Hi. WE are planning a trip to Israel and Jordan in 2022. We are in our mid-seventies and in relatively good health.
Do you think this trip would be too strenuous for us? Would the walking be more that 2 miles at a time?
I did this trip last year. It's a fabulous trip! There is a lot of walking on this trip, compared to some others, but hard to quantify. The longest walk I did was in Petra, but that was by choice. i did a hike after lunch, then walked all the way back for probably 6 miles. You can opt for a cart ride back to the entrance after lunch, and the hotel is directly across the street. The walk from the entrance to the Treasury is probably a mile or so, but there are a number of stops along the way. There were some city walking tours in Tel Aviv/Jaffa and Jerusalem, but they weren't particularly long or strenuous.
This was my second-favorite Tauck tour (the first being Grand Australia and New Zealand) -- even though we missed out on several sites and had to leave early because of Covid. I liked it so much that I booked the new "Jerusalem, the Red Sea and Petra" tour for March 2021, that includes places that we missed, as well as seeing other places, especially Wadi Rum --before I knew that Covid would last so long. Turkish Airlines has now cancelled my flight from BOS to TLV scheduled for next March, and, though Tauck has not yet cancelled the tour, I expect that they will. Since I already have a couple of Tauck tours booked for later in 2021, I have now put a deposit on the Jerusalem, the Red Sea and Petra trip for March 2022. Fingers crossed!
I did this trip last September. As BKMD says, there is a lot of walking on this tour, but I believe, if you choose to you can limit the walking in any one stretch to under two miles. There are options in Petra to eliminate most of the walking. Typically the tour walks in and then takes a combination of camel and horse drawn cart out, but there was one person on our tour that took the horse drawn cart into the Petra as well. The walk in had a stop for fresh squeezed pomegranate juice and then you have lunch prior to the return trip back out. There is also a fair amount of walking at Jerash, especially if you do optional walking after the tour returns to the starting point for refreshments. The Jerash visit was optional. Some people chose to remain at the resort on the Dead Sea. I felt the Jerash visit was well worth it. Each city has walking tours: Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Akko, Bethlehem, and then at Masada. The amount of walking that you want to do will likely be impacted by the temperature during your visit.
I was on the last completed tour this year which ended on March 9. I would say the following walking tours are right about at the 2 mile mark (or less) there and back, with the caveat that some involve hilly and or uneven terrain. Jaffa, Caesarea, Shine of Bab (which I did not do, as it involves height and many downward steps a combo I do not like), old town Jerusalem (need to watch your feet), Jerash which is optional is probably over 2 miles and somewhat challenging, Masada and Petra. As BKMD said from the entrance of Petra to the Treasury is a bit over a mile then another mile to lunch but a donkey cart is available for your return you to the entrance. It is a great trip.
Agree with Sam about Jerash. A highly worthwhile optional tour.
I was 71 when I did this tour. I had no problem with walking at any time on this tour, or on my own. (I walked from Tel Aviv to Jaffa and back the day before the tour officially started. ) Our tour, which must have been the one after JDS11's, didn't make it to Bethlehem or Masada or into the Petra ruins because of Covid, though we made it as far as the hotel across the street from the entrance to the Petra ruins.) By the way, I highly recommend booking a tour of the Western Wall tunnels when you are in Jerusalem. It's not part of the Tauck tour. You can book it on line.
Yes MCD I was on the tour before yours. We had wondered about the group behind us and I was sorry to hear what happened with your tour when you posted on your return home. We were in Jerusalem on their election day. I had reservations for the tunnel tour but because Netanyahu was at the Western Wall, the time of my tunnel tour changed. They had emailed me of the change but I hadn't checked my email before arriving so they gave me a free entrance to the Virtual Reality Experience while I waited and that was really good too. In 2012 I took the Egypt/Jordan tour, but skipped Jerash then for a spa day. Comparing the two Jerash is the much better choice.
I highly recommend booking a tour of the Western Wall tunnels when you are in Jerusalem.
I highly recommend booking a tour of the Western Wall tunnels when you are in Jerusalem.
Strongly agree! Fascinating tour, going down to the level of 2500 years ago in history, and cheap, too (~$10pp) considering all the work involved in those excavations.
We did this tour in October 2018. Our TD told us the walking part of the tour in total was about 35 miles. We arrived a day early to walk along the beach and visit the market and we did a lot of walking on our own throughout. We estimated we walked about 50 miles. Agree with others about Jerash. Since we were on the road a long time we were all given the option to visit Jerash or stay at the great Resort to rest, swim, and get spa treatments. All but 5 guys and 2 woman stayed behind. Jerash was amazing as you can see from a few photos. All in all this was an incredible trip and second only to Kenya and Tanzania. We would go back to Israel in a minute. So many highlights but being on a boat in the Sea of Galilee, seeing and touching the touching the western wall, and our farewell dinner in little Petra with the Jordanian soldiers (see photos too) were just a few. Amazing trip!
We have done the trip and really liked it. Even for those who aren't very religious, the sites are rich in both history, and in current affairs.
We didn't notice anyone in our group that couldn't handle the walking distances, however some were a bit unsteady on the constant cobblestones and stairs, and also occasionally got tired from standing. Crowding--for example on the Via Dolorosa if there is a swarm of pilgrims, or in the Holy Sepulchre queues, also bothered some. I always admire folks on the trips who recognize that they benefit from a balance aid, and show no qualms about using a nice cane or trekking pole on the tours.
For those interested in a clear, concise, and good read about Israel past and present I recommend this book. Found it today at the local bookstore. During our Israel and Jordan trip we learned a lot about Israeli history but it was confusing at times. This is a very readable book for those who have gone on the trip or are planning to go.
I haven't read this, but am looking forward to doing so. I highly recommend "The Source" by James Michener, "Exodus" by Leon Uris and -- the most unusual book I have ever read -- "Apeirogon" by Colum McCann. And, of course, the Bible.
Here's another source of interesting info: https://www.youtube.com/user/JerusalemOnlineU
It's a series of short videos called "unpacked" that looks at the history and issues in Israel.
I guess that we would have been in the middle of this if it had not been for Covid cancellation of the tour
East Jerusalem clashes leave over 100 injured https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-56854275
First tourists welcomed back to Israel, after a year. First segment of this youtube video:
We are rebooked for November 2021. Our concern was the walking and if there were inclines that could be difficult for someone with breathing problems. If someone who has done this trip would comment certainly would be appreciated. The comments I have read so far further enhance my desire to make this trip. I am very hopeful that this trip will go ahead in November. Thank you everyone who posted and shared pictures. You are great.
GeraldC, my wife and I r booked for Oct. Read today that Egyptian contractors will be moving into the gaza strip to rebuild. This means. hopefully, that rocket attacks from Gaza to Israel will cease as Hamas will be blamed for Egyptian casualties if Israel retaliates.
GeraldC -- There was a fair amount of walking on the tour, but I don't recall steep inclines, even in Jerash, which involved a lot of walking. The walk through the Baha'i Gardens in Haifa was all downhill. (As I mentioned in a prior post, we didn't get to go to Bethlehem, Masada or the Petra ruins because of Covid -- though we did make it to the hotel across from the ruins.) Notwithstanding those issues, it was a great tour.
GeraldC - We took this tour October 2018. Our TD old us that about 35 miles of walking was on this tour. We walked a lot on our own and we estimate we walked about 50 miles. Make no mistake there is some difficult walking especially uphill into the Old City and in the city's cobblestone streets, at the Golden Domed mosque area, walking downhill at Petra, and walking around Masada. Our group had a person who was a heavy smoker and out of breath often and it took a toll on our group. The tour itself is incredible and we would go back to Israel in a minute. Some things to think about.
HI Gerald C~ We did this tour 2 years ago - it is magnificent!! And we've traveled with Tauck a lot - this one ranks near the top. At Masada, you can hike around on your own a bit - but you don't have to; a cable car ride takes you to the top. At Petra, there are donkey or camel carts that can take you from the entrance to the main ruins, and back. In Jerusalem's Old City, as in any old city, the terrain, cobblestones, stairs, mean you must watch your footing as Virginia Travelers mentions. Still, there are many opportunities to rest.By the way, our hotel in Haifa was about 1/4 mile from an iron dome defense station, which was actually reassuring in some way. And Uri Bari's restaurant in Akka, where we had a fabulous lunch, was bombed in the last disturbances. SO sad - yet he says he will rebuild! This is a busy tour, but I think you can pace yourselves as necessary. Bring a walking stick and really good shoes. I'd go back in a second. Good wishes~
Yes, really sad about Ur Buri. One of the best meals I ever had. And he, as a person, is a native of Akko and has always been so inclusive to all. It's kinda like here in the US - the protests generate needless violence and property destruction from thugs just looking to cause mayhem and have nothing to do with the underlying cause of the protest.