Visit Petra, the Dana Nature Reserve, and the Dead Sea
Journey into the past as you explore the stark beauty and archeological treasures of the Kingdom of Jordan. Discover the "Lost City" of Petra, once a thriving city of 30,000 inhabitants, and be awed by its giant walls of carved red sandstone architecture. Red and white sandstone cliffs will also surround you as you descend from the top of the Rift Valley through the Dana Nature Reserve. And balance this incredible exploration with luxury, from spa treatments at the Dead Sea-1,300 feet below sea level!-to gourmet Arabic cooking lessons. So come discover the rich history, hospitality, and scenery that await you on this adventure in the Fertile Crescent.
Cultural & archaeological touring, optional hiking
- Discover the ancient rose-red city of Petra, a UNESCO world heritage site
- Explore the small hillside town of Dana and the Dana Nature Reserve
- Experience the healing powers of the Dead Sea—the lowest point on the earth!
Duration: 6 days Start Location: Amman End Location: AmmanDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Amman
Arrive at the Amman International Airport in Jordan. You will be met by an MTS representative who will assist you with customs and visa formalities. We’ll then transfer by air-conditioned vehicle to your hotel.
Depending on what time you arrive, you may be able to join a tour of Amman. This is an ancient city, with the first known archeological findings dating back to 8,500 B.C. This area has been ruled by the Assyrians, the Persians, and the Greeks, who renamed the city Philadelphia. More recently, Amman became the capital of the Emirate of Transjordan in 1921. All of this makes for a treasure-trove of architectural diversity, ranging from Roman amphitheatres to whitewashed modern mosques, where the call to prayer echoes from slender minarets. We’ll visit Citadel Hill, which is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited places, with records of occupation dating back to the Neolithic period. We’ll also spend some time at Jordan’s renowned Archeology Museum, which has on display some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, among other things. An invigorating walk will bring us from the Citadel to the Roman Theatre and the nearby Folklore Museum.
Day 2 : Mt. Nebo – Madaba – Kerak – Petra
Today begins with an early morning departure for the archaeological site of Petra, renowned for its rock hewn architecture. Along the way we’ll stop at Mt. Nebo. The view from the summit of Nebo is exquisite; from here you can see the Jordan River, the West Bank city of Jericho, and on a clear day, Jerusalem off in the distance. According to the Bible, it was here that God gave Moses a view of the Holy Land of the Jews, and many scholars even claim that Moses is buried here. After coming down from the mountain, we’ll head for Madaba, a city known for the Byzantine-era mosaics, including intricate maps of Palestine and the Nile Delta. We’ll take an afternoon walking tour of the city, and have lunch at Haret Jdoudna Restaurant in Madaba.
In the mid afternoon, we’ll motor down the King’s Highway—one of the most ancient and storied routes on Earth. Lined on both sides by prehistoric villages, this was the road that Moses hoped to use as he led his people towards the Promised Land. It has also been suggested that this was the route taken in the Bible by the Kings of the North as they went to do battle with the Cities of the Plain, including the iconically sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. We’ll stop along the way at Kerak to visit the Crusaders Castle of Kerak, before continuing on to the “rose-city.” We’ll arrive in Petra and check in to our hotel. Dinner will be served at the main restaurant of Petra Mövenpick Resort.
Day 3 : Petra
We begin the day with a buffet breakfast at our hotel, and then enjoy a full day of guided tours inside the 'rose-city'. Anyone with a passion—or even just a casual interest—in archeology will find Petra to be one of the most awe-inspiring locales anywhere on the planet. Petra was the most important city in ancient Nabataea, and a major player in the international spice trade. The city was renowned for its ability to control water, and early engineers built impressive dams, spillways, and irrigation channels to harness and utilize the spring floods.
Hydraulic wonders aside, Petra is best known for the temples carved directly into the rose-colored walls. The ancient structures were repurposed and remodeled by the Romans in the 4th-century A.D. In the mid 6th-century a massive earthquake caused the city to depopulate and be forgotten until it was rediscovered by a Swiss explorer in 1812. We’ll spend the day wandering through this ghostly city of rock, marveling at the majestic ruin of Al-Khazneh (the Treasury) through the dramatic narrow entrance of the As-Siq’s red rock gorge, and sit at the massive amphitheatre built by the Nabataeans. Carved mostly out of living rock, the entire city has the feeling of a great tomb, and indeed the eastern entrance to the city requires travelers to pass through a gorge that is only three to four feet wide at points, emphasizing the foreboding feeling of arriving here.
We’ll take lunch inside Petra at Basin Restaurant. And, depending upon your energy level, you may take an hour hike up to the 'Monastery' of Petra, perched over and overlooking the ancient city. Tonight’s dinner requires a bit of participation, since it will include an Arabic cooking lesson at the Petra Kitchen!
Day 4 : Petra – Dana – Dead Sea
We set out after breakfast this morning to the Dana Nature Reserve (a 45 minute drive). This nature reserve stretches from the highlands of Jordan’s Rift Valley to the Wadi Araba lowlands. Red and white sandstone cliffs frame a small but vibrant nature area that is home to numerous rare and endangered species, including the Blandford’s fox and the Syrian Serin finch. We’ll have time to do a hike here, and have lunch at the Dana Guest House (or, depending on the interests of the group, arrange for a box lunch so we can enjoy a longer hike).
In the afternoon we continue to the Dead Sea. In addition to being hyper-saline, the Dead Sea is the point of lowest elevation on earth, measuring out at 1,378 feet below sea level. Because the sea is 30% percent salt—eight times saltier than the Atlantic Ocean—little in the way of plant or animal life can survive here, hence the appellation “Dead.” Nonetheless, this is a beautiful area and the mountains surrounding the sea are rich in plant and animal life. There is also a long history of human habitation and use of this area, and this location makes repeated appearances in the Bible. Here we’ll visit the spot thought to be the place where Jesus was baptized before heading into the wilderness. Check in at the Dead Sea Mövenpick Hotel, a luxury resort and spa located near the Jordan River, where we will take our meals.
Day 5 : Dead Sea
After a leisurely breakfast we’ll have a full day to enjoy the hotel and indulge in legendary Dead Sea spa treatments. Travelers have long attributed many different health effects to the air and water of the Dead Sea, perhaps because of the abundance of minerals in the water, along with low levels of pollen and other allergens. This is your day to relax and be pampered, so be sure to take full advantage of the unique natural features and the talents of the hotel’s staff!
If you aren’t thoroughly absorbed in wet wraps and hot mud, you have the option for a short and easy hike to Wadi Mujib, a nature reserve located in a steep gorge that feeds into the Dead Sea. In addition to thickets of Acacia, Tamarisk and Phoenix palms, this gorge is an important stopover spot for many species of birds, including numerous species of raptor.
Day 6 : Depart Jordan
After one last breakfast within sight of the Dead Sea, it’s time to transfer to Queen Alia airport (a one hour drive) for flights home. One of our staff will assist you with airport check-in and immigration formalities.
DATES: Best time to go: March - May, September - November Departures: Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availability. Call us for details.
Petra Mövenpick ResortPetra
The Mövenpick Resort Petra is located directly at the entrance to the historic Jordanian city of Petra. This resort with an oriental flair features an exciting combination of natural stone, handcrafted wood and Middle Eastern fabrics and textures.
With 183 newly renovated rooms and suites and a wide variety of restaurants for your culinary cravings, the Mövenpick Resort Petra will certainly provide long lasting memories. Enjoy your time spent in one of the world’s most extraordinary destinations.
Dead Sea Mövenpick HotelDead Sea
The 5-star Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea is found in a traditional village setting nestled amongst lush gardens. The resort is set on the northern shores of the, at the lowest point on earth. With your well-being and balance in mind, this resort is an oasis of tranquillity.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
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