Would you like to travel to Israel and Jordan? In this post we want to let you know about this trip that we did on our own. Despite the lack of knowledge we had about Israel and Jordan, especially in terms of security. We threw ourselves into the adventure and went without an agency. That is to say, the three friends who went organised everything. So the preparation and organisation was key for everything to go well. In fact, we have prepared an article with tips for travelling to Israel and Jordan that will come in handy if it’s your first time.
Here is the table of contents you will find on our trip to Jordan and Israel.
Travel to Israel and Jordan. Complete itinerary
We traveled from Gran Canaria with stop in Madrid and from Madrid we flew directly to Tel Aviv. To return we did the same tour. The airline that we chose was the Israeli national EL AL and everything was great. Below we show you where we stayed each of the 10 nights in both countries. And after reading this post you will realize that a trip to Israel and Jordan on your own is possible!
- Tel Aviv (Israel) – Hayarkon Hostel
- Áqaba (Jordan) – Sea Beach Hotel
- Wadi Rum dessert (Jordan) – Oasis Bedouin Camp
- Petra / Wadi Musa (Jordan) – Sabaa Hotel
- Petra / Wadi Musa (Jordan) – Sabaa Hotel
- Arad, Dead Sea & Masada National Park (Israel) – Or Gani Local Appartment
- Jerusalem (Israel) – Alon Hotel
- Jerusalem (Israel) – Alon Hotel
- Tel Aviv (Israel) – Hayarkon Hostel
- Tel Aviv (Israel) – Hayarkon Hostel
For us, the itinerary carried out, both in times and in visited places, has been perfect. Our conclusion is that we could see the most important things of Israel and Jordan in 10 days. Also, unhurried and with time for bathing in the Mediterranean Sea, Dead Sea and Red Sea. Yes, it is a trip for travelers, not to be lying in the sun bed. Also for leisure and enjoyment of local culture and cuisine. Then we tell you our most important tips on what to see at each stop if you are traveling to Israel and Jordan on your own. Here we go!
Things to do in Tel Aviv. Israel and Jordan tours
Tel Aviv is a super modern city, it reminded us of Berlin mixed with the coast of Los Angeles, California. Why? Because it is full of bars and has spectacular kilometric beaches that run from the new part to Jaffa (old town). As we see it, you can not miss the following places to visit in Tel Aviv:
✔ Walk through the sea promenade and bath in the Mediterranean
One of the best things to do in Tel Aviv is to take a walk along the seafront avenue and go to the beach. You will see a healthy environment full of people walking, running, riding bikes, walking their dogs, etc. In addition, there are bathing areas even for pets, beaches where bathing is not recommended and areas with hammocks suitable for bathing. We went in November and the water was cool and crystal clear.
✔ Guided tour around the old town of Jaffa
We chose the company Sandemans. It’s a free tour, where you pay what you consider. Super recommended, since Jaffa has a lot of history. After the tour you can take a walk through its streets and pier, all full of bars, restaurants and art shops. Many artists live in the old part of the city. Therefore, you will find different exhibitions and stores with artistic creations of different kinds.
✔ Carmel market Tel Aviv
Here as well as fruit and vegetables and food in general, you can find souvenirs and other gift items. The opening hours of the Carmel market are Sunday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Curiosity: on Fridays in the afternoon before the Shabbat and when it has closed, the different stalls make available to the interns fruit and vegetables that are very ripe and have not sold for the whoever takes it. Thus, instead of throwing it away, others can take advantage of it.
✔ Nachlat Binyamin artists market
It is a few steps from the Carmel Market. On the street Nachlat Binyamin different artists market stalls are installed. The well-known bar The Prince is also shown in the photo below. Highly recommended to have a drink or a snack with good vibes.
✔ Go to bars from their different neighborhoods
There are bars practically in any neighborhood. In Jaffa as we said before, also in the whole area of the market of artists and neighborhoods of Carmel. Also in Bograshov street and surroundings you will find nice places to eat. We were able to premiere the first night with local food at Falafel Gabay and ate for € 11 each. Very good for Tel Aviv prices (a beer costs around € 6). It is the site that we show in the following photo.
In the same way, you should take the opportunity to try homemade local food on Fridays before Shabbat. At the Dizengoff Center shopping center on Friday afternoons they set up take-away food stalls. Here come the locals to fill their refrigerators to spend the Shabbat without cooking as indicated by their religion.
✔ Hotels in Tel Aviv
To sleep, we decided to stay as central as possible, without sharing a room/toilet, nearby parking and breakfast included. The Hayarkon hostel fulfilled all the requirements and the truth is that we would recommend it. Breakfast is buffet, quite complete and clean rooms. We did not use the car in Tel Aviv for anything. We visited everything on foot: Jaffa old town, the modern side and the coast.
✔ Travel between Israel and Jordan: Yitzhak Rabin – Wadi Araba border
Although in Tel Aviv we were at the beginning and end of the trip, we explained you everything together, so as not to confuse you. After our first night in Tel Aviv, we traveled along the highway number 40 towards the southern border of Yitzhak Rabin – Wadi Araba. To drive around the country we used Maps.me that works offline, since we did not have internet. On our way to the south we stopped by the National Park of Avdat and we did our break here for lunch. Once we crossed the border we spent one night in Aqaba, southern Jordan.
Places to visit in Aqaba. Travel Jordan and Israel
Aqaba is a tourist destination located next to the Red Sea. Mainly it is a destination of Jordanians being the only coastal city of Jordan. In addition, it has lower taxes than the rest of the country. That’s why it’s a paradise for shopping. Its streets are full of stores for coats, blankets, fashion, etc. However, the shops are not focused on foreign tourists, but as we said before to the national tourist of Jordan. Here you can get lost in its streets, eat very good falafel, try the pomegranate juice and visit its yummy bakeries.
Places to visit in Aqaba. Jordan & Israel tour
✔ Local food
To eat in Aqaba we recommend without a doubt the Hashem Son’s restaurant. You have to order the Fatah and the Shawarma. Hummus is also delicious, but you have it in many places in Israel and Jordan. Although there are also fish and seafood restaurants by the sea, we did not have the chance to try them.
✔ Snorkel in the Jordan Red Sea
In the Red Sea at Aqaba there is spectacular coral for snorkelling. What’s more, it is right on the shore. We were surprised by its beauty, we did not expect it to be so well preserved and so little exploited. We went to the Japanese Garden beach, about 10 minutes from the centre. With the name of the beach, you can imagine its seabed. IT IS SPECTACULAR. If you have the time, you can go scuba diving in the Red Sea, a highly recommended and highly rated activity in Aqaba.
There is also a beach in the centre, but only for locals, as the women are covered. The sand is also quite dirty, as people eat food on the shore without removing the rubbish. We therefore recommend the tourist areas for bathing. In the previous photo we can see a boat with a glass bottom showing the seabed, although in the area of the buoys you can see the coral perfectly and you can swim there yourself. It is only a few metres.
✔ Hotels in Aqaba
We stayed at the Sea Beach Hotel. The staff was very friendly, but the wifi only works at the reception and the rooms were nothing fancy. In any case, it was centrally located, had air conditioning and for the price we paid for one night, it was fine. If you do not like this, you can always check more hotels in Aqaba below.
Wadi Rum desert. Places to visit in Jordan and Israel
We can affirm that the best experience of traveling through Israel and Jordan on your own is the desert of Wadi Rum, south of Jordan. We hired a 4-hour 4×4 trip through the desert with the campsite where we stayed and it was awesome. They took us to the most beautiful places and we saw the sunset in the heat of the campfire.
One of the points where the route ended was where the film of Lawrence of Arabia was recorded. We show it below.
We stayed at the Oasis Bedouin Camp and we recommend it 100%. We had included dinner with Bedouin food and breakfast. The owners of the campsite were young Bedouin boys, very close and friendly.
We also enjoyed the shooting stars at night an incredible sunrise in the morning. Please, do not avoid this awesome experience!
Petra, things to do in Jordan and Israel
The city of Petra or “stone” is located in the village of Wadi Musa. Here, in addition to visiting Petra and Little Petra, there is nothing else you can do, as Wadi Musa itself is a bit ugly. The souvenir shops and the food in general is quite expensive. In the same way, to enter Petra the entrance is also very expensive.
✔ Tips for visiting Petra
As you may know, Petra is very visited, since it is one of the 7 wonders of the world. We decided to go at 6:00 a.m. in the morning to avoid the masses and it was a great decision. Take into account that in Jordan in November it gets dark at 4:00 p.m. Therefore, we were walking from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon. We walked in total 20 kilometers. Still we had things to see. We bought the entrance to see Petra by night, but it was canceled due to rain and they gave us our money back.
A tip that we give you is that after seeing El Tesoro, go directly to see The Monastery and then see the rest, since the path to The Monastery is something hard and long. This way, you will also prevent it from being crowded.
The landscape that we show you below can be appreciated at the end of the path of The Monastery. A hidden place behind the cafeteria indicated with a handwritten sign as “best view of the world” or something like that. Highly recommended to drink tea and rest your legs to regain strength. Also, the tea here is much cheaper than in the tourist cafés and the man was so nice.
✔ Restaurants in Petra, Wadi Musa
We tried the local dish Maqluba (chicken with vegetables, rice and yogurt) at the Beit Albarakah restaurant and it was delicious. For dessert they brought us an amazing pastry too.
✔ Hotels in Petra, Wadi Musa
We stayed at the Sabaa Hotel. Everything great, except the bathroom that was full of humidity. The beds were comfortable, the breakfast was fine and the staff was very friendly. We could go walking from the hotel to Petra, that was the best thing of the hotel.
Dead Sea and Masada. Things to see in Israel and Jordan
After two nights in Wadi Moussa, we returned to Israel across the same southern border and headed for the Dead Sea. You could say that this part of the trip might be the most essential. Especially after seeing so many wonders. In any case, the history of the Jews at Masada is very interesting and, of course, experiencing a swim in the Dead Sea is unique. We bathed in the Ein Bokek bathing area next to Israel. As we had time, we included it in the itinerary.
If we are not mistaken, this is the only suitable bathing area on the Israeli coast of the Dead Sea. You have the option of the coast that is inside Palestinian territories, but they do not advise you to drive through Palestinian territories in a rental car (Israeli plates). On the other hand, from Masada you will have spectacular views of the Dead Sea. We recommend you go early in the morning, as it’s a bit of a hike to see the ruins and it’s very hot. You also have the option of visiting Masada and the Dead Sea from Tel Aviv on a guided tour with very good reviews from other travellers.
✔ Places to stay Dead Sea and Masada
We stayed in a nice house in the Israeli town of Arad, just 20 minutes from Masada by car. We booked the house by Booking and it was called Or Gani. The owner treated us like at home, impeccable cleaning and comfortable beds. She also cooked us with products from her garden something for dinner and breakfast. Therefore, we recommend this accommodation 100%.
Things to do in Jerusalem. Israel & Jordan trip
As you may know, Jerusalem is a very old city, the cradle of religions. Here we detail what to do in Jerusalem:
✔ Make a walking tour with a local guide
Even if it is a trip to Jordan and Israel on your own, in this case it pays to at least take a free tour of Jerusalem, as there is a lot to learn. Plus, you’ll be taken to the must-see sites within the Old City, such as the famous Western Wall.
✔ Mount of Olives
From here you will have the best view of the city, we went by car and there were parking places for free.
✔ Market of Mahane Yehuda
In this market you can eat local food, buy Israeli tea and drink, as it also has bars. We loved the Freddy Lemons bar, very good music and happy hour (2 beers for one). Also, there were only local people, no tourists.
✔ Visit the Jewish Orthodox neighborhood: Mea Shearim
Although the Sandemans guide warned us that it could be a dangerous thing to go without the dress codes they have for women, we dared to go in jeans. It is a unique neighborhood where only ultra-Orthodox Israelis reside. Of course, we must try to respect their rules of dress for women to avoid problems and we indicated in the post with tips for traveling to Israel and Jordan. And it is: long skirt up to the ankle (not pants), arms and chest covered, without tight clothes. It was brutal adrenaline to walk there, but better to wear proper clothes to feel something safer and less noticed. Think that you are the “rare” there.
✔ Hotels in Jerusalem
In Jerusalem we stayed at the Alon Hotel. It was super central, so we went everywhere on foot. It really was a kind of apartment with a mini kitchen that had a sink and fridge. The beds were very comfortable and cleaning was great, so we recommend 100%. Jerusalem is quite expensive in general, both the food and the stay.
5% discount in your travel insurance to travel to Israel and Jordan
And this has been roughly our itinerary through Israel and Jordan on our own. We hope it serves you as a guide. Finally, if you still do not have travel insurance, you have a 5% discount for being our reader. We recommend you the travel insurance IATI Backpacker for Jordan and the IATI Star for Israel.
Hello, did you find it very expensive to rent a car and do your own driving? Is traffic crazy? Was the gas a big part of your budget?
Do you think it would be a better idea to stay mostly in Jordan (and make day trips to Israel) since it is said to be cheaper there?
If we go in May, is the water warm enough to swim in? Is it too hot to walk around in May?
Local Guide Gran Canaria says
Hi Janet!! We didnt find it very expensive because we divided the total between three! Traffic was normal in Israel and the drive is not so long, so it wasnt a big part of the budget!
Concerning staying in Jordan, it could be, but you will spend more time traveling then…
The weather is a bit crazy right now, I think it is better to check the forecast a week before… We went in November, I can only talk about my experience… water was OK in the Death sea, Red sea and Mediterranean sea.
I recommend you to check this post with all the tips for traveling to Israel and Jordan.
Have a good day!