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Jordan, Israel & the Palestinian Territories Real Food Adventure

Operator
Intrepid
Days
15
From
USD $4,490

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Itinerary

Tour Itinerary

Discover the rich history and richer flavours of Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories on this 14-day Real Food Adventure. Here, the sweeping deserts of Wadi Rum offer themselves to roast Bedouin feasts underground, the Dead Sea grants its salt as a world-class garnish and the region's climate has allowed olives to thrive for over 6000 years. Savour shakshuka in Tel Aviv, learn the tricks of tahini from the Samaritans of Nablus, break bread with Druze folk in Buq'ata and sample mouth-watering knafeh in Amman. In between these delicious diversions, float on the Dead Sea, see the holy sights of Jerusalem and explore rock-hewn Petra. Brimming with charismatic culture and lively dishes, this is an epicurean odyssey to remember.

  1. Day 1
    Tel Aviv
    Welcome to Israel and the Palestinian Territories – a region steeped in spirituality, and a rich tapestry of the many cultures, religions and nationalities that call it home, be that Palestinian Muslims and Christians, Sephardic Jews, Ashkenazi Jews, Armenian Christians, Ethiopian Copts or Greek Orthodox monks. Your Real Food Adventure begins with an important welcome meeting at 6 pm. After this briefing, take a short walk to the market area and get to know your fellow travellers over dinner, sampling sabiach – a delicious vegetable and pita dish boasting fresh Mediterranean flavours with Middle Eastern roots.
    Meals: Dinner
  2. Day 2
    Haifa
    Pay a brief visit to Jaffa, then continue to Mount Jerazim and meet the local Samaritans - a Jewish minority group living in Nablus - who are the only group to hold Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian passports. After learning about their culture, visit a tahini factory to see how the sesame seeds are crushed and turned into the finished product. You will have the opportunity to purchase goods on site before heading to enjoy a wine tasting at one of Israel's finest wineries. By late afternoon, you’ll have reached Haifa, and if you’re up for it, catch a glimpse of the Bahai Gardens, containing ornate works of landscaped art. Retire to your hotel afterwards for a well-earned rest. Dinner is free this evening and your leader can make the best local restaurant recommendations.
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  3. Day 3
    Nazareth
    This morning, drive to Akko, visit the Old Town and explore the Templar Tunnels built during the Crusades. Then take a drive up to Golan Heights to visit a Druze village called Buq’ata. Historically, the Druze have been an agricultural people, tending olive groves and fruit orchards, and growing mostly apples and cherries. Many families also grow their own vegetables, bake their own bread and live on a largely vegetarian diet. Here, you will be greeted by a lovely host family, and be invited in for a cooking demonstration, where you’ll share local culinary secrets and a delicious Druze lunch. Afterwards, travel to Nazareth and settle into your hotel for the evening.
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  4. Day 4
    Jericho
    After breakfast, visit the Church of the Annunciation and Mary’s Well – two of the most significant sights in Nazareth. Then head to Tiberias for a stroll along the famous Sea of Galilee - Israel's largest freshwater lake. Continue on to Nablus – one of the West Bank's largest cities – most famous for the Arabic sweet knafeh. You'll visit the local chapter of the 'Slow Food' network for a cooking class, focusing on some classics of Palestinian cuisine. Enjoy your creations over lunch and discover what life is like for women in this Palestinian town. After lunch, visit a knafeh maker for insight into local sweet making, and of course to taste! Drive to Jericho for your night's stay. This relaxed West Bank town is considered by some to be the longest inhabited city in the world.
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  5. Day 5
    Jerusalem / Dead Sea
    This morning, visit Tel Jericho, also known as ancient Jericho, then continue to the Dead Sea – the lowest-altitude place on earth! You will have the chance to experience what it's like to float in the world's saltiest body of water. On the way, make a stop in Bethany, known biblically as the site of the resurrection of Lazarus, to visit a local family for a home-cooked meal. Today you’ll feast on maqluba – an 'upside-down' style dish consisting of chicken and vegetables. Afterwards, drive to Jerusalem via the famous Mount of Olives – an important pilgrimage site and home of the Garden of Gethsemane.
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  6. Day 6
    Jerusalem
    Enjoy a full day tour of Jerusalem, starting with a walking tour of Via Dolorosa (the Way of the Cross) in the Old City. Stop at one of the city's favourite eateries and watch a master prepare mutabbaq – a stuffed pancake of Yemeni origin. Your leader can assist you to purchase one to try, if you wish. Continue to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to visit the Golgotha – where Jesus was crucified – and then down to the tomb where he was buried. Walk through the spice market to the Jewish Quarter and witness the pilgrims at the Western Wall. For lunch today, sample the local hummus and falafel at one of the most famous places in the Old City. Afterwards, continue to Nachlaotf or a tour of one of the oldest neighbourhoods in West Jerusalem, finishing at the renowned Machane Yehuda food market. The best way to tackle these wondrous food stalls is with a Machane Yehuda Bites Card – where you’ll be able to sample a broad selection of foods while you wander. Alternatively, this area is ideal to just pull up a chair and grab an early dinner at one of the nearby restaurants, perhaps order shakshuka – a North African dish served in a pan, consisting of eggs poached in a sautéed tomato, chilli and vegetable sauce.
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  7. Day 7
    Jerusalem / Negev Desert
    After breakfast, head south into the Negev Desert to meet some food producers. Your first stop is a goat cheese farm. Next, be welcomed into the home of a Jewish resident of the Negev. Here we will gain insight into the life and food traditions of an Israeli in the desert. Lunch will be a feast of vegetarian dishes and a sampling of the local goat's cheese. After lunch, drive up to visit the Tomb of David Ben Gurion – the first prime minister of Israel and one of its founders. Before the drive back to Jerusalem, visit an ancient winery that dates back to the Nabatean era. In recent years, an Israeli couple replanted the winery along with other fruit trees, producing an interesting selection of wines and jams that are only sold on that farm. Arrive back in Jerusalem by evening for a well-deserved rest.
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  8. Day 8
    Jerusalem / Bethlehem
    Take a short drive to World Heritage-listed Battir, where villagers continue to practice ancient agricultural methods. The village is surrounded by an impressive Roman-era system of stone-walled terraces and a unique irrigation system fed by seven springs. Continue on to the holy city of Bethlehem, and along the way, pass through a gap in the controversial separation wall that separates Israel from the West Bank. Take a leader-led walking tour of this acclaimed city, passing Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity. For lunch, enjoy traditional barbecue where you’ll try your hand at mincing your own meat the authentic way – with two huge cleavers! Head back to Jerusalem, where you might like to share one last delicious meal or drink with your newfound friends.
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  9. Day 9
    Amman
    This morning we farewell Israel and the Palestinian Territories and make the journey to the Allenby Bridge Crossing for your onwards journey to Jordan. Your trip leader will provide you with instructions for the border officials but will not accompany you across the border. Once you have cleared immigration there will be a representative with an Intrepid sign, waiting to transfer you to your hotel in Amman where you will meet your Jordanian leader. Travelling from Jerusalem to Amman, including time at immigration, will take approximately 2-3 hours, but this can vary depending on how busy the borders are.There will be a meeting at 6pm to welcome any new travellers joining you on the next stage of your adventure. Afterwards, get your first taste of Jordanian cuisine at the Hashem Restaurant – a favourite of royals, diplomats and celebrities travelling through Amman. Dinner will consist of their famous Jordanian stuffed falafel, which is fresh and crunchy on the outside while fluffy on the inside. There’s also the chance to dip bread through smooth creamy hummus and moutabel – similar to hummus but with yoghurt, lemon juice and Arabic salad. After a filling meal, head on to the decades old Habibah Sweets shop for a slice of warm knafeh – delicious buttery cheese pastry soaked in sweet, sugar syrup.
    Meals: Dinner
  10. Day 10
    Petra / Dead Sea
    Keep an eye out this morning for people stuffing their faces with hot sesame bread sandwiches – most of these will be pouring out of the Salaheddin bakery, today’s breakfast joint and a favourite among locals. Walk in, choose a hot, fresh loaf and fill it with baked eggs, cheese, spices or anything else you want from the counter. After filling up on arguably the best bread in town, board a bus and head to Madaba, famous for its Ottoman-style houses and beautiful Byzantine-era mosaics, including the acclaimed sixth-century mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land at St George's Church. After seeing the mosaics, head to the Dead Sea (approximately 45 minutes). This body of water is famously salty – 9.6 times saltier than the ocean. As a result, it’s believed to have healing properties that can be tested first hand during an optional swim. After drying off, prepare for a traditional picnic lunch, mezze style. Mezze consists of setting up a series of small appetisers with a group of friends, then scooping them up with bread. Kibbeh (fried meat with wheat), manakish (flatbread with za’tar and olive oil), spinach bread and cheeses are all served, followed by a cup of shaneeneh (an aged goat milk yoghurt drink) and a serving of hareeseh (a sweet, syrupy pudding) for desert. Continue to Petra for dinner (approximately 3 hours). Learn from a local family how to prepare mansaf, delicious lamb with fermented, dried yoghurt sauce. After a hearty meal and a few shared stories from the family, arrive at your hotel near the ancient ruins of Petra.
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  11. Day 11
    Petra
    Today you’ll have the chance to explore ancient Petra, known as one of the new ‘seven wonders of the world’. This archaeological city sits within 80-metre-high cliff walls – the iconic treasury, carved into the face of one of these cliffs, is the highlight of this visit. The site is expansive and to explore it all requires quite a bit of walking, and a basic level of fitness will enhance your experience. With a free afternoon to proceed at your own pace, there’s ample time to see the museum, the Roman amphitheatre, the palace and other places – just head to the visitor centre for a map and a few suggestions as to where to go. Once the day is done, head back to your hotel for a free evening.
    Meals: Breakfast
  12. Day 12
    Wadi Rum
    Rise early this morning as today’s breakfast will be shared with a local shepherd as you bask in awe of the beautiful dry countryside. By this stage of the adventure, it should be apparent that a Jordanian breakfast is varied but sticks to a few staples; breads and garnishes being two of the favourites. A typical breakfast can consist of hummus, falafel, salad, pickles and khubz (a pita style bread), although dipping flatbread into olive oil then za’atar is also common. A mezze style breakfast under this towering scenery will be the perfect setting to chat with the shepherd and learn about the life and culture of a local. Afterwards, head on to Wadi Rum (approximately a 3 hour drive), a place often referred to as The Valley of the Moon. Enjoy a true Lawrence of Arabia moment while exploring the sparse red sand dunes, steep craggy mountains and the legendary Seven Pillars of Wisdom rock formation on a 4-hour jeep ride through the region. Later, head back to a Wadi Rum campsite for a traditional Bedouin barbecue, known as zarb. Zarb is one of the staples of Bedouin culture, capturing a long running tradition of cooking food underground in earth ovens. Bedouin locals will prepare dinner by digging a large hole in the ground and stoking a coal fire underneath it. Then, meat is prepared with water, lemon juice, pepper and salt before adding a variety of vegetables. A multi-layered barbecue rack is used to cook everything with the meat at the top and the veggies at the bottom. Once it’s cooked, enjoy this hearty meal before enjoying an evening under the stars.
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  13. Day 13
    Amman
    This morning starts off with a delicious Bedouin breakfast – not to be confused with bed and breakfast! This typically consists of labneh (strained yoghurt, usually served with olive oil), zait (olives), za’atar, jebneh (cheese pastry) and tomatoes. You may get the chance to wash it all down with a cup of Bedouin whiskey; it’s non-alcoholic and consists of tea with sugar and sage, so don’t worry about getting tipsy before lunch. Prepare for a 3.5-hour drive back to Amman through stunning desert scenery and stop for a delicious falafel sandwich along the way. The final meal of this Real Food Adventure awaits in the city with a self-prepared dinner at the Beit Sitti cooking school, known as one of the most innovative developments in Jordan’s dining scene. Visitors to the school get to cook (and eat) an authentic meal under supervision, with tonight’s dish being maqluba. Literally translating to ‘upside down’, maqluba is a casserole with rice, vegetables and chicken which is cooked, flipped, then served with either yoghurt or an Arab salad with tahina sauce. Savour this last meal with newfound friends before the trip comes to an end tomorrow morning.
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  14. Day 14
    Amman
    With no activities planned today, you are free to leave at any time. However, that doesn’t mean that your food adventures have to come to an end! If you would like to consider continuing your journey with a culinary escapade through Israel, search for our trips Israel Real Food Adventure (EUZF) and Jordan, Israel & the Palestinian Territories Real Food Adventure (EUZJC) on our website.
    Meals: Breakfast

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Inclusions

  • Tel Aviv - Welcome Dinner
  • Haifa - Baha'i Gardens
  • Zikhron Ya'akov - Winery visit
  • Nablus - Samaritan & Tahini Factory visit
  • Golan Heights - Druze Cooking Demonstration and Home-cooked Meal
  • Akko - Old Town Walk, including Templar Tunnels
  • Nazareth - Visit to Church of Annuniciation & Mary's Well
  • Nablus - Palestinian cooking class at Bait Al-Karama
  • Nablus - Knafeh maker visit and tasting
  • Bethany - Home-cooked meal of maqluba
  • Jericho - Tel Jericho
  • Dead Sea - Visit and float
  • Jerusalem - Mount of Olives
  • Jerusalem - Guided tour of Old City
  • Jerusalem - Guided tour of Nachlaot
  • Negev Desert - Goat cheese farm visit
  • Negev Desert - Home-cooked lunch in a local home
  • Negev Desert - Tomb of David Ben Gurion
  • Negev Desert - Winery and farm visit
  • Battir - Guided Village Walk
  • Bethlehem - Church of the Nativity & Shepherds' Field
  • Bethlehem - Leader-led walking tour
  • Amman - Welcome Dinner
  • Amman - Knafeh tasting
  • Madaba - St Georges Church
  • Dead Sea - Visit and float
  • Petra - Local Family Dinner
  • Petra - Guided tour of Petra
  • Wadi Rum - 4WD jeep safari and desert camp
  • Wadi Rum - Zarb dinner
  • Petra - Breakfast with a shepherd
  • Amman - Beit Sitti maqluba cooking class and meal

Meals
12 Breakfast(s) Included
9 Lunch(es) Included
5 Dinner(s) Included

Style: Original

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Accommodations

Hotel (12 nights), 1 Night (Desert Camp)

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Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

Intrepid Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4
Accommodations
3.6
Itinerary
4.2
Professional Staff
4.3
Repeat with Operator
4.1
Value for Money
3.8

Ratings based off 120 reviews about Intrepid Tours - currently showing 6 reviews with comments only

The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.

The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations

Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.

Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.

Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.

Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.

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