Charms of Arabia with Jordan and Jerusalem

Duration

15 Days

Physical rate

Moderate

Starting city

Jeddah

Available

April 2023 / March 2024

Cities to visit: Jeddah; Mecca; Al Hada; Taif; Riyadh; Al Qasab; Shaqra; Ushaiqer; Buraidah; Medina; Al Ula; Tabuk; Petra; Wadi Rum; Al Aqaba; Eilat; Jerusalem

Detailed day by day description

Introduction

This tour is part of our flexible coach touring range, guaranteed with a minimum of 2 people. Once the tour is booked, it is guaranteed so it will definitely go ahead, and will never cancel.

This tour is guided in English only. Please note if English speaking attendance numbers are low, the tour can become bilingual either accompanied by two tour leaders, one for each language, or a single tour leader providing explanations in both languages.

The tour offers flexibility, allowing you to customize it to your preferences. By clicking 'Quote or Book,' you will have the choice to select your desired start and end dates and destinations within the tour's defined parameters. Given this flexibility, it's important to note that the same people, tour guides or drivers may not be on your entire journey.

Day
Welcome to SAUDI ARABIA! ....a country of contrasts that will leave you with surprising memories! Transfer to your hotel. Arrival at JEDDAH, the second city in the country, with four million inhabitants, on the shore of the Red Sea. Transfer to your hotel and free time.
Full day in Jeddah. With a local guide we will visit this city that will surprise us by its contrasts. At this time, a large part of the city is being rebuilt to make it a great world megalopolis. Among others, the construction of the Jeddah Tower, which will be the tallest building in the world with more than a thousand meters high, stands out.
We will follow the Corniche, with its beautiful views, its mosques by the sea and its recreational areas. We will contemplate the King Fahd Fountain, the highest of its kind in the world, its water jets reach more than 300 meters high. We will stop at the lively and picturesque fish market. We will include the entrance to “Tabeyat International city” an architectural complex of great beauty with its very interesting museums of history and ethnography. We will then visit the historical center, entering through Bab Makkah – the most important gate of Jeddah – and we will also pass by the cemetery of Eve, where tradition says that Eve, Adam’s wife and the first woman of humanity according to the bible, was buried. Free time for lunch in a shopping center- Mall- where you can choose from the various restaurants and types of food offered there.
In the afternoon, we will take a walk through its historic center, better known as Al-Balad, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, with its impressive set of medieval alleys and its houses made with coral and wooden balconies. We will visit inside the elegant house of Beit Sallum, today converted into a museum.
Important Note: Mecca is a city that is not accessible to non-Muslim tourists. If you are Muslim, if you wish, we can adapt your program so that you can visit it (you will stay in Taif with the rest of the members of the group and the visit of the remaining points of the day will not be included). In this case, there will be a supplement that will depend on the number of travelers who can and wish to visit Mecca.
Today we travel to Taif, a city authorized for non-Muslim travelers in the province of Mecca. This city, located at almost 2000 meters above sea level, is popular for its mild climate, so every summer the Saudi Government moves to this point -not as hot as Riyadh-. The route, up the mountain, is spectacular in scenery. We will stop at AL HADA, with its tourist market, great views and rose fields. Lunch included.
TAIF, this popular city with very modern shopping malls and great amusement parks, has numerous rose gardens. On the outskirts of the city of Qadeera, we will visit the King Faisal Park, which hosts an annual rose festival, and experience the roses used to make local perfumes. In this city 300 million roses are produced annually in more than 900 farms. We will visit a rose oil factory -Attar- . We will also stroll through the central market, with its maze of narrow streets and its different areas (honey, perfumes, jewelry...). In the evening we will go to the modern shopping mall district where you will have time to dine in one of its many restaurants of all kinds of cuisines.
Transfer to the airport and flight to RIYADH and transfer to your hotel.
In the evening, we will include a transfer with entrance ticket to Boulevard Riyadh, the largest park in the kingdom, which will surprise you with its animation and life. The park has curious attractions, numerous restaurants with specialties from many different countries, live shows and, above all, a fountains eye-catching show with colored water. Free time to stroll around, enjoy
the place and dine in one of its restaurants. Return to the hotel.
Today (the order of activities may vary depending on the time of year) we will visit the impressive capital of Saudi Arabia. We will include the climb to the tower of just over 300 m high, the "Kingdom Centre", with its beautiful design and its "bridge-shaped" viewpoint that offers spectacular views over the city. We will also visit, surrounded by a beautiful park, the National Museum, the largest museum in the country, where we will learn about the history, culture, and art of the Kingdom. After that we will visit the Masmak Fortress, the ancient fortress of the city, whose interior allows us to understand the incredible change that took place in this city during the last century. Afterwards, we will have time to stroll through the neighborhood, with its souks and commercial life.
Free time for lunch in a shopping center- Mall- where you can choose from the various restaurants and types of food offered there.
In the afternoon we will also visit the district of Al Turaif DIRIYA, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This place - on the outskirts of Riyadh - was formerly the first capital of the Saudi dynasty, which we will be able to discover thanks to the vestiges of its numerous palaces and the urban complex at the edge of the oasis of Ad-Diriya.
At the end of the day, we will visit the Al Rajhi Mosque, the largest mosque in Riyadh with its Andalusian style architecture, where we will witness a prayer and have an introduction to Islam that will surely make us learn something about this religion. Return to hotel.
Today we follow the ancient route of pilgrims traveling from Iraq to Mecca, with its many historic towns in small oases. AL QASAB was known since ancient times for its salt and wheat production, also for its poets. We will visit the walled city and the small salt ponds where 200,000 tons of salt are still produced each year.
Desert landscapes of dunes lead us to SHAQRA, a city that is growing along with its university. We visit the well-fortified ancient city, with its picturesque old market and adobe alleys. Continue to USHAIQER. Lunch included before transferring to Ushaiqer Heritage Village, a village that was an important stop for pilgrims because of its springs and the beauty of its oasis. We will also visit its small museum and its Najdi architecture houses with its carved wooden doors, its beautiful windows and triangular roofs. Continuation to BURAYDAH, capital of the province of El Kasim with more than 600 000 inhabitants located in a large oasis. Arrival in the late afternoon and free time.
Early in the morning we will visit the largest Camel Market in the world, located in Buraydah - a city that also houses a camel hospital. The city´s economy is also based on agriculture of oasis products (dates, lemons, oranges, wheat), and annually, around August, holds a huge date market that attracts many people from different places to buy their date annual requirement. We will visit "the city of dates" -more or less active depending on the time of the year- and we will be able to taste this sweet fruit of the palm tree. Afterwards, we will have time to stroll through the city center, with its vegetable market, its great mosque, its jewelry souks and its activity. We will visit the Al Oqilat Museum that tells us about the traditions of Arabia and the customs of the region. Free time for lunch.
In the afternoon, we continue our route by an excellent highway through the desert. Arrival in the evening to the holy city of MEDINA, "the luminous city". We find ourselves in an outstanding historical and religious destination as it is one of the two most sacred cities of Islam. Medina is visited by millions of pilgrims every year and has been forbidden to non-Muslims until very recently. Respect its inhabitants and beliefs and remember to use the required mode of dress. In the evening, we will go to see - today from outside - the Al Masjid Mosque, built by the prophet himself and the place where he is buried. We will be touched to see the thousands of people who enter at prayer time. Dinner included.

Note: The Al-’Ula region is one of the most beautiful areas in the world, however its hotel infrastructure is extremely limited. On some occasions we will spend two nights in Medina (visiting in this case in the afternoon the Al Madinah Museum) leaving very early for Al-’Ula on Tuesday.
We will explore Medina. We will walk around the immense Prophet´s Mosque (Al Masjid an Nabawi), an amazing and luminous mosque of ten minarets with a capacity for one million visitors.. On the hill of UHUD, an important pilgrimage site, where the prophet´s forces clashed with Meccan troops. You can walk through its vast esplanade and climb the hill but remember to do so in silence and respecting the hundreds of pilgrims surrounding us at any given time. At the Mosque of Quba, in the year 622, the prophet and his followers laid the first stone of what was to be the first mosque in history, although the present building is more recent. From here, we will walk to the nearby garden and well of Ethiq where the different tribes of the place went out to drink water and greet the Prophet and his companions recently arrived in Medina after their persecution in Mecca. Afterwards we will have some free time in the city center to stroll around the shopping areas or -if you wish- visit the Hejaz Railway Museum (in the former Ottoman railway station).
In the afternoon we travel to one of the most spectacular places in the world: The region and oasis of AL-’ULA: an authentic open-air museum surrounded by nature, where you will find rock formations, canyons and ravines that compete with the majestic treasures carved by its ancient inhabitants. After arrival we will go to The Elephant Rock, "Jabal Al Fil" an impressive geomorphological phenomenon, a 52 meters high rock in the shape of an Elephant. Dinner included.

In the region of Al-’Ula we will visit the enclosure of HEGRA (Madain Saleh), declared World Heritage by UNESCO, of Nabataean culture "the Other Petra" amazes us with its tombs excavated in the rock in a desert environment full of mystery. Lunch included. We will have free time to stroll and enjoy its comercial streets, and its magnificent Oasis. In the middle of the afternoon, we will leave for TABUK. Dinner included.
We visit Tabuk, a city over half a million inhabitants, active provincial capital and one of the oldest cities in the country. We will visit the castle whose origin is 3500 years before Christ, and inside it, a museum tells the history of the castle and the city, from the great explorers who visited it, such as Ibn Battuta, to the pilgrims who stopped to drink from the fountains on their way to Mecca or Medina. After the visit, we will enter the Mud House Museum, a recreation of the interior of an adobe house where we will learn what traditional life was like in the past in this type of housing. Subsequently we walk through the active commercial area of the city center and we reach the old train station, today a museum that preserves the steam machines that connected Damascus with Medina.
Only 100 km separate us from JORDAN. Border procedures and continuation to WADI MUSA (town created around Petra), we will visit the Spring of Moses, where allegedly Moses hit the rock with his rod and the water gushed out, and the Petra Museum, an excellent sample that allows us to understand the history of the Nabataeans and get to know magnificent pieces found in the area. Dinner included. Travelers who wish to do so can go in their free time to an old Turkish bath or get to see the lights and sounds show in Petra.
Today we have the most exciting day of the trip: First, we visit the impressive archaeological site of PETRA, which is accessed through a narrow canyon, and discover the temples and tombs excavated on the cliffs in this city that was founded 300 years before Christ. After lunch (included) we leave for the impressive desert of WADI RUM . At the Visitor Centre we board 4x4 vehicles to visit some of the most impressive landscapes. We stop in the town of RUM to visit the ruins of the Nabatean temple. We include a 45-minute camel ride through the desert. We will also visit the Khazali Canyon . In this spectacular place, we will see the engravings that reveal the origins of the Arabic language. Dinner and accommodation included in a desert camp.
After breakfast we leave for AQABA, the second Jordanian city on the shores of the Red Sea. A walk through the centre before continuing towards the Israel border. EILAT, arrival in this modern and tourist city with excellent beaches. A relaxing time to have lunch and walk. Do you dare to bathe? After lunch departure to Jerusalem. We will cross the beautiful landscapes of the Negev Desert and border the Dead Sea. Arrival in JERUSALEM and accommodation.
NOTE: When passing from Jordan to Israel, the traveller must pay the Jordan exit tax, which is approximately $15.
Breakfast. Full day visit. We will start by going up to the Mount of Olives, where we will appreciate a magnificent view over the city. Then, we will make our way to visit the Garden of Gethsemane. We will enter the Ancient City, where we will walk the Via Dolorosa to reach Golgotha, place of the crucifixion of Jesus and the Holy Sepulchre. Already in the Armenian quarter, we will discover the legends that hide in the tower and citadel of David, where we will explore some of the most exciting archaeological treasures of this ancient settlement, the first foundations of present-day Jerusalem. After those visits, we will use free time for lunch.
In the afternoon we enter Palestine to visit the city of BETHLEHEM. We will visit the Mosque of Omar (exterior) and the Church of the Nativity with the Grotto of the Manger, the Basilica of Santa Catarina, and the Grotto of San Jeronimo. Brief walk through the ancient city before heading back to Jerusalem. On the outskirts of Bethlehem stands the Salesian monastery of Cremisán, within whose walls the only Palestinian wine is made. Return to the hotel Accommodation.
Note: Don´t forget to bring your passport to cross into Palestine.
At first, we will have breakfast and then departure to the Shrine of the Book in the Israel Museum, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed, and where the Model of Jerusalem in the time of Jesus is located. Visit of the Ain Karen neighbourhood where the Church of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist is located, and visit of Yad Vashem, Museum and Holocaust Memorial. Then there will be the Visit of the lively Mahaney Yehuda Market where Orthodox Jews, Palestinians, Armenians, Arabs mix with tourists creating a multicultural environment. Free time for lunch. Next, visit the complex of the four Sephardic synagogues. We will visit the upper part of the Hurva synagogue (allowed for non-Jewish tourists), where we will have the opportunity to gain experience about their customs and traditions. From its terrace we will have an incomparable view of the Jewish quarter of the city. We will admire the exterior architecture of this group of temples, which also treasure a very particular history, to finish the route we will go to the Wailing Wall, where we will also see the Tunnels of Said Wall with its enormous quarry stones that today are part of the foundations of ancient Jerusalem from two thousand years ago. We can even see some caves that function as improvised churches or sacred rooms that are used for the prayers of the most religious. Back to the hotel. Accommodation
After breakfast, end of our services.

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From AUD 6,393