22 days

Egypt, Jordan & Israel

Egypt, Jordan & Israel

Nile cruise

Jordan's capital Amman

Wadi Rum's red earth desertscapes

Edfu and Komombo temples

Crusader castle at Shobak

Cairo Museum

Luxor's open air museum

The Valley of the Kings

The Sea of Galilee

UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cairo

Bethlehem's Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity

Red Sea resort of Aqaba

Nubean Aswan

2000 year-old ruins of Jerash

UNESCO World Heritage-listed Jerusalem

The Great Pyramids and Sphinx

Sunrise on Mt Sinai

UNESCO World Heritage-listed Petra

World-leading snorkelling and scuba diving on the Red Sea

The Dead Sea

Desert camping with the Bedouin

Trip rating
  • Travel through time on this magical carpet ride through the Middle East! We enjoy an in-depth discovery of ancient Egypt, covering all the major sites and then relax on a four day riverboat cruise along the Nile. Medieval Cairo and Mount Sinai are also explored before we cross the border into Jordan. Here, we spend a night camping with the Bedouin in Wadi Rum, delve into a Crusader castle and enjoy a day in the extraordinary city of Petra. The Dead Sea, Jerash and the capital, Amman, are further treats, before we cross into Israel. Words cannot do justice to Jerusalem – it is a truly amazing city. We have plenty of time to discover its highlights and surrounds, including Bethlehem, Nazareth, Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee before arriving in lively Tel Aviv. This trip showcases the region’s fascinating history, intriguing cultures and greatest treasures.

     

    ** Please note this trip is operating on an alternative itinerary until 1 September 2014. Please see trip notes for further details ***

    Why we love it

    • Travel through time on this magical carpet ride through the Middle East!
    • Enjoy an in-depth discovery of ancient Egypt, covering all the major sites and then relax on a four day riverboat cruise along the Nile.
    • Spend a night camping with the Bedouin in Wadi Rum, delve into a Crusader castle and enjoy a day in the extraordinary city of Petra.
    • The Dead Sea, Jerash and the capital, Amman, are further treats, before we cross into Israel.
    • Words cannot do justice to Jerusalem – it is a truly amazing city. You will plenty of time to discover its highlights and surrounds, including Bethlehem, Nazareth, Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee.
    • This trip showcases the region’s fascinating history, intriguing cultures and greatest treasures.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Cairo

    • On arrival at Cairo International Airport, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. This is simply an arrival day so you may arrive in Cairo at any time.
    • Note that hotel rooms are generally only available after midday. The balance of the day is free to explore your surroundings, but normally a welcome meeting will be held in the evening where you will meet your tour leader and fellow travellers.
    Grand Pyramids Hotel or similar

    Day 2 - Cairo - overnight sleeper train

    • The Egyptian Museum is simply one of the world's great museums, home to a stupendous collection of antiquities and the perfect introduction to your tour, exhibiting many of the region's treasures.
    • You will head there after breakfast and your expert guide will take you through Egypt's rich and fascinating dynastic history. You will then have some free time to explore on your own. You may wish to visit the Royal Mummy Room (optional and at extra cost).
    • You will then drive out to Giza, home to perhaps the greatest iconic structures ever created by man - the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Instantly familiar yet retaining a mystique and power, getting up close to these incredible pharaonic tombs is captivating. For an additional charge you may be able to go inside the Great Pyramid of Cheops (or Khufu), although occasionally it may be closed to visitors.
    • Afterwards you will return to the hotel, where there is plenty of time to freshen up and pack before you are transferred to the railway station for the overnight sleeper train to Luxor.
    • Sleeping berths (beds and linen) are provided in private cabins and an airline-style dinner will be served. It is worth bringing additional snacks and your tour leader can help you to arrange this. A toilet is located at the end of each carriage.
    Sleeper Train
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 3 - Luxor

    • After an early breakfast on board, the train will roll into Luxor - a buzzing place with a great bazaar situated close to some of ancient Egypt's most important and extraordinary sights.
    • You will be taken to your Nile cruise boat, which will be your home for the next four nights. You can relax by the pool on the boat or explore the town. Later in the day you will take horse-drawn carriages to Karnak - one of the world's most celebrated temple complexes, built over a period of some 2000 years. '
    • Your guided tour of the temple reveals the complex's finest sections. For the rest of the afternoon and evening you will be free to relax, shop in the bazaar (open until quite late) or perhaps experience the atmosphere of a local tea house.
    Riverboat
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 4 - Valley of the Kings - Luxor - Nile Cruise

    • You will rise early this morning (very much earlier during summer!) and head into the Valley of the Kings, where buried under the arid hills are over 60 tombs of pharaohs, many richly decorated with reliefs and paintings.
    • It's a compelling place, vast and spectacular, and discoveries are still being made. Tutankhamun's final resting place is also located here, but entry to this small tomb is quite limited. It is at an additional cost, but you will be given some free time to visit it if you so desire.
    • Your guide will explain the funerary rites of the ancient Egyptians and significance of the many paintings and hieroglyphics. You will visit three royal tombs and then continue to the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, set in a spectacular natural amphitheatre.
    • Your final stop is at the Colossi of Memnon - giant statues that were once part of an impressive colonnade.
    • You will return to the boat and enjoy lunch on board. There is time to relax on deck or in your cabin before you set sail for Edfu. Departure time may vary, depending on river traffic – please refer to the note regarding cruise schedules in the 'other Information' section.
    • You will pass through Esna Lock, which can sometimes be a slow process depending on the number of vessels waiting to get through, and continue your journey upstream.
    Riverboat
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 5 - Nile Cruise (Edfu - Kom Ombo)

    • Morning finds you moored near Edfu, an excellently-preserved temple dedicated to Horus - the falcon-headed god. You will disembark and explore the temple as well as experiencing the bustling town centre. Returning to your cruise boat you will continue travelling upriver, relaxing on the sundeck and taking in the surrounding sights - desert hills forming a backdrop to lush riverbanks, fishermen casting their nets and farmers working their land.
    • Arriving at Komombo, your short walk around the Temple of Sobek (the crocodile-headed god) that lies picturesquely ruined on the river's edge provides an interesting insight into the Greco-Roman period.
    Riverboat
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 6 - Aswan

    • You will arrive in Aswan, Egypt's southernmost city and a place with an easygoing charm that is due in no small part to its large Nubian population.
    • Depending on your arrival time, you may visit the beautiful Temple of Isis that was rescued from the rising waters of the Nile and relocated on Philae Island (alternatively you will visit it tomorrow). It is an absolute gem, its decorative pylons featuring some of Egypt's finest carvings - definitely one of the highlights of Upper Egypt.
    • The rest of your day will be free to wander – and Aswan is a great place for it. The Nubian Bazaar is a must, while the excellent Nubian Museum is recommended by many. The waterfront promenade, or Aswan's 'corniche', runs alongside the one of Nile's most appealing stretches and is the perfect place to stop for a mint tea.
    • Aswan is a great little town and there are plenty of relaxing and interesting options here. Dusk is when the waterfront comes alive with families out strolling, socialising and relaxing along the corniche.
    Riverboat
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 7 - Aswan

    • You will disembark your cruise boat and check into the hotel. The rest of the day will be free for you to make your own discoveries. The visit to Abu Simbel will take place this morning for those who booked this option with your tour leader back in Cairo. This optional trip is well worth it. With the four gargantuan statues of Ramses guarding the Great Temple, this is one of Egypt's most memorable sights.
    • A popular afternoon option in Aswan is a sailboat ride around the islands in a traditional felucca, stopping off at the botanical gardens on Kitchener's Island.
    • Alternatively, take a camel ride to the Monastery of St Simeon - an abandoned 7th century fortress monastery located in the desert on the Nile's west bank. Your tour leader will be on hand to help you arrange any excursions. Alternatively, you may just prefer to relax by the hotel pool or do some shopping in the friendly bazaar.
    • In the evening you will visit a Nubian village and enjoy the hospitality of your hosts as you dine out on some delicious local cuisine. You will also be treated to some Nubian dancing and may even have the chance to perform some of the moves yourself!
    Hotel Basma or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 8 - Cairo

    • After breakfast you will be transferred to Aswan airport for the short flight back to Cairo where you will be collected and taken to your hotel.
    • Today you will dive into another layer of Egyptian history: medieval Cairo. You will head to Khan al-Khalili Bazaar, Cairo's oldest mosque and the Gayer-Anderson Museum. The 'Khan', sprawling around an old area known as Al-Azhar, is a quintessentially Cairo experience - a warren of alleys with stalls serving up a succession of intoxicating scenes and retaining a distinctly medieval and sometimes carnivalesque feel.
    • It's Cairo's finest area to practice your bartering skills! You will explore the gold market, 'perfume street' and the spice market, where heady aromas hang in the air like a thick blanket of Damascene cloth (which can be purchased next door in the cloth market!). The beautiful 9th century Ibn Tulun Mosque is one of the oldest, largest and arguably the most beautiful mosque in Egypt – the perfectly proportioned courtyard and distinctive minaret both help to mark it out as a masterpiece of Islamic architecture.
    • Nearby stands the Gayer-Anderson Museum, housed in two fine old villas (dating to the 16th and 17th centuries AD). Once owned by an English army officer, the two houses contain a fascinating collection of Arabic artefacts, furniture and memorabilia, offering you a great insight into Cairene life during the Ottoman period.
    Grand Pyramids Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 9 - Cairo - Dahab

    • This morning you will be transferred to the airport and take a short flight to Sharm el Sheik, before transferring on to Dahab, where there is time to relax and unwind on the beaches of the Red Sea.
    • Dahab has some spectacular coral drop-offs just off the beach, so an hour of snorkelling will reveal the incredible and unexpected world that lies underwater. Finish the day with some delicious seafood in one of the restaurants that line the waterfront.
    Breakfast

    Day 10 - Dahab - Mt Sinai

    • You will start the day with a two hour drive to Mount Sinai. After checking in to your hotel at the base, you will have the rest of the afternoon to climb to the top. It's a steady climb, mostly along a well-defined gravel path, with some steep sections of stairs nearer the top; most people take two to three hours to reach the summit.
    • The view at sunset is definitely worth the effort – the countless granite folds of the Sinai Mountains glowing in the gathering dawn are hauntingly beautiful. Afterwards, you will return to your hotel for a well-earned dinner. Note that during winter months (October to March) it can get very cold on the mountain and may even snow during the height of winter.
    • Please ensure you have warm thermal clothes during this period, and bring a torch (flashlight), for the descent.
    Daniela Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 11 - St Catherine's - Aqaba

    • St Catherine's monastery is usually open for visitors, but sometimes it isn't. If you're in luck, you'll visit after breakfast. Founded in the 4th century, St Catherine's is considered one of the oldest continually functioning monasteries in the world, and it's chapel is one of early Christianity's oldest surviving churches.
    • Following this it's a two to three-hour drive to Nuweiba to board the hydrofoil to Aqaba. It is important that you read the notes below regarding the ferry journey. On arrival in Aqaba you will be transferred to your hotel for your first night in Jordan.
    My Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 12 - Aqaba - Wadi Rum

    • You will go on a brief orientation of Aqaba with your guide, Jordan's principal Red Sea resort. You can visit the old castle (time permitting) before driving to spellbinding Wadi Rum, a landscape of rugged sandstone mountains standing tall among an ochre desert floor.
    • You will head into this desolate, romantic protected area in rather rickety old jeeps, operated by the local Bedouin community. This is an attempt by the Jordanian Government to bring much-needed income into this region - an initiative we also support.
    • After lunch in the small village of Rum and a browse around the excellent and informative visitor's centre, you will visit several of Wadi Rum's distinctive rock formations and soak in the vast silence and spectacular desert landscapes. Wadi Rum is a truly beautiful place with towering sandstone mountains.
    • It is very deserving of the time you will be spending here, with the wind-sculpted rock formations changing hue throughout the day from sunrise to sunset. You will also meet your Bedouin friends and ride camels to your traditional Bedouin tent situated deep within Wadi Rum. The Bedouins live in scattered camps throughout the area. You will enjoy an evening with them at one of their camps, which is set in an amazing location.
    • Wadi Rum is probably best known for its connection with the enigmatic British officer T.E. Lawrence, who was based here during the Great Arab Revolt of 1917-18. Much of David Lean's movie on his exploits, 'Lawrence of Arabia', was actually filmed in Wadi Rum.
    Camping
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 13 - Wadi Rum - Petra

    • It's well worth rising early to watch the cliffs change colour as the sun comes up.
    • You will enjoy a walk in the morning (the length of the walk will depend on how energetic you are feeling) before scaling one of the large dunes to enjoy sensational views of the surrounding area. Keen photographers will be delighted.
    • You will then take 4WDs from your camp back to the main entrance. The visitor's centre is also a great spot to buy some jewellery and knick-knacks, mostly made by a women's co-operative which is aimed at supporting traditional local industries. You will then continue your journey to Petra.
    • On arrival there is time in the afternoon to check out the town, withdraw or change money and just relax…ready for a big day of exploring Petra tomorrow.
    Amra Palace Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 14 - Petra

    • A regular and fully justified contender for the '8th Wonder of the World' title, the iconic Petra view – the Treasury's glorious façade, glimpsed from the narrow cleft known as the Siq – is arguably the single most striking sight of the entire region.
    • The first glimpse of this exquisite craftsmanship among such stark scenery is a moment that manages to be both eagerly anticipated and also an unlikely and almost surreal surprise.
    • Petra's greatest surprise, however, is its size. With your guide you will explore the old Roman road, amphitheatre and several old tombs. You will also climb up to the Monastery – the site's second beautiful façade – from where you will have a magnificent view of the entire site.
    • This is a memorable day exploring a truly extraordinary destination and sure to be one of the highlights of your trip. There is a cafeteria on the site, where you will enjoy a light lunch. In the mid-afternoon you will return to your hotel and your tour leader will attempt to persuade you to take a Turkish bath! This is the perfect time to enjoy a bath, and it is also a great experience - Petra is an excellent and safe place to try this tradition of the region. The rest of the day will be at your leisure.
    Amra Palace Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 15 - Shobak - Dana - Madaba - Amman

    • This morning you will drive along the King's Highway, a road that pre-dates Old Testament times. You will reach Shobak Castle, 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.
    • You will stroll through the site and continue on to the ancient village at Dana, where local artisans sell attractive silver jewellery and charms.
    • You will then reach Madaba, where you'll visit the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George that houses an ancient mosaic map. This is of particular interest as it clearly depicts Palestine and Lower Egypt around 550 AD.
    • You can expect to arrive in Amman in the late afternoon, where in the evening you will try one of its several fine restaurants. (Please note that Kerak Castle is not included in your tour, as it is often very congested and busy. However, if there is sufficient interest among members of the group, your leader can also arrange an optional visit to Kerak Castle. Many travellers however prefer to spend extra time in Amman.)
    Golden Palace Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 16 - Jerash - Dead Sea - Amman

    • The Roman city of Jerash is one of the grandest ancient cities in the world, its archways and theatres, baths, public buildings and colonnaded streets constitute a striking collection and make it a beautiful place to explore.
    • Grand ionic columns encircle the city's centrepiece, the Oval Plaza, a wonderfully atmospheric place to linger after exploring Jerash's riches. You will visit the site in the morning and later drive down to spend the afternoon at the Dead Sea.
    • Relax on the shore or take a dip like no other – the warm, highly saline waters make swimming difficult but bobbing on the water's surface a unique pleasure.
    • Afterwards you will return to Amman for the night.
    Golden Palace Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 17 - Amman - Jerusalem

    • Today will be an early start as you leave Amman and head for Israel, crossing into the country over the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge some 40 kilometres from Amman. It is important that you read the notes below regarding this border crossing. Once you have cleared Immigration and Customs, you will be met by your Israeli guide and head off down the western coastline of the Dead Sea.
    • Your first stop is the clifftop fortress of Massada whose tale of doomed resistance by the Zealots against the Romans resonates deeply for the Jewish people and the modern state of Israel.
    • From here you will retrace your steps to Qumran, an archaeological site of a small monastic community from the time of Christ who produced the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were found by a shepherd in caves nearby.
    • Then to Jericho, a slow-paced West Bank townconsidered by some to be the longest inhabited city in the world, before continuing on to Jerusalem.
    National Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 18 - Jerusalem

    • Jerusalem has one of the great urban skylines – the serried buildings and ancient ramparts of the Old City, the churches adorning the Mount of Olives and the iconic gold of the Dome of the Rock.
    • You will start the day with a short drive to the Mount of Olives to take in a panoramic view of the city's extraordinary ensemble before driving to the Garden of Gethsemane.
    • From there you will walk to St Stephen’s Gate, where you will enter the Old City. You will visit the 'Cardo' in the recently restored Jewish Quarter, which was the old north-south axis in Roman times, then the Western (Wailing) Wall, the Via Dolorosa (Stations of the Cross) and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
    • When entry is permitted you will also visit the Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque. Jerusalem is one of those handful of cities in the world where there is so much to see all in one place; after lunch (not included), the rest of the afternoon will be free for you to further explore neighbourhoods within and beyond the walls of the old city to make your own discoveries.
    • Tonight you will have dinner at Azzahra restaurant where you should try musakhan, a local speciality.
    National Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 19 - Jerusalem

    • This morning you will embark on a short drive to Bethlehem. En route you will pass through a gap in the controversial security wall that separates Israel proper from the West Bank. You will park in Manger Square and visit the Church of the Nativity, the world's oldest continually operating church that marks the birthplace of Jesus.
    • The history alone of the building itself is impressive, as is the devotion of some visitors. You will continue to the outer edge of West Jerusalem to visit Yad Vashem, Israel's memorial to the Holocaust, an event that still reverberates strongly in the national psyche. A number of memorials are scattered over landscaped grounds, with a very sobering museum at it centre.
    • Nearby is the gorgeous village of Ein Kerem where, after a quick tour of its lanes of stone houses, you can take an optional lunch. In the afternoon you will return to Jerusalem for one last afternoon of free time to take in the city's myriad of attractions.
    National Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 20 - Nazareth - Sea of Galilee - Tiberias

    • This morning you will drive through the Jordan Valley, whose fertile lands were chronicled in the Bible, to Nazareth. There you will visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, which incorporates, according to Roman Catholic tradition, the cave in which Mary received the news from Gabriel that she would give birth to Jesus.
    • Passing through Tiberias, one of Judaism's four holy cities, you will sail across the Sea of Galilee to Tabgha, where Jesus performed the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. You will return to Tiberias to visit Yardenit - the new commemorative site of Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River - and stop off at the site of the ancient settlement of Capernaum situated on the banks of the Kinneret, where Jesus once lived and Peter's house still stands.
    • You will have lunch at a restaurant and try the local delicacy - St Peter's fish - fresh from the water opposite. The day ends in Tiberias where you will stay overnight in a hotel on a kibbutz.
    Kibbutz En Gev or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 21 - Tiberias - Haifa - Caesarea - Tel Aviv

    • You will leave Tiberias and head north to the ancient crusader port of Acre, a World Heritage-listed site and a place alive with an eventful history from the crusades through to the Napoleonic battles, and on to the present day.
    • You will visit the massive complex of buildings occupied by the Knights of St John as well as the Knight Templars' secret tunnel. You will then head down the coast to Haifa where you'll visit the spectacular Baha'i Gardens.
    • The perfectly manicured gardens are one of the holy places for the Baha'i faith, one of the world's youngest religions. After lunch, you will arrive at Caesarea which served as the capital of Israel during the Roman and Byzantine eras and which nowadays holds some of the country's finest classical remains, including an aqueduct and a graceful theatre which overlooks the Mediterranean.
    • Afterwards, you will arrive in Tel Aviv where you'll spend your last night in Israel's liveliest city. With its lively cafe culture and relaxed beach scene, Tel Aviv makes for the perfect end point to your adventure.
    Metropolitan Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 22 - Tel Aviv

    • Your trip will come to an today after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around 12 noon and you are free to leave at any time. If you have arranged a private airport transfer you will be advised of the pick-up time. Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you wish to spend more time exploring Tel Aviv.
    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • The services of Peregrine’s expert English-speaking local tour leader throughout the tour, and professional local guides at some sites.
    • Sightseeing (including entrance fees where applicable): Cairo’s Egyptian Museum, pyramids, Sphinx, Gayer-Anderson Museum, Philae Temple, Ibn Tulun Mosque and Khan al-Khalili bazaar; Karnak Temple.
    • Sightseeing : Valley of the Kings; Temple of Hatshepsut and Colossi of Memnon; Edfu and Komombo temples; Petra; Shobak Castle; Amman; Jerash; Dead Sea.
    • Sightseeing : Jerusalem; Garden of Gethsemane; Bethlehem; Beit Shean; Nazareth; Tiberias; the Sea of Galilee; Tel Aviv; Golan Heights; Acre; and Caesara.
    • Four nights on a comfortable Nile river cruise boat sailing from Luxor to Aswan, with sightseeing stops along the way.
    • Horse-drawn carriage ride to Karnak.
    • Camel ride to a traditional Bedouin tented camp in the Wadi Rum for an overnight stay.
    • Overnight stay in a hotel on a Kibbutz.
    • Transport by air-conditioned sleeper train in a private, two-person sleeping berth with beds and linen, an ‘airline-style’ dinner and breakfast, and toilet facilities located at the end of each carriage.
    • Flight between Aswan and Cairo with all transfers on Day 8.
    • Arrival transfer

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Meals unless specified
    • Drinks
    • Visas
    • Departure taxes
    • Travel insurance
    • Tips (see below)
    • Spending of a personal nature
    • Optional sightseeing
    • Departure transfer
  • Map Itinerary

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Egypt, Jordan & Israel

    David - Australia, 13 Apr, 2013
    4
    Overall Rating

    Great overview of Egypt, Jordan and Israel. Major historic sites covered well. The trip feels very busy and some sites pass all too quickly. Provides plenty of opportunities for the history buffs to learn more.

    Egypt, Jordan & Israel

    Kim - Australia, 30 Mar, 2013
    5
    Overall Rating

    Wow! what a great way to travel through Egypt, Jordan & Israel. Having not been fans of group tours before, we were very hesitant about booking this trip. We are now converts to small group touring & Peregrine in particular. Local, knowledgeable tour leaders in each country, excellent hotels & transportation, fantastic experiences - just everything we had hoped for. Highly recommended! Kim, Wollongong, NSW

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PGEI
Group size 1 - 16
Start City: Cairo
End City: Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel

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