Mysteries of Libya: Unveiling Ancient Wonders

8 Days
from AUD$ 5,949

Highlights

  • Explore the magnificent Roman ruins of Leptis Magna and Sabratha
  • Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Ghadames and Cyrene
  • Immerse yourself in the vibrant capital city, Tripoli, and discover its bustling markets, historic mosques, and old town
  • Discover the Pearl of the Desert’,’ Ghadames with its picturesque oasis, Berber Village, and stunning sand dunes
  • Indulge in delicious Libyan cuisine, known for its flavourful dishes, aromatic spices, and Mediterranean influences

Welcome to Libya, a captivating destination that beckons to intrepid explorers seeking a truly unique and off-the-beaten-path experience.

Nestled on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, Libya boasts a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty waiting to be discovered. This remarkable country is home to ancient Roman and Greek ruins, offering a glimpse into the grandeur of the past. The Sahara Desert, stretching across vast expanses of Libya’s southern region, presents a mesmerizing landscape of towering sand dunes, dramatic rock formations, and ethereal sunsets. Travelling through Libya, you’ll encounter warm hospitality from its friendly locals who are eager to share their traditions, cuisine, and stories. Exploring vibrant souks, bustling markets, and quaint coastal towns, you’ll be immersed in a vibrant blend of Arab, Berber, and Mediterranean influences. Embarking on a Libyan adventure promises to be a captivating and enriching experience, as you traverse an extraordinary land of historical wonders, breathtaking landscapes, and the warm embrace of its hospitable people. So pack your sense of adventure and get ready to discover the hidden treasures of Libya, a country that beckons with its fascinating allure.

Journey map

Fitness level

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Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival in Tripoli

Welcome to Libya! Upon your arrival at Tripoli International Airport, you will be greeted and transported to your hotel. Set off to explore the Libyan Capital city, accompanied by your knowledgeable local guide and immerse yourself in the lively labyrinthine streets of Tripoli’s old medina. Get lost in the enchanting narrow alleyways brimming with vibrant shops and bustling markets. Marvel at the remarkable architecture of the Red Castle, which once served as a palace and fortress, and take advantage of its breathtaking panoramic vistas of the city. As you sightsee, soak in the captivating atmosphere that seems frozen in time, passing by Ottoman-era mansions, the magnificent Roman Arch of Marcus Aurelius that signifies Tripoli’s Roman heritage, and be awe-inspired by its magnificence. Visit the old Christian Church and pay homage to the Commonwealth soldiers resting in Tripoli’s WWII cemetery, where approximately 1500 servicemen are laid to rest. (L)

2 nights at Victoria Hotel or similar

Day 2 – A Day in Leptis

Transport yourself into the past as you delve into the ancient ruins of Leptis Magna, a thriving Roman city that existed long ago. Immerse yourself in its splendour and profound historical significance. As the largest Roman city in Libya, its remnants and artefacts are among the finest globally. Leptis Magna is thought to have been discovered by the Phoenicians as early as 7 BC. Upon entering the site, the sheer magnitude of Leptis Magna’s architectural marvels unfolds before your very eyes. Be amazed by the remarkably preserved ruins, including the commanding Arch of Septimius Severus, the awe-inspiring Severan Basilica, and the intricately designed Theatre, once the venue for grand performances.

Leptis Magna, regarded as one of the most beautiful cities of ancient Rome facing the Mediterranean Sea, offers a glimpse into its former glory through its standing remnants. Explore the public monuments, man-made harbor, storehouses, markets, theatre, and amphitheatre that demonstrate the city’s flourishing era. Take a moment to admire the exquisite mosaics and intricate carvings adorning the remains, providing insight into the lavish lifestyle enjoyed by the city’s privileged elite. Be sure not to overlook the Gladiator mosaic, considered one of the world’s finest examples of this art form. (B,D)

Day 3 – Flight to Albayda (East Libya)

This morning, you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Albayda, which is a base for the Ancient Greek ruins of Cyrene. Nestled in the Green Mountains (Jebel Akhdar) this area is heavily forested and fertile, overlooking the Mediterranean coastline. This is one of the very few forested areas of Libya. If time allows take a walk through the local produce market.

Enjoy the Ras al-Helals green forested beaches with turquoise and spectacular waterfalls that pave their way through the rock canyons of the coast, in some of the most naturally beautiful surroundings the country has to offer. Take a moment to relax and soak up the sun while marvelling at the breathtaking beauty of the Mediterranean Sea.

Continuing your journey, arrive at Apollonia, an ancient Greek city that dates back to the 6th century BC. Apollonia served as the main harbour of Cyrene and has amazing, well-preserved land monuments, Roman baths, an impressive theatre and the Byzantine palace. Many of the early foundations of this ancient seaport remains are preserved mainly because they are now underwater. (B,L)

Overnight at Merhaba Hotel or similar

 

Day 4 – Cyrene then Tripoli

Spend the morning exploring the archaeological site of Cyrene, historically known as the ‘Athens of Africa’, here you will explore 2000-year-old ruins that are of the ancients Greek colony of Cyrene nearby in Shahat. Cyrene was founded by the Greeks in 631 BC and was later occupied by the Romans and then the Arabs. Part of the century five city state of Pentapolis, it was second in size to Athens. An earthquake in 365AD crumbled it to ruins and covered it in sand. Today only 20% of the ruins can be seen the remaining are still at rest beneath the sand. This ancient Greek city is mentioned in the New Testament but was forgotten about until it was found in the 18th century.

This afternoon, you will travel back to Tripoli. Indulge in the flavours of Libyan cuisine as you find a delicious meal at one of Tripoli’s local restaurants, sample traditional dishes bursting with aromatic spices and fresh ingredients. Immerse yourself in the local culture, engaging in conversations with friendly locals and discovering the warmth and hospitality for which Libyans are renowned. (B)

Overnight at Victoria Hotel or similar

Day 5 – Jabel Nafusa with stops in, Gaser Alhaj, Nalut, Gser Kabaw and Ghadames

Your journey today begins in Gaser Alhaj, a picturesque village nestled amidst the rugged mountains of Jabel Nafusa. Take in the breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes as you explore this tranquil haven.

Discover the rich Berber culture and traditions that have been preserved for generations. Be privileged to visit one of the last inhabited local troglodytes, whose home has stood the test of time. Dug into the rock with simple hand tools, these century old residences blend into rocky slopes of the surrounding Jabel Nafusah Mountains. Some of the towns dwellings are more than 2,300 years old, though there are only about 10 original troglodyte dwellings still standing.

Continue on to a hidden gem that offers a glimpse into the ancient past. Explore Gser Kabaw and the fascinating ruins of this archaeological site, where ancient civilisations once thrived. Marvel at the intricate stone carvings and architectural remnants that tell stories of a bygone era. Let your imagination soar as you envision the vibrant life that once existed within these historical walls.

As you venture onto the picturesque town of Nalut, stop by the Nalut Fortress. A centuries-old stronghold that stands as a testament to the town’s strategic importance throughout history. The fortress offers stunning vistas and a glimpse into the town’s past, showcasing its defensive architecture and serving as a reminder of the region’s historical significance.

Arrive in Ghadames, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed old desert town, and settle into your accommodation. (B,D) 

2 nights at Dar Ghadames or similar

Day 6 – Ghadames

Known as ‘the pearl of the desert’, Ghadames is an outstanding example of a traditional Berber settlement. This old oasis city is of great historical significance not only because of its trading roots but because it is home to a freshwater spring that leaves the towns with an abundance of water in the middle of the desert.

Spend the day exploring the narrow labyrinthine alleyways, sounds of music, and wonders of this pivotal trading centre in the middle of the Sahara desert. Capture the essence of Ghadames as you wander through the old city’s iconic landmarks, including the stunning Great Mosque and the grand old fortress. The old part of the town is surrounded by a wall which was the home of seven different clans is filled with amazing Islamic architecture, built originally by the Berbers from mud, many of the buildings are now finished with a white wash.  Marvel at the intricately carved wooden doors and delicate details that tell tales of a bygone era.

Discover the vibrant markets where locals trade goods and artisans showcase their craftmanship. Indulge in the flavours of authentic Saharan cuisine, savouring the aromatic spices and delicious local delicacies. Settle in at the Sahara desert for a truly magical sunset. (B,L)

Day 7 - Geryan and Tripoli

Experience the charm and beauty of Geryan as you step into a world where ancient traditions and modern life coexist, immersing yourself in the rich cultural tapestry of this remarkable city. As you explore the streets of Geryan, you’ll be captivated by the town’s unique architectural style. Admire the distinctive mud-brick houses adorned with decorative motifs and wooden balconies, a testament to Geryan’s rich history and traditional craftsmanship.

Wander through the bustling souks, where vibrant colours and enticing aromas fill the air. Engage with friendly locals as you peruse the stalls, discovering traditional crafts, textiles, and spices that showcase the town’s cultural heritage.

Visit the historic mosques that dot the town, their domes and minarets rising gracefully against the skyline. Marvel at the intricate designs and beautiful calligraphy that adorn the interior, reflecting the town’s deep-rooted Islamic heritage. (B,L)

Overnight at Victoria Hotel or similar

Day 8 - Sabratha - Departure

Today you will wander through the ancient west coast harbour side city of Sabratha set along the picturesque Libyan coastline. Here you will explore the many ancient Roman Ruins this UNESCO World Heritage Site has to offer. One of these archaeological sites is a well-known Sabratha Amphitheatre spreading over 80 metres long and three stories high. Marvel at its impressive architecture and imagine the vibrant energy that once filled its seats. A magnificent structure that once hosted theatrical performances and gladiatorial contests, it is one of the largest theatres on the African continent. You will also visit many mausoleums, archaeological landmarks and temples, a standout is a temple dedicated to the sea Goddess Isis, built to protect ships and their crew at sea. This temple is of importance as Sabratha was a port city and maritime trade made the city wealthy, remnants of roman roads still remain. In the afternoon you will be transferred to the airport for your onward departure. (B) 

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What’s included

  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Breakfast, 5 Lunches 2 Dinners
  • English speaking local guide
  • Entrance fees
  • Domestic flight Tripoli to Albayda – economy class
  • Visa support
  • Private transportation
Exclusions
  • International/domestic air tickets not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned above
  • Early check-in and late check out charges from the hotel
  • Visas
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Expenditure of a personal nature such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, tipping etc

**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.

* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.

* A minimum of 2 adults is required to guarantee this departure.

A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.

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Availability

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Availability
Price
Start Date
20th Oct 2024
End Date
27th Oct 2024
Duration
8 Days
Availability
Enquiry Only
Price
$5,949 AUD
Start Date
19th Oct 2025
End Date
26th Oct 2025
Duration
8 Days
Availability
Enquiry Only
Price
$5,949 AUD
Start Date
19th Oct 2026
End Date
26th Oct 2026
Duration
8 Days
Availability
Enquiry Only
Price
$6,365 AUD