Arrive Amman, Jordan
Arrive in Amman, and check in to your exclusive luxury hotel set amid landscapes made famous by Lawrence of Arabia.
Set out for an early morning ride on the Hejaz Railway, the focus of Lawrence’s daring guerrilla campaign. Next, drive to the Greco-Roman city of Jerash, pausing for lunch. Return to Amman for an insightful city tour of this vibrant capital, capping your evening off with a festive welcome dinner.
See the Qasr el-Kharaneah; the frescoed Qasr Amra, a World War I headquarters of Sheriff Hussein and T.E. Lawrence; and Qal’at el-Azraq, which Lawrence used as a military base during the Arab Revolt of 1917. Then, visit the ruins of Umm el-Jimal, where Lawrence staged his first attack on the Ottoman stronghold of Damascus in 1918. End your day with a tasting at Zumat Winery.
Drive the Kings Highway, an ancient route of pilgrims and prophets. Arrive at Mount Nebo, where Moses is said to have glimpsed the Holy Land he would never enter. Take in views of Jordan, the Dead Sea and Israel, continuing on to the Byzantine mosaics of Madaba and the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George. Prepare an evening meal with a local chef during an authentic Chef’s Table experience.
Explore Petra, the once-thriving capital carved into red rock. Abandoned by all but the Bedouins for centuries, Petra was lost to Westerners until 1812. Discover the Siq, Treasury, Temple of the Winged Lions and the Palace Tomb. This evening, enjoy a leisurely dinner at your hotel.
Discover Little Petra, once inhabited by the Nabataeans. After seeing its tombs, cisterns and channels, continue to Wadi Rum, also known as the “Valley of the Moon.” This otherworldly landscape was the setting for the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia and the location where T.E. Lawrence lived with his Bedouin allies. Take to the desert by 4x4 vehicle alongside a native Bedouin guide, and explore a seemingly endless maze of narrow valleys and gorges. Then, saddle up for a camel ride and admire the towering sandstone peaks, brilliantly illuminated in the soft light at sunset. Sample zarb, a local Bedouin barbecue cooked in an underground pit. After dinner, depart for your hotel in Aqaba.
Enjoy the morning at leisure on the relaxing shores of the Red Sea, taking the opportunity to scuba dive or snorkel if you so choose. Spend the afternoon exploring Aqaba with your guide. Poised at the trade routes from Asia, Africa and Europe, this pivotal battleground witnessed fierce fighting between Lawrence’s Arab allies and the Turks. Imagine the battles as they unfolded, touring a fortress and a castle that witnessed daring camel charges during the conflict. Later, embark on a sunset cruise of the Red Sea, enjoying dinner and views of Jordan, Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Take the morning to enjoy your resort’s amenities. Later, drive along the Jordan Rift Valley to the Dead Sea, earth’s lowest point. The seawater’s salts and other minerals are said to ease inflammation, while the mud of its shores has remained a sworn remedy for over 2,000 years.
After breakfast, proceed to nearby Bethany Beyond the Jordan, a former settlement that is said to have witnessed Jesus’ baptism. Here, archaeologists have uncovered traces of a first-century settlement, including remnants of plaster pools consistent with those used for mass baptisms. Byzantine artifacts dating from the fifth and sixth centuries also suggest the presence of churches and a monastery that may have catered to religious pilgrims. Following an afternoon at leisure, gather with your fellow guests for a farewell dinner.
Transfer to the airport and board your flight home.