(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.
Begin in Egypt. Artisans of Leisure travelers are escorted throughout Egypt by one of the country’s top private Egyptologist guides (including on the luxury Nile River cruise) and have their own private drivers in each location. Your insider Cairo touring starts 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, 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.
Fly to Amman, Jordan, the modern capital of Jordan. During private 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. 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. Also explore Amman’s best shops selling high-quality Jordanian crafts.
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. Perhaps also see Shobak Castle, another Crusader fort in the countryside.
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.
Next, take an excursion 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.
En route to the Dead Sea, stop to take 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 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 the border into Israel. VIP services will be arranged for your border crossing. Spend the next three nights in Jerusalem, where your expert private guide will bring the city and its incredible, multi-layered history to life. One of the world's most historic cities—the entire Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site—Jerusalem is a fascinating mix of cultures and religions. Visit different 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 homes. 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 upon the old city ramparts. Also tour the Mahane Yehuda Market, which is a great place to sample local culinary specialties such as burekas (flaky filled pastries), chocolate rugelach and halvah while shopping for pantry staples such as tahini, za'atar, dried fruits and nuts. During leisure time, enjoy your hotel's extensive resort facilities and beautiful, park-like grounds.
If desired, we can arrange many special interest activities around Jerusalem, such as taking a private market tour and cooking class with a renowned food expert, touring the ancient City of David, touring the excavation tunnels under the Western Wall, joining an archaeological dig, walking through the city's ancient underground water tunnels, planting a tree, specialized shopping, or visiting the village of Ein Kerem to experience its local food, wine, art and religious sites.
End 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 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.