(14 Days - Departs Daily on a Private Basis)
Cairo & the Pyramids, Abu Simbel, luxury Nile River cruise, Amman, Petra & Wadi Rum, Dead Sea
This tour is the perfect introduction to the cultural and archaeological highlights of Egypt and Jordan. Each day, touring is with your own private guide and driver and accommodation is in top rooms at the best hotels in each location.
First, experience Cairo as an insider—our tours offer the most in-depth, sophisticated Cairo touring available. Visit the most interesting cultural attractions in the historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, such as the Citadel, the Egyptian Museum 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 also arrange visits to Cairo’s top boutiques and reservations at the best restaurants in town.
One day, 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 Aswan, considered Egypt’s loveliest city. During private touring with your Egyptologist guide, learn about Nubian life, history and crafts at the excellent Nubian Museum. Also visit highlights such as the stunning Temple of Philae, the High Dam and the Unfinished Obelisk. One day, 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.
Next, fly to Amman, 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.
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.