- Marvel at Istanbul's breathtaking Blue Mosque
- Discover the "fairy chimneys" of Cappadocia
- See Roman ruins & Crusader castles along Jordan's historic King's Highway
- Climb 800 ancient sandstone steps to reach Petra's Monastery
- Travel deep into the desert of Wadi Rum to experience life in a Bedouin camp
|Day 1||Welcome to Istanbul!||Istanbul|
|Day 2||Istanbul Full-Day City Tour||Istanbul|
|Day 3||Fly to Cappadocia, Afternoon Tour||Cappadocia|
|Day 4||Fly to Amman, Jordan's Ancient Capital||Amman|
|Day 5||Transfer to Petra via Madaba, Mount Nebo & Karek||Petra|
|Day 6||Explore Petra, Transfer to Wadi Rum||Wadi Rum|
|Day 7||Wadi Rum Jeep Excursion, Transfer to the Dead Sea||The Dead Sea|
|Day 8||Transfer to Amman & Departure|
Day 1: Welcome to Istanbul!
Welcome to Turkey and the vibrant city of Istanbul! Upon arrival at the Istanbul International Airport, you'll be met by your driver and transferred to your hotel.
The rest of the day is free for you to get settled in and do some exploring at your own pace. A perfect way to recover from your flight is to head to one of the city's famous hammams, or Turkish baths. Here you can detox, get a scrub, and sip tea amongst beautiful surroundings. The 16th-century Çemberlitaş is one of the most famous hammams, known for its design by Sinan the Architect, the man responsible for some of Istanbul's most recognizable buildings.
For dinner, expand your palate with local Turkish delicacies such as pide (flatbread), kofte (meatballs), and raki, an anise-flavored apéritif that is the national drink of Turkey.
Day 2: Istanbul Full-Day City Tour
Today you'll discover some of Istanbul's most iconic sights with a full-day city tour. Start at the architectural wonder of Hagia Sophia, built in the 6th century CE under the rule of Emperor Justinian. Continue to the vast Topkapi Palace, once home to the Ottoman sultans and now Turkey's largest museum. Then it's on to the Grand Bazaar to delight your senses with the colorful sights, smells, and tastes of the city's bustling marketplace.
Day 3: Fly to Cappadocia, Afternoon Tour
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Today you'll trade the bustling capital of Istanbul for one of Turkey's most beautiful destinations: Cappadocia. After breakfast, you'll be transferred to the airport to catch an early flight, arriving at Kayseri Erkilet Airport and transferring to your hotel to settle in.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cappadocia's surreal, lunar terrain is comprised of hoodoos, also known as "fairy chimneys." These conical, mushroom, and pinnacle-shaped formations pepper the surrounding valleys, standing tall and strange against the bright Turkish sky. In the afternoon, you'll be picked up for an afternoon tour of some of the region's most breathtaking sights, starting with the Devrent and Paşabağ Valleys, where you can see the famous fairy chimneys, cave dwellings, and rare and wondrous rock formations.
Explore the cobblestoned streets of the town of Avanos, which is known for its production of earthenware pottery, then continue to the Göreme Open-Air Museum to discover the ruins of monasteries, churches, and houses carved into the rock. After a stop at the beautiful town of Uçhisar and its ancient, carved defensive fortress, you'll return to your hotel and spend the rest of the evening at your leisure—making sure to catch one of the region's spectacular sunsets.
Day 4: Fly to Amman, Jordan's Ancient Capital
Say your goodbyes to Turkey this morning as you transfer to the airport to catch a flight to Jordan. Upon arrival at the Queen Alia International Airport, you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel in the capital of Amman. The nation's largest city, Amman has been inhabited since the Bronze Age and is full of cultural and historic highlights.
Depending on your arrival time, feel free to explore Amman at your own pace. In the evening, head to dinner at a local restaurant to sample Jordanian specialties like mansaf (rice topped with lamb and pine nuts), Arabic sweets, and mint tea.
Day 5: Transfer to Petra via Madaba, Mount Nebo & Karek
After breakfast at your hotel, you'll check out and meet your driver for today's journey south. Along the way, stop in Madaba to check out its intricate Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, including the spectacular Madaba Map, the oldest preserved mosaic map of the Holy Land. Nearby, the Madaba Archaeological Park preserves the mosaic-rich Church of the Virgin Mary and artifacts from the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic eras.
Continue to Mount Nebo, an elevated ridge of the Abarim range said to be where Moses took in the view of the Promised Land. Follow in his footsteps and look out at the Dead Sea and beyond, before eventually making your way to the Memorial Church of Moses, a modern structure that now houses excavated relics from the region.
Carry on south along the King's Highway to Kerak to visit the impressive Crusader castle of the same name. Exploring the fortress-like structure provides an opportunity to experience the vaulted halls and passageways typical of the era, a remarkable insight into the architectural and military prowess of the Crusaders. When you're ready, continue to Petra where you'll check in to your hotel for the night.
Day 6: Explore Petra, Transfer to Wadi Rum
Today you'll explore 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, and spend your day wandering at your leisure through Petra's seemingly endless temples, tombs, and colonnaded streets. Navigate the impressive water conduit system of the historic Nabataean city, paying a visit to Qasr al-Bint, a grand temple that was once the population's primary place of worship. After a two-hour guided tour, you'll have free time to explore the canyons and temples at your own pace.
If you're feeling adventurous, climb your way up the 800 steps to the Monastery, Petra's largest and lesser-visited monument. For a stunning view overlooking the Treasury and jagged mountains beyond, hike your way up the steep stone-carved staircase to the top of Jabal al-Khubtha.
After getting your fill of Petra, your driver will take you south into the wilderness of the Wadi Rum, an expanse of desert dubbed the "Valley of the Moon" by Lawrence of Arabia. Along the two-hour drive, you'll pass through red valleys, rock canyons, and dunes to reach a Bedouin-style camp, where you'll enjoy a traditional meal and spend the night sleeping under the stars.
Day 7: Wadi Rum Jeep Excursion, Transfer to the Dead Sea
Early risers can start this morning with a breathtaking hot air balloon ride over the desert. After breakfast, you'll set out in a sturdy Jeep for an off-road excursion that takes you deeper into the UNESCO-protected Wadi Rum. 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 and scramble and explore at your own pace. Along the way, you'll visit desert oases, see 2,000-year-old Kufic rock art, and learn about the history of the area and the local Bedouin culture.
Other activities like camel and horse rides, hiking trips, and ATV excursions are also available.
In the afternoon, your driver will pick you up for the 4.5-hour drive north to reach the shores of the Dead Sea, one of the most spectacular natural and spiritual landscapes in the world. This landlocked lake is the lowest point on earth and the world's richest source of natural salts, hiding wonderful treasures that accumulated throughout thousands of years.
After a scenic drive through a landscape of otherworldly, arid hills, you'll reach your hotel, where you can spend your final day in Jordan at your leisure—floating in the salty waters, enjoying a full-body mud treatment, or relaxing in the sun.
Day 8: Transfer to Amman & Departure
Savor your last morning in Jordan with one more dip in the Dead Sea. When the time comes, your driver will be waiting to transfer you to the Queen Alia International Airport for your departing flight. Safe travels!
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