Mysteries of Arabia, Petra, Cairo and Alexandria

Duration

13 Days

Physical rate

Moderate

Starting city

Jeddah

Available

April 2023 / March 2024

Cities to visit: Jeddah; Medina; Al Ula; Tabuk; Petra; Wadi Rum; Al Aqaba; Eilat; Santa Catalina; Moses Well; El Cairo; Wadi El Natrun; Alejandria; Rosseta

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 our local guide we will visit the city. We will be surprised by its contrasts, currently a large part of the city is being rebuilt to make it a great world megalopolis, highlights the construction of the Jeddah Tower that will be the tallest building in the world with over a thousand meters high. We will follow the Corniche, with its beautiful views, its mosques by the sea and its recreational areas; we will contemplate the Fountain of King Fahd, the highest of its kind in the world, its jets reach more than 300 meters high. We will stop at the active and picturesque fish market. We will include the entrance to "Tabeyat International city" very interesting museum of history and ethnography in an architectural ensemble of great beauty. 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.
Early transfer to the high-speed train station. Saudi Arabia has an excellent train that crosses the desert. In less than two hours we travel the 400 kilometers that separate us from MEDINA, the holy city, "the luminous city". We are in an imposing historical destination, one of the two most sacred cities of Islam, a destination to which millions of pilgrims arrive every year and a city forbidden for non-Muslims until very recently. Respect for its inhabitants and beliefs and proper dress code is required.
Arrival and lunch included. In the afternoon we will visit the Al Madinah Museum that allows us to understand a little the history of the city. At the end of the afternoon, we will go to see -from outside- the Al Masjid mosque, built by the prophet himself and place where he is buried, we will not be able to avoid feeling a surge of emotions when we observe the thousands of people who enter at the time of prayer. 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.
Distance : 280 km
Landscapes: Stretches of deserts and the rich agricultural region of the Nile Delta.
Notes: Please dress appropriately for the visit of the monasteries. On certain religious festivals monasteries may remain closed to tourist visits.
07.30 hrs- We leave Cairo, traveling to the Wadi Natrum region, an area known for its Coptic monasteries since thousands of Christians, fleeing in the fourth century from Roman persecutions, settled in the area. The monasteries, fortified because of the attacks suffered in different historical periods, are places that receive the visit of many pilgrims and will allow us to discover their traditions. Coptic popes are chosen from among the monks of these monasteries.
09.00 hrs- Monastery of Saint Macarius. Entrance included to the monastery, founded in 360, where one of its monks will guide us through the enclosure.
10.00 hrs- Saint Macarius, departure.
10.45 hrs- Anba Bishoy´s Monastery. Entrance included. The fortified tower of this monastery, founded in 340, is accessed by a drawbridge. We will visit - also guided by a monk - the church, the refectory and the fortress, where several Coptic Popes are buried. Time to stroll through the lively area and visit the huge new cathedral.
11.45 hrs- Anba Bishoy, departure. We continue our route to the north of the country.
13.45 hrs- Alexandria, arrival in this port city of more than 5 million inhabitants. Lunch included. We visit this afternoon the great fortress Qaitbey (entrance included) , built in 1480 on a narrow peninsula where the Hellenistic lighthouse was located, which was considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. After that, by coach we travel the cornice, chaotic, noisy, commercial or elegant according to the areas. Free time. Accommodation.
Distance: 350 km.

Landscapes: Landscapes of the Nile Delta, with its fertile lands, small towns and thousands of palm trees.
NOTE: The fortress of Rashid is not very visited, sometimes it can be closed (in that case we will see it externally and walk through the picturesque village of fishermen and farmers)
08.30 hrs- We continue our visit of Alexandria , entering the impressive Catacombs Kom Shuqqafa (entrance included) , the largest Roman cemetery in Egypt, we will be surprised by the fusion of Pharaonic and Greco-Roman style. From here we will walk with our guide between narrow, very commercial and bustling alleys to the Pompey Column , an immense column 30 meters high that rises on the ruins of a temple. Afterwards we will stop to photograph externally the new Library of Alexandria , inaugurated in 2002 with a very modern architecture and that reminds us that this city, in the third century BC. was one of the greatest cultural centers in antiquity. The Library of Alexandria at that time guarded more than half a million papyrus scrolls. Lunch included.
13.00 hrs- Alexandria.- departure. Continuation of our route to Rosetta . In this small city, very close to the mouth of one of the tributaries of the Nile, the Rosetta Stone was found, just over a meter high, which was key to deciphering the hieroglyphic writing of the Egyptians since it contains the same text written in hieroglyphics, demotic and ancient Greek.
14.15 hrs- Rashid Fortress, located within walking distance, in a picturesque small village of streets full of local life and with numerous multi-colored fishing boats on the banks of the Nile. Inside its fortress (entrance included) we can see a replica of the Rosetta Stone.
15.00 hrs- Fortress of Rashid- departure
15.30 hrs- Rosetta. Arrival in this pleasant small town next to the Nile where we will walk through the center seeing (externally) the old Ottoman houses with their brick and wood architecture. We will also include a ride on the Nile by boat to admire the views and activity of the fishing boats in the area.
17.00 hrs- Rosetta- Departure.
21.00 hrs- Cairo. Arrival at the end of the day.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and end of our services.

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