Go off the beaten path on this 10-day itinerary covering Israel and Jordan's Holy Land. Explore the eclectic artist's colony of Old Jaffa in Tel Aviv, discover the remains of an ancient Roman stronghold in Umm Qais, and stay the night at the Feynan Ecolodge in the remote mountains of the Dana Biosphere Reserve. You'll also experience popular attractions of the region, including the Dead Sea, both "Little Petra" and Petra, and Wadi Rum.

Highlights

  • Tour the ancient biblical city of Nazareth
  • Discover Petra, a city lost for centuries to the outside world
  • Enjoy a candlelit dinner at Feynan Ecolodge in the Dana Biosphere Reserve
  • Watch the sunrise over the red desert of Wadi Rum
  • Traipse through 4,000 years of history in Jerusalem's Old City

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Tel Aviv Tel Aviv
Day 2 Explore Old Jaffa; Drive to Caesarea, Haifa & Nazareth Nazareth
Day 3 Explore Nazareth & Galilee; Border cross to Jordan; Drive to Umm Qais Umm Qais
Day 4 Visit Ajloun & Jerash; Drive to Amman Amman
Day 5 Explore Amman Tour; Visit Madaba & Mount Nebo; Drive to Feynan Feynan Ecolodge
Day 6 Feynan Ecolodge; Drive to Little Petra Little Petra
Day 7 Explore Petra; Camp in Wadi Rum Wadi Rum
Day 8 Wadi Rum Sunrise Jeep tour; Drive to the Dead Sea Dead Sea
Day 9 Border cross into Israel; Visit Jericho, Qumran & Masada; Drive to Jerusalem Jerusalem
Day 10 Jerusalem Old City tour; Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Tel Aviv

Israel - Tel Aviv - Public Beach
Relax on one of Tel Aviv's beaches

Welcome to Israel! Meet your tour guide at the Ben Gurion Airport and transfer directly to your hotel in the heart of Tel Aviv to get settled and rest up for the week of travel ahead. 

Day 2: Explore Old Jaffa - Drive to Caesarea, Haifa & Nazareth

Wander the stone streets of Old Jaffa

Begin your tour of the Holy Land with a drive to the center of Tel Aviv, stopping at Rabin Square, the part of the city designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site due to its Bauhaus and Art Deco buildings. Visit Carmel Market and Old Jaffa, a port town several thousand years old and now an eclectic artist’s colony. 

Then on to Caesarea, the ancient capital of the Roman province, where you will have a chance to wander amid the impressive archaeological remains of the Roman and Byzantine city that once dominated the region. It was from Caesarea that Paul set sail for Rome, an event considered the catalyst for bringing Christianity to the Western World. Continue up the coast to Haifa, a city with a long history dating back to biblical times, and spend some time strolling through the fantastic Baha’i Gardens. From Haifa, you'll venture southeast to Nazareth, where you'll check into your hotel.

Day 3: Explore Nazareth & Galilee - Border cross to Jordan - Drive to Umm Qais

Umm Qais, Jordan
Admire views of the Sea of Galilee from the ruins of Umm Qais

Wake up this morning in Jesus Christ's boyhood village, now a bustling city. Begin today's sightseeing with a visit to the Church of the Annunciation for a glimpse of its international décor. From here, you'll make a brief stop to check out the Mount of Beatitudes (where Jesus' Sermon on the Mount is thought to have taken place) before carrying on to the small fishing village of Capernaum on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee. Discover the ancient synagogues (one built on top of the other) as well as the supposed home of St. Peter, one of Jesus' Twelve Apostles.

You will then head south to Tabgha to visit the Church of the Multiplication—believed to be the site where Christ fed five thousand people with only five loaves of bread and two fish. Find your way to the Church of the Primacy, the location that marks the supposed spot where Jesus reinstated Peter as his chief Apostle. 

After a full morning of touring, you'll then cross into Jordan at the Sheikh Hussein Bridge and continue working your way to Umm Qais in the country's northwest. Explore the sprawling Greek and Roman ruins, pausing to admire the beauty of the Jordan Valley and the Sea of Galilee in the distance. Check into your nearby hotel in the heart of Umm Qais and settle in, and if you're up for it, why not head back to the ruins to take in the sunset.

Day 4:  Visit Ajloun & Jerash - Drive to Amman

Old Amman, Jordan
Roam the winding streets of Amman's old core

After a delicious, locally sourced breakfast at your accommodation, continue your journey and head south to the town of Ajloun, in the highlands. Here you will discover the 12th-century Ajloun Castle, a fortress built to ward off the Crusader armies at the vital trade and pilgrimage intersection between Jerusalem, Cairo, Damascus, and Mecca. 

After touring the castle, proceed 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 (or "cardo maximus" as it is known in Latin), as well as the oval forum, and Hippodrome (stadium for chariot races). When you're ready, make your way to Jordan's capital, Amman, and to your hotel.

Day 5: Explore Amman - Visit Madaba & Mount Nebo - Drive to Feynan

Feynan Ecolodge, Jordan
Experience all that the Feynan Ecolodge has to offer

Today you will join a city tour of old Amman where you will explore the Amman Citadel (Jabal al Qal'a) and the 2nd-century Roman Theater, two of the most famous archaeological sites in the city. Next, stroll amid colorful wares and aromatic spices in the old souks (markets), stopping at a local restaurant to lunch on authentic falafel and hummus.  

Afterward, you'll depart for Mabdaba to discover its intricate Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, including the large Madaba Map, the oldest preserved mosaic map of the Holy Land. From here, you'll continue your journey to Mount Nebo. According to the Old Testament, this is the lofty peak where Moses took in the view of the Promised Land and is now considered one of the holiest places in Biblical tradition. 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 until you reach Feynan Ecolodge, touted by National Geographic as one of the best eco-lodges in the world. Depending on when you arrive, enjoy the facilities of the lodge set amid a stunning rocky setting in the Dana Biosphere Reserve. Experience the magic of a night without electricity, like a mouthwatering vegetarian dinner served by candlelight. Enjoy an evening marveling at the desert sky: a blanket of twinkling stars.

Day 6: Feynan Ecolodge - Drive to Little Petra

Little Petra, Jordan
Discover Little Petra's Triclinium

After breakfast, participate in any number of the ecolodge's group activities, such as hiking, biking, or taking a cooking class. In the early afternoon, you'll transfer to Siq al-Barid, or more commonly known as Little Petra, an archaeological site just north of Petra, and like Petra, an ancient Nabataean city with buildings carved into the sandstone walls of a canyon. Enjoy another star-full evening, as you relax in the glow of lanterns under the night sky.

Depending on the day of the week and timing, there is the opportunity to enjoy Petra by Night, a tour of the Siq and the Treasury by candlelight.

Day 7: Explore Petra - Camp in Wadi Rum

Marvel at the 2000-year old craftsmanship of Petra's Treasury

This morning you'll head the 10 minutes south to Petra. Spend the day experiencing this ancient Nabataean city. Walk through the Siq, the three-quarter-mile narrow gorge (1.2 km) that opens up to the magnificent Treasury, the entrance guarding the old city. Then explore the Street of Facades, a row of monumental Nabataean tombs, as you work your way to the steps that lead you to the High Place of Sacrifice. Take in the view of Wadi Musa below and if you have the energy, why not climb up the additional 800 steps to Petra's largest monument, the Monastery.

After a full day of exploration, you'll continue your journey to the vast red desert of Wadi Rum and your Bedouin-style camp.

Day 8: Wadi Rum Sunrise Jeep tour - Drive to the Dead Sea

Sunrise over Wadi Rum, Jordan
Enjoy a Jeep excursion of Wadi Rum

Rise early today to experience an exciting two-hour Jeep excursion as the rising sun lights up the desert. Head back to camp for a hearty breakfast, before packing up and driving north to the Dead Sea via the Fifa Road, a dramatic mountain pass offering great views as you descend into the Jordan Valley. After checking into your hotel along the famous Dead Sea, you'll have your chance to float in its mineral-rich and highly buoyant waters. Be sure to catch another desert sunset, this time over the hills above Jericho that lead to Jerusalem.

Day 9: Border cross into Israel - Visit Jericho, Qumran & Masada - Drive to Jerusalem

Take in panoramic vistas over the Judean Desert and the Red Sea from Masada

Meet your driver first thing in the morning for your private transfer to the Allenby Crossing and continue directly to Jericho, the oldest continually inhabited city in the world. Next, you'll stop in Qumran National Park where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in a collection of 11 caves. Continue south along the Dead Sea to visit the stronghold of Masada, a grand fortress built by King Herod around 30 BCE. Ride the cable car up to the top for sweeping views over the Dead Sea and the Judean Desert. Afterward, head north to your accommodation in Jerusalem.

Day 10: Jerusalem Old City tour - Depart

Walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ in the heart of Jerusalem

On your last morning in the Holy Land, you'll spend a few hours discovering some of its main attractions. Enter the Old City through the Dung Gate and make your sightseeing rounds, hitting up the Wailing (or Western) Wall, Haram Al-Sharif, and the Dome of the Rock, to name a few. Walk along the Via Dolorosa, observing the Stations of the Cross and ending up at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Christ is said to have been crucified and buried.

Exit the Old City through the bazaars near the Jaffa Gate (and pick up any last minute souvenirs). Observe the landmarks of Western Jerusalem from your vehicle on the short ride back to your hotel where you'll have time to pack up your things and check out before proceeding to make your way to the Ben Gurion Airport for your return journey home.

Map

Map of Holy Land Off the Beaten Path: Israel & Jordan - 10 Days
Map of Holy Land Off the Beaten Path: Israel & Jordan - 10 Days