(16 Days - Departs Daily on a Private Basis)
Jerusalem, Galilee, Amman, Dead Sea, Petra, Wadi Rum, Aqaba & the Red Sea, Tel Aviv
This is the ultimate tour of Israel and Jordan for culture lovers, foodies, history buffs and adventurers. Highlights include private cultural touring in Jerusalem and Amman, a private culinary tour of Machane Yehuda Market, seeing historical sites and beautiful landscapes around Galilee and the Golan Heights, a private tour of Petra and Wadi Rum, floating in the Dead Sea, and diving or snorkeling in the Red Sea.
Enjoy VIP airport assistance upon arrival, and then transfer to Jerusalem, one of the world's most historic cities. Jerusalem is a fascinating mix of cultures and religions, and the entire Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During private touring, your expert private guide will bring the city and its incredible, multi-layered history to life. Visit neighborhoods according to your interests, such as the Jewish Quarter, Christian Quarter, Muslim Quarter and Armenian Quarter. See highlights such as the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Via Dolorosa, ancient synagogues, bazaars, and atmospheric narrow streets lined with galleries and private houses. Visit Jerusalem's most important museums, such as the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum and the Israel Museum. See the Mount of Olives, and walk on the city ramparts. Also take a private tasting tour through bustling Machane Yehuda Market, a great place to sample local culinary specialties such as halvah, chocolate rugelach and burekas (filled pastries), and shop for staples such as tahini, za'atar, nuts and dried fruit. During leisure time, enjoy your hotel's resort facilities.
If desired, Artisans of Leisure can arrange special interest activities around Jerusalem, such as a private cooking class with a renowned food expert, a tour of the ancient City of David or the excavation tunnels under the Western Wall, a meeting with a geo-political expert, an archaeological dig, a walk through the city's ancient underground water tunnels, specialized shopping or a visit to Ein Kerem village to experience its local food, wine, art and religious sites.
Next, transfer to the Galilee region. En route, tour Zippori National Park, an archaeological site of Roman, Jewish, Christian and Crusader ruins, including impressive mosaic floors. Also enjoy private touring around the Sea of Galilee (also known as Lake Tiberias and Lake Kinneret), an area of beautiful landscapes and important historical and biblical sites. Perhaps visit a local kibbutz and the hillside town of Safed, the birthplace of the Kabbalah and a center of Jewish studies, as well as an artists’ colony and vacation spot. Or, see Christian-oriented sites and attractions such as a first-century A.D. fishing boat known as the “Jesus boat,” the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes, the Mount of the Beatitudes and Kfar Nahum Synagogue in Capernaum. Alternatively, take a scenic 4WD excursion, enjoy hiking, or have a meal with a Druze family in their home.
Continue to Amman, the modern capital of Jordan. En route, enjoy 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.
During private touring in Amman, 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.
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.
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.
Continue 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, and spend the night at a luxury Bedouin-style tented camp, where dinner is served under the stars.
Next, visit Aqaba, a port city and popular resort area on the edge of the Red Sea. During private touring, visit local souks and historic sites such as the Aqaba Fort. One day, enjoy a private charter boat cruise on the crystal-clear waters of the Red Sea, including the option for snorkeling or scuba diving over colorful coral reefs and wrecks.
Continue to Tel Aviv and enjoy the arid beauty of the Negev Desert en route. Explore the impressive Ramon Crater, see rock art at Mount Karkom, take a camel ride or desert jeep excursion or visit the ancient Nabbatean city of Avdat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the storied Spice Route.
Conclude in Tel Aviv and 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 Eretz Israel Museum and the Museum of the Jewish Diaspora. If desired, we can also arrange a tour of the fascinating Ayalon Institute, a kibbutz that hid a secret underground ammunition factory. Additional options in Tel Aviv include specialized shopping, visiting the Design Museum Holon, strolling the port district or fashionable HaTachana, spending time on the beach, and enjoying the city's excellent restaurants.