(16 Days - Departs Daily on a Private Basis)
Jerusalem, Galilee, Amman, Dead Sea, Petra, Wadi Rum, Aqaba or Eilat & 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, a private tour of Petra and Wadi Rum, floating in the Dead Sea, and diving or snorkeling in the Red Sea.
Upon arrival, enjoy VIP airport assistance before being transferred to Jerusalem. Built entirely from white stone, Jerusalem glows and changes from white to pink to rose to gold with the changing of the light. Your expert private guide will bring the beautiful city and its incredible, multi-layered history alive. Of immeasurable religious, historic and archaeological importance, the entire Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the Temple Mount, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Via Dolorosa and the Western Wall, including the excavation tunnels under the Western Wall. Explore the narrow streets, twisting alleyways and airy plazas, ancient synagogues and churches, and bazaars and boutiques of the Old City's Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Armenian quarters. See the Mount of Olives, Mount Zion and walk upon the old city ramparts. Visit Jerusalem's most important museums, such as the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum and the Israel Museum to see the Dead Sea Scrolls. Perhaps also see the Chagall Windows at Hadassah Hospital.
One day, enjoy a tour of the Machane Yehuda Market with a culinary expert guide. Sample local culinary specialties such as burekas (flaky filled pastries), chocolate rugelach and halvah and shop for regional staples such as tahini, za'atar, dried fruits and nuts. Alternatively, with an expert Palestinian guide, enjoy a private excursion to Bethlehem to tour the Church of the Nativity or to Jericho, considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the world. Perhaps also visit Ein Kerem, a charming village outside Jerusalem regarded as the birthplace of John the Baptist.
If desired, we can arrange many special interest activities around Jerusalem, such as a cooking class with a local chef, touring the ancient City of David, joining an archaeological dig, walking through the city's ancient underground water tunnels, specialized shopping or exclusive meetings with local religious experts, geo-political experts, chefs, artists, fashion designers, winery owners or even former Israeli operatives.
Continue to the Galilee region. Enjoy flexible private touring around the Sea of Galilee (also known as Lake Tiberias and Lake Kinneret), an area renowned for its beautiful landscapes and proximity to important historical and biblical sites. Visit important historical and biblical sites such as Capernaum, Mount of the Beatitudes, Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes and Kibbutz Ginosar and the Yigal Alon Museum. You may choose to visit a local kibbutz or the ruins at Beit Shean, first settled 7,000 years ago. Or, perhaps enjoy active pursuits such as hiking in one of the region’s many nature reserves or a four-wheel drive excursion in the demilitarized zone along the Syrian border. Other options include browsing art galleries in Rosh Pina, sampling wines at local vineyards, geo-political touring, kayaking on the Jordan River or having lunch at a local Druze home.
Cross into Jordan and VIP services will be arranged for your border crossing. Venture 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.
Next, overnight in 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. 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 tented camp, where dinner is served under the stars.
Then, 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.
Cross back into Israel and drive through the Negev Desert en route to Tel Aviv. See the impressive Ramon Crater, the Arava Valley, rock art at Mount Karkom or the ancient Nabatean city of Avdat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the storied Spice Route.
Conclude 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 Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Design Museum Holon and Beit Hatfutsot: Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv. If desired, we can also arrange an excursion to the fascinating Ayalon Institute, a kibbutz that hid a secret underground ammunition factory. Additional options in Tel Aviv include specialized shopping, strolling the port district or fashionable HaTachana or visiting the Roman ruins of Caesarea. During free time, perhaps spend time on the beach, hop in the city's markets and leisure districts and enjoy the city's excellent restaurants.