Cycle Jordan: Petra & Wadi Rum

From the shores of the Dead Sea to the top of ancient Petra, Jordan is a country as rich in surreal landscapes as it is in natural charm. Places such as the ruins of ancient Jerash seem so perfectly preserved, it’s almost as if they froze in time; Mount Nebo, said to once be savoured by Moses as he looked on towards the Promised Land, offers views revered since antiquity; and the deserts around Wadi Rum seem to glow the colour of the earth’s blood. Experience the best that Jordan has to offer as you feel the winds of the desert shift into the breath of the mountain, all the while pedalling from the top of your faithful bike.

Calender 9 days

Difficulty: Challenging

From £1860 P/P

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  • Spend a whole day uncovering the majesty and mystery of the world wonder of Petra. The first glimpse of the Treasury from the narrow path of the Siq is simply unforgettable.
  • Experience the best weightlessness this side of outer space with an effortless float in the super-salty waters of the Dead Sea
  • Hop in a jeep and experience the extraordinary desert scenery of Wadi Rum, a rugged moonscape of huge sandstone mountains
  • Meet Bedouin locals, learn about their ways, and sleep under the stars in a far-flung desert camp.
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, World Bicycle Relief. Donations provide school kids, health workers, and farmers in far-out areas with bicycles that provide access to education, healthcare, and income.

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.
As you don’t spend too much time in Amman, it’s worth arriving a day or two early to explore the sights. If you do have time, be sure to head to the citadel, taking in its amazing sweeping views of Amman. The Jordan Museum (home to the Dead Sea Scrolls) and the Roman Theatre are both well worth visiting. After your meeting, head out with your new-found travel pals, and perhaps pick up a coffee from one of the cafes and partner it with an ara’yes – a local-style toastie filled with spiced meat.

Depart from Amman 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, take a vehicle transfer (approximately 1.5hrs) arrive at Al-Maghtas, the baptismal site of Jesus Christ on the banks of the Jordan River. Take some time to wander this area of incredible spiritual importance before starting your first proper cycle of the trip. Begin cycling at 300 metres below sea level (it’s weird, we know) and ride downhill towards the red stone cliffs high above the shores of the shimmering Dead Sea, with Israel in the near distance. 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 ride is done, 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 to Madaba to relax at the hotel for the rest of the evening.

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 cycling with a 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 our accommodation overlooking the mighty Shobak Castle.

This morning visit the imposing 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 on road towards Little Petra. The route, stretching for 38 kilometres (23 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 our 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.

Leave the camp at Little Petra and head towards Petra’s visitor’s centre for a full day of exploration off the bike. 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.

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.

Enjoy a free afternoon to explore Aqaba – perhaps take an optional shuttle and spend at a private beach Red Sea.

After spending the night in Aqaba, leave early and continue on to the mountains. Transit by vehicle (approx. 30 mins) 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 returning to camp 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.

Say goodbye to your newfound Bedouin friends and travel to Disi. After arriving at Disi, embark on a 37 kilometre (23 mile) ride around the local (dry!) mud flats. After taking in the haunting landscapes, enjoy lunch then 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.

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.

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Route overview

To complete this trip it is important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle.

On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed). Where the vehicle cannot travel directly with the cyclists your leader will assign a person from the group to act as a back marker.

There is quite a bit of walking involved in visiting Jordan’s historic sites, especially in Petra and Wadi Rum, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. Most of the time there is no shade so remember to bring a hat, sun protection, and sturdy, comfortable walking shoes.

Winters can get quite cool, so if you’re visiting at this time, don’t forget to pack some warmer layers too.

The desert camp in Wadi Rum is basic but incredibly memorable. There are tents and shared western bathroom facilities. Please be aware that while the desert may be very hot during the day, it will still be cool at night and warm clothes are highly recommended when travelling outside of the summer months.

For those looking to all the riding but with a little less effort an e-bike option is available (on request) on this trip.

What’s included

  • 6 Days Included Bicycle Hire
  • Jerash - Roman ruins
  • Guided & vehicle-supported cycling - Dead sea
  • Guided & vehicle-supported cycling - Mt Nebo to Mukawir
  • Mt Nebo - Mt Nebo Entrance
  • Guided & vehicle-supported cycling - Shobak to Petra
  • Petra - Little Petra
  • Petra - Guided tour
  • Guided & vehicle-supported cycling - Little Petra Camp to Wadi Araba
  • Guided & vehicle-supported cycling - Wadi Rum
  • Wadi Rum - Desert Jeep tour
  • Guided cycling - Disi mud flats
Whats included

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