Translating to ‘Hill of Spring’ from Hebrew, Tel Aviv is a city of rebirth and rejuvenation that combines the culture of the Middle East with the energy of the Mediterranean coast. A blend of tradition and innovation, this city is your gateway to exploring some of the national treasures of Israel and Jordan and the perfect place to first familiarise yourself with the history, character and of course, cuisine of the region. Your private guide will meet you upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport to take you to the first hotel on your one-week journey through Israel and Jordan. Drop off your bags, get settled in then prepare yourself to discover the wonders of this vibrant Middle Eastern metropolis.
It’s time to explore the wonders and delicacies that Tel Aviv has to offer and there’s no place where these are more accessible than in the city’s great markets. If you want to explore, your private guide will take you to spend the early afternoon exploring Carmel and Levinksy market, both in close proximity to one another and renowned specifically for their high-quality food vendors selling fresh produce and local specialities. After this, take a short walk to the ancient port city of Jaffa where you will find the most eclectic of all markets in the area, the Jaffa Flea Market known locally as Shuk HaPishpeshim. A feast for the senses, the antique city’s winding narrow streets are lined with colourful food stalls and chatty vendors selling everything from vintage knick-knacks to antique furniture.
If the sights and smells of the market food stalls pique your curiosity, we will happily arrange for you to delve deeper into Israeli cuisine through a private cooking lesson from a respected professional chef. With the chef’s guidance, you’ll learn how to cook some of Israel’s most loved dishes using fresh local ingredients from the markets you have just explored. For the real foodies among you, we can also arrange for a renowned local restaurateur to take you on an intimate tour around the food markets before hosting a cooking workshop in his restaurant’s kitchen.
After freshening up back at the hotel and enjoying a dip in the pool or an aperitif at the hotel’s bar, head out into town for dinner. There is an incredible range of food options in Tel Aviv, so let your nose lead you where you want to go. An iMBARC favourite is Maysha. Located in the Mendeli Street Hotel, Maysha is a restaurant that distils the colours and flavours of the city’s outdoor food markets into delicious and creative dishes that showcase the brilliant and diverse flavours of traditional Israeli cuisine. The chef’s focus here is on simple ingredients, creative cooking methods and unique spices, particularly mace, the special spice which lies at the core of the restaurant’s menu of reimagined regional plates.
Rise and shine early this morning and enjoy breakfast before moving on to the next stop on your adventure, Jerusalem. An ancient city of monumental significance both in terms of religion and history, Jerusalem is steeped in fascinating sites that you can explore on foot. Your guide will give you the inside track, sharing insights on where to go to best experience this sacred city without getting caught up in the tourist masses. After a morning of exploring, either pick up lunch at the Jewish Market, or if you’d prefer a sit-down meal, the iMBARC team and your guide can find you the perfect stop. You could find yourself at one of the country’s most popular modern restaurants, Machneyuda where you will be treated to rich Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavours in a lively and rustic setting.
After lunch in Jerusalem, your desert adventure begins. Board a helicopter for a remarkable scenic flight over cities and towns and into the vast Negev Desert. Covering over half of the country’s total land area, the Negev is totally enchanting, and if you’ve never experienced the surreal beauty of a desert landscape, it will blow you away. When you land, you will be greeted by a completely bespoke luxury desert campsite set up for you by your hosts. The desert-chic pop-up oasis features spacious and elegant canvas tents filled with everything you need for a very comfortable stay. Drop the bags off in your tent, enjoy a hot shower in the eco-friendly bathing cabin and then indulge in a full Israeli BBQ feast as you lounge on the traditional desert pillows and mats around a large campfire.
After your traditional campsite breakfast, it’s time to head towards Eilat, an Israeli port town on the Red Sea. On the way, your guide will stop at the Ramon Crater in the town of Mitzpe Ramon. 500 metres deep, the crater is the world’s largest erosion cirque and is found at the peak of Mount Negev. After admiring this natural wonder, you’ll cross the border into Jordan where you’ll be met by your new Jordanian guide who will accompany you for the second half of your journey. From the border, explore another extraordinary desert, the Wadi Rum.
Also known as ‘The Valley of the Moon’, the Wadi Rum is the largest valley in Jordan and has a mystical otherworldly aura that has to be experienced to be understood. With your private guide’s expert insight, spend the afternoon hiking, climbing, and camelback riding across this stunning landscape. Before sunset, go deeper into the desert where a Bedouin camp awaits. The tented suites here are expertly positioned to ensure mesmerising views especially as the sun goes down and casts vibrant rays across the copper-coloured sands. For dinner, our team will prepare a traditional Bedu feast for you to tuck into under a canopy of stars in the inky black sky.
Take to the skies this morning and experience the desert from a whole new perspective – from the vantage point of a hot air balloon at sunrise. You’ll need to beat the sun in getting up this morning but trust us, watching the colours of the desert transform from night to day in a hot air balloon is a bucket list moment that you’ll never forget. After touching down back on land, a breakfast spread awaits you at camp. Enjoy your meal perched on the edge of a cliff looking down on the valley below you. Before moving on from the campsite, take the early afternoon to try out another desert experience or two. From sand boarding to 4x4 jeep explorations, our team can arrange unique actives according to your preferences. After a picnic lunch in the desert, your guide will take you to your next destination, Petra.
No matter how many photographs of Petra you may have seen, it’s impossible to fully comprehend the majesty of this historical and archaeological site without experiencing it first-hand. The extraordinary site dates back to around 300 BC and is made up of temples and tombs carved into the pink-hued sandstone cliffs. Upon arrival in Petra, you will check into a hotel just a few metres away from the ancient city’s entrance. Settle in and enjoy a sundowner before an early dinner at the hotel. After dinner, you will enter the ancient city’s gates for a fascinating completely private tour of Petra, lit only by candles and the stars in the night sky.
On your final morning, enjoy a light breakfast at the hotel before entering the ancient city once more – this time to experience Petra by day. Travel further afield into Little Petra, a beautiful (and less busy) archaeological site located north of Petra. Here, our team can organise a private Arabian picnic for you to take in the last magical moments of your journey before gathering your bags at the hotel and departing back home.