Days
13
Price from
€1,700EUR

Enter ancient worlds on a journey through Jordan and Israel

Hang out in Amman, head to Aqaba for some Red Sea play and Wadi Rum for desert, and on to Petra for ancient amazingness. Zoom along the Kings Highway, check out Jerash, Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee (it rhymes, awesome).

In a traditional Bedouin coffee ceremony you’ll actually drink three cups of coffee: one for the soul, one for the sword and one because you’re a guest. Don’t ask for a fourth – it’s greedy and you might wet your pants on the bus.

This trip was formerly known as Jordan & Israel Explorer.


Start
Amman, Jordan
Finish
Jerusalem, Israel
Countries
Israel, Jordan
Code
GEJIC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18 , Max 29
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Get into the ancient and modern sides of Jordan and Israel with your enthusiastic and extremely knowledgeable local leader, who’ll be heaps of fun too

  • This trip’s got it all. History? How about 11,000 years of it. Culture? Oh, just incredible architecture, food and music. Scenery? City, beach and the desert. What more could you want?!

  • Only Petra’s Treasury is stunning enough to be the temple of the Holy Grail (well, according to Indiana Jones at least), and you’ll be blown away on a full day exploring the majesty and mystery of this world wonder

  • If you thought the Middle East was all sand and dust, think again – check out the lakeside town of Tabgha, the place where a crowd miraculously had a lot more fish and bread than they thought

  • Graffiti has filled the walls in Bethlehem by many artists over the years, including British Artist Banksy. Check it out on a walking tour with your leader.

  • Stay in a 19th century convent in the quaint little town of Nazareth.

  • 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

  • Take a birds eye view of the Old City of Jerusalem as you walk the Ramparts. It’s a great way to get a sneak peek into places you'd never see otherwise & also a chance to take in the stunning views of the areas outside the wall.

Is this trip right for you?

  • You’re the boss! Not just in general, but also on this trip, where 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.

  • It’s not all hot desert days in Jordan, as the winter months (December through to February) can be quite cold. Temperatures in northern parts of the country can drop to freezing overnight. Snowfall around these areas as well as Amman is common. Pack smart so that you’re prepared for varying temperatures, especially if travelling during these months.

  • The thing about ancient ruins and other super old sites in the Middle East is that they usually involve walking on rocky and/or steep hillsides. But if you don’t feel up for it on a hot day then you can just sit it out, or wander along at your own pace.

  • 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.

  • Israel & The Palestinian Territories is by no means a cheap destination and you should budget accordingly. The good news is that your expert local leader is on hand to help you uncover the best deals!

  • Sites can get congested during peak travel periods with coaches of large pilgrim groups. We do our best to plan our visits around these times but sometimes it is unavoidable. There may be delays, queue's and private services that prevent us from entering the site. Your trip leader will manage this as best as they can on the day.

Itinerary

Touch down in Jordan's main town, Amman. 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 6pm Welcome Meeting tonight (make sure you’ve got all your important docs and deets on you). Until then, hit the streets. Make a beeline for Rainbow Street for a falafel and a sheesha. It's what the locals would want. Something more substantial? 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. Afterwards, rendezvous with your new Geckos crew for a team catch-up. It may or may not be at the local pub.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Amman - King Abullah Mosque - JOD2
  • Amman - Jordan Museum - JOD5
  • Amman - Bethany Baptism site - JOD12
  • Amman - Roman Theatre - JOD2
  • Amman - Citadel - JOD3
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
It's a four-hour drive today from Amman to Wadi Rum, but we'll be making some snack stops along the way, so all good (but we recommend stocking up on a few snacks too). In Wadi Rum you'll be meeting your Bedouin hosts, who'll show you around camp and offer you many rounds of mint tea. Then we'll all hop in jeeps, which aren't the Bedouins' traditional modes of transport, but are far less stinky than camels, and trundle off into the desert on a driving safari. Wadi Rum's favourite son, Lawrence of Arabia, called Wadi Rum 'vast, echoing and God-like'. Ridley Scott, who shot Prometheus there, called it 'the best view I've ever seen of what could be Mars'. You'll see where Lawrence of Arabia had a wash in what's now known as Lawrence's Spring, and the crumbled ruins of a house he supposedly used to snooze in. You'll also visit the desert's largest sand dunes and a naturally-formed rock bridge that looks like it should have collapsed years ago. This evening you'll be dining on traditional Bedouin cuisine, sleeping in traditional Bedouin tents and gazing up at some traditional Bedouin skies.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
If you're someone who hates amazing sunrises, by all means sleep in this morning. If you're not, then we highly recommend that you don't: Wadi Rum rarely looks as fine as she does early morning. Once you're awake and breakfasted, it's time to say bye to your Bedouin friends and journey on to Petra (about a two-hour drive).
According to the legend of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, inside Petra's Treasury building is where the Holy Grail was discovered. Today you'll get to follow in Indy's footsteps on a guided tour that'll take you through the site's narrow siq (a narrow crack in the mountain) to Petra's tombs, temples and rock-hewn amphitheatre. You'll find no marauding Nazi's here, though (or goblet containing eternal youth, for that matter). For those wanting to admire the 'rose-red city' from a different angle, there's also the option of continuing up a cliff-top path for elevated views. At the end of a long day's tomb exploring you're probably feeling a bit grubby (and if you aren't, probably should be). Nothing a good scrub in the Turkish Bath at tonight's hotel won't be able to right.

Notes: The entrance fee to Petra is included in the trip price. Please note that when entering Petra as a group, a complimentary horse ride is included in the ticket price from the entrance point down to the Siq. Geckos doesn't recommend that passengers take this option due to the safety and insurance liability involved. The Turkish bath is optional and not included in trip price.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Wadi Rum - 4WD jeep safari and desert camp
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is yours to explore Petra how you wanna. Options include: walking up the road to Al Khanzneh (The Treasury – one of the most stunning temples of the whole site); clambering up the stairs to El Deir (The Monastery); travelling out to the royal tombs, or visiting some pretty impressive Byzantine mosaics. One other option is trying to locate the cafe run by Marguerite van Geldermalsen, a Kiwi woman who's been living in Petra with a local Bedouin for the past 30 years. A little less adventurous perhaps this last option is, but still a quest of sorts.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Petra - Guided tour of Petra ( Including 1 day pass ).
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
We said something about crusades and Crusaders earlier right? Well they built Shobak Castle atop a grassy knoll and thought it would last forever, but Saladin's Arab army knocked it over after an 18-month siege. You’ll drive a short way from Petra to get here, and the castle makes an impressive sight as you approach. Poke around the site and discover a small chapel, original gatehouse, and find out where a long, dark secret passage leads. Kick on half an hour to the ancient village at Dana, where at the craft centre you can (you guessed it) pick up some crafts, like silver jewellery and charms. Drive on to Madaba (approximately 3 hours), home to Byzantine mosaics way better than anything you ever made in art class. Visit the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George and check out a sixth-century mosaic map of the Holy Land. Then it’s on to Amman and head out on the town at night.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Mt Nebo - Mt Nebo Entrance - JOD1
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Drive back in time (approximately 1 hour) to Jerash, once a thriving ancient Roman city, and now some of the best-preserved ruins this side of Italy. Do your best Biggus Dickus impersonation (Monty Python, anyone?) in Jerash's main street, check out the columns of the Oval Plaza and the tiered seating of the South Theatre, and imagine the chariot race from Gladiator in the hippodrome. In the afternoon, there's the option of driving for a bit over an hour for a dip in the Dead Sea. This isn’t actually a sea but a super-salty lake (dead because of the lack of life in it) where the density of the water means you’ll go for a float, not a swim. Here you can get that photo of you reading a paper while floating in the water – just like the ten billion visitors before you. Afterwards you will return to Amman for the evening (approximately 1 hour). Maybe spend your final night at one of the many bars and restaurants in West Amman, or ask your leader where locals spend their evenings.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Dead Sea - Visit and lunch (minimum 3 people) - JOD40
  • Jerash - Entrance fees - JOD10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Freedom is the word of the day. Take some time in Amman to relax or create your own adventure. You could head up to the hilltop Temple of Hercules to snap some pics of the city, check out the local craft shops on Rainbow Street, or sweat it out in a Turkish bath house. Otherwise you can fill up on the fabulous food - by now you should also be addicted to hummus, ara'yes (oven-baked sandwiches filled with spiced mince) and mansaf (Google it, then wipe your drool off this page). If not, we haven't done our job properly. Tonight you will meet your new group and maybe head out for an optional group dinner.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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! 

Along the way you'll get your biblical history on with some of the 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 hung out here quite a few times when he was alive (and once afterhe died) and word on the street is that this is where 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.

Then it's a pretty short drive on to Jesus’s hometown; Nazareth where you’ll end the day the perfect way – with a hearty feed and a proper good sleep.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Capernaum - town visit
  • Tabgha - town visit
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning 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.
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).
On a walking tour with your leader, 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. Here Graffiti has filled the walls by many artists over the years, including British Artist; Banksy. Learn the personal stories behind some of the more prominent pieces. The walk will also take you past one of the largest refugee camps in the West Bank and previous conflict hotspots.

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 where you spend the next 4 nights right in the heart of it.There are plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops within easy walking distance and no visit to Jerusalem is complete without checking out the very cool Machane Yehuda Market. We recommend grabbing a beer in one of the many laneway bars and watch the market come to life in the evening, bar hop, or go for a wander to check out the amazing graffiti popping up on shop shutters.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Nazareth - Visit to Church of Annuniciation & Mary's Well
  • Bethlehem - Church of the Nativity & Shepherds' Field
  • Bethlehem - Grafitti Walking Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
On the way back to Jerusalem, stop at the Mount of Olives for a panoramic view of the Old City.
Return to Jersualem for the night.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jerusalem - Mount of Olives
Optional Activities
  • Jerusalem - Mahaneh Yehuda Market Visit - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning head to the Old City where you will start a walking tour of the Old City from above and below. Start with the Ramparts Walk from Jaffa Gate all the way to Herod’s Gate. Go down at Herod’s Gate and walk along the Via Dolorosa (Stations of the Cross), stopping at the Austrian Hospice for a short break and go up to the rooftop for a view of the Old City, before continuing to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. On the way to the Wailing Wall stop at the 'Cardo' in the recently restored Jewish Quarter. Spend some time at the Wailing Wall before being picked up to go visit the Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem.



Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jerusalem - Walk on the Ramparts of the Old City
  • Jerusalem - Western Wall (Wailing Wall)
  • Jerusalem - Yad Vashem Museum
  • Jerusalem - Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Optional Activities
  • Jerusalem - Israel Museum - USD12
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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 and watch how Knafeh, the world famous sweet originating from the city, is made. 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 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.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Nablus - City Walk
  • Sabastya - Roman Ruins
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Optional Activities
  • Jerusalem - Church of the Redeemer - USD3
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

11 breakfasts, 1 dinner

Transport

Jeep, Private bus, Public bus

Accommodation

Budget Hotel (6 nights), Desert Camp (1 night), Hostel (5 nights)

Included Activities

  • Wadi Rum - 4WD jeep safari and desert camp
  • Petra - Guided tour of Petra ( Including 1 day pass ).
  • Capernaum - town visit
  • Tabgha - town visit
  • Nazareth - Visit to Church of Annuniciation & Mary's Well
  • Bethlehem - Church of the Nativity & Shepherds' Field
  • Bethlehem - Grafitti Walking Tour
  • Jerusalem - Mount of Olives
  • Jerusalem - Walk on the Ramparts of the Old City
  • Jerusalem - Western Wall (Wailing Wall)
  • Jerusalem - Yad Vashem Museum
  • Jerusalem - Church of the Holy Sepulchre
  • Nablus - City Walk
  • Sabastya - Roman Ruins

Dates & availability

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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Journey to Jordan, Israel & the Palestinian Territories trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

ENTRANCE FEES:
With the exception of a one day pass to Petra (included), entrance fees are not included. You pay these as you go along.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
An optional single supplement is available on this trip. Please refer to your booking agent for further information.

Following recent safety incidents we recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest information on travelling in Israel (particularly within the West Bank) before your departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas of your itinerary. We have links to prominent government travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting this trip on our Travel Alerts page - www.geckosadventures.com/en-au/travel-alerts

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.