Once you have arrived in Jerusalem, you will meet your guide at your hotel at 6 pm where you’ll be given a trip briefing before heading out for dinner together to mark the beginning of your adventure. If you arrive a day early you have an option to go on a cycling and walking tour of Jerusalem.
The first day of riding. You will depart Jerusalem through the quiet Sabbath streets and start your descent to the lowest point on earth – the Dead Sea. Leaving the European climate of Jerusalem, you’ll quickly feel the temperature change as you enter the arid Judean Desert. You pass the Inn of the Good Samaritan and see the impressive Masada plateau in the distance. Just before you finish your ride for the day you will cycle below the hilltop fortress of Masada.
Today begins with an early morning excursion up to the fort of Masada, returning via cable car for a late breakfast. You’ll then jump on your bike and ride south along the Dead Sea, below the hilltop fortress of Masada and on the Peace Trail on the Israeli-Jordanian border. Impressive desert agriculture is on show as you cycle past Dead Sea evaporation pools, the Dead Sea Works and reservoirs that irrigate the fields of the Arava Desert.
You will begin today with a relaxing 20-km warm-up before you begin climbing out of the Arava Desert and up the winding Scorpion’s Ascent. The Romans built the ascent in the late 1st century when they controlled the Middle East. The views from the summit are spectacular and you’ll notice the silence of the expansive desert. You’ll then continue to ride through the Makhtesh Gadol, a large crater and one of five makhteshim (a closed, steep rock valley) in Israel and one of only seven in the world. The night will be spent in the sleepy, relaxing town of Yeruham.
Today you’ll mainly be riding through the Negev Desert. Cycling on the edge of the Makhtesh Ramon – the world’s largest crater at 40 km long, 2-10 km wide and 500m deep – will be a truly unique experience. The desert road takes you to your overnight destination in Mitzpe Ramon. Take a wander through the Spice Route Quarter, the old industrial zone of Mitzpe Ramon, now a hive of cute boutiques, bakeries, restaurants, and even a jazz club.
Cycling through the Makhtesh Ramon, note the diversity of rocks, their fantastic red and yellow colours and their many different naturally formed shapes. Today you will mainly be descending as you ride out of the Negev Desert and back down to the Arava Valley. You’ll spend the night at the green oasis of Kibbutz Ketora, established in 1973. This ideological community is based on collective living and an eco-friendly lifestyle.
You will begin the day with a short transfer to the start of today’s ride. You begin with a very gradual ascent and then lose 800 m over 30 km as you reach the border town of Eilat. Here you’ll cross into Jordan. before cycling to Aqaba’s city centre and your hotel for the night.
Enjoy the day exploring the Red Sea shore and town. You can head off on a boat tour and spend your free day snorkelling or, alternatively, relax in Aqaba and explore the lively but small town on your day off from cycling.
You’ll begin day 9 with a transfer out of Aqaba to avoid the busy roads before starting your cycling at the entrance of Wadi Rum Desert, also known as the Valley of the Moon. Cut into sandstone and granite rock, it’s Jordan’s largest valley. Shots of Wadi Rum in “Lawrence of Arabia” kick-started Jordan’s tourism industry, but you may also recognise it from “Red Planet” and “The Martian”. You’ll follow a quiet road and arrive in time for lunch at the Bedouin camp where you’ll spend the night. A jeep will transfer you to your evenigs accomodation where you can enjoy a night of Bedouin hospitality.
Today you have the option to ride back on the same route to the Desert Highway and ascend to Ras Al-Naqab, or spend more time relaxing at camp and get a transfer to take you to Ras Al-Naqab instead. From Ras Al-Naqab, it is downhill to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra. On top of the plateau, the route turns off the main road onto quieter roads to Rajif and finishes in the town of Wadi Musa, home to the famous archaeological site of Petra.
You’ll spend today off the bike, exploring by foot the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra. You will be guided through the ancient city, one of the iconic Eight Wonders of the World. You’ll then be taken to a great spot where you can relax and have lunch. In the afternoon, you have several hours to explore on your own. You might choose to ascend the Monastery and beyond and observe the superb views across the Jordan Valley or, alternatively, take the back route to the High Place of Sacrifice or ascend Jebel Khubtha and view the Treasury from above.
In your penultimate day of riding, you’ll ride out of Petra and climb up to Shobak, the first Crusader Castle built in Jordan. Take a minute to catch your breath after the epic climb and explore this impressive fort. An undulating road circling the Dana Biosphere Reserve prepares you for your exciting descent to below sea level. From a high of 1,200 m you’ll descend to -300 m! From here, you transfer by bus along the Dead Sea Highway to the hotel. This afternoon, make sure you head down to the sea’s edge for a unique float in the famous salty waters.
A short 28-km ride on a flat road will take you to the Allenby Border Crossing. Once through all the formalities, you’ll be back on your bike to Jericho for lunch. Considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities, Jericho is of great archaeological importance. You’ll then transfer to Jerusalem after lunch and meet up in the evening with the rest of the group to celebrate the end of your ride.
Today you’ll have breakfast before saying goodbye to the group and heading home.
Few places in the world can offer what Israel & Jordan can. Cycling through the hills and valleys offer breathtaking views, the Dead Sea provides a quiet sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of Jerusalem and Petra, and the deep reds and oranges of Masada and the Makhtesh Ramon canyon provide a perfect cycling backdrop.