• petra

Classic Israel & Jordan

An exhilarating classic trip to Israel & Jordan in which you will experience all of the main historical and cultural sites in twelve nights, and also have a good basis to contrast these two Middle Eastern countries, each with so much to offer. In Israel you will experience Jerusalem, the Judean Desert, the North and Tel Aviv. In Jordan you will take in Petra and Wadi Rum, Amman and Jerash.

Indicative price guide

From $6,999 per person

(Based on 2 adults sharing a room) for mid-range and boutique hotels, and $ 7,999 per person for 5 star accommodation

Itinerary

This sample itinerary can be tailored to you and your family’s precise requirements and interests. That is what the Israel specialists at Pomegranate Travel excel at!

An exhilarating classic trip to Israel & Jordan in which you will experience all of the main historical and cultural sites in twelve nights, and also have a good basis to contrast these two Middle Eastern countries, each with so much to offer.  In Israel you will experience Jerusalem, the Judean Desert, the North and Tel Aviv.  In Jordan you will take in Petra and Wadi Rum, Amman and Jerash.

map of Classic Israel Tour

Day 1

Arrival and private transfer to your hotel in Jerusalem

Jerusalem

Ben Gurion International Airport

Ben Gurion International Airport

We hope you had a good flight. Arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport where you will be met by our representative. You will be driven to Jerusalem in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle with plenty of room for luggage.  Please also inquire about our airport VIP service for the most luxurious start to your vacation!

“The view of Jerusalem is the history of the world; it is more, it is the history of earth and of heaven”

Day 2

Explore the Old City of Jerusalem

Old City of Jerusalem

This morning you will meet your guide in the lobby of your hotel. Following introductions your private tour will begin!

A full tour of the Old City of Jerusalem will introduce you to this place of intense sanctity to Jews, Christians and Muslims, where holy sites tumble over each other. Your expert guide will unpeel layers of history and provide an overview of what Jerusalem means to the three monotheistic religions.

Jerusalem Kotel and Dome of the Rock

Jerusalem Kotel and Dome of the Rock

Amongst other sites, you will visit the sites most holy to these three faiths, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Kotel (Western Wall of the Second Temple), and you will view the Dome of the Rock. During your tour today your guide will focus not only on the three monotheistic religions but also on Roman history in Jerusalem, for example focusing on the Cardo and the remains of Herod’s Temple.

Day 3

Explore the New City of Jerusalem including Yad Vashem, the Israel Museum and a chef led market tour

New City of Jerusalem

As stunning as the Old City of Jerusalem is, no visit to Jerusalem is complete without also delving into the treasures of the New City. Highlights include a visit to Yad Vashem, the Mahane Yehuda Market and the Israel Museum.

Yad Vashem, Israel’s monument to the Holocaust, is weighty and important, and well deserving of a visit. Most visitors find this an extremely emotional experience, and particularly meaningful in the context of the history of the State of Israel.

Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem

It is uplifting to visit Yad Vashem and then continue to Mahane Yehuda market, where you will find yourself surrounded by the colourful hustle and bustle of life which continues after tragedy. The market offers a plethora of sights, smells and tastes – yum!

Finally the internationally acclaimed Israel Museum is not to be missed.  Home to the Dead Sea Scrolls (the Shrine of the Book), and the celebrated model of Second Temple Jerusalem, the Israel museum also offers an extremely impressive standing collection of archaeology and art, including contemporary art.

Day 4

Highlights of the Judean Desert: Masada, Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea

Masada National Park, Ein Gedi National Park, Dead Sea

This morning your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel. Arguably Israel’s most dramatic site, Masada’s mountain top ruins, set against the extraordinary backdrop of the Judean desert, are but a stage for the retelling of an heroic and ancient tale, now engrained in national mythology. With your expert guide as storyteller, you will hear about the lives of the final Jewish resisters to Roman rule, relive their struggle against the mighty Roman army, and wonder at their heroic end. Masada is a totally unique site, well deserving of its UNESCO world heritage status.

Masada

Cool off from the desert heat at Ein Gedi, this glorious, green oasis in the middle of the Judean desert, significant as David’s hiding place from King Saul. Natural spring water cascades over a series of ledges in the desert rock, creating waterfalls and fresh water pools, perfect for hiking and swimming through. The springs give life to palm trees, bulrushes, and tropical and Mediterranean plant life, which together produce the sweetest of scents. Watch out for the hyraxes, ibexes, and many native bird species as your guide leads you along the family-friendly Nahale Davide trail.

Ein Gedi

Ein Gedi

The waters of the Dead Sea shimmer like nowhere else on earth. Best of all, here you really will float! Full of good-for-
you minerals and surrounded by air which is naturally rich in oxygen, the Dead Sea should leave you feeling full of energy. Please take flip flops along for the Dead Sea, and avoid taking your best bathing suits as the minerals in the water may damage the material.

Day 5

Travel North via Zippori, the Sea of Galilee, and enjoy a fascinating kibbutz tour

Zippori, the Sea of Galilee

This morning check out of your hotel in Jerusalem and drive North with your expert guide, viewing the following places before checking into your hotel in the North.

Your guide will take you to an incredibly beautiful site – Zippori, described by Josephus as “the ornament of the Galilee”. Zippori was the Galilee’s major centre of commerce from the time of the reign of Herod, through the birth of Jesus, and it is probable that Jesus would have worked in Zippori as a craftsman. In Jewish terms, Zippori is hugely important as the place where the Mishna was redacted by Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi in 220 CE, and modern Judaism was therefore given shape. Evidence of the city’s former glory and sophistication is today seen in the stunning mosaic floors which remain. Of major interest are the ‘Mona Lisa of the Galilee’ (pictured below), the Nile Mosaic, and the floor of the 6th century synagogue. Zippori’s remains also include a Crusader fortress and Roman theatre which once seated 4500 people. In Christian heritage the site has significance as the town of origin of the Virgin Mary and her parents.

Zippori

Zippori

Next for a one hour tour of Kibbutz Degania Beth. The tour will provide you with real insight into the history and present day reality of kibbutz life. You will learn about the theoretical foundations for the kibbutz, both socialist and Zionist, about the important role which the kibbutzim played in the history and defence of the young state of Israel and about the current day challenges they face. You will also visit the kibbutz archive which is found in the home of Eshkol Levi, the former prime minister of Israel. The archives contain fascinating material relating to the early days of the pioneer movement generally and Degania Beth specifically.

Sea of Galilee

Sea of Galilee

Lastly, you will tour the Sea of Galilee area. Ancient Jewish communities thrived around the Sea of Galilee, as testified by several remains of early synagogues, examples including those at Capernaum, (and also Chorazin, and Hammat Tiberias which are viewed on longer tours). It was amongst these communities that Jesus chose to live and preach, and the area is therefore also replete with important Christian sites. Your expert guide will lead you to key sites including the Mount of the Beatitudes (where tradition holds that Jesus delivered the famous Sermon on the Mount); Capernaum, interesting for both the early octagonal church built around the house of Peter, and for the later and ornate 5th century synagogue; and the “Jesus Boat”, a boat dating back to the time of Jesus, found and now exhibited at Kibbutz Ginosar. We love the boat for the air of mystery which hangs over it –together with your guide you will be able to discuss who the men (or women?) were who sailed the boat 2000 years ago. Was it a fishing boat used by disciples of Jesus? Or a military boat used by Jewish resisters against the Romans? Thinking about who owned the boat, and what it was used for, helps us to consider the various different communities living around the Sea of Galilee at this crucial time in history.

 

 

Day 6

Explore the Golan Heights including an off-road jeep ride

Banias, Golan Heights

The Banias Spring emerges at the foot of Mount Hermon and flows powerfully through a canyon for 3.5 km, eventually leading to the impressive cascade of the Banias Waterfall. Access to the Waterfall is via an easy and pleasant family friendly path, refreshing to walk through on a hot day. The Banias combines history with nature and boasts the wonderful archaeological remains of Caesarea Philippi, the city built by Herod’s son Philip. The site also contains Crusader ruins and the remains of a far older pagan temple dedicated to the god Pan. For Christians, the Banias holds particular significance as the place where Peter recognised Jesus, and Jesus named Peter the “rock” on which his church would be built.

Banias

Banias

High up in the Golan, on the ridge of Mount Hermon, lies Nimrod Castle, an abandoned Crusader period castle. Here you will be presented with a fantasy landscape. The castle is huge, and beckons to be explored. As your guide will explain, although Crusader in period and style, the castle was built by by Al-Maliq al-‘Aziz ‘Othman in 1228 in order to block the passage of Friedrich II who threatened to march from Acre to Damascus flying the Crusader banner. It was extended and aggrandised by the Mamluk Sultan Beibars, whose insignia remains on a huge stone tablet. This is a massively exciting site which sparks the imagination of all who visit it.

For lunch today, we suggest trying something special – a choice between a visit to a local winery where you will have the chance to hear the history of wine in Israel from biblical times to modern day awards, and sample several sips together with local cheeses and more.  Alternatively you might enjoy a home hospitality visit with the local Druze community – an excellent opportunity to learn about this secretive religion which separated from Islam about 1000 years ago, and is only found in the Levant region.

Golan Heights Jeep Tour

This two hour jeep ride is a fascinating and intense ‘off the beaten track’ experience. Your expert guide will drive you through a working agricultural kibbutz, explaining about the pace and style of life in this region of Israel. You will also explore the history and current day reality of kibbutz life from the historic ‘childrens’ house’ system to today’s need to diversity and modernise.

You may then drive off road into the demilitarised zone and along the Syrian border (security conditions allowing), viewing hidden Israeli army bunkers and positions. Your expert guide will provide background on Israel’s historical and current relations with her northern neighbours, together with an in-depth analysis of today’s complex situation in Syria and what it means for Israel.

 

Day 7

Tour Beth Shean, cross into Jordan & see Jerash

Jordan

This morning you will check out of your hotel in Israel and head to Beth Sh’ean – one of the most impressive Roman sites in Israel.The theatre and bath houses are particularly worthy of note, in addition to the huge columns and capitals found all over the site.  The Jewish sages used to say, “If the Garden of Eden is in the land of Israel, then its gate is Beth Shean”, and the desirability and fertility of the land is confirmed not only by the Roman city, but by the 18 layers of civilisation uncovered here, witness to ancient Egyptian, Caananite and Israelite history, and more. Beth She’an holds particular significance for Jews and Christians as the Bible tells us that King Saul’s body was hanged on the walls of Beth She’an after he was defeated at Mount Gilboa by the Philistines. In the New Testament Beth She’an is referred to as Decapolis, a place from which people journey to come and hear Jesus preach.

Beth She’an

Close to Beth She’an lies the King Hussein border crossing with Jordan which you will cross with assistance from our VIP border crossing team.  You will be greeted in Jordan by your Jordanian driver and guide, and in order to get acclimatised you will start with an excellent Jordanian lunch at a traditionnal restaurant.  Once satisfied, you will head to the stunning ruins of Jerash.  Second only to Petra in tourist appeal, the ancient city of Jerash is remarkable for its long chain of human occupation. Here at a well-watered site in the hills of Gilead, remains from Neolithic times have been found as well as Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Umayyad and others. Jerash’s golden age however, arrived with Roman rule. Jerash was a member of the Decapolis, a dynamic commercial league of ten Greco-Roman Cities. Today it is acknowledged as one of the best-preserved province cities of the Roman Empire. When Emperor Hadrian visited Jerash in 129 AD it was already thriving. To honor its guest, the city raised a triumphal arch. Today you can walk beneath the imposing south gate and then make your way up the ‘Street of Columns’ – the Roman road running 600 meters north from the Oval Plaza. As you step over the tracks of chariot wheels, still visible in the paving stones, you are invited to imagine prosperous citizens window-shopping beneath a covered sidewalk, and as you visit the theatres you can imagine the throngs of crowds enjoying dramas unfolding before them.  Jerash is a large site, so come prepared to not only learn, but also walk!

 

Day 8

Explore Amman, Madaba & Mount Nebo

Jordan

This morning your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel and you will start your day of exploration which will end at Petra. Amman, the capital of Jordan, is a city of contrasts, offering both ancient ruins and thriving modern life.  The city was built in an ideal location, situated on the hilly area between the desert and the fertile Jordan Valley.  Begin your tour by stepping back in time with a visit to The Citadel – a reminder that Amman has been inhabited for thousands of years, and was once a major Roman city.  Although not as impressive as the Colosseum in Rome or the Acropolis of Athens, the Citadel does impose on the modern city’s landscape, and provides a constant reminder of the rise and fall of civilisations.  The Citadel is home to a small but extremely interesting museum which is well worth a visit, before exploring the modern aspects of the city and understanding a little about how modern Jordanian’s live, shop, eat, work and pray in this large, modern city.

South of Amman you will find Madaba, affecionately called the “City of Mosaics” by those who know it – the sheer quantity as well as the quality of the mosaics has ensured Madabe its place on the visitors’ map.  Madaba is in fact a 4000 year old archaeological site, and takes in monuments such as St. George’s Church which is home to the famous ancient mosaic map of the Holy Land.  You will view the detailed map of sixth century Jerusalem, Madaba’s main attraction, and time allowing you will also visit the Church of the Apostles with its beautiful mosaic depicting the sea and her creatures.

According to tradition, Mount Nebo is the mountain from which the prophet Moses looked  over into the Promised Land, and understood that he would not be permitted to enter it.  Indeed, when the weather is kind, views are extraordinary and you can see Jerusalem which is about 60 kilometers away.  Today Mount Nebo is a memorial site, and the Church of Moses was build by early Christians in honour of the site and its history, and indeed the site has attracted pilgrims since the earliest days of Christianity.

Day 9

Petra and Wadi Rum

Petra and Wadi Rum

Today you are in for a treat with your visit to Petra – perhaps one of the most stunning and impressive ancient sites which one can visit anywhere in the world today.   Just a few moments walk from your hotel, on arrival at the visitor center your guide will escort you into the rose coloured city of Petra through the narrow, winding and evocative Siq and reveal the highlights of the Nabatean city, including the stunning Treasury.  Other sites include the theatre, the tombs and facades and the colonnaded street.  On a day tour you will usually not visit the monastery due to its distance from the other sites, but please let us know if this aspect is important to you ahead of time.  Full historical background will be provided regarding the city, the particular sites in front of you, and the Nabatean civilisation more generally. Please bring excellent walking shoes with you as Petra is a large site and a visit to Petra involves a considerable amount of walking.

Following your tour of Petra, you will head into the wilderness of Wadi Rum which offers extraordinary desert landscapes.  One can well understand how T.E. Lawrence was inspired by the seemingly endless rolling colours and shapes of sand and rocks which surrounded him, and in which the famous film Lawrence of Arabia was later filmed.  Upon arriving at Wadi Rum you will visit the visitors centre, and then enjoy a jeep tour inside the beautiful desert with a local bedouin guide.  Bedouin camps are evident in the Wadi, which is still home to a number of Bedouin families, and you will have the opportunity to learn about this way of life, so different from ours.

Day 10

Return to Israel

Tel Aviv

This morning you will transfer to the Arava border which you will cross with assistance from our team, before being transferred to Ramon airport for your flight to Tel Aviv.  Upon arrival transfer to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure in Tel Aviv – we recommend taking a stroll by the beach, or people watching at one of the many excellent cafes, or visiting one of Tel Aviv’s wonderfully colourful markets.  We are happy to provide you with further ideas, and to book you a table at a fabulous restaurant this evening.

Day 11

Tour the remarkable twin city of Tel Aviv & Jaffa

Tel Aviv & Jaffa

Ancient Jaffa and modern Tel Aviv are wonderful to tour together because of their contrasts. In Jaffa you will explore one of the most ancient ports in the world, replete with history from Biblical, ancient Egyptian, Roman, Napoleonic eras and more. Visiting Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv’s prettiest and oldest neighbourhood, you will hear the story of the city’s beginnings – how the first modern Hebrew city was moulded out of the barren sand dunes in an out-pouring of ideological vision and determination. You will make your way through the colourful and bustling Carmel Market, full of additional tasty treats! The very great variety of foods reflects the fact that Israel is an immigrant society with citizens who have come here from the four corners of the earth (please note the market is closed Friday afternoons and Saturdays).

Tel aviv

Continuing into more central Tel Aviv you will visit Rothschild Boulevard and Independence Hall (from the outside) where David Ben Gurion famously declared the independence of the modern State of Israel. You will note the various architectural styles of the buildings from eclectic to Bauhaus, and hear stories about the waves of immigration who designed and created these remarkable buildings. The Bauhaus buildings are internationally significant and Tel Aviv’s UNESCO world heritage status is thanks to them.

 

Day 12

Discover Caesarea and Acre

Caesarea and Acre

This morning your guide will again meet you in the lobby of your hotel for a day tour of the ancient cities along the Mediteranean coast:

Caesarea was King Herod the Great’s imposing port town, where Rome was honoured with temples, gladiators fought each other to the last, and games were played in celebration of the King and the empire. Later, Caesarea became a thriving Byzantine town, and then a Crusader conquest, each civilisation leaving its archaeological gems. For Christians Caesarea is of significance because of the stone tablet found near the amphitheater which is inscribed with the name Pontius Pilate, and dedicated to Tiberius Caesar who nominated him as procurator. Caesarea is also the place where the Apostle Paul was sent to stand trial, and as a Roman citizen demanded judgment in front of the Emperor. Your expert guide will tell the tales of this once centrally important place, while you enjoy the fresh sea air.

The Old City of Acre (Akko in Hebrew) is well deserving of its UNESCO world heritage site status. Acre boasts stunning Crusader remains which are so complete you’ll feel transported in time. As your guide recounts Crusader tales, you will marvel at the halls of the Knights Hospitalier, and “escape to the sea” through underground runaway tunnels.

Time allowing, together with your guide you might also explore some of Acre’s more varied treasures – the exotic thriving Arab market, the second most holy mosque in Israel (home to a hair from the beard of Mohammed), and the newly renovated Underground Prisoners Museum which commemorates Jewish resistance fighters imprisoned, and sometimes executed, by the British during the Mandate period.

Acre

Acre

Day 13

Day at leisure, and then transfer to airport

Tel Aviv

Today is your final day in Israel. Check out of your hotel, and enjoy your remaining time in this extraordinary country, before your flight home. You will be transferred from your hotel in Tel Aviv to Ben Gurion Airport in good time for your flight, in a comfortable air conditioned vehicle.

We hope that you will be leaving Israel with many special memories and that you will come back to visit us again

Stay longer

This itinerary can be extended with extra nights in Tel Aviv or the Negev Desert

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