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2.5 wk itinerary Jordan/Israel -- feedback welcomed

Martinez, CA
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2.5 wk itinerary Jordan/Israel -- feedback welcomed

Hi all,

Originally I was planning on taking a package tour, but the more I look into it, the less satisfied I am. I'm thinking of going it my own. It will be me and my friend (males in our 30s) and my mother (in her 60s). We are primarily interested in seeing the historic sites of Jerusalem, some of the historical/natural sites of Jordan, and poking a bit around the Galilee. Here's our plan:

Day 1: depart US for Amman

Day 2: arrive Amman, overnight in Madaba

Day 3: visit Madaba, Mt. Nebo; overnight Madaba

Day 4: King's Highway to Petra; overnight Petra

Day 5: Petra

Day 6: To Aqaba/Eliat; overnight Eliat

Day 7: pick up rental car, drive through Negev to overnight near Masada

Day 8: visit Masada and Dead Sea, drive to Nazareth; overnight Nazareth

Day 9: day trip to Haifa/Akko; overnight Nazareth

Day 10: day trip to Sea of Galilee; overnight Nazareth

Day 11: drive to Jerusalem drop of rental car; afternoon and overnight Jerusalem

Day 12: Old City Jerusalem

Day 13: New City Jerusalem

Day 14: Jerusalem/possible day trip Bethlehem

Day 15: bus to Tel Aviv, PM Tel Aviv

Day 16: Tel Aviv

Day 17: to USA

Any thoughts would be appreciated. I'm curious to hear what others think of using Nazareth as a base to see some of the Galilee. Also, I'll have to look into this further, but can anyone talk about driving from Masada to Nazareth? Looks like the direct route goes through the West Bank which I know isn't allowed with most Israeli rental cars. Is it necessary to go around? Same for the drive from Nazareth to Jerusalem.

Thanks.

Nazareth a good base?

Drive Eliat - DS - Nazareth through West Bank?

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1. Re: 2.5 wk itinerary Jordan/Israel -- feedback welcomed

First of all, do you have dates or are you flexible? The weekends usually have to be taken into account - and holidays too.

If you don't have firm dates, what time of year are we talking about?

Days 5/6 - Any reason to spend the 2nd night in Petra? If not, head to Eilat that evening (it's 2-3 hours). Unless there is something in particular you want to do in Eilat, you can leave in the morning for the Dead Sea. This gives you an additional day in Jerusalem or the north.

Day 7 - you don't need a whole day to drive to the Dead Sea, unless you are planning stops along the way. You could visit Masada and have a nice float in the Dead Sea that day. Don't plan on driving far after dark from the Dead Sea - either drive to Jerusalem for the night, or stay the night and go north the next morning.

In or near Tiberias (on the shore of the Sea of Galilee) is a better "hub" for seeing the north than Nazareth is. There is also a lot more to see. Then head for the coast. If you stay in Akko or Haifa, you can drop the car and see Tel Aviv as a day trip by train. Or you can keep the car, and visit more of the coastal sites, then overnight in Tel Aviv. If you avoid rush hour traffic, it's about an hour and a half from Haifa to Tel Aviv, add another 1/2 hour if ffrom Akko. And Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is an hour.

From the north, you are better off going to Tel Aviv and then Jerusalem. It takes about 20 minutes longer to get from Jerusalem to the airport than from Tel Aviv by taxi.

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2. Re: 2.5 wk itinerary Jordan/Israel -- feedback welcomed

Pitzikat has given you great advice and I wholly agree about preferring a northern hub near the Sea of Galilee.

Regarding the route and the rental car. The route you will be taking from Eilat to the Dead Sea, the Dead Sea north and then back to Jerusalem does indeed run through areas called "West Bank" however these are areas that are under Israeli authority and so are safe and allowed for travel with an Israeli rental car. The limitation applies to areas that under the control of the Palestinian Authority such as Jericho. There is no need for you take any longer, roundabout routes.

As Pitzikat noted, please let us know what time of year you are considering and if you have set dates already. It is important to take the day of the week into consideration when planning your specific itinerary.

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3. Re: 2.5 wk itinerary Jordan/Israel -- feedback welcomed

You will have a very long drive on day 8... like the others I have to ask why did you choose Nazareth as hub..? especially if in day 9 you are driving to Akko and Haifa.

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Martinez, CA
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4. Re: 2.5 wk itinerary Jordan/Israel -- feedback welcomed

Thanks everyone for your comments and questions. A little more detail --

Our dates our somewhat flexible, but we're thinking of going in May. The itinerary above assumes Day 1 is a Thursday, and we tried to take into account the weekends.

We have 2 days in Petra because the first day we won't get there until later in the day, and I believe more than 1 day is really needed to do the site justice. Nazareth may indeed not be the best base for us, so we'll reconsider. Thanks for the info about being able to drive on certain roads in the West Bank.

As we've looked into this further, we realized that spending a night at Wadi Rum in Jordan is probably something we'd really enjoy, so we want to consider that. Adding an extra day to Jordan makes spending time in the north of Israel a challenge. If we do Wadi Rum, we might largely skip the north and skip the rental car altogether. The updated itinerary with this option would be --

Day 1-5: same as above

Day 6: to taxi to Wadi Rum, overnight in desert

Day 7: taxi to Aqaba/Eliat, overnight Eliat

Day 8: pick up rental car, drive through Negev to overnight near Masada

Day 9 (FRIDAY): visit Masada and Dead Sea, drive to Haifa; overnight Haifa

Day 10 (SATURDAY): day trip to Sea of Galilee; overnight Haifa

Day 11: day trip to Tel Aviv, overnight Haifa (go via train)

Day 12: drive to Jerusalem via Nazareth, drop of rental car; afternoon and overnight Jerusalem

Day 13: Old City Jerusalem

Day 14: Old City Jerusalem

Day 15: New City Jerusalem

Day 16 (FRIDAY): Jerusalem/possible day trip Bethlehem; overnight Jerusalem

Day 17: to Ben Gurion and USA

Please let me know your thoughts. I may also post in the Jordan forum to get more insights on Wadi Rum.

Thanks.

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Martinez, CA
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5. Re: 2.5 wk itinerary Jordan/Israel -- feedback welcomed

Minor change on days 9-12 (I typed the previous message too fast!)

Day 9 (FRIDAY): Visit Masada AM, drive to Tiberias (stop in Nazareth en route); overnight Tiberias

Day 10: visit Galilee, overnight Tiberias

Day 11: visit Haifa/Akko (if time allows), Tel Aviv PM (drop off rental car)

Day 12: AM Tel Aviv, afternoon bus to Jerusalem

Thanks

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6. Re: 2.5 wk itinerary Jordan/Israel -- feedback welcomed

Thanks for starting this thread. My wife and I are thinking of an April trip. This will be our first trip to the Middle East. We would like to spend a few days in Egypt if that is advisable. I am also interest in a 14+ day trip. I would like to hire some private guides for part of the trip. Does anyone know of outstanding individuals or organizations that I may contact?

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7. Re: 2.5 wk itinerary Jordan/Israel -- feedback welcomed

I would make the following revisions:

Day 9 (FRIDAY): Visit Masada AM, drive to Tiberias (stop in Bet Shean en route); overnight Tiberias

Day 10: visit Galilee, including Nazareth, overnight Akko

Day 11: visit Akko and Haifa and/or Caesarea (as time allows), Tel Aviv PM (drop off rental car)

Day 12: AM Tel Aviv, afternoon bus to Jerusalem

If you find a place to stay in Tel-Aviv that has parking then you should consider keeping the car and driving up to Jerusalem before returning it; the weekly rental rate is usually equivalent to 4-5 days.

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8. Re: 2.5 wk itinerary Jordan/Israel -- feedback welcomed

Just a quick note about Wadi Rum. You've been to Moab (I checked your travel map), so you've seen much more beautiful desert scenery. There are a couple of arches, but nothing like Utah. Not the colors either.

Again, you could have a full day at Petra and then go to Eilate that evening.

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9. Re: 2.5 wk itinerary Jordan/Israel -- feedback welcomed

I think your Mom is very brave doing a trip with 30 year old men!

I have been to Wadi Rum and it is beautiful but I would not exchange a day in the North of Israel to see more desert scapes. You will be seeing plenty of desert in Jordan and driving up from Eilat. It would be a shame to miss the underground crusader city in Akko or the Bahai gardens in Haifa, for example, in order to do Wadi Rum. Ceasarea is also worth seeing! I think it is a fascinating place and has nice restaurants and places for a cold drink that would appeal to everyone in your group.

It seems to me you are doing a lot of back and forth driving. I don't think this is necessarily the best idea. Why a day trip to Tel Aviv. If you are going to Tel Aviv, stay the night there. You and your friend can then really enjoy the nightlife that Tel Aviv has to offer. Nazareth is a sleepy little town and once you have seen the couple of churches and had lunch, you have seen it. Tiberias has a hot spring spa your mother might enjoy (and need by that time).

Sounds like an exciting adventure.

Edited: 12 December 2010, 16:51
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10. Re: 2.5 wk itinerary Jordan/Israel -- feedback welcomed

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