Day 1: Arrivals. 18:00 meeting at your hotel in Jerusalem, for introductions, technical briefing, and dinner. Includes: (D). Inbal or Mamilla, Jerusalem.
Day 2: Walking in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is (and always was) a small town by international standards, but 75% of humans round the globe have heard its name; people who never heard the names of New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Rome or Beijing know something about the city that endured 87 regime changes, two thirds of them by battle. Your guided tour in Jerusalem is an essential introduction for those whose knowledge of Israel’s history is not complete. In the morning you will visit observation points round the city, then visit the old city to see the important sites that draw the attention of millions of tourists, pilgrims, poets, artists, philosophers, politicians, worriers, and media correspondents over the ages. In the afternoon you will walk the caves of City of David. Includes: (B). Same lodging.
Day 3: Eretz Pleshet, Beit Guvrin, Arad – 72 km. Today starts with a short transfer to Herzls Tomb on the edge of Jerusalem where the cycling begins. Descend to the "flat land" or "Eretz Pleshet" as it is named in the Bible. You will see the Judean Mountains and ride through "Emek Ha'Ella" (The Goddess Valley) where young David defeated Goliath some 3000 years ago. You will visit the Roman Amphitheatre of Eleutropolis, and wander through breath-taking and famous Bell Caves of Beit Guvrin. After emerging to light again, you will transfer by vehicle from the southern tip of the Judean Mountains straight into the Judean Desert, and to the desert town of Arad. Includes: (B), (L), (D). Yehelim Boutique Hotel, Arad.
Day 4: Masada, Ein Gedi, the Dead Sea – 45 km. Masada is a fascinating archaeological site. It has breath-taking views, and a heroic story to tell. It inspires an ideological debate, and it has a lot to do with the spirit that made Israel exist. You will enjoy an awe-inspiring early-morning ride from Arad to Masada, and then climb by foot up to Masada via the Roman Ramp. You will see the recently discovered and reconstructed sites, and enjoy spectacular views of the Dead Sea, the Moab Mountains, and Jordan across the African Rift Valley. You can descend from Masada on foot or by cable car then continue on bikes to the oasis of Ein Gedi and then the waters of Dead Sea. You will then have plenty of time to enjoy the water’s healing power, and to laugh at the amazing experience of enhanced buoyancy. Transfer back to Arad at day’s end. Includes: (B), (L), (D). Same lodging.
Day 5: Mamshit, Machtesh Gadol, Mitzpe Ramon – 65 km. Begin with a bike ride from Arad to Giv'at Tzaffit along a quiet desert road. From there, you’ll transfer by van to Mamshit to visit the ancient Nabataean city. In the heart of the Negev, Mamshit was a prosperous city of great importance to the trade route that linked Egypt and India in the 1st and 2nd centuries. Afterward, cycle to Machtesh Gadol, the second largest crater in Israel. Finish with a short transfer to your luxurious inn at Mitzpe Ramon. Includes: (B), (L), (D). Beresheet Hotel or iBike, Mitzpe Ramon.
Day 6: Negev Desert – 10 to 20 km hike or mountain bike up to 45 km. This morning, you can choose between a gentle hike and a challenging off-road ride. The hike takes you to the Zin Canyon where the flora and fauna illustrate the delicate uniqueness of this desert region. It also leads to the Ein Advat Oasis, and the Ein Ma’arif observation point - a once prosperous city on the spice route linking Petra and the Mediterranean coast. The bike ride is on the well maintained Nahal Noked Trail, exploring the wonderful valley between the Halukim and Haboker Ridges enroute to an award wining winery at Kibbutz Sde Boker, also the home and burial place of David Ben Gurion. From there, both groups finish the day with a visit to the Nabatean ruins of Avdat, and a short transfer back to your brilliant inn to savour the Negev ambience. Includes: (B), (L). Same lodging.
Day 7: Machtesh Ramon, Uvda Valley, Eilat – 103 km. Start with a visit to Camel Rock from where you can see the first 30 miles of today’s ride. The optional hike on the edge of the 1500 ft. cliff is extra stunning at sunrise when there is better chance of meeting the wild ibex and soaring griffons. From Mitzpe Ramon, you will cycle the mountains of the Negev and across the desert, starting with a magnificent descent into the Machtesh Ramon crater. This fabulous ride through wide open Uvda wilderness is real desert, real desolation, and real cycling in a wonderful landscape. You will ride into the Eilat Mountains then descend to Yotvata where you can sample their renowned dairy products before a final transfer into Eilat. Includes: (B), (L), (D). Royal Beach Hotel or Queen of Sheba Hilton, Eilat.
Day 8: Eilat, choice one (Farewells). Your adventure concludes this morning following breakfast. There are several daily flights back to Tel Aviv operated by Israir and Arkia. We suggest an afternoon departure, allowing time for optional activities such as snorkelling in the Red Sea among some of the most beautiful reefs in the world. You can also choose to relax by the pool or indulge in a lavish spa treatment before continuing onto the next leg of your adventure. Includes: (B).
Day 8: Eilat, choice two extension (Jordan - Petra Extension). Depart early this morning for a two hour transfer into Jordan, and the spectacular Nabataean city that has become one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites. During Hellenistic and Roman times Petra was a busy hub where the cultures and goods of Arabia, China, India, and Africa mingled. It is still bustling today, as you will see on your guided explorations of the main sights, including the Treasury, Monastery and Qasr al-Blint. You will quickly escape the crowds and have time to investigate the many canyons, meandering tracks and secluded valleys. As darkness draws near, and the bulk of the day visitors disappear, you will experience one of the most impressive sunsets in the world. After dark, for an even more magical experience, there are optional candle light tours. Includes: (B), (D). Movenpick or Petra Moon Hotel, Petra.
Day 9: Petra & Eilat. Spend the morning exploring more of Petra on foot. Energetic walkers may opt for an early morning climb up Umm Al-Biyara to be rewarded by impressive views of Petra and the shimmering Jordanian landscape. Return to Eilat by 15:00, where you will be delivered to your hotel of choice, or the airport for flights to Tel Aviv.
- Start: Jerusalem, 18:00, day one. One hour by taxi from Ben Gurion airport. We recommend arriving before noon Friday or after dusk Saturday, to avoid public transport shortage and other inconveniences associated with Shabbat
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