This 13 day tour, starts from Amman, Jordan, and ends at Cairo, Egypt. This comprehensive budget tour takes in all the main sights in Jordan and Egypt including Petra, Jerash, the Dead Sea and Wadi Rum in Jordan, the Pyramids & Sphinx, Philae & Karnak temples, the Valley of the Kings.
Welcome to Jordan! Upon arrival our staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel in Amman for the start of your trip. They'll help settle in and introduce you to the local area. The rest of your day is free. If you arrive early in the morning, then a half-day city tour of Amman is available this afternoon.
We start our Jordan tour today with a city tour of Amman. We'll make our way to the Citadel - the former home of the ancient Temple of Hercules, The Umayyad Palace, the Byzantine Church before we make our way to the 6000-seater Roman theatre, which was built during the Roman Period. The ancient theatre is still in use today, playing host to numerous cultural events.
Afterwards, we drive north for a visit of Jerash, one of the largest and best preserved Roman sites outside of Italy. It is a excellent example of Roman architecture including paved and colonnaded streets, hilltop temples, amphitheatres, spacious public squares and plazas, bathhouses, fountains and a city wall pierced by towers and gates.
We depart Amman for a scenic drive along the King's Highway to Petra, crossing deep Wadis, including the majestic Wadi al-Mujib, olive groves, and driving through remote rural villages. En-route we see the Roman mosaics at the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George in Madaba, enjoy great views of Israel from Mt. Nebo, and visit Kerak Castle, one in a chain of Crusader fortresses built across Jordan in the 12th Century.
We enjoy a full day today inside the world famous site of Petra, with a 2-3 hour guided tour of this fascinating city. Carved into the rocks and left undiscovered for centuries Petra has always been an enduring attraction for explorers.
We start by walking through the Siq and one of Petra's most impressive monuments, the Khazneh (Treasury) comes into view. Our guide will explain the elaborate facades carved into the rock from the top down. From the Khazneh the valley opens out and we'll see the ruined Roman amphitheatre, and colonnaded street.
During your free time you can explore for yourselves and walk up a steep and narrow winding gorge past beautifully coloured sandstone cliff walls to the huge and imposing 'Monastery'. The biggest of Petra's carved monuments. Another climb can take you to the High Place of Sacrifice, and Lion Fountain. All in all, this is a full & tiring, but hugely rewarding day touring one of the world's most famous ancient sites.
Later today, we leave Petra and drive into the spectacular desert scenery of Wadi Rum where friendly Bedouin hosts are ready to greet us at a comfortable camp beneath the towering rocks and cliffs. We spend the evening and night relaxing at the camp, watching the stars and enjoying a delicious traditional Jordanian meal.
We start the day exploring the beautiful desert and mountain scenery of Wadi Rum. We'll take a jeep safari through the beautiful desert scenery, seeing more of the sheer cliffs and bizarre rock formations..
We say goodbye to Wadi Rum later today and head north towards the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is fed by numerous rivers, including the River Jordan. Once the waters reach the Dead Sea they are land-locked and have nowhere to go, so they evaporate, leaving behind a dense, rich, cocktail of salts and minerals. Although sparsely populated and serenely quiet now, the area is believed to have been home to five Biblical cities: Sodom, Gomorrah, Adman, Zebouin and Zoar (Bela).
We'll stop along the way to enjoy a 'swim', though the intensely salty waters lead to a very strange swimming experience. In fact, normal swimming is not possible, and it is easier (and more photogenic!) just to float, sitting or lying in the water.
We finish the day back at our hotel in Amman.
We leave Jordan today and transfer you to Amman airport for your flight to Cairo. Once you arrive, we'll meet you at the airport, assist you with obtaining your visa and luggage, and then transfer you to your hotel for the start of your trip. We'll help you check in before giving you some free time to relax or explore Cairo independently.
An optional dinner cruise on the Nile is also available tonight.
After breakfast we head out to Giza on the edge of Cairo to visit the enigmatic Sphinx and the three greatest pyramids in Egypt, the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) along with the smaller pyramids of Khafre (Chephern) and Menkaure (Mycerinus), the inspiring sight of these huge structures looming out of the desert is an unforgettable site.
You'll have the chance to climb down inside one of these pyramids if you wish (and if you're not claustrophobic!).
In the afternoon we then drive south through towns and villages along the banks of the River Nile to Luxor where we check into our hotel.
This is free to relax in your hotel, or perhaps take an optional tour to Luxor Museum, which has a beautifully displayed collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts and includes some very important and impressive specimens. There are also some items from the period after the end of Pharaonic times in Egypt.
We then continue our drive south following the Nile to Aswan where we spend the night in a Nubian village staying in a local guesthouse. The ancient region of Nubia comprised an area around the Nile in parts of present day southern Egypt and northern Sudan. Many descendants of the Nubian people still live around Aswan and during our stay we'll see their colourful houses and enjoying a typical meal this evening.
This morning we have the option of taking an early start for the drive to the UNESCO world heritage site at Abu Simbel. These amazing temples built by Ramses II are one of Egypt's main highlights and attractions.
If you don't visit Abu Simbel you can explore Aswan's markets and Corniche this morning or visit the Nubian Museum which has an excellent collection covering the history of the Nubian people in the region.
This afternoon we'll take a boat trip to visit one of Egypt's most beautifully situated temples which was also reclaimed from the rising waters of Lake Nasser. This is the Temple of Philae, which was dedicated to Isis.
Later we board a traditional Nile felucca and sail a little way out of Aswan before mooring up for the night. Our separate facilities boat with a proper toilet, showers as well as a hygienic kitchen, will join with us from time to time during the day and moor up with us at night. You sleep on the deck of the boat, with mattresses, blankets and mosquito nets provided.
This is a fun but basic experience, and you can upgrade the two nights sleeping on the felucca to an additional two nights in hotels in Aswan if you prefer. In this case you will spend two nights in Aswan and then drive to Luxor, rejoining the group when they arrive after the felucca cruise. All other touring remains the same.
We spend some more time sailing on the Nile this morning, and after lunch with the felucca crew, we bid them a reluctant goodbye and drive north to Luxor.
Luxor is the jewel in Egypt's crown with the largest concentrations of ancient ruins in the Nile Valley, if not the world. These are split across both banks of the Nile, with the City of the Dead on the West Bank with many mortuary temples and tombs cut into the rocky mountains, and with the Temples of Luxor and Karnak and their connecting Avenue of Sphinxes the highlights on the East Bank.
Later this evening there is an optional tour available to Luxor Temple which is right in the middle of town and beautifully lit up at night. You'll can also head into town to explore some of Luxor's popular outdoor cafes, perhaps enjoying a few games of backgammon and trying a shisha pipe with the locals.
This morning we take a tour to the West Bank of the Nile, where we'll visit the Temple of Queen Hatchepsut, explore several tombs in the Valley of the Kings, learn about the workers who made all this happen in Deir El-Medina (the Valley of the Artisans) and stop to see the huge Colossi of Memnon.
Your afternoon is then free to relax in the hotel, or take an optional tour to explore the huge temple complex at Karnak. A spectacular hot air balloon flight over the west bank of the Nile is also available today (expect another early start to catch sunrise as the balloon rises).
We leave Luxor this morning and drive back to Cairo, stopping at the temples of Dendara and Abydos along the way. These temples are much less visited by tourists than the sites in Luxor, but are hugely impressive. Dedicated to the Goddess Hathor, Dendara in particular becomes many people's favourite site, and is incredibly well preserved. Nearby Abydos is another fascinating site, and was the cult center of the god of the dead, Osiris.
The necropolis here was a pilgrimage and burial site and at least ten temples were originally built here. We arrive back into Cairo this evening and check into our hotel in the centre of the city for a final evening together.
Your time is free today for some last minute sightseeing or shopping until we transfer you to the airport for your departure flight.
We recommend an afternoon or evening flight so that you can take an optional tour to visit the incredible Egyptian Museum this morning.
Extra nights in Cairo are also available if you would like to extend your stay.