23 days, Jordan - Lebanon - Syria.
Lebanon:From ancient Damascus we head into Lebanon which for such a tiny country boasts many highlights. Our itinerary includes the port of Sidon and the engaging palace of Beit Eddine, set amid forested hills that gently slope down to the sea. We explore Beirut, the capital, and Tripoli, before heading for the Qadisha Valley to walk among isolated churches in this fabulous setting. Plus, of course, the splendour of the stunning Roman ruins of Baalbeck in the Beqa'a Valley.
Syria: From Damascus, with its mosques and enticing souks, we follow in the footsteps of Romans, Crusaders, Macedonians and so many others. We'll explore the great Krak des Chevaliers castle, the medieval citadel of Aleppo and, following the life-giving Euphrates eastwards, several Roman trading posts en route. We reach Dura Europos and then Palmyra - an oasis caravanserai in an epic desert setting, once ruled by the beautiful and spirited Queen Zenobia, who defied the mighty Romans.
Jordan: Starting at Jerash, with its celebrated Roman ruins, our journey through Jordan continues via Mt Nebo, from where Moses saw the 'Promised Land', and another Crusader stronghold - Kerak - before reaching Petra. The famous 'Rose Red' city is so compelling that we spend the best part of two days at the site. Then, by 4WD, we travel off-road to the ochre canyons of Wadi Rum, where we camp bedouin-style and have the opportunity to take a camel trek. Then to Aqaba, where you can enjoy snorkelling over Red Sea reefs and - in the Dead Sea - 'float' in its gravity-defying waters!