Explore ancient cultures and stunning landscapes on this action-packed, 11-day journey through Jordan and Egypt. Striking out from Amman, you'll tour the magnificent canyons of Petra, go for a swim in the Dead Sea, and camp with Bedouin in the "Valley of the Moon." Hop over to Cairo to visit iconic landmarks like the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx, then head to Luxor to discover the Valley of the Kings and cruise up the Nile River to Aswan.

Highlights

  • Marvel at the lost city of Petra, one of the Seven Wonders of the World
  • Camp under clear desert skies in the Wadi Rum 
  • See King Tut's treasure in Cairo's Egyptian Museum
  • Walk in the footsteps of the pharaohs at the Valley of the Kings
  • Board a Nile River cruise from Luxor to Aswan 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Jordan! Amman
Day 2 Drive to Petra via the Dead Sea, Shobak & Dana Biosphere Petra
Day 3 Explore Petra, Transfer to the Dead Sea via Bethany The Dead Sea
Day 4 Wadi Rum Desert Safari, Fly to Cairo Cairo
Day 5 Pyramids & Cairo Sightseeing Cairo
Day 6 Fly to Luxor, Discover the Valley of the Kings Luxor
Day 7 Tour the Luxor & Karnak Temples, Board Nile River Cruise Luxor
Day 8 Cruise Towards Aswan via Edfu & Kom Ombo Kom Ombo
Day 9 Explore Aswan: Temple of Philae, Aswan Dan & Felucca Ride Aswan
Day 10 Fly to Cairo Cairo
Day 11 Transfer to Airport & Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Jordan!

Roman ruins in Jerash
Roman ruins in Jerash

Welcome to Jordan! Upon arrival at the Queen Alia International Airport, you will be met by your guide and transferred north to Jerash, one of the best-preserved Greco-Roman cities in the Middle East. Spend time wandering the extensive site and be sure to check out the well-preserved remains of two amphitheaters, the north-south Colonnaded Street, and the Hippodrome (the site of ancient chariot races).

Afterward, you'll be taken back to Amman to get settled into your hotel. The nation's largest city, Amman has been inhabited since the Bronze Age and is full of cultural and historic highlights. If you have the energy, head out to explore the bustling capital in the evening, or arrange for a welcoming cooking course at the home of a local family.  

Day 2: Drive to Petra via the Dead Sea, Shobak & Dana Biosphere

The clear, mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea

In the morning, your driver will take you down to the lowest point on earth: the Dead Sea! Here you can go for a swim in the mineral-rich waters or unwind with a full-body mud treatment. Afterward, continue down the scenic Dead Sea Highway, stopping at the Dana Nature Reserve for panoramic views over the Great Rift Valley. Continue past Shobak, one of the largest Crusader castles in the Middle East, to reach your destination for the night: the lost city of Petra.

After settling into your hotel, you can explore Petra's remarkable rock-cut tombs and temples by candlelight, or experience the warmth of Jordanian hospitality at dinner in a local home.

Day 3: Explore Petra, Transfer to the Dead Sea via Bethany

A Zen float at the lowest point on earth
Marvel at the ancient Nabataean stonework of Petra's Treasury

Spend this morning exploring Jordan's beloved archeological treasure: the lost city of Petra. Known as the "Rose City" for the area's distinctive red sandstone, it's easy to see why Petra was named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Its intricate architectural design is hundreds of years old, and remarkably well maintained.

Enter through the Siq, a dramatically narrow gorge flanked by towering cliffs that leads to Petra's seemingly endless temples, tombs, and colonnaded streets.  At the end of the Siq stands Petra's most elaborate ruin, Al Khazneh (popularly known as "the Treasury"). Navigate the impressive water conduit system of the historic Nabatean city, paying a visit to Qasr al-Bint, a grand temple that was once the population's primary place of worship.

Afterward, your driver will be waiting to take you north again, stopping en route to visit Bethany, the site where John the Baptist is said to have baptized Jesus Christ on the eastern bank of the Jordan River. Located in a wadi kharrar, or reeded valley, several centuries-old churches and manmade pools have recently been discovered, and are worth exploring. 

At the end of the day, you'll reach the shores of the Dead Sea and check into your hotel for the night.

Day 4: Wadi Rum Desert Safari, Fly to Cairo

Explore the red sands of Wadi Rum by Jeep

Transfer into the wilderness of Wadi Rum this morning, an expanse of desert dubbed the "Valley of the Moon" by Lawrence of Arabia. Here you'll meet your Bedouin hosts to begin a three-hour Jeep excursion into this UNESCO-protected site. You'll travel through valleys, rock canyons, dunes, and deserts, stopping to check out rock inscriptions and petroglyphs as well as majestic views. Spend a little time at each stop to hike, scramble, and explore at your own pace, and finish the excursion with a traditional Bedouin lunch.  

In the afternoon, your driver will take you back to the airport for your evening flight to Cairo. Upon arrival, you'll be met by your guide who will assist you through customs and arrange a transfer to your hotel. Get settled in and rest up for a full day of sightseeing tomorrow.

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Day 5: Pyramids & Cairo Sightseeing

Stand in the shadow of the Great Pyramids

This morning you'll hit the ground running, meeting your Egyptologist guide and setting off for a tour of some of Egypt's most iconic sites. Begin in Giza to visit the pyramid of Cheops, the only survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Built as a tomb, its shape was intended to help the spirit of the dead pharaoh rise to heaven. Nearby you'll find Chephren, the best-preserved of the main Giza pyramids, Mykerinos, the smallest of the three, and the mighty Sphinx.

Next, it's on to the Egyptian Museum where countless antiquities and the treasures of Tutankhamen's tomb await. Continue to Coptic Cairo to visit the Hanging Church and Ben Ezra Synagogue, followed by a short drive to Islamic Cairo, where you can take a stroll through the bustling Khan El Khalili, Cairo’s oldest and most alluring bazaar. 

Day 6: Fly to Luxor, Discover the Valley of the Kings

See incredible carvings and hieroglyphs in the Valley of the Kings

After breakfast, board a short one-hour flight to Luxor, a small city in the Nile Valley located 420 miles (676 km) south of Cairo. Once the capital of the pharaohs, it's home to the famed Valley of the Kings and Luxor and Karnak Temples

You'll be met upon arrival and transferred to the Valley of the Kings to see rock-cut tombs for kings and powerful nobles (including Tutankhamun) used for nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BCE. Then stop at the Colossi of Memnon to admire the magnificent ruins of Amenhotep’s memorial temple. What remains are two imposing statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III that were erected to guard the temple's entrance. Finally, you'll head to Hatshepsut Temple. The memorial of Queen Hatshepsut is the focal point of Deir el-Bahri, a complex of mortuary temples and tombs.

After lunch, you'll be transferred to your hotel to settle in and get some rest, before heading out to the Luxor Markets in the afternoon.

Day 7: Tour the Luxor & Karnak Temples, Board Nile River Cruise

Marvel at the sheer size and scale of Luxor's temples and tombs

After breakfast and check-out, you'll discover two of the most impressive temples in Upper Egypt while learning about their fascinating ancient history.

Start your day with the Temples of Karnak. Walk along the Avenue of Sphinx to enter the complex, where you can see each legacy left by the various pharaohs as the complex grew even larger. The deeper you go into the complex, the further back in time you will travel, with the oldest ruins dating back over 3,000 years. Walking through the Great Court into the Great Hypostyle Hall, it's hard not to be overwhelmed by the 134 columns towering above you like an ancient forest.

Continue to Luxor Temple which was once joined to the Temples of Karnak by a grand Avenue of Sphinx, a portion of which marks the entrance to the temple. Dominated by statues of the great warrior pharaoh Ramses II, Luxor Temple has survived Nile floods, foreign invasion, and thousands of years exposed to the elements. Find out how Alexander the Great wrote himself into Luxor Temple's history, and see one of the original pair of obelisks, the second of which now stands on the Place de la Concorde in Paris.

Then it's time for the next stage of your journey as you head to the shores of the Nile River to board your cruise ship and check into your cabin. Casting off, you'll sail upstream overnight towards your next destination.

Day 8: Cruise Towards Aswan via Edfu & Kom Ombo

Enjoy stunning Nile views as you cruise upstream

Wake to the sounds of the Nile this morning as you approach Edfu, where you'll disembark to tour the Temple of Horus. Back on board, enjoy lunch as the cruise continues, reaching Kom Ombo in the late afternoon. Built during the Ptolemaic era, Kom Ombo was dedicated to the crocodile god (Sobek) and falcon god (Haroeris). Admire its many intact courts and halls, along with wall carvings and statues, then return to the boat for dinner. As the sun sets, you'll continue cruising upstream towards Aswan.  

Day 9: Explore Aswan: Temple of Philae, Aswan Dan & Felucca Ride

The beautiful Temple of Philae in Aswan

After breakfast, you'll disembark for a tour of Aswan, an archaeologically rich city on the banks of the Nile. Start at the Temple of Philae, dedicated to the worship of the goddess Isis, then continue to Egypt's remarkable engineering achievement of the modern era, the Aswan High Dam.

After lunch onboard the ship, you'll take a ride on a felucca (a traditional river sailboat) for panoramic views of the Botanical Gardens, Kitchener Island, and Agha Khan Mausoleum. Spend your final evening of the cruise enjoying a spectacular Nile sunset and a celebratory dinner on deck.

Day 10: Fly to Cairo

The minarets and domes of Cairo's Citadel of Salah el-Din

After breakfast this morning, you'll leave the Nile behind as your driver meets you for a transfer to the Aswan airport, where you'll catch a quick flight back to Cairo. Upon arrival, enjoy a free afternoon to visit any sites you may have missed, or catch up on some last-minute souvenir shopping.

Day 11: Transfer to Airport & Departure

Sunrise over modern Cairo

After breakfast this morning, it's time to say your goodbyes and transfer to the airport to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

More Jordan & Egypt Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Jordan and Egypt? Check out these other Jordan and Egypt itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 

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