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Jordan: Steam, Petra & Dead Sea
Jordan: Steam, Petra & Dead Sea OverviewOften referred to as the "Switzerland of the Middle East", Jordan welcomes travellers from around the world to explore its long history and ancient cities and landmarks. Enjoy steam journeys on the Hejaz Railway and see the wonders of Petra, Jerash and Madaba.
Day 1 – Fly to Amman
Afternoon direct flight from London Heathrow to Queen Alia Airport, arriving in the evening. There will be assistance with customs and immigration procedures (including Visas) followed by a transfer to our hotel for a 2-night stay.
Day 2 – Jerash, Madaba & Mount Nebo
Drive through pine forests and olive groves to the Greco-Roman city of Jerash. Enjoy a guided tour of the colonnade-lined street, the hippodrome, which hosted chariot races in front of 15,000 spectators , the Temple of Zeus (built around 162 AD) and the vast Roman Forum. In the afternoon, continue to the market town of Madaba which is home to some of the finest Byzantine-era mosaics in the world. The whole archaeological area, known as Um er-Rasas, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A short 9km journey takes us to Mount Nebo, home to the Moses Memorial Church, which is part of a functioning monastery and boasts sweeping views of the Dead Sea.
Day 3 – Steam Charter South
Only two sections of the Hejaz Railway (originally planned to link Constantinople with Mecca) are still operable, and both are found in Jordan. Today we charter our first steam train on the mainline south from Amman to Al Qatraneh. From here, we continue by bus to Kerak Castle. This ancient Crusader stronghold and nearby Mamluk fortress, date back to the 12th Century and dominate the skyline of the city below. We continue to Petra for a 2-night stay.
Day 4 – The "Rose City"
Full day trip to the famous Ancient City of Petra, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We journey through the 1.2 km Siq (or canyon) either on foot or on horseback (optional) which snakes its way towards the hidden city. Dating back to around 300 BC, the site contains tombs and temples carved into the pink sandstone cliffs. We return to the hotel for our evening meal before experiencing "Petra by Night", where the site is lit by only candles and fairy lights.
Day 5 – Wadi Rum & Desert Steam
Today we visit 'Little Petra' and the Neolithic ruins of Al Beidha which are around 9,000 years old. We then continue south to Wadi Rum, also known as the "Valley of the Moon" and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This magical ecosystem in the Jordanian desert features sweeping red sand dunes and towering sandstone arches. Here we have the second of our steam train charters, a journey that runs from Disah along a little used branch-line. Tonight we have a BBQ dinner under a starry sky and overnight in the desert in en suite goat hair tents.
Day 6 – The Dead Sea
Awake to a spectacular sunrise before taking a 2-hour morning tour of the desert in 4x4 vehicles. We then continue by road down to Earth's lowest elevation on land – the Dead Sea, whose shores and surface are more than 400m below sea level. There will be time to experience the buoyant waters and famous mineral-rich mud.
Day 7 – Bethany Beyond the Jordan
After a relaxing morning at leisure, visit the baptism site of Bethany Beyond the Jordan, another UNESCO World Heritage site. The majority of Christian Churches believe this to be the location where Jesus of Nazareth was baptized by John the Baptist. It features Roman and Byzantine remains including churches and chapels, a monastery, caves that have been used by hermits and pools in which baptisms were celebrated. We return to Amman tonight for another 2-night stay.
Day 8 – Amman City Tour
A full day city tour exploring both old and new Amman. Citadel Hill serves up ruins that date back to the Bronze and Iron Ages as well as the Roman, Byzantine and Umayyad periods. Another highlight is the Roman Theatre which is thought to have been built originally in the 2nd Century AD. Although it has forgone a thorough restoration, this three-tiered structure has a seating capacity of 6,000 and is still an impressive sight. We also have time to visit the Royal Automobile Museum, home to more than 70 classic cars and motorbikes from the personal collection of King Hussein, and to soak up the atmosphere in the souks (markets).
Day 9 – Flight to UK
Early morning transfer to the airport for our direct flight back to London Heathrow, with an afternoon arrival.
- Flights in Economy Class by scheduled airlines
- Visa fees and assistance on arrival in Jordan
- Accommodation in good quality hotels on a half board basis
- All excursions and admission charges as listed
- All transfers as stated
- Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour plus local English speaking guide in Jordan