Qatar, Bahrain, Wonders of Arabia and Jordan

Duration

18 Days

Physical rate

Moderate

Starting city

Doha

Available

April 2023 / March 2024

Cities to visit: Doha; Bahréin; Dammam; Al Hofuf; Riyadh; Al Qasab; Shaqra; Ushaiqer; Buraidah; Medina; Al Ula; Tabuk; Petra; Wadi Rum; Al Aqaba; Amman; Jerash; Madaba

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
Llegada y traslado del aeropuerto al hotel. Recibirá en la tarde información para el inicio de su circuito, o bien, a través de los carteles informativos localizados en la recepción del hotel.
We discover an exciting city. In this city’s city tour we will visit the Corniche, with its line of skyscrapers and its beaches; we will get to see the very modern football stadium of Al Thumama, host of the 2022 World Cup; we will pass by the National Museum with its impressive architecture and include an entrance and visit of the Museum of Islamic Art, that houses the largest collection of Islamic art in the world. Uniting modernity and tradition we visit the Souk of the Falcons where we will understand the importance of falconry in this country; a time to walk in the Waqif Souk, built on the site of the old market remodeled to have the appearance of a nineteenth-century souk, nearby we will pass by the stables where the neighbors house Arabian horses. At lunchtime we will go to "The Pearl of Qatar" an artificial archipelago, here we will see Porto Arabia and we will have free time in Qanat, a shopping area inspired by Venice. Lunch included.
At the end of the day, we move to KATARA, a cultural village that has architectural replicas from all over the world, with several places to eat, its opera and its amphitheater.
We will travel through the road, 120 km of modern highway through the desert separates us from the border of Saudi Arabia. Transit through Saudi Arabia, we travel to BAHRAIN, a small country located on an island in the Persian Gulf, we pass by the 25 km friendship bridge that connects Arabia with Bahrain. Border procedures. Bahrain is a small country of 765 Km2 inhabited by just under two million inhabitants that always had great historical importance. MANAMA, arrival in the middle of the afternoon. Upon arrival we will know the historic neighborhood of Muharraq, in its pedestrian alleys are some of the most beautiful historical buildings in the country: royal residences and houses of rich pearl merchants very well restored.
At the end of the day, we will walk through the souk of Manama, with its active life and through Little India, over 300 000 inhabitants of Bahrain were born in India, this neighborhood preserves its life, the temple of Krishna and numerous small Indian restaurants.
Note: If the number of participants is small, the trip between Qatar and Bahrain can be made by air without transiting through Saudi Arabia.
We will get to know thoroughly this small country; by coach we follow the coast, we include the entrance to Beit Al Qur´An, museum on the Qur´an, the Muslims’ holy book. We also visit the fantastic Bahrain National Museum that allows us to see the art, ethnography and traditions of this country and understand the importance it had throughout history. We will visit with a guide the impressive Al Fatih Mosque the most important in the country. Lunch included.
In the afternoon we will leave Manama, on the outskirts is located QALAT AL BARHEIN, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, an impressive fortress by the sea inhabited for 4000 years (the current castle was built by the Portuguese). We enter one of the most important oil production areas in the world, between refineries and pipelines we will stop next to the first oil extraction well opened in the country. We will also stop at the "tree of life", which with its more than 500 years being alive in the desert is a symbol of this country.Return to Manama, free time.
We leave in the morning from Manama, take the long bridge of 25 km that separates this country from SAUDI ARABIA. Border procedures. We enter a country that until very recently has been closed to tourism.
We will be surprised by the city of DAMMAM, provincial capital with almost a million inhabitants. By the sea we get the chance to take a photo of the water tower of Khobar. Following its modern maritime strip we follow the Heritage Village, next to the sea, in the form of a fortress we´ll visit its small museum of ancient objects (including its collection of historical cars); Lunch included. We continue towards the impressive Ithra site and its very modern King Abdulaziz center for world Culture - an architecturally very striking place (being rock shaped), with its leisure areas, its museums, its library.
Mid-afternoon continuation to the oasis of AL-AHSA, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Arrival at AL-HOFUF, the main city of the oasis. We will take a night walk through the King Abdullah Park, a pleasant park where its artificial lake and the fountains that dance to the rhythm of the music are a stand out.
We visit the Oasis of AL AHSA, with its gardens, canals, wells. Inhabited since the Neolithic; it is considered the largest oasis in the world with its almost 3 million date palms. In the center of Al-Hofuf we visit the Ibrahim Palace, historical fortress (World Heritage Site) dominated by its white mosque, built in 1556 by the Ottomans. After that we visit the "House of Allegiance" that shows us a small palace characteristic of the oasis. We will stroll through the elegant souk of Al Qaisariya, one of the oldest markets in Arabia, reflecting the commercial tradition of the region. We will approach the lively area where the Muhaires Palace stands, with its many restaurants, shops and parks where the local population goes.
Later we travel through the oasis, we go to AL QARA , a spectacular landscape area, labyrinth of mini-gorges-caves in the mountain, and a historical site; it will seem that "you penetrate the mountain", all year round the temperature is around 25 degrees. We also visit its museum "land of civilizations" that describes the history of the area.
Note: At the time of writing this itinerary, the Ibrahim Palace was closed for restoration. During the period when it is closed, the palace will be visited from the outside.
In the afternoon we take a modern high-speed train, in two hours and 20 minutes we travel almost 350 kilometers of desert that separate us from Riyadh.- RIYADH, arrival. To end the day, we will include transfer and entrance to the Boulevard Riyadh, you will be surprised by its life and activity, the attractions, the numerous restaurants with specialties from numerous countries, its live shows, and -above all- the spectacle of colorful fountains. Time to stroll, dine (dinner not included) and enjoy this place. 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 will leave for AQABA , Jordan’s second city. We will visit Jordan’s second city, a modern, commercial port city. Afternoon free to enjoy the hotel-resort and the warm waters of the Red Sea!
After breakfast we will take the "desert road" to AMMAN. Arrival at noon and free time to visit the capital of the kingdom.
NOTE: Depending on the number of travelers, the trip from Aqaba to Amman can be made by regular VIP coach service.
After breakfast, we travel to the north of Jordan. In the mountains, we discover the AJLUN FORTRESS , a mighty castle from the 12th Century. Muslims and Orthodox Christians have always lived in this area. We will visit the old CHURCH OF SAINT SERGIUS . Shall we all pray for peace? Lunch is included. We continue to JERASH, and visit its impressive Roman archaeological site. Return to AMMAN . Arrival and accommodation.
We will depart towards the CASTLES OF THE DESERT, built between the 7th and 8th centuries. We will visit QASR KHARANA, with its imposing structure of thick walls and the QUSAYR AMRA World Heritage Site, notable for its remarkable frescoes. Then, we travel to MADABA, lunch is included . We will visit the Madaba Archaeological Park, which we cross via an ancient Roman road, and the Church of St. George, with its fantastic 6th Century mosaic representing the oldest known map of the Holy Land. We continue to MOUNT NEBO , where Moses stopped to look over the Promised Land. Return to Amman . Arrival and free time.
After breakfast, end of our services.

Map Tour

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From AUD 6,215