Begin with pickup from your Amman hotel, and travel north by private, air-conditioned vehicle toward the town of Umm Qais, near the site of the ancient Greco-Roman city of Gadara.
After roughly two hours, arrive at the Umm Qais site, where the ruins of Gadara lie alongside the remnants of a 19th-century Ottoman village.
Meet up with a local guide and learn how Gadara was one of ancient Rome’s Decapolis league — a group of 10 self-governing cities on the frontiers of the empire in the Middle East.
Absorb the stunning views from the hillside down to the Jordan Valley, Sea of Galilee, and Golan Heights, and visit the on-site museum, housed in the restored Ottoman governor’s palace.
Admire the antiquities here, and enjoy a guided tour of the main sights. Stride along the street leading to the west-facing Roman theater, and marvel at the well-preserved 3,000-seater auditorium, still with its elaborately carved VIP seats.
Then, continue to the Byzantine-era Basilica with its octagonal altar, and walk down the main street, the Cardo Maximus. Take in the sweeping views, broken columns, and crumbled buildings along this once-grand thoroughfare, and hear about the city’s history, including its golden age in the 2nd century AD, from your guide.
Next, rejoin your vehicle and travel south to Pella, where the remains of another Decapolis city lie on a hillside. First mentioned as ‘Pihilum’ or ‘Pehel’ in Egyptian texts of the 19th century BC, Pella prospered in Roman times, when the Romans filled it with temples, theaters, baths, and colonnaded streets.
Explore the antiquities, some dating back 8,000 years, and view highlights like the Greco-Roman theater, pillar-lined roads, and relics of Bronze and Iron Age cities.
Lastly, reconvene with your driver and finish with a hotel drop-off in Amman.