations and several murals. There is a wonderful relief of Rameses presenting captives to various gods, including himself! We also gain insight into the reconstruction process by visiting the interior of the artificial mountain.

We travel back to Aswan making a brief stop at the High Dam en route. Constructed between 1960 and 1971, the High Dam collects and stores water over a number of years so that the annual Nile flood can be controlled. We will have a panoramic view of Aswan to the north and Lake Nasser to the south.

This evening we will attend the Sound & Light Show at Philae Temple. The temple is situated on an island, and we have to take a boat to get to the site. It is a good idea to have a small flashlight with you.

Overnight in Aswan.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 21 Aswan: San Simeon & Nile Cruise Embarkation
This morning we will travel by small boat across the River Nile to the west bank. From here we travel by camel across the sandy desert to the Christian Monastery of St Simeon. Before we begin this easy trek our Tour Leader and camel trainer will teach you the technique of riding a camel. This is a journey that can be undertaken by anyone at any age (one rider per camel). Our trek is about 45 minutes to the monastery, and then 15 minutes back to the riverbank. Those who prefer not to ride can stay with the boat and rejoin the camel riders for our trip to Kitchener's Island.

Dating from the 6th century, and in use until the 13th century, the Monastery of St Simeon is one of the best preserved Christian sites in Egypt. Inside we will see the chapel, living quarters, kitchen and dining areas, wine press, bake area and storerooms. On our tour we will also see the remains of some Coptic frescoes -- depictions of Christ and saints as well as many geometric patterns.

From here we board our boat and ride among the islands dotting the Nile. Up the hill, above the river, is the Mausoleum of the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Ismailis, a Shi'ite sect based principally in India but with followers around the world. The tomb is an elegant pink granite structure of late 1950 origin.

The main island is called Elephantine Island because many of the rocks look like elephants bathing in the Nile. We will arrive at the beautiful Kitchener's Island where we will have time to stroll through the rich botanical gardens with trees, plants, and bushes.

At around midday we board our Nile cruise vessel and enjoy lunch on board. This afternoon you have a choice between a free afternoon either on board the ship (which will remain docked in Aswan until tomorrow), or in the town of Aswan, OR you can join the ship's sightseeing programme. This sightseeing will likely include the 'Unfinished Obelisk', the High Dam (already seen), and Philae temple, also already visited, but some passengers enjoy seeing it again during daylight hours.

Overnight on Nile cruise. NTS cruise (or similar).

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 22 Nile Cruise: Kom Ombo & Edfu
We will make a stop and visit the Temple of Kom Ombo. In ancient times, Kom Ombo was strategically important as a trading town on the caravan route from Nubia to Cairo. Kom Ombo, actually two temples in one, is dedicated dually to Haroeris and Sobek, respectively the god of the sky and the crocodile-headed god. Here we are able to see the remains of a mummified crocodile. Crocodiles no longer exist in the Egyptian part of the River Nile, but in Pharaonic times they lived here in great numbers and were worshipped as gods!

From Kom Ombo we continue along the River Nile toward Edfu. As the largest and most completely preserved Pharaonic temple, albeit Greek-built, Edfu is dedicated to the god Horus. Construction of this temple began under Ptolemy III Euergetes I in 237 BC. We will allow time to explore this massive and impressive site, enclosed by walls and flanked by two large pylon gateways. Here we will also be able to see a Nilometer -- an ancient technique of measuring the Nile's water fluctuations and setting the level of taxes.

Overnight on Nile cruise. NTS cruise (or similar).

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 23 Nile Cruise: Luxor Temple
Overnight or early this morning we will have arrived at Luxor.

Today we visit Luxor Temple. The temple was dedicated to the Theban Triad of Amun, Mut, and Chons and was built during the New Kingdom, the focus of the annual Opet Festival, in which a cult statue of Amun was paraded down the Nile from nearby Karnak Temple to stay there for a while, with his consort Mut, in a celebration of fertility. Luxor temple is considered one of the largest ancient Egyptian temple complexes situated on the eastern bank of the river Nile. At the entrance is a huge tower built by King Ramses II.

Overnight on Nile cruise (docked at Luxor). NTS cruise (or similar).

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 24 Luxor: Cruise Disembarkation & Valley of the Queens
Today we disembark our cruise and move to our hotel in Luxor.

This morning we make an excursion the Valley of the Queens.* After crossing the Nile we will board our bus for the short journey to visit this wonderful necropolis on the western shore of the Nile.

The Valley of the Queens was used as a burial site for the royal women of the 18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties. Ancient Egyptians called this place "Set Neferu" meaning Seat Of Beauty, and today only a few of the eighty tombs are open to the public. We will visit 3 tombs. The Valley of the Queens holds far more than graves of queens.

As well as our visit to the Valley of the Queens we will also have a guided tour of the workers' village and the Madinat Habu temple. Madinat Habu, also known as the temple of Rameses III was known in ancient times as Djanet, and according to ancient belief, was the place were Amon first appeared. Both Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis III built a temple dedicated to Amon here, and later Rameses III constructed his larger memorial temple on the site.

* Due to periodic and unannounced closures of the tombs at the Valley of the Queens, your Tour Leader may substitute the Tombs of the Nobles, which may be of more interest.

Overnight in Luxor.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 25 Luxor: Valley of the Kings
Early this morning we cross the River Nile by boat to the West Bank where the wealth of antiquities is outstanding. On the other side we will meet our transport for our excursion into the Valley of the Kings.

We will accomplish part of our journey today by donkey. We'll "saddle-up" and begin a leisurely ride through the New Gourna Village and into the countryside. Avoiding the busier road, we will witness quiet village life along the way for about 40-45 minutes before re-uniting with our road transport for the final leg into the Valley of the Kings.

Once in the isolated valley, dominated by large pyramid-shaped mountains, we will have a guided tour of three of the many tombs that are here. The valley was the burial ground for kings throughout the New Kingdom. Note that some of the tombs have steep stairways and all are quite dark inside (you might find a pocket flashlight useful).

We then proceed to the funerary temple of Queen Hatshepsut -- the first woman to rule as pharaoh! We have a tour of this impressive complex, discovered in the mid-19th century and still under restoration.

After our tour we return by minibus through the countryside back to the river and the East Bank.

Tonight you may choose to visit the Sound and Light show at Karnak Temple (optional).

Overnight in Luxor.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 26 Luxor: Karnak Temple
This morning we visit one of the most fantastic archaeological sites in the world: Karnak Temple.

Karnak was built, added to, dismantled, restored, enlarged and decorated during its colourful history of over 1,500 years. At certain points in Egyptian history, this temple was the most important in all of Egypt. When we arrive at the temple you will be awed by the grandeur of the tremendous pylon gateway and the Avenue of 1,000 Sphinxes that originally ran all the way to the Nile and Luxor Temple! We will have a guided tour of the complex, massive by any standard.

During free time this afternoon, we suggest a visit to the excellent Luxor Museum.

Overnight in Luxor.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 27 Luxor - Cairo: Archaeological Museum & Islamic Cairo
Today we fly back to Cairo.

On arrival we proceed to the famous Museum of Egyptian Antiquities where we see some of Egypt's most beloved treasures. Among the 100,000 pieces housed on the museum's two floors is the famous exhibit of Tutankhamun whose tomb was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922. The tomb and treasures of this young Pharaoh, modest by Pharaonic Egyptian standards, is perhaps the best preserved of the discovered tombs. We also see archaeological relics from the Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, New Kingdom and Greco-Roman periods. Our tour today is fully guided by our English-speaking guide. We also allow some time for you to explore the treasures on your own (Mummies Room: LE 40 or approx US $7 extra fee).

We then proceed to Islamic Cairo where we will tour the Citadel, begun by Saladin in the 12th century. Today the Citadel's buildings are mainly from the Ottoman period, and are truly grand. From the Citadel, actually a complex of three mosques and four museums, we enjoy an amazing view of Cairo spread beneath the hilltop. Here we will see the fabulous Mosque of Mohammed Ali, also known as the "Alabaster Mosque."

Overnight in Cairo.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 28 Cairo: Coptic Cairo & Khan el Khalili
On arrival we will drive through the neat, tree-lined streets of the Garden City area to Coptic Cairo, the centre of Christianity in Cairo. We will walk the cobblestone streets and stop at a few of the churches, including that of Saint Sergius, presumed to be the spot where the Holy Family lived during their flight into Egypt. The present building dates from the 11th century. As we stroll along we will come to the recently restored Synagogue of Ben Ezra, the oldest Jewish synagogue in Egypt. Despite the 45 Jewish families that remain in Cairo, the synagogue is no longer
operational.

We then make a stop at the Khan el Khalili Bazaar, one of the most interesting bazaars, not only in Egypt, but also in the whole Middle East. It is famous for its unusual, typically oriental souvenirs, and handmade crafts. The atmosphere of this traditional market, together with the labyrinthine layout of the streets, gives visitors a glimpse into what medieval markets once were like.

Overnight in Cairo.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 29 Departure
Departure from Cairo.

RHLAH S'IDAH !

Meal plan: breakfast

Tour Map

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


Hotel List


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Al Qasr Metropole

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Amman
Country: Jordan

AlQasr Metropole Hotel is a charming four star boutique hotel, with a breathtaking view of the capital Amman, with 66
... It is located in Shmeisani, one of the most prestigious and commercial areas in the capital. It is within walking distance to most of the major banks, shopping arcades, other reputable hotels, many business centers and the acclaimed cultural street of Amman. AlQasrMetropole is the ideal destination to combine business, pleasure and fun.

AlQasr Metropole boasts its dedication to provide services that are not only personable but which also provide affordable 5 star hotel services. The hotel is notorious for its great outlets, which are considered to be Jordan's most popular.

The newly renovated lobby has uplifted the hotel to create an even higher standard of services and appearance. AlQasr Metropole is Amman city's first hip, trendy and chic boutique hotel.
AlQasr Metropole Hotel has set high standards of excellence, with the help of its friendly and attentive staff, and it will certainly make sure all your needs are tended to.

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Hotel Beit Zaman


Location: Petra
Country: Jordan

Situated 2km from Petra in the neighbouring village of Wadi Musa, Beit Zaman is a carefully restored 19th century village
... to afford guests a high level of comfort away from the busy day's sightseeing. The very nature of the hotel's history means that it abounds with character, and each of the 129 rooms and suites possess much of the original stonework, while modern touches give the rooms a comfortable finish. The location means that the sunsets here can be striking over the valley, and the open areas are extremely pleasant, with the highlights including a covered swimming pool.
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Aqaba Gulf Hotel

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Aqaba
Country: Jordan

The Aqaba Gulf Hotel, an auspiciously stinging-white edifice represents all that is exciting in this beach-front city, rejuvenating your body
... soul through the freshness of the deep blue sea.

The stylish hospitality of Aqaba Gulf Hotel is truly original, mellowing local flavors and high international service, with its extremely-conscious staff creating comfort, happiness and belonging for our guests to reflect on their Aqaba holiday long after they’ve gone home.

The ticking improvements at the Aqaba Gulf Hotel adds to our standards and reputation whether in reception, lobby, culinary, cuisine or in good housekeeping. Our rooms are designed to suit your every taste.

Our trained staff are at your beck-and-call, 24-hours-a day, offering advice and recommend where-to-go in Aqaba, whether it’s on the beach for swimming, sun-bathing, diving and snorkeling, or to the quaint shops for your mementos, souvenirs and duty-free goods.

At the Aqaba Gulf Hotel, guests are at a happy medium experiencing a cozy diversity and an aroma of delicacies in the background of towering pink mountains that you can breathtakingly climb if you wish.



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Dead Sea Marriott

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Dead Sea Jordan
Country: Jordan

Luxurious surroundings, majestic views, incredible sunsets. Relax and rejuvenate at this stunning resort tucked between the mountains and the Dead
... near ancient, sacred sites. Almost every guest room features a view of the Dead Sea, as well as comforts such as individual climate control, mini-bar and luxurious bedding. 3 swimming pools with 4 whirlpools.


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Kibbutz Ein Gedi

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Dead Sea Israel
Country: Israel

Location: Ein GeA kibbutz environment situated inside the magical botanical gardens, on a cliff plateau, overlooking the Dead Sea. It
... a true oasis within the Judean Desert. Facilities: Outdoor swimming pool (seasonal), bar. All rooms are located in the heart of the fabulous gardensand are on ground level.
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Moriah Classic

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Jerusalem
Country: Israel

Moriah Classic Jerusalem Hotel (former Novotel Jerusalem) located at the unique meeting point of East and West, old and new,
... and spiritual. The hotel is 20 minutes walking from the Old City Walls, the Via Doloroza, the Wailing Wall, Jaffa Gate, the Oriental Bazaar. The hotel offers 397 fully air-conditioned rooms with private bathroom, mini bar, direct dial phone, and cable TV. Outdoor swimming pool (seasonal).

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Safir Hotel

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Cairo
Country: Egypt

The Safir Hotel Cairo is ideally located at the city centre. The hotel boasts 267 renovated guest rooms & suites,
... modern amenities to guaranty guest’s comforts.




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Iberotel Aswan

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Aswan
Country: Egypt

Iberotel Aswan lies in the heart of the city Aswan, just a few minutes away from the Nile. All the
... comfortable guest rooms have stylish furnishings with a spectacular view of the Nile. The hotel is equipped with two restaurants and bars, a bowling alley and a swimming pool.


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NTS Miss Egypt

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Aswan
Country: Egypt

Location: Nile Cruise from Aswan to LuxorThe NTS Miss Egypt features 66 cabins and a crew of 100. The vessel
... 72 m long, 14.5 m wide. Each cabin is 21 square meters with panoramic window equipped with: Private marble bathroom (vertical shower cabin), hair-dryer, colour TV, central air conditioning, mini bar, safe box. The ship has a swimming pool and jacuzzi.
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Sonesta St George

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Luxor
Country: Egypt

Welcome to five-star splendor on the banks of the Nile in a city of ancient pharaonic treasures, the Sonesta St.
... Hotel Luxor redefines magnificent contemporary style. The hotel is luxurious, sophisticated and above all, elegant.

Come and enjoy a sweeping terrace with majestic views of the Nile, a grand entrance of polished marble and handsomely appointed furnishings with exquisite detail, a sumptuous health spa, an array of fine dining choices and every amenity to please the most discerning traveler. With the mystical Nile just a whisper away and the temples of Luxor and Karnak preserved in time, experience a city of fascinating antiquity and indulge in the rich splendor of the Sonesta St. George Hotel Luxor.

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Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Inclusions

Breakfast and dinner daily; all meals on the Nile. All transport, accommodation, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for drivers, restaurant staff, porters, local guides. Airport transfers for land & air customers arriving / departing on tour dates.

Exclusions

Tour Leader gratuities, most lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), international (if applicable) air taxes, and any excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on shopping, included meals, visas, and locally-paid departure taxes.

Seasonality and Weather

This tour is offered in spring and fall when temperatures are the most pleasant. Spring is green season, while fall brings the harvest of dates, melons, grapes, and many other local crops. Showers are possible both times but the overall region is arid on average.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Ground transport provided by private air-conditioned motor coach, 12-36 seats depending on ultimate group size. The tour is not strenuous though it is busy; you must be steady on your feet and be able to endure some heat and long travel days. We have numerous walking tours and visit several archaeological sites that are LARGE with steps and uneven surfaces.

Accommodation

Hotels used on tour are well-located, air-conditioned, 3-4-star (maybe the odd 5-star) properties with en suite bath / toilet. Single rooms are limited and possibly smaller than twins. Porters are generally available (see 'Inclusions').

Staff and Support

Tour Leader throughout, local drivers, local guides at various locations.

Group Size

10-21 Plus Tour Leader