Levantine Adventure Tour – New Version for 2012

October 14, 2011by Brenda Pierce

Every year we have offered a tour called the Levantine Adventure that covered the countries of Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. It is an award winning tour and one of our most popular. In light of the situation in Syria, we have changed the tour to an itinerary we noticed several clients had us create for their private tours. We hope you like this new version of the Levantine Tour! The original tour will be back when the situation permits. 

Lebanon, Jordan, & Israel Tour
March 2 – 16, 2012   $4780 pp/do


Fri Mar 2: Welcome to Lebanon! Upon your arrival at Beirut International Airport, you will be met and assisted, then transferred to our hotel in Beirut for check in. Dinner and overnight in Beirut. (D)
Sat Mar 3: After breakfast we depart for a Beirut city tour. We drive to the downtown district to see the huge reconstruction project-taking place to create a new commercial and residential district of the 21st century. This project has actually discovered that the capital is standing on the site of a very ancient settlement going back at least 5,000 years. Recent excavations have uncovered important archaeological sites from Canaanite, Phoenician, and Persian, Roman, Byzantine, Omayyad, Abbassid, Crusader, Mamluke and Ottoman eras. The 1.80 sq. meters reconstruction project includes new buildings but constructed in the traditional style, besides hundreds of old structures that have been restored and renovated to its original shapes, including Beirut’s souks and historical mosques and churches. Proceed to Corniche road and stop for a short walk in the favorite promenade of many Beirutis. Further along, the road climbs steeply to a cliff edge, which is the headland of Beirut, with an array of cliff-top restaurants and cafes-, a panoramic view of the bay and famous Pigeon’s Rock. The road then leads down, stretching out to a beautiful sandy beach and a prestigious residential area of Ramlet El-Baida. Our city tour ends with a visit to the National Museum. In the afternoon we will head into the mountains to visit Deir El Qamar and Beiteddine. First we drive to Damour, a small town, 17km south of Beirut, and climb another 26km east, passing through the charming town of Deir el-Qamar (the residence of Lebanese governors during 16th century), until we reach the imposing palace of Beiteddine. The palace is the best example of early 19th century Lebanese architecture, built over a 30-year period by Emir Bashir. Visit the palace complex and its museums (costume and weapons of that era) as well as a fine collection of well-preserved Byzantine mosaics. Return to our hotel for a rest then we will have dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight in Beirut. (B/D)
Sun Mar 4: This morning we start with a visit to the Jeita Grotto, a beautiful natural wonder, and best caverns in the Middle East. Transfer by cable car to the caverns, which consist of two parts – lower and upper galleries. The lower ones are visited by boat ride, while the upper caverns you will see on foot. Enjoy the refreshingly cool temperature, the sound of rushing water, columns and sculptures that have been formed by water and time. After our visit we continue to Byblos and discover a town that goes back 7,000 years. Located 37km north of Beirut, Byblos is a charming small town of great history. Visit its ancient sites, and then explore the old part of the town on foot, starting from fishermen’s harbor, leading uphill towards the Church of St. John the Baptist and souks. Lunch at a local restaurant in Byblos. We return to our hotel in Beirut for overnight. (B/L)
Mon Mar 5: After breakfast we head east again and cross the Mount Lebanon range and drive through the Beqaa plain towards Baalbeck, 85km from Beirut, to visit Lebanon’s greatest Roman treasure, counted among the wonders of the ancient world. The site includes the temples of Jupiter, Bacchus and Venus, with the remarkable Great Court and the Hexagonal Forecourt. After our visit of this magnificent site we will drive to Ksara Caves for wine tasting, with a stop in Anjar, to visit this historical Omayyad site, located in the southern part of the plain. Lunch will be at a local restaurant in Zahle. We return to our hotel in Beirut for overnight. (B/L)
Tues Mar 6: We check out after breakfast and transfer to Beirut Airport for our flight to Jordan. Upon our arrival at the airport we will be met and assisted, then transfer to Amman for dinner and overnight at the Regency Palace Hotel. (B/D)
Weds Mar 7: After breakfast, begin the day with a city tour of Amman. Amman, the capital of Jordan, offers both the old and new. See the Roman Amphitheater followed by the Citadel, the Archeological Museum, Folklore Museum, and the beautiful King Abdullah Mosque. Afterwards we will visit some of the desert castles. In the 7th and 8th centuries the Umayyad Caliphs built the Muslim treasures known as the Desert Castles, east of Amman. These were originally hunting lodges, but of course they were the height of luxury at that time. Return to Amman for dinner at Tawaheen El Hawa Restaurant and overnight at the Regency Palace Hotel. (B/D)
Thurs Mar 8: After breakfast, we visit the Roman city of Jerash. In Jerash you will visit the ruins of one of the grandest Roman cities in the Middle East. You will see the Triumphal Arch, the Hippodrome, the Temple of Zeus, the Forum, the mile long street of Columns, the Nymphaeum, the Temple of Artemis and the Viaduct Church. The Amphitheater is still used for an arts festival and is remarkably well preserved. Next we will head southwest and down into the Jordan Valley to visit the archeological site of Bethany, the ancient settlement of John the Baptist and where Jesus is believed to have been baptized in the Jordan River. Continue on to the Dead Sea for dinner and overnight at the Kempinski Dead Sea Resort Hotel. (B/D)
Fri Mar 9: After breakfast, enjoy leisure time until 11:00 am, then we head to Mount Nebo, where you will visit the church on top of the hill from where, it is believed, Moses viewed the Promised Land. His tomb is also located at this site, as well as a beautiful array of mosaics in the floor of the church. You will be able to experience the spectacular panorama of the Jordan Valley, Jericho and the Judean Hills, just as Moses did. Our next stop will be at Madaba. In the town of Madaba we will visit St. George Church, home to a stunning mosaic map of the ancient Middle East. Afterwards we will head south to the fortress of Kerak. Kerak is a crusader fortress, built over older fortresses, located on the King’s Highway in the area known in ancient times as Moab. The history during the Crusades of this fortress is filled with intrigue, treachery, and murder. But the history of this area goes back to the Iron Age and the ancient Nabateans. Continue to Petra for dinner and overnight at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. (B/D)
Sat Mar 10: Enjoy breakfast then we begin our exploration of Petra, the “Rose Red City.” This incredible hidden city, inhabited by the ancient Nabateans, lay concealed from 100 AD until it was re-discovered in the early 1800’s. Take a horse ride to the “Siq” (Canyon) entrance then walk the rest of the way through the narrow, winding cut in rocks into the valley. Your first glimpse of the magnificence of the place will be of the Treasury as you round the last bend on the pathway. The Treasury and the other buildings have been carved out of the canyon walls in the pink sandstone. Continue past the Roman Theatre, the Corinthian Tomb and the Palace Tomb. Dinner and overnight in Petra at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. (B/D)
Sun Mar 11: After breakfast, we transfer to Wadi Rum for a 4×4 jeep tour exploring the desert canyons, rock formations and more. The canyon or wadi is a nature preserve and has an abundance of desert flora and fauna, set in a landscape sometimes called the Valley of the Moon. Afterwards, transfer to Aqaba and the border with Israel at Arava. We cross into Israel and are welcomed by our Israeli guide. We continue to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight. (B/D)
Mon Mar 12: Enjoy breakfast then we start the day with a panoramic view atop Mount of Olives. We will drive to the Old City and visit the sites sacred to the three religions, including the Via Dolorosa, Holy Sepulcher, the Temple Mount, and view the Dome of the Rock at the Al Aqsa Mosque. In the afternoon we will visit the scale model of Jerusalem in the second temple in the Israel Museum and the Shrine of the Book housing the Dead Sea Scrolls. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. (B/D)
Tues Mar 13: We check out after breakfast and depart Jerusalem and drive via the Judean Hills to the Dead Sea. We drive along the shores of the Dead Sea to Massada where we will visit King Herod’s winter palace and the last stronghold of the Zealots in their war against the Romans (ascent & descent by cable car). After a short dip in the Dead Sea we drive north, via the Jordan valley to the Sea of Galilee. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Tiberias. (B/D)
Weds Mar 14: We start our sightseeing today with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Afterwards, we will drive around the Sea of Galilee and visit Capernaum, Mount of Beatitude which is the site of the Sermon on the Mount, and Tabgha, the site of the Miracle of Loves and Fish. We continue to Nazareth for a visit to the Church of Annunciation. In the late afternoon we will visit the Yardenit Baptismal site. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Tiberias. (B/D)
Thurs Mar 15: After breakfast we depart Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee and drive west to Acre where we will visit the Knight’s Hall and the Old City. Continue south to Haifa and enjoy a panoramic view from atop Mount Carmel and visit the magnificent Bahai Gardens. We continue our rive south along the coast and arrive in Tel-Aviv for dinner and overnight. (B/D)
Fri Mar 16: Breakfast and check out. Transfer to the airport for our flights home. (B) 

For full details click the link at the top of the itinerary.

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