Get a taste of the Middle East's contrasts on a trip through Jordan and Israel
Start the fun times with sheesha and falafel in Amman, cross the border into Israel and head for Jerusalem - see Masada, Jericho and Bethlehem. From here, it’s on on to Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee (it rhymes!) then back to Jerusalem.
There’s an old book called The Bible which is kind of a big deal. A lot of it was based in Jerusalem, so seeing some of this stuff in real life (the Mount of Olives, Bethlehem etc) could be dubbed a “religious experience”. If you were so inclined.
- Israel, Jordan
- Physical rating
- Traveller’s rating
18 , Max
- Group size
Why we love this trip
If you thought the Middle East was all sand and dust, think again – check out the lakeside towns of Tiberias and Tabgha, the place where a crowd miraculously had a lot more fish and bread than they thought
Discover for yourself the towns that everyone knows from the Christmas carols – Jericho and Bethlehem – and find out about daily life in the epic city of Jerusalem as you chat with locals on the way to the Western Wall
Home to Biblical kings, Roman conquerors, Crusaders and the Ottoman Empire, the ruins of Sabastya have a real story to tell you, including the one about John the Baptist being beheaded
Is this trip right for you?
Just one of the great things about this trip is that it gives you the power. There’s free time to do whatever you want, or optional tours to show you the way. Maybe budget a little extra cash for activities that aren’t included.
You’re probably pro at packing light and smart, but just in case your tempted to bring a big, heavy bag, remember you’ll have to carry it to and from hotels, bus stops, train stations etc.
You don't have a lot of time in Jordan at the start of this trip, so if you're super keen to explore more of Amman we recommend you tag on a few days before this trip begins.
Ah man, welcome to Amman, Jordan. You’ve got the whole day free to explore the capital city (depending on when you get here of course) before you join up with your crew at a Welcome Meeting tonight (make sure you’ve got all your important docs and deets on you). Until then, hit the streets. Grab a coffee from one of the cafés and then say “yes please” to an ara’yes, a super-fancy toastie filled with spicy mincemeat. Maybe head to the Old Town’s Roman Amphitheatre, have a cultured afternoon at the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, snap some pics of the city from the hilltop Temple of Hercules, or sweat it out in a Turkish bath house.
There are no meals included on this day.
Today it’s goodbye Jordan, shalom Israel. You’ll make your way from Amman to Israel via the Sheikh Hussein border (named after the small village nearby, but nobody knows who Sheikh Hussein really was). Today can kind of be a test of your preparation and patience skills. How many books did you pack? Did you charge all your tech? Where’s your water bottle? This border crossing is usually not as busy as the others and fingers crossed for a relatively easy pass, but it could take a lot longer that expected, so make sure to bring along patience, understanding and sense of humour just in case! When you complete all the important immigration stuff, you’ll also get a brand new local leader – lucky you, two leaders in two days! Then it's a pretty short drive on to the lakeside city of Tiberias where you’ll end the day the perfect way – with a hearty feed and a proper good sleep.
There are no meals included on this day.
Today you’ll get your biblical history on with some of the most famous religious sites around. Something about ‘the loaves and the fishes’ is a favourite grumble for mums around the world when anyone unexpectedly brings a load of hungry mouths home for dinner. Discover what they’re on about with a visit to Tabgha. Jesus hungout here quite a few times when he was alive (and once after he died) and it’s said here he performed one of the only miracles that’s in all the gospels. With only five loaves of bread and two fishes he fed a whopping 5,000 people. Check out the church and its ancient mosaics, built to mark the spot of the miracle of the multiplication. Head on to Capernaum to see the ruins of this old fishing town, the site of two ancient synagogues and a church said to have been Saint Peter’s crib. Next it’s on to Jesus’ hometown – drop by the Church of Annunciation where Mary got the news that she was knocked up (virgin-style) along with the well where she got water every day. The holiness doesn’t stop there; jump back on the bus and head to the centre of it all – Jerusalem.
Kick off the day with a drive out to the spectacular cliff-top fortress of Masada, near the Dead Sea. This UNESCO site is super important to the Jewish people, a symbol of their exile from the Holy Land and of bravery and self-sacrifice. The story goes that here a Jewish sect called the zealots held out against the Roman army in AD66. Rather than surrender, they either fought to the death or committed suicide, every last man, woman and child. It's kind of like Gallipoli for the state of Israel. Head up the shore of the sea (actually a very salty lake) to the town of Jericho. Check out this slow-paced town in the West Bank, one of the world’s longest continually inhabited cities, and just try and wrap you head the fact that people have lived here for 11,000 years. From there, drive to Bethlehem – no doubt you're familiar with it from all the Christmas carols and nativity plays. Drop by the Church of the Nativity (on top of the cave where Mary popped out Jesus) and the Shepherds’ Fields (where the angels appeared and told them to get their gold, frankincense and myrrh out). You were gonna stay in Bethlehem but there was no room at the inn and someone had already shot-gunned the stable, so you’ll head back to J-town for the night.
Today you’ll get to grips with Jerusalem, the city that’s overflowing with spirituality and legend. Start by getting a panoramic view of the city from the Mount of Olives, which has churches and tombs all the way down from top to bottom. If you ever felt like having a chat with the old man upstairs, then Gethsemane would probably the place to do it. Visit this garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives, a favourite hangout for Jesus and his disciples, before driving to a gate where you’ll enter the Old City. Walk to the ‘Cardo’ in the recently restored Jewish Quarter, which was a road that ran the entire length of the city in Byzantine times. You’ll also check out the Western Wall (the remains of the Temple Mount which act as an outdoor synagogue, where written prayers are slid into the cracks between stones), Via Dolorosa (or the “way of sorrows”, which follows Jesus’ path to crucifixion), and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built where Jesus is believed to have been crucified, died, buried, and rose again. In the arvo, things get very mellow and moving with a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. This evening you’ll head back to sunny Jerusalem.
- Israel Museum entrance fee - USD12
- Walk on the Ramparts of the Old City - USD5
Does your bucket list include: ‘visit olive oil soap factory’? If not, why not? And if yes, then phew, because today we’ll head out to Nablus and tick that one off. You’ll visit Jacob’s Well and from there go to the Old City of Nablus. Walk through the streets, visit the Turkish Hammam (Bath), and watch how Knafeh, the world famous sweet originating from the city, is made. You’ll then get to eat your weight in mouth-watering, cheesy pastry deliciousness drenched in sweet, sweet syrup at the shop next door. Once the tour of Nablus is done, drive up to Mount Gerizim to visit the tiny, ancient community of the Samaritans, a religious group closely related to Judaism, where you’ll learn about their views and their ways of life. Drive to Sabastya to walk through the Roman ruins, olive trees and hills and the site where John the Baptist was allegedly beheaded. Then it's back to Jerusalem for your final night on the town.
Your trip ends in Jerusalem today. Say goodbye to all your new mates and don't forget to stalk their Facebook photos for pictures of yourself.
- Church of the Redeemer - USD3
Private aircon bus
Budget/tourist class hotels
Our Jordan to Israel Odyssey trips score an average of 4.25 out of 5
based on 4 reviews in the last year.
Trip was fantastic, just be mindful to budget a lot more than what the trip notes indicate. Israel was nice but really only worthwhile for religious people
Review submitted 31 May 2016
Geckos provides amazing trips with enthusiastic and extremely knowledgable guides. If you want to learn about a country while having fun with like minded people I would highly recommend using them!
Review submitted 29 Nov 2015
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Entrance fees are not included, you pay these as you go along.
An optional single supplement is available on this trip. Please refer to your booking agent for further information.
Essential Trip Information
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