This 14-day itinerary through Egypt and Jordan takes you to places off the beaten path. Explore Siwa, an ancient and isolated urban oasis on the border of the Sahara, hike through the Dana Biosphere Reserve to one the world's best eco-lodges, and stroll through ancient alleyways in the village of Salt. Of course, there'll be plenty of time dedicated to visiting cultural and historical attractions like Cairo and Luxor, the Dead Sea, Petra, and Wadi Rum.

Highlights

  • Marvel at Cairo's Great Pyramids on the Giza Plateau
  • Discover Queen Hatshepsut's sprawling tomb in Luxor
  • Explore the isolated Siwa Oasis settlement in Eastern Egypt
  • Hike through the Dana Biosphere Reserve to the tucked-away Feynan Ecolodge
  • Journey through the dunes and rock formations of Wadi Rum by Camel

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cairo Cairo
Day 2 Explore Great Pyramids & Cairo; Fly to Luxor Luxor
Day 3 Explore Luxor; Fly back to Cairo Cairo
Day 4 Drive to Siwa; Visit El Alamein Siwa
Day 5 Explore Siwa Oasis Siwa
Day 6 Return to Cairo; Lunch in Marsa Matruh Cairo
Day 7 Fly to Amman Amman
Day 8 Drive to Salt; Swim in the Dead Sea Dead Sea
Day 9 Drive to Dana; Visit Crusader castle in Karak Dana
Day 10 Hike Dana Biosphere Reserve to Feynan Ecolodge Feynan
Day 11 Drive to Little Petra Wadi Musa
Day 12 Full day in Petra Wadi Musa
Day 13 Explore Wadi Rum by camel and Jeep Wadi Rum
Day 14 Depart Amman  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cairo 

Egypt - Cairo - View of Cairo and Al Sultan Hassan and Al Rifai Mosques from Cairo Citadel
Explore Egypt's capital and visit Al Sultan Hassan and Al Rifai Mosques

Welcome to the land of the Pharaohs! Meet your tour manager at the Cairo International Airport and transfer to your hotel for check in and to go over your holiday itinerary. 

Day 2: Explore Great Pyramids & Cairo - Fly to Luxor

Egypt - Cairo - Great Pyramids of Giza and train of camels in foreground
Discover the Great Pyramids of Giza

After an early start to your day, join your guide and venture just outside of Eygpt's capital to the Great Pyramids on the Giza Plateau, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Built by the pharaohs Khufu (or Cheops), Khafre (Chephren), and Menkaure (Mycerinus), you'll have the chance to explore the sprawling site, including the famous Sphinx and Valley Temple of Khafre. Next, you'll return to Cairo to visit the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities (Egyptian Museum), where the treasures of the boy king Tutankhamen await you.

Continue to Coptic Cairo to visit one of the oldest churches in Egypt, the Hanging Church and the Ben Ezra Synagogue (believed to be the site where baby Moses was found). From here, you'll make the short drive to Islamic Cairo, where you will be able to explore the famous bazaar district as well as Khan El Khalili, Cairo’s oldest and most alluring souk. In the late afternoon, you will transfer to the Cairo airport for your short flight to Luxor in southern Egypt, where you will check into your hotel.

Day 3: Explore Luxor - Fly back to Cairo

Colossi of Memnon, Luxor, Egypt
Marvel at the size of the Colossi of Memnon in Luxor

After a good night's sleep, you’ll proceed to visit the Valley of the Kings where you'll discover the 63 tombs and chambers of royals and nobles alike from the 16th to 11th century BCE, including the unique tomb of Queen Hatshepsut. Next, you'll carry on to the Colossi of Memnon, two massive stone statues of the Pharaoh Amenhotep before breaking for lunch at a local restaurant. Cross the Nile River for an up-close look at the sprawling ruins of the Karnak Temple Complex and the famed Luxor Temple.

Spend some time wandering the ancient Egyptian ruins until it's time for you to catch your return flight back to Cairo.

Day 4: Drive to Siwa - Visit El Alamein

View over the El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt
Stop to explore the El Alamein War Museum and War Cemetery

This morning you'll meet your driver at your hotel lobby and head west to the town of El Alamein along the Mediterranean's southern coast (3 hours). An important site in WWII history, you'll visit the War Museum and the El Alamein War Cemetery. Continue your journey along the coast before turning south toward Siwa Oasis, breaking up the six-hour drive with a stop for lunch. 

Upon reaching the ancient community of Siwa, one of Egypt's most isolated settlements, you will visit the old Siwan village of Shali, where you'll enjoy a much-deserved dinner after a long day on the road.

Day 5: Explore Siwa Oasis

Tour the urban oasis by donkey cart

After an early breakfast at your hotel, set out to explore Siwa Oasis. First on the agenda is a stop to check out Cleopatra’s Bath, an ancient spring where you'll have the opportunity to take a refreshing dip. Dry off and proceed to wander the Roman-era necropolis, the Mountain of the Dead and the ruins of the oracle temple before stopping for a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant. Next up, you'll ride in a traditional donkey-drawn cart for a leisurely tour of the city.

From there, switch gears and board an off-roading capable vehicle to head out into the Great Sand Sea, an expanse of desert between western Egypt and eastern Libya, for a fun tour of part of the undulating landscape. En the late afternoon, you'll sip traditional Bedouin tea with locals and relax until it's time for dinner.

Day 6: Return to Cairo - Lunch in Marsa Matruh

Egypt - Marsa Matruh - Cleopatra's Beach
Dip your toes in the sea and visit the cave on Cleopatra's Beach

After breakfast, you'll start to make the return trip back to Cairo, stopping along the way at Marsa Matruh on the northern coast of Egypt for lunch (4 hours). Before you continue to Cairo (5 hours), be sure to check out Cleopatra's Beach for unusual rock formations in the Mediterranean.

Day 7: Fly to Amman

Roman Theater in Amman, Jordan
Marvel at the impressive Roman Theatre in old Amman

Meet your driver this morning and transfer to the Cairo airport for your one-hour flight to Amman, Jordan.

After checking into your accommodation, take the rest of the day at your leisure to tour the capital's main attractions in old Amman, including the L-shaped Jabal al Qal'a (Amman Citadel), the 2nd-century Roman Theater, the historic Temple of Hercules, and the great souks (markets), in particular, the Jara souk.

Day 8: Drive to Salt - Swim in the Dead Sea

Dead Sea, Jordan
Float in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea

Today you will venture to the hillside village of Salt (about 50 minutes) where together with your guide, you will tour the city learning of its fascinating past before stopping for lunch with a local family. Afterward, continue south to the Dead Sea and spend the afternoon bobbing in the buoyant mineral-rich waters (1 hour).

Day 9: Drive to Dana - Visit Crusader castle in Karak

View from Dana Village, Jordan
Overnight in the 15th-century stone village of Dana

Rise early for a refreshing morning dip in the Dead Sea before checking out of your hotel and meeting your driver to continue down the ancient trade route, known today as the Kings Highway, to Karak. Home to one of the largest Crusader castles in the Middle East, you'll spend some time wandering the grounds and taking in the panoramic vistas of the Levant (a sizeable geographical area in the Eastern Mediterranean) from atop the fortified walls. Carry on to the stone-village of Dana in the Dana Biosphere Reserve, where you can spend the rest of the day exploring the village and its ruins (2 hours). 

Day 10: Hike Dana Biosphere Reserve to Feynan Ecolodge

Egypt - Feynan Ecolodge - Sunrise over the Feynan Ecolodge in the Dana Biosphere Reserve
Hike through the Dana Biosphere Reserve to the Feynan Ecolodge

Rise early today and together with your guide, hike through part of the nature reserve to the 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 Reserve. If there's interest, participate in any number of their group activities or workshops, like Bedouin tea, yoga, hiking, or painting.

Hiking distance: 8.7 miles (14 km)

Day 11: Drive to Little Petra

Explore the smaller version of Petra just north of the Lost City

Enjoy one last morning (as well as lunch) at the lodge before driving the hour and a half south to Little Petra (also known as Siq al-Barid) in Wadi Musa, for a little preview of bigger things to come tomorrow.

Day 12: Full day in Petra

Monastery, Petra, Jordan
Peer inside Petra's largest monument, the Monastery

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 famous Khazneh (or Treasury), carved into the sandstone cliff. 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, one of the better-preserved altars of its kind. 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, sit down with a local family, and enjoy a traditional meal while gleaning further insight into Jordanian culture and customs.

Day 13: Explore Wadi Rum by camel and Jeep

Drive and ride a camel through Wadi Rum

After breakfast, you'll head into the red desert of Wadi Rum where you'll have the fun opportunity to go on an hour and a half camel ride for a unique way to experience the expansive wadi (a valley or dry riverbed). After lunch, you'll head back out, this time on a four-hour Jeep excursion. Drive through valleys and canyons, stopping at several sites like the Nabataean inscriptions and rock bridges to hike and scramble.

After a full day of exploration, you'll head to your camp in the wadi for a peaceful experience of spending the night in a Bedouin-style tent, sleeping under a blanket of stars after eating a traditional Bedouin meal.

Day 14: Depart Amman

Say farewell to Wadi Rum

Enjoy one last morning in the desert before breaking up camp and making the four hour trip back north to the Amman airport for your flight home.

Map

Map of Off the Beaten Path: Egypt & Jordan - 14 Days
Map of Off the Beaten Path: Egypt & Jordan - 14 Days