Tour: Jerusalem to Eilat
Israel is full of wonder-filling culture, history, and geology, where many roots of Western Civilization are clearly evident.
It is where the Torah and the Bible were lived, and is a great place to celebrate or dream. This quiet route will immerse you in exciting archaeology and carry you through green valleys, pine forests, and the Negev Desert. You will explore caves, hear epic tales, and learn about Jewish, Greek, Roman and Christian history.
Day 1: 55km
Start at Herzls Tomb on the edge of Jerusalem. Descend to the “flat land” or “Eretz Pleshet” as it is named in the Bible. You will see the Judean Mountains and ride through “Emek Ha’Ella” (The Goddess Valley) where young David defeated Goliath some 3000 years ago. You will visit the Roman Amphitheatre of Eleutropolis, and wander through breath-taking and famous Bell Caves of Beit Guvrin. After emerging to light again, you will transfer by vehicle from the southern tip of the Judean Mountains straight into the Judean Desert, and to the desert town of Arad.
Day 2: 66km
Masada is a fascinating archaeological site. It has breath-taking views, and a heroic story to tell. It inspires an ideological debate, and it has a lot to do with the spirit that made Israel exist. You will enjoy an awe-inspiring early-morning ride from Arad to Masada, and then climb by foot up to Masada via the Roman Ramp. You will see the recently discovered and reconstructed sites, and enjoy spectacular views of the Dead Sea, Ein Gedi, the Moab Mountains, and Jordan across the African Rift Valley. You can descend from Masada on foot or by cable car then continue on bikes to the National Park oasis at Ein Gedi on the Dead Sea. You will then have plenty of time to enjoy the water’s healing power, buy the traditional Dead Sea gifts for the folks back home, and to laugh in the amazing experience of buoyancy.
Day 3: 10-20km hike; or mountain bike up to 45km
This morning, you can choose between a gentle hike and a challenging off-road ride. The hike takes you to the Zin Canyon where the flora and fauna illustrate the delicate uniqueness of this desert region. It also leads to the Ein Advat Oasis, and the Ein Ma’arif observation point – a once prosperous city on the spice route linking Petra and the Mediterranean coast. The bike ride is on the well maintained Nahal Noked Trail, exploring the wonderful valley between the Halukim and Haboker Ridges enroute to the award wining winery at Kibbutz Sde Boker, also the home and burial place of David Ben Gurion. From there both groups will finish the day with a visit to the Nabatean ruins of Avdat, and a short ride back to your quiet desert cabin to savour the Negev ambience.
Day 4: 103 km
A 30 minute van transfer will take you to Camel Rock from where you can see the first 30 miles of today’s ride. The optional hike on the edge of the 1500ft. cliff is extra stunning at sunrise when there is better chance of meeting the wild ibex and soaring griffons. From Mitzpe Ramon, you will cycle the mountains of the Negev and across the desert. The cycling begins with a magnificent descent into the Machtesh Ramon crater, followed by a wonderful road through the Eilat Mountains Nature Reserve. This fabulous ride through wide open Uvda wilderness is real desert, real desolation, and real cycling in a wonderful landscape. Tonight you will eat and sleep on a humble Kibbutz. The experience is special for those interested in life on a kibbutz and sharing in the ceremonies of the Shabbat.
Day 5: 71 km
The final day of cycling is a stunning ride through the desert to Eilat. On one side, the mountains of Jordan shine in the sun, while on your other, the border of Egypt is flanked by the Granite Mountains. The colors of the granites and sand stones look as if an uncensored hallucinating artist painted them. Ancient Copper miners left their camps, shrines, melting work-shops and mysterious rock engravings here.