Ahlan Wa Sahlan! Welcome to Jordan, cosmopolitan and contemporary, yet steeped in biblical history. Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand. Should you require a transfer from the airport, this can be arranged on site for $30 a person, or $15 per person for groups of two or more.
Madaba is renowned for it’s Ottoman-style houses and beautiful Byzantine-era mosaics, including the famous 6th-century mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land at St George's Church. Other mosaic masterpieces found within churches and the Archaeological Museum depict a rampant profusion of flora and fauna, as well as scenes from mythology and daily life. Literally hundreds of other mosaics from the 5th to 7th centuries are scattered throughout Madaba’s churches and homes. You might want to arrive early to explore these ancient treasures, as there isn’t a lot of time spent in Madaba.
No riding today
Depart from Madaba and travel to Jerash, once one of the grandest Roman cities in the world which currently stands as an excellently preserved insight into Greco-Roman times of old. The city thrived due to its position on the route of spice and incenses trade, reaching its zenith as a favourite of Emperor Hadrian around AD 130. The ancient walled town survives today as a remarkable evocation of life 2000 years ago, offering a striking collection of archways, theatres, public buildings and colonnaded streets. It’s a beautiful place to spend a day exploring.
After exploring the ruins, head towards the Dead Sea for the first proper cycle of the trip. Begin your cycling at 400 metres below sea level (it's weird, we know) and ride under the red stone cliffs high above the shores of the shimmering Dead Sea, with Israel in the near distance, to Amman Beach. It's a short first ride (approx. 30kms) but the terrain is undulating with a couple of short sharp hills to get your lungs working. The amazing views alone make it worthwhile.
Once the group reaches their destination, take some time to wash off the sweat at Amman Beach, lying on the shores of the Dead Sea. The water here is said to have excellent healing properties due to the high salt content, serving as the perfect way to wrap up a big ride. Afterwards, head back to Madaba to relax at the hotel for the rest of the evening.
Ride - approx. 30kms/19 miles, undulating with 2 significant climbs early in the ride, approx. 330m/1080ft of total elevation gain
After a drive this morning, arrive at Mount Nebo. This legendary site marks the location where Moses looked across to the Promised Land – this would later serve as the location of his death and subsequent burial. Begin your descent into the lands below on a 43 kilometre (28 mile) ride towards Mukawir, the location of the Castle of Herod the Great. This fortified hilltop palace serves as the rumoured site where John the Baptist was imprisoned and executed while Herod’s son resided at the site.
Later on in the day, transfer to Dana, a scenic town sitting on the edge of the gorge of Wadi Dana. The views of the valley below are breathtaking to say the least.
Ride - approx. 43 kms/28 miles, frequently undulating, with approx. 650m/2130ft of elevation gain.
Take a short transfer from Dana and continue on to visit Shobak Castle, the first of the series of Crusader Castles built in Jordan; which was constructed by Baldwin I in 1115 and only surrendered in 1189 to the Great Salahdin.
From Shobak, continue on as you cycle off road for 15 kilometres (9 miles) on a mixture of dirt tracks and roads towards Little Petra. The route, stretching for 46 kilometres (29 miles), contours around the mountains of Dana and Petra while offering great views across the Jordan Valley. The last part of the ride is a thrill as you descend 9km down a good quality but winding road all the way down to Little Petra itself, then cycle to the Seven Wonders camp hiding within the rocks. As you prepare for an overnight stay, the comfort and the hospitality of the Bedouins provides a more than welcome finish to a big day on and off the road.
Ride - approx. 46kms/29 miles, undulating at the start then a long climb after 20kms, finishing with a 10km descent, with approx. 1030m/3380ft of elevation gain.
Leave the camp at Little Petra and head towards Petra's visitor’s centre for a full day of exploration. Enter the city through the narrow gorge, lying flanked by towering cliffs of dazzling, colourful rocks. Once arriving at Petra, explore the hundreds of elaborate rock-cut tombs, the treasury, Roman-style theatres, temples, sacrificial altars and colonnaded streets before continuing on to explore the city’s amphitheatre, multiple caves and tombs.
If you’re feeling courageous, perhaps avoid the crowds to visit the monastery, the Khubtha Mountain or the High Place of Sacrifice. To explore this area, take a steep climb up ancient Nabataean steps to a point near the summit of Al Khubtha to enjoy a magnificent panorama overlooking the treasury before descending to Petra’s main entrance. Alternatively, continue on and hike up to the High Place of Sacrifice to enjoy more spectacular views over the rocky desert terrain. At this point, the option to push past 800 steps offers the reward of the stunning monastery, lying carved and exposed in a rock face.
Ride - no included ride today
Leave the Nabataean city and drive back to Little Petra, where the next cycling adventure begins. Enjoy a stunning 45 kilometre descent, dropping around 1200 metres (4000ft) on a little-used winding country road through the dry mountains of Wadi Araba into the lush greenery of the Jordan Valley. The views on the way down are stunning! To avoid the busy traffic on the Kings Highway we re-board our vehicle and drive into Aqaba.
Ride - approx. 45kms/28 miles, constant downhill, with approx. 90m/300ft of elevation gain
After spending the night in Aqaba, enjoy a free morning at the beach before departing from the city and the shores of the Red Sea and continue on to the mountains. Transit by vehicle (approx. 30 mins) along the famed Desert highway, then cycle alongside the ancient Hejaz Railway en route to Wadi Rum.
Upon arrival at Wadi Rum, enjoy a late lunch before hopping in a jeep and departing for a 3 hour safari across the sandy canyons and mountains in the area, Take in the spectacle of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom rock formation before stopping to watch the sun set. As the night rolls in, enjoy a camp dinner with the Bedouin hosts by the fire over a cup of locally brewed tea. Take one last look at the endless star-scape above before tucking into your tent for the night.
Ride - approx. 29kms/18 miles, very gradual uphill, with approx. 265m/870ft of elevation gain.
Say goodbye to your newfound Bedouin friends and travel to Q'disi. After arriving at Q'disi, embark on a 42 kilometre (25 mile) ride around the local salt flats, taking a break to recharge with lunch along the way. After taking in the haunting landscapes, transfer back to Madaba for the final overnight stay of the trip – perhaps sharing a dinner with your group to reminisce on the journey just passed.
Ride - approx. 42kms/26 miles, flat, with less than 100m/330ft of elevation gain.
This trip comes to an end today. There are no activities planned and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time before noon.
No included riding today