Charms of Arabia with Jordan, Nile Cruise and Hurghada

Duration

19 Days

Physical rate

Moderate

Starting city

Riyadh

Available

April 2023 / March 2024

Cities to visit: Riyadh; Al Qasab; Shaqra; Ushaiqer; Buraidah; Medina; Al Ula; Tabuk; Petra; Wadi Rum; Al Aqaba; Eilat; Santa Catalina; Moses Well; El Cairo; Aswan; Kom Ombo; Edfu; ; Luxor; Dendera; Hurghada; Monastry Of St. Paul And St. Anthony; Al Galala

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 unforgettable souvenirs! Transfer to the hotel. In the evening, we will include a transfer with entrance ticket to Boulevard Ryadh, 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.
***VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to the warlike situation in Israel, while the conflict is ongoing, the passage through EILAT will be eliminated from the stage. The stage will be carried out by crossing by direct ferry from Aqaba, Jordan, to Taba, Egypt, thus avoiding passing through Israel.
After breakfast, we leave for AQABA , Jordan’s second city, lying on the banks of the Red Sea. We walk through the center before continuing to the border of ISRAEL, EILAT and arrive in this modern and tourist city with its excellent beaches. There’s time to relax, have lunch and stroll around. Are you tempted to have a swim? We then continue towards the EGYPT border, and into Sinai. On the way, there’s chance to take photographs of the Pharaoh’s Island with the powerful fortress of Saladin. Continue to SAINT CATHERINE . Arrival, accommodation and dinner included .
FEES: At the border crossing from Jordan to Israel and from Israel to Egypt, every traveler must pay an entry/exit fee for the different countries. Jordan: $15 (exit fees), Israel: $32 (exit fee), Egypt: $45 (entry visa, which is actually $25 visa + $20.Approximate rates and subject to change without prior notice by the authorities of the country. Drones and cameras with a 5,5 mtr zoom are prohibited as well as other types of professional equipment cameras ( Europamundo is not responsiblefor objects that may be seized at borders by the authorities of the countries)
IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to exceptional circumstances or due to a small number of participants, it may happen that we will cross directly from Jordan to Egypt by boat, taking the AQABA- TABA FERRY with a duration of just over two hours. During the ferry crossing, there will be no assistance from any guide.
At the foot of Mount Sinai, we visit the impressive walled monastery of SAINT CATHERINE. According to tradition, this is where Moses saw “the Burning Bush that burned without being consumed”. The monastery, which is a sacred place for Jews, Christians and Muslims, belongs to the Orthodox Church and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We then continue on through the Sinai Desert’s picturesque landscapes. Lunch included in route. Stop at the WELL OF MOSES, a biblical site that looks like a small oasis. We will leave Sinai through the tunnel under the SUEZ CANAL . Arrival in CAIRO at the end of the afternoon. Accommodation.
Full day visit where we explore the famous Pyramids of Cheops, Kefren and Micerinos ( tickets to go inside the pyramids are not included), and also the impressive Sphinx, which is sculpted from rock. Visit to the Egyptian Museum with its ancient art and where the treasure of the Lost Tomb of Tutankhamen is kept. Lunch included. Citadel of Saladin and the Alabaster Mosque. We will take a walk through the Coptic neighborhood where we visit the Hanging Church built above a Roman fortress.
Transfer to the airport early in the morning to depart by regular flight (included) to ASWAN . Arrival and transfer to the ship, embarkation procedures and accommodation.
In Aswan we will visit the Red Granite Quarry , where the famous Unfinished Obelisk is located. We will observe the ingenious procedure used by the ancient Egyptians for the extraction of granite blocks. We will also visit the High Aswan Dam , a huge engineering work that retains the waters of the Nile. We will visit the beautiful Temple of Philae dedicated to the goddess Isis and located on a small island that can only be accessed by boat. Finally, we will enjoy a felucca ride on the river, typical fishing boats. Full board . Accommodation on board.
Navigation to KOM OMBO . In the morning we will visit the Temple of Kom Ombo, a unique temple dedicated to two Gods, Sobek and Haroesis, where there is a Nilometer (ancient Nile River level measurement system) and a mummified crocodile. Departure to EDFU . Arrival and transfer by carriage to visit the Temple of Edfu , dedicated to the God Horus (represented by a Falcon), it was in the past partially covered by silt during the periodic floods of the Nile. Once the rescue and restoration work finished, we found one of the most beautiful temples of the Ptolemaic era in an exceptional state of conservation. Full board on board.
Full Board on board. Navigation to Luxor crossing the Esna lock . Arrival in LUXOR and free afternoon. Night on board.
During our stay in Luxor we will get to know one of the most impressive ancient cities on the planet (tickets included to the places mentioned) . Early in the morning, from our hotel we will take a private boat to cross the Nile River, with its peace and impressive views early in the morning, we go to the west bank. We visited the "Valley of the Artisans" Deir el-Medina , a little-visited place, here they lived and are the tombs of great builders and craftsmen who built and decorated the royal tombs of ancient Egypt. We will visit three tombs, their paintings show scenes of daily life at that time. After that, we visit the fantastic temple of Medinet Habu , the temple of Ramses II, large and magnificently preserved, its scenes of wars will surprise us. We stopped in front of the Colossi of the Memnon , two impressive statues of Amenhotep II. We will visit the VALLEY OF THE QUEENS where the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut (Deir el Bahari) is located, considered the first woman to occupy the position of pharaoh. We also visit the famous VALLEY OF THE KINGS where the tombs of the main pharaohs are hidden. Among these tombs, composed of several rooms and corridors leading to the corresponding burial chambers (we include, in addition to the general admission, a ride in an electric cart to access the enclosure and tomb of Ramses -which requires additional entry-). Return to the east bank of Luxor. Free time for lunch.
In the afternoon we visit KARNAK , it housed the most important religious complex in Ancient Egypt, highlighting the immense temple of Amun-Ra, our guide will take us to the little-crowded temple of Khinsu. We will also visit the LUXOR MUSEUM , which shows us an impressive collection of objects and mummies found in this area. After dark we include the entrance to the LUXOR TEMPLE, its lighting makes it magical at this time. Time to walk in the commercial area (souk) near the temple.
Note: The order of the visits will vary based on climatological factors and procuring to visit the different locations at times of less affluence.
Distance: 330 km
Landscapes: Arid deserts between mountains traveling towards the Red Sea. Free time in the morning to stroll on your own, shop or visit some other point in Luxor if you wish. Around 11am we will continue our trip.
12.30 hrs- Dendera, arrival at one of the best-preserved Egyptian temples thanks to the fact that it remained buried by sand and mud until it was discovered in the mid-nineteenth century. Entrance included. This impressive enclosure of 40,000 square meters, surrounded by a burly brick wall eight to ten meters high was dedicated to Hathor, goddess of love and fertility and mother of Horus, celestial god in Egyptian religion. We are surprised by its walls, its immense monumental doors and the quality and perfection of its details. After the visit lunch included.
15.00 hrs- Continuation to the Red Sea. Our highway crosses desert mountain ranges, interesting landscapes.
18.15 hrs- Hurghada, arrival in the late afternoon. We are located in an area with the most popular of Egypt´s resorts, its hotels stretch over a strip of almost 50 kilometers. Hotel accommodation on an all-inclusive basis.
Distance: 70 km
Full day in Hurghada. Free time in the morning to relax in the hotel facilities or to go on your own to visit the great aquarium or the museum of Hurghada.
15.00 hrs- After lunch (included) , an excursion to learn more about the area.
15.45 hrs- El Gouna. A short distance from Hurghada, we can find the most luxurious holiday resorts in Egypt where numerous canals and lagoons were opened to access most of the residences by yacht. Free time to stroll through this exclusive place.
17.00 hrs- From El Gouna, we return to Hurghada.
17.45 hrs- Hurghada- In the center of Hurghada, we visit its mosque (entrance included) and walk to the marina, a very touristic area full of life, shops and restaurants.
19.00 hrs- After a free time in the Marina, return to our hotel. Stay on an "all included" basis.
Distance: 555 km
Landscapes : Desert, following in many sections the Red Sea.
Notes: Please dress appropriately for the visit of the monasteries. On certain religious festivals monasteries may remain closed to tourist visits.
07.30 hrs- Hurghada. Departure. Following the Red Sea we travel to two impressive Coptic monasteries, the Monasteries of St. Anthony and St. Paul, the oldest in Christendom dating back to the fourth century, when monks began to settle in the caves and cliffs hidden at the foot of the Red Sea mountains. Both monasteries are considered the holiest places of the Coptic church in Egypt.
10.30 hrs- Between arid mountains, surrounded by powerful walls, we will visit the Monastery of Saint Paul (entrance included) that will move us, with its orchards and palm trees, and the pilgrims who come to pray at its cave / church of the fourth century with simple murals.
11.30 hrs- Monastery of Saint Paul, departure.
12.30 hrs- After that we will visit the Monastery of Saint Anthony (entrance included) also walled with its numerous buildings and adobe houses, its atmosphere seems stopped in time. The church of St. Anthony, built over the tomb of the saint, houses magnificent Coptic murals of the thirteenth century.
13.30 hrs- We continue our route. Lunch included.
15.30 hrs- El Galala. Arrival at this new city that Egypt is building in the desert that will surprise us. We will go first to the luxury resort located next to the Red Sea, with its marina and water park; from where we include the cable car ride (the highest slope in Africa) to El Galala, a magnificently designed city, its construction began in 2015 and it houses a large university.
17.30 hrs- El Galala, departure.
20.00 hrs- Cairo.- Arrival at the end of the day.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and end of our services.

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