Jordan & Petra
|Resort:||Jordan & Petra|
Jordan is a remarkable country, with extraordinary landscapes of red-hued dunes and windswept sandstone, and world-class monuments that include Roman amphitheatres and Crusader castles. From Moses to Alexander the Great, Saladin and our own Lawrence of Arabia, all have left outstanding legacies. Combined with the legendary ancient city of Petra, youll have a captivating and unforgettable tour.
Day 1 Amman
Fly to Amman and transfer by coach to the vibrant Shmeisani area of the city, where we stay for one night at the four-star AlQasr Metropole Hotel, with breakfast.
Day 2 Wadi Rum
We set off early to make the most of the day, travelling south along the Desert Highway through the sandy heart of Jordan to Wadi Rum the Valley of the Moon. Nothing prepares you for the awe-inspiring sight that greets us: the sandstone massif that TE Lawrence described as vast, echoing and god-like. The magnificent cliffs and stone buttresses rise sheer from the sea of red sand, together forming a timeless panorama of monolithic rocks. The twisted huge bulk of this network of canyons, rock bridges and ravines is one of the worlds most stunning desert environments. Quite apart from the visual experience the silence is almost unnerving; bizarrely you cannot hear anything at all. After transferring to 4×4 vehicles, we tour the canyons and valleys before arriving at the Wadi Rum Space Village, a Bedouin-style tented camp.
Day 3 Little Petra
First, we see where vast caravans, some with over a thousand camels, gathered for their epic journeys, exploring the mysterious rock-carved rooms of ancient hotels in the area, known as Little Petra. We stay two nights, with breakfast and dinner, at the four-star Old Village Hotel & Resort.
Day 4 – Petra
Along with the Taj Mahal and the Pyramids, Petra is one of the worlds must-see sights, firmly deserving of its accolade as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Famous throughout history, its huge wealth was amassed from its time as the centre of the ancient caravan routes, which traded as far as China and rivalled that of the Romans. A city to match was created, with sophisticated public buildings and libraries, lavish houses, colonnaded streets, and astonishing villas carved from solid rock.
We walk down the increasingly narrow gorge and, just as you think the vertiginous sides could not get any narrower, the incredible vista of the Treasury appears like a mirage through a slit in the rock. The perfection of its proportions and the sheer vastness of this edifice are astounding. Beyond, theres an entire city waiting to be discovered: the amazing Royal Tombs, the theatre, the Street of the Facades, the Great Temple, early-Christian churches, and the main colonnaded road that ran through the centre of this ancient but tremendously cultured city.
The afternoon is at leisure, so you may wish to return to your hotel and enjoy its facilities or remain at the site to continue exploring.
Day 5 – Kings Highway & Mount Nebo
Heading north towards the Dead Sea we travel on the scenic Kings Highway, following an ancient caravan route. It passes through some of Jordans most spectacular scenery with views across arid, rocky peaks. We visit the Crusader castle at Shobak, one of the regions best-preserved forts, before continuing to Mount Nebo, where Moses first saw the Promised Land. According to Jewish and Christian tradition, the climb was so arduous that this remains his final resting place, leaving Joshua to lead his people over the River Jordan. We also visit nearby Madaba, where St Georges Church houses a superbly intricate, 6th-century mosaic map of the Holy Land.
We stay for two nights at the four-star Holiday Inn Dead Sea, with breakfast and dinner, 400 metres below sea level. It has several swimming pools, spacious air-conditioned rooms, as well as a small beach. You must take a dip in the Dead Sea, its one of lifes must-do experiences. Due to the salt content being 30 per cent, compared with normal seawater at 3 per cent, you float so easily. You cannot actually swim, but bob around like a cork and even while wading, you physically have to push your feet to the bottom to stand up!
Day 6 – Jerash
Ancient Jerash is the largest and best-preserved Roman city in the region, known as the Pompeii of the east. Its beautifully colonnaded main street and forum, the hippodrome, baths and theatre are a superb example of Roman town planning on a truly grand scale. In the afternoon we return to our hotel and have some free time to enjoy the hotel facilities or take a dip in the Dead Sea.
Day 7 – Return flight
Transfer to Amman airport for your return direct flight.