These neighboring Middle Eastern nations promise must-see-before-you-die historical sites, vibrant cities with millennia of history under their belts and spectacularly scenic landscapes.
Both Jordan and Israel are peppered with impressive vestiges of old empires and civilizations, as well as sacred buildings devoted to the world’s three largest monotheist religions: Christianity, Islam and Judaism – all of which are believed to have been born here in this holy land.
Natural wonders also abound, with seas so salty that bathers float on the surface and dusty red deserts with dramatic sandstone formations. And we haven’t even mentioned the amazing people (arguably the most hospitable on this planet) or the fantastic food (think piping-hot pita served with hummus and baba ganoush, fresh salads such as fattoush and tabbouleh and spit-cooked shawarma meats).
Stay in Bedouin desert camps near the 2,400-year-old ancient wonder of Petra
Compare and contrast cosmopolitan Tel Aviv with ancient Jerusalem
Cruise across the Sea of Galilee and float to the surface of the salty Dead Sea
Get a crash-course on Jordanian food from a professional chef
Wait until nightfall to see the Milk Way in the rust-red Wadi Rum desert
Set in a converted 1920s mansion in the trendy White City district of Tel Aviv, the 12-room Hotel Montefiore is as cool as they come. Works by Israeli artists hang on the room walls, while a hip crowd hang out in its buzzy cocktail bar and popular Vietnamese-fusion restaurant.
One of Amman’s most acclaimed restaurants, Fakhreldin occupies a mid-20th-century residence that once belonged to former Jordanian Prime Minister, Fawzi Al-Mulki. The Levantine-style menu includes Middle Eastern mezze such as kibbeh nayeh (raw minced lamb with bulgur) as well as charcoal-grilled meats.
Take a nighttime tour of Petra led by a Bedouin guide. In the silence of the night, you’ll walk along the candle-lit Sik under the light of a gazillion twinkling stars.