Welcome to Tel Aviv
You will be met at Ben Gurion Airport and driven to your hotel in Tel Aviv.At 19:30 meet your travel companions for a Welcome Reception and a short introduction to your Israeli adventures.
Exploring Vibrant Tel Aviv Relaxed Start
Morning sightseeing showcases the highlights of this vibrant city including the Habimah National Theatre, Rabin Square and Carmel Market. Venture along the seashore to the ancient city of Jaffa to see the famous clock tower and the old harbour. Visit the artists' quarter with its galleries, boutiques and picturesque narrow lanes. Walk along the seaside promenade at sunset for spectacular views, as local musicians and street artists take to the stage. Meet a local artist at their gallery for an insight into their work and inspiration.
Caesarea to Galilee
Travel from Tel Aviv, along the coastal road to Caesarea, to visit the archeological park. The ancient city built by king Herod was once a major port and hub of activity in the Judea province. Explore the ancient Roman and Crusader ruins, including the huge amphitheatre. Travel via Haifa to Acre, fought over for centuries and captured in turn by Saracens and Crusaders, including Richard the Lionheart. See the fortress, the old harbour area and Crusader crypt. Enjoy a delicious falafel lunch at Acre market. In Nazareth, visit one of Christianity’s most sacred places, the Church of the Annunciation, built on the site where the angel Gabriel is said to have appeared to Mary. Soon, ochre villages and seaside towns are replaced by green hills, rich crops and colourful groves, as you approach Tiberias, your home for the night. The day concludes with a brief introduction to life on a Kibbutz. This evening, break traditional challah bread with your travel companions over a cheerful Shabbat dinner.
Hula Valley Relaxed Start
Join a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience and meet a ranger for a tour of the Agmom Hahula natural reserve. This nature reserve is home to endangered plant species native of the Hula Valley, and also hosts a bird park on one of the most important migration routes in the world.
To the Dead Sea
Explore Galilee with Insight Choice. Choose to cruise the serene waters of lake Kinneret for glorious views of the Golan Heights. Alternatively, find out more about the remains of a first century fishing boat that was found embedded at the bottom of the lake. Visit Capernaum, where Jesus is said to have entered the synagogue to teach, before heading to the Mount of Beatitudes, where he preached the Sermon on the Mount. Journey through ever-changing landscapes along the Jordan Valley, past ancient Jericho, to take a dip in the buoyant salt waters of the Dead Sea.
Masada and the Holy City of Jerusalem
Take a cable car ride up to the fortress of Masada, where Jewish zealots held out for three years against King Herod's armies. Travel through the Judean Hills to Mount Scopus for breathtaking views of Jerusalem. Visit King David's Tomb on Mount Zion, and the Room of the Last Supper. Enter the Old City and follow the winding cobbled alleyways to the magnificent Wailing Wall, the most sacred monument in Judaism.
Today is dedicated to exploring the multiple facets of Jerusalem. Visit Yad Vashem, a memorial for those who perished in the Holocaust. Continue to the Israel Museum and retrace the history of the city. Visit the Shrine of the Book, home to ancient Dead Sea scrolls, and look out for the most ancient one, the Isaiah scroll, dating from the third century B.C.
Optional Bethlehem Experience Relaxed Start
Enjoy a relaxed morning or alternatively choose to meet your Local Expert at the West Bank border and continue to the Holy city of Bethlehem. The Optional Experience includes visiting the Church of the Nativity, one of the oldest continuously operating churches in the world. The structure is built over the cave that tradition marks as the birthplace of Christ, and is considered sacred by followers of both Christianity and Islam. In the afternoon, visit the Garden of Gethsemene and walk through the Old City to see the Temple Mount, one of Islam’s holiest sites. Continue along the Via Dolorosa past the Stations of the Cross, Ecce Homo Arch, and the Pool of Bethesda, to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. At night, toast your adventures over a hearty Highlight Dinner with wine.
From Jerusalem to Amman
Travel through the Judaean Desert to the border of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. You are met on the other side to journey through a landscape that has changed little in the last 2,000 years. Once at your Amman hotel, relax and settle in before meeting your Jordanian Travel Director for drinks and dinner.
Exploring Amman and Jerash
After breakfast depart for Iraq Al-Amir. Join a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience and visit a women's cooperative, working with women and girls from the nearby Wadi Al Seer villages. The association is supported by Insight Vacations through The TreadRight Foundation and provides training and work opportunities for women in the region.Then, the journey to Jerash reveals the most beautifully preserved example of a Greco-Roman city still in existence. Enter through Hadrian's Arch, to explore the grand ruins of the Temples of Artemis and Zeus, where you can listen to the Whispering Column. Overlook the vast Oval Plaza and Cardo Maximus, the key Roman road. Enjoy an al fresco lunch of natural produce and family recipes at Beit Khairat Souf, during a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience. This women-owned café is combatting female unemployment and aims to build a strong community of women leaders. Return to Amman where the rest of the day is at leisure.
Red city of Petra
Continue to Mount Nebo, one of the most revered holy sites of Jordan, where Moses stood and saw before him the Promised Land. At Madaba, visit the famous Greek Orthodox Church of St. George with its amazing 6th century mosaic map depicting the entire Holy Land, stretching from Jordan and Palestine in the north, to Egypt in the south. Follow the King's Highway to visit Shobak, an authentic 12th century crusader fortress, perched on the side of a rocky mountain, standing guard over a barren and desolate land. Admire the towers and Arabic calligraphy on the external walls before discovering the original Crusader chapel, palace complex, and even a set of secret passages!Then head south for one of the highlights of your journey: the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra, voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Exploring the Lost City of Petra
This day is devoted to the beautiful ‘rose-red city, half as old as time'. You enter this lost city through a narrow gorge, the Siq, with walls that rise up to 200 metres. Emerge from the path to see the magnificent Treasury, carved out of solid rock and standing over 40 metres high. Wind your way through the canyon to explore the ancient tombs and the Roman Amphitheatre, which once seated 3,000 spectators. Dine with locals at the Ammarin desert camp with a stunning backdrop.
Wadi Rum with the Bedouin
Head to Wadi Rum. Enjoy beautiful vistas as you make your way on a jeep safari deep into the heart of Wadi Rum's majestic desert. Enjoy the spectacular Bedouin hospitality tonight as you dine with locals under the stars, and stay in elegant simplicity in a desert camp for the night. After dinner join an astronomer for a private stargazing session, a magical experience.
If you wish, start the day with sunrise yoga at the Bedouin camp, before returning to Amman. Explore Amman with Insight Choice. Choose to join a guided sightseeing experience, highlighting the city’s history, architecture and culture. Alternatively, explore Amman's street art scene on a guided graffiti walking tour. Later, check in at your hotel where the rest of your day is at leisure. Join in a lively dinner to celebrate the end of your Jordanian adventures.
Amman to Cairo
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Cairo. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Take some time to relax before joining your Travel Director, a professionally trained Egyptologist.
Fly to Luxor, Cruise the Nile
In the morning, fly to Luxor and visit the huge temple complex of Karnak. Walk through the avenue of ram-headed sphinxes to stand among the columns of the Hypostyle Hall. Later, transfer to your cruise ship, your home for the next seven nights. After lunch on board, take a walk through the Luxor museum and witness ancient artefacts. In the evening, get to know your Travel Director, a professionally trained Egyptologist, as well as fellow guests over a welcome drink at the hotel. The rest of the evening is yours at leisure, enjoy dinner on the ship before relaxing in its lounge or in the comfort of your room.
Exploring Dendera and Edfu
A day of legend and history awaits you today as you begin with a morning visit to the Temple of Hathor in Dendera. One of the best-preserved temples in Egypt, it contains a rare depiction of Cleopatra and her son Caesarian, whose father was Julius Caesar. Later, visit Luxor Temple. Located on the east bank of the Nile, it was built by the New Kingdom Pharaohs Amenhotep III and Ramesses II. It is known as ipet resyt “the southern sanctuary. In the evening return to your ship and enjoy a scenic journey via the Esna Lock to Edfu.
Edfu to Aswan Relaxed Start
You will start the day with breakfast as you cruise along the Nile to Kom Ombo and continue on to the city of Aswan. Famous for its archaeological sites such as the Philae Temple Complex and the Temple of Isis, Aswan is a vibrant destination that portray an agreeable mix of ancient and contemporary Egypt. In the evening, enjoy a fun-filled Egyptian dinner and galabeya party.
Aswan’s High Dam & Temple of Isis
Sightseeing includes a visit to Aswan's High Dam and granite quarries to see the enormous unfinished obelisk. Travel by motorboat to the Temple of Isis, rising from the waters of the Nile on the Island of Philae. The rest of the day is free to relax and enjoy the facilities on your cruise boat.
Feluccas and High Tea Relaxed Start
Throughout your journey you’ll have seen many feluccas sailing along the Nile. Now it’s your time to explore one for yourself. On this traditional vessel, you’ll meet a local sailor who will teach you about the ancient art of sailing. As the sun starts to fade, enjoy high tea at the historic Old Cataract Hotel, just like Winston Churchill and Agatha Christie once did before you. The hotel is rumoured to be where Christie wrote her bestselling novel, “Death on the Nile.”
Free time and on to Kom Ombo Relaxed Start
With the morning free, perhaps join the optional experience of travelling to the temples of Abu Simbel by air? These temples overlook Lake Nasser and are made up of the Great Temple of Ramesses II and the Temple of Hathor. Later, sail to Kom Ombo to visit the only double temple of Egypt, dedicated to two gods, the crocodile-headed Sobek and the falcon-headed Horus the Elder.
Cruising the Nile to Luxor Relaxed Start
Your cruise continues along the life-giving waters of the Nile. In the evening, arrive back in Luxor where there is time for shopping and sightseeing.
Explore Luxor and fly to Cairo
Disembark from your cruise and travel by air-conditioned coach to the west bank of the Nile. See the Colossi of Memnon and visit both the Temple of Hatshepsut and the Valley of the Kings, where many pharaohs were buried. Visit a local family home and witness the making authentic Egyptian bread. Later, transfer to the airport for your return flight to Cairo.
This morning, ascend to the Citadel, for breathtaking views over the city. While here visit the Alabaster Mosque, otherwise known as the Great Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha, regarded as the founder of modern Egypt. Continue to Tahrir Square, the focal point of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, and the Egyptian Museum. Among the many exhibits found here, are the fabulous artefacts recovered from the tomb of King Tutankhamun. Later, see history come to life on the pyramids as you witness the magical Sound & Light Show - an unforgettable introduction to the world of Ancient Egypt.
Cairo and the Pyramids of Giza
Today you’ll head to Memphis, the famous capital of the ancient world. See the colossal statue of Ramses II and the Great Alabaster Sphinx. Continue to Sakkara, to see the Step Pyramid of King Zoser, the oldest pyramid in the world, dating back to 2,700 BC. In the afternoon, it's on to Giza with your Egyptologist to explore the magnificent pyramids, where you’ll come face-to-face with the enigmatic Sphinx. During your visit, venture inside one of these ancient wonders to see the chambers where the pharaohs were sent to meet their Gods in the afterlife.
Your wonderful journey ends with transfers to Cairo International airport.