Frequently Asked Questions
Can I really walk the Abraham Path?
Yes, you can. The Abraham Path presently consists of over 2000km (1243mi) of trail throughout the Middle East spread across various regions containing anywhere between two and thirteen connected, day-long stages of walking trail.
Is this for experienced hikers only? How fit do I need to be?
The Abraham Path is appropriate for many ages and levels of experience. Depending on the stage, walks are rated as easy, moderate, or difficult in terms of both trail difficulty and physical challenge. The level of fitness required depends on which stage(s) you want to walk and for how many days; planning information on this website gives as much detailed guidance as possible in choosing the most suitable walks for you and how to prepare for walking.
How about safety? Isn’t it crazy to go walking through the Middle East?
The vast majority of the Middle East can be traveled responsibly, both by organized groups and individual travelers. Walking routes, and more broadly eco- and community tourism, have been on the rise across the region. Of course, hiking on trails anywhere is never without risk and, particularly when traveling without a tour operator, it is important to prepare well beforehand and inquire about local safety conditions prior to your travel. Local tour operators are in touch with the security situation on the ground and can advise walkers. Areas of unrest tend to be very geographically isolated at most times. Read our safety advice and disclaimer.
Risk is an inescapable element in all travel; it can be managed and mitigated but not completely avoided. Staying at home and watching the travel channel instead is, of course, always the safest alternative.
Can I walk the path alone as a woman?
We do not recommend that women walk the Abraham Path alone. While the countries the trail crosses are safe for tourists, harassment of women does sometimes occur. In many local cultures it is inappropriate for women to walk alone, and this can put women in a vulnerable situation. We recommend that individual women interested in walking the Abraham Path do so via an organized tour or with a group. We also recommend modest dress (knees and shoulders covered; in the Urfa region, a long skirt is necessary), in keeping with local cultural norms.
Should I walk the path independently or with a group?
You can do either. See our description of the different styles of travel along the path to help you decide which style is most suitable for you. Some sections of the path are more appropriate for independent hikers, while others are currently more realistic in a tour experience.
Do I need to walk with a guide?
We advise travelers to walk with a local guide because this holds several advantages. In particular for people who are new to the region and do not speak the local language, walking with a local guide will be safer and more comfortable than walking without. A second advantage is that walkers will have no concerns regarding navigation.
Even if you like path finding, consider the other advantages of hiring a local guide. There are no better explanations about the area you walk in than those from the people that live there. A guide can also introduce you to people from the area, even if you don’t speak the local language, and by hiring one you will contribute directly to the local economy and the development of small-scale community tourism in the Middle East.
How long would it take me to walk the entire Abraham Path?
The path is currently more than 2000km long, divided over various regions across the Middle East. Accounting for a break here or there, this could take a good 4-5 months to walk, including some air or vehicle transfers between regions.
Is the Abraham Path waymarked? Are there maps? Is there GPS data available?
While some sections of the Abraham Path are waymarked, most of them are not. Visit specific stage detail pages for topographical maps and GPS data. Make sure you are confident and prepared in your navigation method before embarking on the path.
How does the Abraham Path compare to other long-distance trails, such as the Camino de Santiago, the Appalachian Trail, etc?
The Abraham Path spans a very geographically and culturally diverse region; in different places, it can be quite a different experience. Some parts of the path resemble a cultural walking route like the Camino de Santiago – accommodations and food are generally available each day, and much of the trail passes through villages and even bigger cities. Other parts of the trail (mainly in the deserts farther south) are much more of a wilderness experience – there are towns every several days in which to buy food. In some of these regions, water sources are not available daily; more careful planning is needed. See the individual region pages for further information.
What is the best time to hike?
For all the regions of the Abraham Path, the optimal hiking seasons are spring (March-May) and autumn (late September-early Dcember). The landscape is more green and wet in spring and more dry in autumn. In both seasons, the temperatures are typically ideal for hiking, and there is virtually no possibility of rain.
Summer (June-early September) is extremely hot and dry and we strongly caution against walking during this time period. Winter (December-February) sees cooler temperatures and more rain but is still suitable for hiking if walkers are prepared for this. The landscape of the Middle East is in its most lush and green state between December and April.
How much water should I carry with me?
Most sections of the Abraham Path do not offer frequent water resupply points, so it is important to calculate your water needs very carefully. We recommend carrying a minimum of 3 liters per person in cooler weather and 5 liters per person in hot weather. Start each day well hydrated and drink as much as you can at resupply points. Remember to resupply electrolytes by eating salty snacks and/or adding an electrolyte mix to your water such as Gatorade.
Where can I sleep? Do I need to book accommodations in advance? Can I camp?
Some regions of the path (all the regions in Palestine; the Ajloun region in Jordan) have a homestay network of families who are equipped to care for hikers in their home and provide meals and other services. These homestays can generally be booked through a local tour agency.
The sections in Israel and most of Jordan do not currently have an established network of homestays. Instead, we recommend a variety of accommodation options ranging from family-owned hostels and Bedouin camps to free hiker shelters and wild camping. Some towns in Israel also have “trail angels,” people or families who host hikers for free in their homes or allow camping in their backyards.
A few sections do offer hotel accommodations, which can be booked independently. See our accommodations list under each region for details.
Camping is not recommended in some areas, including all of the Palestinian regions (Jenin, Nablus, Jericho, Bethlehem and Hebron). In Israel, camping is allowed only in designated campsites to protect the natural environment; elsewhere, camping in established or designated spots is preferable for the same reason.
Where wild camping is allowed, keep in mind that many local people may not be used to this and might be interested or even suspicious or worried about your presence. Choose campsites in less-traveled areas, and avoid wells in the desert that may be a water source for locals. Any camping should be undertaken with strict adherence to the Leave No Trace principles and respect for private property and protected ecological areas.
When available, we recommend utilizing the homestay network for a deeper and richer experience with local culture.
Where can I resupply food/water, etc?
Check individual stage maps for resupply points and carefully plan your itinerary to be sure you have enough water, food, and other supplies. Some regions have supply options available daily, but others may see long stretches between towns or water sources.
Bear in mind local holidays/weekends – which could effect when stores are open – and seasonal variations in water levels, which could affect water resupply.
Some sections of the path (in the remote deserts) may require you to cache water or food before your walk or to make arrangements with a local tour operator to deliver supplies.
What kind of footwear do I need for the terrain?
While the Abraham Path does not require heavy mountaineering boots or highly technical gear, we do recommend light hiking boots or trail runners that provide good traction and ankle support. The most important aspect of footwear is that whatever you choose to wear is sufficiently broken-in, comfortable, and fits properly. See packing for specific advice.
Waterproof footwear is not usually needed, though it can be handy in the rain. Keep in mind that waterproof shoes also take much longer to dry if their insides do get wet!
What should I wear?
Clothing should be weather-appropriate and made of materials that are moisture-wicking and quick-drying (synthetics and merino wool are recommended; cotton is not). Traditional dress in many parts of the region is well-suited for hot weather – the typical light-weight, light-colored, loose-fitting garb of many locals provides a good example to follow!
Clothing should also be appropriate to local cultural norms. Both men and women should wear long trousers/pants and shirts with sleeves. “Covered from shoulders to knees” is a good rule of thumb in most places. Women should avoid low-cut tops or tight clothing. In the Urfa and Harran regions, a long skirt is required of women staying in village homestays, though loose, long pants are appropriate for walking.
Certain religious sites have dress requirements, such as requiring all of a person’s body to be covered, from wrists to ankles. Mosques generally require women to cover their heads while visiting; a light scarf is useful to have on hand for this (as well as being good for hiking in the sun).
Sun protection is very important for health and comfort, and we recommend covering up fully with long trousers, a long-sleeve shirt, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sun cream.
What currencies do I need to use along the Abraham Path?
- In Israel and Palestine, the local currency is the New Israeli Shekel (NIS)
- In Jordan, the local currency is the Jordanian Dinar (JD).
- In Turkey, the local currency is the New Turkish Lira (TL or TRY).
- In Egypt, the local currency is the Egyptian Pound (LE or EGP).
See exchange rates at www.xe.com
The most convenient way to withdraw local currency is with an ATM/bank card. ATMs are readily available in cities, but not in rural villages. Credit cards can be used in some hotels and restaurants in larger cities. Travelers’ checks are not recommended as it can be difficult to find places to cash them.
Can I find wifi or internet along the trail?
Wifi and internet are readily available in bigger cities; in small villages along the Abraham Path, however, internet may be more difficult to come by. Travelers can purchase a local, prepaid SIM card with a 3G data plan for mobile phones if daily access to internet is necessary.
What should I do if I experience a medical emergency?
We recommend carrying a cell phone with a local SIM card or an international SIM card with roaming capabilities.
- Jordan: 911
- Israel/Palestinian Territory: 100
- Turkey: 112
Medical care is available in all countries along the path. For severe injuries, we would recommend transferring to a hospital in the nearest large city (Jerusalem, Beersheva, Amman, Sanliurfa, Sharm al-Sheikh). We also recommend purchasing trip insurance that would cover evacuation to your home country in case of medical emergency.
Is this a religious project?
No. The project respects all religious traditions but does not belong to any religious group or agenda.
Is this a normalization project with a political agenda?
No. The focus of the path is on the individual walker and on the small local communities that the path crosses. The path is a platform for learning more about the people of the Middle East. It does not associate itself with any political agenda in or outside the region.
How do you know where Abraham actually walked?
We don’t; there is no historical or scriptural evidence specifying the exact route Abraham walked. The current location of the Abraham Path does not imply any judgment about the veracity or precedence of the different scriptural traditions.
There is, however, abundant evidence that Abraham exists today in the memory and traditions of all people in the Middle East. The path thus follows the anthropological Abraham, symbolically honoring the memory and wisdom of his journey across the Middle East.
The scriptural traditions of the Abrahamic faiths do concur in citing specific places that he passed, including the cities of Harran, Jerusalem, Beersheva, and Hebron. Between these places, the Abraham Path passes through cities, towns, and landmarks that are cited in the scripture, revered in local traditions, or passing a ‘line of beauty’ — winding through the most appealing landscapes in the region and passing through sites of more recent historical interest.
When does the Abraham Path make connections across international borders?
The official route of the Abraham Path crosses international borders only when the communities located immediately on either side of the border desire to be a part of one continuous path.
When this is not the case, the route passes near the border on one side and begins again shortly after the border on the other side. In most cases, travelers desiring to transfer from one side to the other can still make that crossing on foot or by public transportation.