(18 Days - Departs Daily on a Private Basis)
Cairo & the Pyramids, Abu Simbel, luxury Nile River cruise, Amman, Petra & Wadi Rum, Dead Sea, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv
This comprehensive tour is the ultimate luxury journey through Egypt, Israel and Jordan. Each day, touring is with your own private guide and accommodation is at the best hotels in each location.
First, experience Cairo, Egypt as an insider—our tours offer the most in-depth, sophisticated touring available. Begin with a visit to the Egyptian Museum. Then, take a private excursion to the Pyramids of Giza, a world-renowned and UNESCO-listed burial complex that includes pyramids, tombs, temples, the Solar Boat and the Great Sphinx. If desired, enjoy a camel ride by the Pyramids. Also visit the even older pyramids of Dahshur and Saqqara. One evening, perhaps opt to watch the sound and light show at the Pyramids.
Next, via Aswan, fly to Abu Simbel, two spectacular monumental temples commissioned by Pharaoh Ramses II and carved into sandstone cliffs. Visit at sunrise, the best time to see this unforgettable UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Next, enjoy a four-night luxury Nile River cruise. Tour extraordinary archaeological sites such as the Temple of Philae in Aswan, the Temple of Horus (Edfu) and the Temple of Kom Ombo. Around Luxor, visit Luxor Temple and the Karnak complex, Medinet Habu, the Colossi of Memnon, and the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens, including the tombs of King Tut and Ramses VI. We will also arrange access to the spectacular tombs of Seti I and Queen Nefertari. Upon request, arrangements can be made to tour monuments usually closed to the public or visit museums outside of opening hours. Throughout the cruise, Artisans of Leisure will arrange private shore excursions with your own Egyptologist guide.
Depending on your travel dates, this cruise is also available in reverse, from Luxor to Aswan.
Return to Cairo to continue private touring. Visit the most interesting cultural attractions in the historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, such as the Citadel and the Hanging Church. Tour our favorite neighborhoods, which are filled with beautiful Fatimid, Islamic, Mameluk, Ottoman, Coptic and Art Deco architecture. See well-preserved medieval residences formerly occupied by wealthy merchants. Walk through fascinating markets such as the renowned Khan al-Khalili bazaar. Also visit smaller and lesser-known museums dedicated to Islamic art, applied arts and Egyptian culture. If desired, we can arrange visits to Cairo’s top boutiques and reservations at the best restaurants in town.
Then, fly to Amman, the modern capital of Jordan. During private city touring, see ancient Roman ruins and the impressive 8th-century Umayyad Palace complex atop the Citadel, lively souks and shopping streets, and other cultural and culinary highlights of the city. Also explore Amman’s best shops selling high-quality Jordanian crafts. Alternatively, take a private excursion into the verdant hills of northern Jordan to tour Jerash, one of the best-preserved Roman cities in the Middle East. See highlights such as Hadrian’s Arch, the Oval Plaza, the Hippodrome, the theater and the Cardo, a colonnaded stone street once lined with shops. If desired, Artisans of Leisure can arrange a homemade lunch of traditional Jordanian dishes prepared by local women.
Next, travel along the King’s Highway, a historic route that passes through many fascinating cultural and natural attractions. During private touring en route, visit Mount Nebo and the Memorial Church of Moses to see exquisite Byzantine mosaics and panoramic views stretching down to the Dead Sea. If desired, also visit local mosaic workshops. Next, stop in Madaba to see the fascinating 6th-century mosaic map of the Holy Land, as well as the mosaics in the Madaba Archaeological Park. Enjoy a lunch of traditional Jordanian cuisine at a local restaurant. Also participate in a private cultural activity such as henna painting or writing Arabic calligraphy. Continue through Wadi Mujib, a dramatic desert canyon, and stop at impressive Kerak Castle, a 12th-century Crusader fortress perched on a hill. Other options include seeing Shobak Castle, another Crusader fort in the countryside, or taking in breathtaking views over the hills and canyons of Dana Biosphere Reserve, a diverse landscape that’s home to a wide range of flora and fauna.
Continue to Petra, one of the world's most impressive archaeological sites. The Nabataeans created this ancient city by sculpting monuments and tombs into beautiful red sandstone mountains in the desert. During private touring of this fascinating ancient wonder, see Petra’s most famous ruin—the iconic Treasury—and explore the atmospheric Siq (gorge). Also see impressive Royal Tombs and Roman ruins, and learn about the history, beliefs and architecture of the Nabataeans while exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site. If desired, also venture to other parts of the site such as the Monastery or the High Place of Sacrifice for unforgettable views over Petra. In the evening, perhaps opt for a memorable Petra by Night experience, including the opportunity to see the Siq and Treasury illuminated by hundreds of candles. Also visit Little Petra, another desert canyon with Nabataean ruins. Upon request, Artisans of Leisure can arrange the Back Door to Petra hike.
Next, venture into Jordan's southern desert to explore the spectacular natural environment of Wadi Rum. Also known as the Valley of the Moon, this UNESCO-inscribed landscape is filled with red sand dunes, dramatic stone mountains, rock bridges and petroglyphs. The otherworldly landscapes have been used as filming locations in Lawrence of Arabia, The Martian and other movies. Enjoy private touring of the scenic and cultural highlights of the region before returning to Petra for the night.
Continue to a luxurious resort overlooking the beautiful and mysterious Dead Sea. During your stay, enjoy the resort's lavish facilities, including a private beach that provides direct access to the Dead Sea where you can float in the mineral-rich water famous for its buoyancy and therapeutic qualities. Also enjoy the resort’s spa, swimming pools, restaurants and lush grounds that spread over acres.
Cross into Israel and VIP services will be arranged for your border crossing before being transferred to Jerusalem. Built entirely from white stone, Jerusalem glows and changes from white to pink to rose to gold with the changing of the light. Your expert private guide will bring the beautiful city and its incredible, multi-layered history alive. Of immeasurable religious, historic and archaeological importance, the entire Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the Temple Mount, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Via Dolorosa and the Western Wall, including the excavation tunnels under the Western Wall. Explore the narrow streets, twisting alleyways and airy plazas, ancient synagogues and churches, and bazaars and boutiques of the Old City's Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Armenian quarters. See the Mount of Olives, Mount Zion and walk upon the old city ramparts. Visit Jerusalem's most important museums, such as the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum and the Israel Museum to see the Dead Sea Scrolls. Perhaps also see the Chagall Windows at Hadassah Hospital.
One day, enjoy a tour of the Mahane Yehuda Market with a culinary expert guide. Sample local culinary specialties such as burekas (flaky filled pastries), chocolate rugelach and halvah and shop for regional staples such as tahini, za'atar, dried fruits and nuts. Alternatively, with an expert Palestinian guide, enjoy a private excursion to Bethlehem to tour the Church of the Nativity or to Jericho, considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the world. Perhaps also visit Ein Kerem, a charming village outside Jerusalem regarded as the birthplace of John the Baptist.
If desired, we can arrange many special interest activities around Jerusalem, such as a cooking class with a local chef, touring the ancient City of David, joining an archaeological dig, walking through the city's ancient underground water tunnels, specialized shopping or exclusive meetings with local religious experts, geo-political experts, chefs, artists, fashion designers, winery owners or even former Israeli operatives.
Conclude in Tel Aviv, a vibrant city on the Mediterranean Sea coast. During private touring, experience the best of Israel's largest city: the Neve Tzedek neighborhood, UNESCO-listed Bauhaus architecture, Old Jaffa, the Carmel Market, and museums such as the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Design Museum Holon and Beit Hatfutsot: Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv. If desired, we can also arrange an excursion to the fascinating Ayalon Institute, a kibbutz that hid a secret underground ammunition factory. Additional options in Tel Aviv include specialized shopping, strolling the port district or fashionable HaTachana or visiting the Roman ruins of Caesarea. During free time, perhaps spend time on the beach, hop in the city's markets and leisure districts and enjoy the city's excellent restaurants.