The Nabateans were an ancient people, controlling a wide trading network in norther Arabia and the Southern Levant between 37 and around 100 CE. Today, they are best known for their remarkable rock-cut temples, tombs and buildings in the city of Petra in southern Jordan. Yet, many more traces of this mysterious desert people are still visible in Jordan, but also in neighbouring Israel and this tour invites you to travel along the traces into the fascinating world of the Jordanian and southern Israeli desert.
Upon arrival and after completing formalities (luggage, passport control and customs) you will be met by your driver and transferred to your hotel in Amman.
After breakfast, meet you guide and drive north to the area of the former Decapolis. The Decapolis (“Then Cities”) was a group of ten bigger and smaller cities in what is today Jordan, Israel and Syria during the time of the Roman Empire. However, they did not form a political body of its own, they shared the same language, culture and political status. On your way, visit Pella (Tabaqat Fahl) near Irbid, Gadara (Umm Qais) and later on, pay a short visit ot the medieval fortress in Ajloun.
Along your day, you will be introduced to ancient trading systems and the cultural exchange which came along with the goods transported from Memphis in Egypt along the Kings’ Highway to Resafa in Mesopotamia. Overnight in Amman.
Gerasa, Irbid, Amman Citadel
In the morning, complete your introduction to the Decapolis with an extensive visit of the archaeological excavations of Gerasa (Jerash) and follow this with a guided tour through the Archaeological Museum of Irbid. In the afternoon, enjoy a panoramic view of Amman from the Amman Citadel and pay a visit to its ancient ruins as well as to the adjacent musem.
After breakfast, drive in westward direction to the riverbank of the Jordan River and visit the traditional baptism site in “Bethany beyond the Jordan” where John the Baptist is said to have been baptizing his followers, among them Jesus himself. Afterwards, drive up to Mt. Nebo and enjoy the panoramic view from its top, which Mose himself once saw (Dtn 34,1-5). After lunch, arrive to the small city of Madaba which is home to the famous mosaic map of the Holy Land, dating back to the 6th century CE. The Madaba Map covers parts of the floor of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George and is the oldest map of Christians sites found to date.
The Kings’ Highway
In ancient times, the so-called “Kings’ Highway” connected Memphis in Egypt with Resafa on the banks of the Euphrates. Along its way, it passed through Heliopolis, Suez, Nakhl (all in Egypt), Aqaba, Petra, Kerak, Madaba, Amman, Jerash (all in Jordan) and Bosra and Damaskus in Syria, creating one of the most important travel and trade routes of the Ancient World.
Today, you will travel along this route from Amman to Petra with stops in Kerak (crusaders’ castle, bulit in 1140 CE as “Crac des Moabites”) and Shobak (another crusader’s castle, built by Baldwin I. of Jerusalem in 1115). In the late afternoon, you will arrive to Petra for relaxation and overnight.
Days 6 to 7
Spend two full days visiting the most famous and most astonishing of all Nabatean cities, Petra. Follow your guide through the narrow passage, the “Siq”, that will lead you deep into the rocks, directly into the heart of the ancient city, possibly founded as early as 312 BCE. Discover the magnificant rock-cut temples, tombs and houses, before heading south to Tala Bay for a relaxing overnight by the shore of the Gulf of Aqaba.
The Southern Negev
Cross the border to Israel and visit the archaelogical park of Timna inside Timna Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site offering a remarkable example of ancient mineral mining and smelting. Afterwards, drive through the desert to Mitzpe Ramon for a first view of the impressivly large Ramon Crater and overnight.
Nabatean Cities of Avdat and Shivta
Depart Mitzpe Ramon and visit the Nabatean stronghold of Avdat in close proximity to Ein Avdat National Park. The anciet city of Avdat was one of the most important trading posts on the Incense Route after Petra and even today stands out from the other ancient cities due to its commanding location on a hilltop. After your visit, drive deeper into the Negev to the ancient Nabatean city of Shivta for an extensive visit before returning back to Mitzpe Ramon.
Har Karkom Plateau
As a conclusion of your tour on the Nabatean Traces, head deep into the desert to the plateau of Har Karkom, a wide flat area, covered with debris. However, the area appears to be quite empty, actually boring on first sight, it won’t take long, until you discover the first traces of human presence, such like rock engravings, ancient temples structures and even rock formations, some biblical scholars link to the places mentioned in the book of Exodus and Leviticus.
Please note: Since the Har Karkom Plateau is part of a restricted military area, visits are only possible on Saturdays. Yet, we will be happy to tailor your tour in a way that the Har Karkom visit will fit your travel dates.
Depending on your flight time, transfer to Tel Aviv Airport or extensions.
All our tours are private tours including private transportation and private guiding.
- Meet & Assist at Amman and Tel Aviv Airport.
- All visa formalities at the borders of Israel and Jordan, all visa fees included.
- 10 nights stay in mentioned places in good middle class hotels, basic accommodation in Mitzpe Ramon, all overnight stays incl. breakfast.
- All mentioned sightseeing tours, including transportation by private modern & tourism-licensed a/c vehicles (according to group size).
- Professional guiding by a qualified & tourism-licensed guide in Israel and Jordan.
- Half board (breakfast + dinner, excl. beverages), full board on days 8, 9, 10.
- Recommended gratuities.
- Travel Security Consultation prior to and throughout your tour.
All prices are inclusive of all mentioned services and valid throughout the year except major holidays during the high season. Please inquire for details.
- Private tour, 1 to 9 people: Please inquire for individual pricing.
- Private tour, 10 to 14 people: 1930 €
- Private tour, 15 to 20 people: 1680 €
- Private tour, 21 to 30 people: 1525 €
- Private tour, 31 to 39 people: 1440 €
- Private tour, 40 and more: Please inquire for individual pricing.
Customize Your Tour
Please feel free to provide us with your own ideas and preferences about your tour. Our travel professionals will be happy to tailor your personalized tour exactly as you want it to be!