itinerary for 16 day-trip in Israel and Jordan
Replies: 23 - Last Post: Jul 9, 2012 2:35 AM Last Post By: Genya
Jun 16, 2012 7:12 AM
itinerary for 16 day-trip in Israel and JordanHello,
in July we will fly to Israel for a 16-day trip around Israel and part of Jordan.
We have made an itinerary and we would love some feedback about it:
sunday arrival in Jerusalem (late at night)
monday visit Dead Sea – travel to Masada
tuesday watch sunrise at Masada – travel to Eilat / Aqaba
wednesday Eilat / Aqaba (go diving)
thursday travel to Wadi Rum
friday Wadi Rum (day trip 4WD + overnight stay in desert)
saturday travel to Petra
tuesday travel back to Jerusalem
Does this itinerary seem realistic? Or is it too much/too little for 16 days?
We have ignored the north of Israel, because we think it wouldn’t fit in the itinerary and we definitely want to visit Wadi Rum and Petra. But is this a wise decision or would you recommend on going there anyway?
Jun 16, 2012 8:17 AM
1You really don't need 3 days in Bethlehem, unless you are using it as a base to visit other parts of the West Bank. Bethlehem has a few churches to see, a nice Old City market and some great cafes and restaurants. But you can easily see the highlights in an afternoon. Also, three full days in Jerusalem should be plenty to see the highlights, though if you like to linger and wander about, of course, Jerusalem is endlessly fascinating.
If you took two of your Bethlehem days and one fewer day in Jerusalem, you would have three days to head north and explore the Galilee and/or coast. I don't know what your interests are, but there are amazing historical sites, religious sites, hiking areas, natural sites, etc in the Galilee and along the Mediterranean Coast.
July is unbelievably hot in Israel, so be sure to carry plenty of water, sun hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc.
Jun 16, 2012 8:43 AM
2Your overall game plan is very well thought out.
Whether you see the north of Israel is a personal decision.
When first reading your itinerary I thought the same thing as yallah about Bethlehem; three days is too many. I have to disagree though about Jerusalem. IMHO Jerusalem is one of the world's most fascinating cities. I could easily spend two weeks there alone and not see it all or get bored. I wouldn't cut an hour from Jerusalem.
Whatever you do don't cut any days from Petra or Wadi Rum as you've allocated the perfect amount of time to see those two spots.
Jun 16, 2012 1:05 PM
3IMHO your itinerary needs a lot of work and doesn't make sense at all.
Here's my suggestion for bases for touring and in the following order. It's always best to leave Jerusalem for last on a tour to Israel (saving the best for last).
2 nights Tel Aviv (Consider staying in one of the Atlas Hotels properties: www.atlas.co.il)
3 nights Galilee - Stay in one of the kibbutz guesthouses and NOT in either Tiberias or Nazareth.
1 night Dead Sea - Masada Guesthouse is a great choice here.
1 night Eilat
1 night Petra (Consider booking a 2-day tour to Petra and Wadi Rum vis Desert Eco Tours from Eilat.)
1 night Eilat
4 nights Jerusalem
The idea is to start in the 'capital of Mediterranean cool." If you'd like to explore independently, rent a car when you're ready to leave Tel Aviv and head north along the Mediterranean coast. You could explore first Caesarea, Akko and Rosh Hanikra and end the day at your base in Galilee. The following days tour the sites of Galilee and don't miss the Golan Heights.
When you're ready to head south, take Hwy 90 south along the Jordan Valley and stop at the Dead Sea region overnight. Next day tour Masada, Ein Gedi and bathe in the Dead Sea then continue further south to Eilat.
You'll start your excursion to Petra & Wadi very early in the morning from Eilat and return to Eilat the following evening. The next day head north to Jerusalem and get rid of the rental car.
From Jerusalem you can do a half-day excursion to Bethlehem.
Jun 16, 2012 1:28 PM
4Since dave and I are on opposite ends of the opinion spectrum here, I'll explain why I don't agree with his proposed itinerary (btw - all of us offer our opinons. No one is right or wrong, just different perspectives).
You didn't mention Tel Aviv as a destination so to include it as a two night stay makes no sense to me. Obviously, you know TA exists and I trust you didn't include it because you know you don't want to spend time there.
Petra and Wadi Rum are unique destinations in all the world. To allocate just one night between the two and rush like crazy to see two places that need three days to do them justice makes no sense to me.
Spending two nights in Eilat (split between two seperate stays) also has no appeal to me. You listed one day to go diving which should be more than enough.
Booking tours is again a matter of personal opinion. They have their place, but to pay the extra cost of a tour to see such easy places as Wadi Rum and Petra would be a total waste of money, IMHO.
I'll go back to my original opinion that your proposed itineray, except for the comments noted in #1 and #2, is pretty sound.
Jun 16, 2012 2:40 PM
5The OP didn't mention Tel Aviv - that may be because he/she doesn't realize its importance. Of course nothing is required when you tour independently, I do wish to point something out - it's impossible to come to any meaningful understanding of the modern State of Israel without spending at least a single day in Tel Aviv. If this is your first visit to our country and you skip Tel Aviv, that's fine, but understand that you haven't really been exposed to the heart of the modern Jewish State.
Galilee is another major desination in Israel for most visitors. It is one of our most beautiful regions and holds tremendous historical importance. If you come from a Christian heritage (even if you're not religious), do remember that Jesus of Nazareth spent the most significant part of his life on earth on the northwest shores of the Sea of Galilee. You could easily see that region with the time you have, so why not do it?
And for all visitors a day in the Golan Heights is certainly worth your time as well.
The only reason I split Eilat into 2 separate stays is that's the only way it can reasonably be done if you choose the organized tour route. BTW, Desert Eco Tours will do a private tour for you or a very small group tour and they get great reviews. It's an option worth considering, though exploring on your own could also work.
Jun 16, 2012 10:28 PM
6I agree with yallah and lake traveller. However, I also agree with what davetheguide says about Tel Aviv. It's easy to travel for one late afternoon and evening to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem, and back (about one hour each way). This shouldn't make any significant dent in your Jerusalem plans. However, the choice is yours. We don't know your preferences. In any event, you'll have a great time.
Jun 17, 2012 3:16 PM
Israel : I think four days in Jerusalem is too long. You can really get a good feel for it in a couple of days (maybe three if you plan on lingering). Also, I've never been to Bethlehem (just drove through there) but my guess is that three full days is too much. You probably could cut that down to a day or two.
Jordan: You probably need only a day to see Petra - I did, though there were parts of it that I didn't see that might have required an extra day. Depending on where you go on Wadi Ram, you don't need a day to get there. You can travel at night after your second day at Petra (if you stay a second day) and do the Wadi Ram the next day (Wadi Ram by jeep, by the way, is one of the coolest things I've ever done, and I've been to Israel some 25 times).
I suggest you shave a day off Bethlehem, at least a day off Jerusalem, and use the extra time to spend a couple of days in Tel Aviv. It seems from your post that you're more interested in history/religion, but if you've never been, Tel Aviv is worth a couple of days. Check out Old Jaffa, the nightlife in the Florentin district, and the cafe culture on Dizengoff and Allenby streets. The beaches are fun too, but crowded.
Jun 18, 2012 12:37 AM
Jun 18, 2012 1:55 AM
9Well, I think OP's trip sounds nice, as for the whole Tel Aviv debate, I can say I loved my time there...I spent it entirely on the beach and then meeting nice Israelis and while I kept meaning on making it to Jaffa, I never got around to it. My issue is only one day diving?!?!? Well I don't know what the diving is like in Eilat/Aqaba, I did mine further south in Egypt, but I've been all over and the diving in the Red Sea was amazing, second only to the Great Barrier Reef.
No matter how you decide to spend your time, I can guarantee it won't be enough, heck you could spend months and months in both countries and it won't be enough, just figure out what your really wanting to experience and see and schedule some 'getting lost'/wondering around time, because that's when you really get to experience a country and it's people, I did that in Jerusalem and Petra and loved it.
Jun 19, 2012 11:53 AM
10Thanks a lot for the many reactions!
It’s interesting to hear about your experiences and the different point of views.
Meanwhile, since we aren’t really experienced SCUBA divers (we did the PADI open water course in Thailand 1,5 years ago and after that we didn’t dive anymore), we have changed our minds about diving in Eilat. We’re afraid it’s not going to be worthwhile due to lack of experience and time to just spend one day of diving there. Please let us know what you think about our decision.
This means we have some more time to travel either through the north of Israel OR through the West Bank. We think we don’t have enough time (around 4-5 days) to do both in a proper matter (we like to travel at a relatively slow pace).
This brings us to a yet undiscussed topic in this post: North of Israel vs. West Bank.
Since we already know there are some different perspectives on this forum, we would love to hear your opinions about this dilemma.
Jun 19, 2012 12:20 PM
Jun 19, 2012 1:20 PM
12The "North of Israel" means Galilee and the Golan Heights.
Galilee is a major desination in Israel for most visitors. It is one of our most beautiful regions and holds tremendous historical importance. If you come from a Christian heritage (even if you're not religious), do remember that Jesus of Nazareth spent the most significant part of his life on earth on the northwest shores of the Sea of Galilee. Hard to imagine coming to Israel and skipping over Galilee.
Where exactly in the West Bank were you planning on visiting? With all due respect to our Palestinian neighbors, Nablus and Ramallah can't hold a candle to what Galilee offers you. Bethlehem and Jericho can be visited as a day trip from Jerusalem.
Jun 19, 2012 9:47 PM
13It depends what you want to do in the West Bank.
For the ordinary traveler wanting to see the popular tourist sites within a limited time frame, I agree with davetheguide: Bethlehem and Jericho in a day trip is sufficient and the rest of the time would be better spent in the Galilee and Golan. If you have reasons for visiting other parts of the WB, please let us know and we can suggest something else.
Jun 20, 2012 7:45 AM
14Personally I'd fiddle a bit with your Jerusalem/bethlehem plans, stay only in Jerusalem, maybe cut a day from the total, visit bethlehem for a day, jehrico for a day and Ramallah for a day? Personally I love Ramallah and find it an interesting city.
You may want to split your Jerusalem time in two, so you can return and d enjoy a couple of days at the end when it will feel more familiar to you.
I like the idea about of going to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem, personally I've never found much there but it is interesting and such a contrast to Jerusalem. You can also relax on the beach if you like.
As for north I'd suggest leaving it for another trip. You've said you like leisurily pace and what you must see so I'd just increase your trips from Jeru. Of course, unless you're booking everything in advance you can always play around when you're there. If you tire of Jerusalem just jump on a bus to somewhere in the north - say tiberias and take it from there (nowhere is really that far away)
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