JEDDAH 77ºF - 77ºF
Welcome to SAUDI ARABIA! ....a country of contrasts that will leave you with surprising memories! Transfer to your hotel. Arrival at JEDDAH, the second city in the country, with four million inhabitants, on the shore of the Red Sea. Transfer to your hotel and free time.
JEDDAH 77ºF - 77ºF
Full day in Jeddah, with our local guide we will visit the city. We will be surprised by its contrasts, currently a large part of the city is being rebuilt to make it a great world megalopolis, highlights the construction of the Jeddah Tower that will be the tallest building in the world with over a thousand meters high. We will follow the Corniche, with its beautiful views, its mosques by the sea and its recreational areas; we will contemplate the Fountain of King Fahd, the highest of its kind in the world, its jets reach more than 300 meters high. We will stop at the active and picturesque fish market. We will include the entrance to "Tabeyat International city" very interesting museum of history and ethnography in an architectural ensemble of great beauty. 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 take a walk through its historic center, better known as Al-Balad, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, with its impressive set of medieval alleys and its houses made with coral and wooden balconies. We will visit inside the elegant house of Beit Sallum, today converted into a museum.
JEDDAH 77ºF - 77ºF - MEDINA 63ºF - 63ºF
Early transfer to the high-speed train station. Saudi Arabia has an excellent train that crosses the desert. In less than two hours we travel the 400 kilometers that separate us from MEDINA, the holy city, "the luminous city". We are in an imposing historical destination, one of the two most sacred cities of Islam, a destination to which millions of pilgrims arrive every year and a city forbidden for non-Muslims until very recently. Respect for its inhabitants and beliefs and proper dress code is required. Arrival and lunch included. In the afternoon we will visit the Al Madinah Museum that allows us to understand a little the history of the city. At the end of the afternoon, we will go to see -from outside- the Al Masjid mosque, built by the prophet himself and place where he is buried, we will not be able to avoid feeling a surge of emotions when we observe the thousands of people who enter at the time of prayer. Dinner included.
MEDINA 63ºF - 63ºF - AL ULA
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.
AL ULA - TABUK 66ºF - 66ºF
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 in "Al-’Ula Heritage Village", the old Al-’Ula, magnificently restored with its pleasant restaurants and shops. We will also have some time to walk in the magnificent Oasis. In the middle of the afternoon, we will leave for TABUK. Dinner included.
TABUK 66ºF - 66ºF - PETRA 50ºF - 50ºF
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.
PETRA 50ºF - 50ºF - WADI RUM
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.
WADI RUM - AQABA 59ºF - 59ºF - EILAT 63ºF - 63ºF - SAINT CATHERINE 82ºF - 82ºF
After breakfast, we leave for AQABA, Jordan’s second city, lying on the banks of the Red Sea. We walk through the center before continuing to the border of ISRAEL, EILAT and arrive in this modern and tourist city with its excellent beaches. There’s time to relax, have lunch and stroll around. Are you tempted to have a swim? We then continue towards the EGYPT border, and into Sinai. On the way, there’s chance to take photographs of the Pharaoh’s Island with the powerful fortress of Saladin. Continue to SAINT CATHERINE. Arrival, accommodation and dinner included.FEES: At the border crossing from Jordan to Israel and from Israel to Egypt, every traveler must pay an entry/exit fee for the different countries. Jordan: $15 (exit fees), Israel: $32 (exit fee), Egypt: $45 (entry visa, which is actually $25 visa + $20IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to exceptional circumstances or due to a small number of participants, it may happen that we will cross directly from Jordan to Egypt by boat, taking the AQABA- TABA FERRY with a duration of just over two hours. During the ferry crossing, there will be no assistance from any guide.
SAINT CATHERINE 82ºF - 82ºF - MOSES WELL - CAIRO 59ºF - 59ºF
At the foot of Mount Sinai, we visit the impressive walled monastery of SAINT CATHERINE. According to tradition, this is where Moses saw “the Burning Bush that burned without being consumed”. The monastery, which is a sacred place for Jews, Christians and Muslims, belongs to the Orthodox Church and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We then continue on through the Sinai Desert’s picturesque landscapes. Lunch included in route. Stop at the WELL OF MOSES, a biblical site that looks like a small oasis. We will leave Sinai through the tunnel under the SUEZ CANAL. Arrival in CAIRO at the end of the afternoon. Accommodation.
CAIRO 59ºF - 59ºF
Full day visit where we explore the famous Pyramids of Cheops, Kefren and Micerinos (tickets to go inside the pyramids are not included), and also the impressive Sphinx, which is sculpted from rock. Visit to the Egyptian Museum with its ancient art and where the treasure of the Lost Tomb of Tutankhamen is kept. Lunch included. Citadel of Saladin and the Alabaster Mosque. We will take a walk through the Coptic neighborhood where we visit the Hanging Church built above a Roman fortress.
CAIRO 59ºF - 59ºF - MEIDUM - FAIYUM OASIS - WADI EL RAYAN - WADI AL HITAN - MINYA 32ºF - 32ºF
We will leave Cairo early, we will get to know an Egypt that you probably had never imagined: a country of great lakes in the middle of the desert! Stop (entrance included) at the PYRAMID OF MEIDUM, considered as the first pyramid that the ancient Egyptians tried to build, 2600 years before Christ, we are surprised by its stepped structure. We can climb to the door that gives access to the burial chamber (after descending 75 meters) and see the large mastabas that house the tombs of some relatives of the pharaoh.After that we visit the Oasis of Al Faiyum, we outline the great QARUM LAKE that allows the irrigation of the entire oasis making this area "the garden of Egypt". The shores of the lake have numerous leisure points for Egyptians. Al Fayoum is also known for "the Al Fayoum portraits", the oldest portraits in the world (today we can see them in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo). We will stop and have lunch at TUNIS village, a nice place with great ceramic crafts, lunch included. Afterwards we enter among magnificent desert landscapes, we stop at WADI RAYYAN, a saltwater lake where rare species of birds and gazelles live, an area declared a National Park. Time for a walk next to the small falls. We continue entering the desert, we travel to the enclosure of WADI AL HITTAN -the valley of the whales-, declared by Unesco a World Heritage Site. The number, concentration, and quality of the fossils, as well as their location in a protected landscape of great beauty, make the site an exceptional place. We get to visit the museum with fossilized whales (where we get to see their skeletons) and get to know about climate change.Continue to MENIA, a city of 300,000 inhabitants by the Nile, active and pleasant walk along the river. Dinner included.
MINYA 32ºF - 32ºF - BENI HASSAN 50ºF - 50ºF - MALLAWI 57ºF - 57ºF - DEIR EL MUHARRAQ - MEER GRAVES - ASYUT 63ºF - 63ºF
We start another exciting day in the center of the Nile Valley. Leaving Menia we stop at ZAWIYYET SULTAN, place of the dead, at the foot of a small pharaonic necropolis an immense cemetery with a very peculiar architecture of vaulted adobe mausoleums leads us to feel "in another world". After that we visit BENI HASSAN, the necropolis stands on cliffs above the Nile valley, 39 tombs (four are visited) dating from 2125 to 1795 years before Christ and offer us a fascinating idea of the daily life of that time. Lunch included.Following the Nile valley we stop at the TOMBS OF MIR, with its nine tombs of the Old and Middle Kingdom open to the visit. The solitude of the place is impressive (practically without tourism). Next to the tombs we visit DEIR AL MUHARRAQ, monastery and place of Coptic pilgrimage, the monks indicate that Mary and Jesus inhabited a cave in this place for six months after fleeing from Herod; according to tradition the church was built around the year 60 "the oldest Christian church in the world".Continuation to ASSIUT, provincial capital. Dinner included.
ASYUT 63ºF - 63ºF - SUHAQ - ABYDOS - LUXOR 70ºF - 70ºF
We leave Assiut for SOHAG, we are in one of the main Coptic areas of Egypt. We visit the WHITE MONASTERY, built in the fourth century (several times destroyed) and powerfully walled, in its construction stone was used that came from pharaonic temples and some blocks still show ancient Gods and hieroglyphics, at the time housed the largest library in Egypt. After that we visit the RED MONASTERY, one of the most impressive Christian buildings in Egypt, its ancient chapel of the fourth century, have most of its surface covered with frescoes (restored) that give us an idea of what religious buildings were like at the end of antiquity. We continue our route to ABYDOS, lunch included, the most important place of worship of Osiris -God of the dead-, was a place of pilgrimage and necropolis for over 4500 years (from years 4000 BC to 600 AD), there are still many tombs unexcavated. The impressive temple of Seti stands out, one of the most complete and beautiful in Egypt.Continuation to LUXOR. Arrival at the end of the day.
LUXOR 70ºF - 70ºF
During our stay in Luxor we will get to know one of the most impressive ancient cities on the planet. Early in the morning, from our hotel we will take a private boat to cross the Nile River, with its peace and impressive views early in the morning, we go to the west bank. We visited the "Valley of the Artisans" Deir el-Medina, a little-visited place, here they lived and are the tombs of great builders and craftsmen who built and decorated the royal tombs of ancient Egypt. We will visit three tombs, their paintings show scenes of daily life at that time. After that, we visit the fantastic temple of Medinet Habu, the temple of Ramses II, large and magnificently preserved, its scenes of wars will surprise us. We stopped in front of the Colossi of the Memnon, two impressive statues of Amenhotep II. We will visit the VALLEY OF THE QUEENS where the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut (Deir el Bahari) is located, considered the first woman to occupy the position of pharaoh. We also visit the famous VALLEY OF THE KINGS where the tombs of the main pharaohs are hidden. Among these tombs, composed of several rooms and corridors leading to the corresponding burial chambers (we include, in addition to the general admission, a ride in an electric cart to access the enclosure and tomb of Ramses -which requires additional entry-). Return to the east bank of Luxor. Free time for lunch.In the afternoon we visit KARNAK, it housed the most important religious complex in Ancient Egypt, highlighting the immense temple of Amun-Ra, our guide will take us to the little-crowded temple of Khinsu. We will also visit the LUXOR MUSEUM, which shows us an impressive collection of objects and mummies found in this area. After dark we include the entrance to the LUXOR TEMPLE, its lighting makes it magical at this time. Time to walk in the commercial area (souk) near the temple.Note: The order of the visits will vary based on climatological factors and procuring to visit the different locations at times of less affluence.
LUXOR 70ºF - 70ºF - DENDERA - HURGHADA 66ºF - 66ºF
Free time in the morning stroll, shop or sightseeing in Luxor. At around 11am we will leave for DENDERA, one of the best preserved Egyptian complexes thanks to the fact that it remained buried by sand and mud until it was discovered in the mid-nineteenth century. Impressive enclosure of 40,000 square meters surrounded by a burly brick wall eight to ten meters high. We are surprised by its walls and its immense doors. Temple dedicated to Hathor, goddess of love and fertility. After the visit lunch included and continuation to the Red Sea. Our highway crosses desert mountain ranges, interesting landscapes. HURGHADA, arrival in the late afternoon. We are located in the most popular of Egypt´s resorts, its hotels stretch over a strip of almost 50 kilometers. Hotel accommodation on an all-inclusive basis.
HURGHADA 66ºF - 66ºF
Full day in Hurghada. Free time during the morning to relax in the hotel facilities or go on your own to visit the large aquarium or the museum of Hurghada. After lunch (included), an excursion to get to know the area a little more. We will go to EL GOUNA, a short distance from Hurghada, we are in the most luxurious holiday town in Egypt. Numerous canals and lagoons were opened to access most of the residences by yacht, free time to walk around this exclusive place. After the center of Hurghada, we will stop next to its mosque (we will get to visit it) and walking we will go to the marina, a very touristic and lively area, with shops and restaurants. After free time, return to our hotel. Stay on an all-inclusive basis.
HURGHADA 66ºF - 66ºF - MONASTRY OF ST. PAUL AND ST. ANTHONY - AL GALALA - CAIRO 59ºF - 59ºF
Following the Red Sea, we travel to two impressive Coptic monasteries. St. Anthony and St. Paul are the oldest monasteries in Christendom, dating back to the fourth century, when monks began to settle in caves and hidden cliffs, at the foot of the Red Sea Mountain. The two monasteries are considered the holiest places of the Coptic church in Egypt. Between arid mountains, surrounded by powerful walls, the MONASTERY OF ST PAUL thrills us, with its orchards and palm trees, and the pilgrims who come to pray at its fourth century’s cave/church with its simple murals. After that we continue to the MONASTERY OF ST ANTHONY, also walled with its many buildings and adobe houses, its atmosphere seems stopped in time, the church of St Anthony, built on the tomb of the Saint houses magnificent Coptic murals of the thirteenth century. Lunch included in service area.After these emotional places we travel to EL GALALA, we will be surprised with the new cities that Egypt is building in the desert. We will go first to the luxury resort located next to the Red Sea, with its marina and water park; from here we include the cable car climb (the highest slope in Africa) to El Galala, a new city (its construction began in 2015), magnificently designed, houses a large university.Continuation to CAIRO. - Arrival at the end of the day.
CAIRO 59ºF - 59ºF - WADI EL NATRUN - ALEXANDRIA 59ºF - 59ºF
We leave Cairo, traveling to the WADI NATRUM region, an area known for its Coptic monasteries since thousands of Christians who were fleeing in the fourth century from Roman persecutions, settled in the area. The monasteries, fortified because of the attacks suffered in different historical periods, are places that receive the visit of many pilgrims and will allow us to discover their traditions. Coptic popes are chosen from among the monks of these monasteries. We will visit SAINT MACARIO, founded in the year 360, where one of its monks will guide us through the enclosure. After that we visit the monastery of ANBA BISHOY, founded in the year 340, we access the fortified tower by a drawbridge. We will visit - also guided by a monk - the church, the refectory and the fortress, where several Coptic Popes are buried. Time to stroll through the lively area and also visit the huge new cathedral. We continue our route to ALEXANDRIA, arrival in this port city with over 5 million inhabitants. Lunch included. We visit this afternoon the great QAITBEY fortress, built in 1480 on a narrow peninsula where the Hellenistic lighthouse was located, which was considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. After that, with the bus we travel the cornice, chaotic, noisy, commercial or elegant, depending on the areas. Free time. Accommodation.
ALEXANDRIA 59ºF - 59ºF - ROSSETA - CAIRO 59ºF - 59ºF
We continue our visit of ALEXANDRIA, entering the impressive CATACOMBS KOM ASH SHUQQAFA, the largest Roman cemetery in Egypt, surprising the fusion of Pharaonic and Greco-Roman style. From here we will walk with our guide between narrow, commercial and bustling alleys to the COLUMN OF POMPEY, an immense column of 30 meters high that rises on the ruins of a temple. After that, we will stop to photograph externally the new LIBRARY OF ALEXANDRIA, inaugurated in 2002 with a very modern architecture that reminds us that this city, in the third century BC, was one of the greatest centers of knowledge dissemination in ancient times. The Library of Alexandria at that time guarded more than half a million papyrus. Lunch included and continuation of our route to ROSETTA. In this small city, very close to the mouth of one of the tributaries of the Nile, the Rosetta Stone was found, just over a meter high, which was key to deciphering the hieroglyphic writing of the Egyptians since it contains the same text written in hieroglyphics, demotic and ancient Greek. We can see a replica of the Rosetta Stone in the fortress of Rashid, located a short distance away, in a picturesque small village of streets full of local life and with numerous fishing boats of multiple colors on the banks of the Nile.After that we visit Rosetta, a pleasant small town next to the Nile, we will walk through the center seeing (externally) the old Ottoman houses with their brick and wood architecture. We will also include a boat trip on the Nile to admire the views and activity of the fishing boats in the area. We return to CAIRO.- Arrival at the end of the day.NOTE: The fortress of Rashid is not very visited, sometimes it can be closed (in that case we will see it externally and walk through the picturesque village of fishermen and farmers)
CAIRO 59ºF - 59ºF
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and end of our services.
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