The Secrets of Jordan: Making the Most of Your Unforgettable Journey
Jordan is a captivating destination that offers many reasons to visit. Nestled in the heart of the Middle East, this ancient land showcases a rich history, stunning landscapes, warm hospitality, and unique cultural experiences.
Why it is worth visiting Jordan
Historical Marvels: Jordan boasts a treasure trove of historical wonders, most notably the ancient city of Petra. Carved into rose-red cliffs, Petra’s iconic facade, the Treasury, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the World’s New Seven Wonders. Additionally, visitors can explore other archaeological sites like Jerash, Amman’s Citadel, and the Roman ruins of Umm Qais.
Timeless Landscapes: From the otherworldly desert landscapes of Wadi Rum, often called the Valley of the Moon, to the serene shores of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth, Jordan offers diverse and breathtaking scenery. Explore canyons, rock formations, and oases, providing ample opportunities for hiking, camping, and nature lovers.
Cultural Diversity: Experience the warmth and hospitality of the Jordanian people, known for their friendliness and generosity towards visitors. Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture, savor delicious traditional dishes, and enjoy the lively atmosphere of local markets.
Red Sea Delights: The coastal city of Aqaba on the Red Sea offers opportunities for diving and snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, showcasing colorful coral reefs and marine life.
Cultural Festivals: Experience Jordan’s vibrant cultural scene through various festivals and events that celebrate music, dance, and art, providing a unique insight into the country’s modern identity.
Bedouin Hospitality: Encounter the Bedouin way of life in the deserts of Jordan and partake in their timeless traditions, such as drinking tea in Bedouin tents and riding camels.
Overall, Jordan’s allure lies in its harmonious blend of ancient history, natural wonders, and welcoming locals. Whether you’re an adventurer, a history enthusiast, or a seeker of unique cultural experiences, Jordan offers an unforgettable journey that will leave you with cherished memories for a lifetime.
How to get to Jordan
There are several options to travel to Jordan, depending on your location and travel preferences. Here are the common ways to get to Jordan:
By Air: Flying is the most convenient and popular way to reach Jordan, especially if you are coming from a distant country. The country’s main international airport is Queen Alia International Airport (AMM), located about 35 kilometers south of the capital, Amman. It serves as the primary gateway for international travelers.
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By Land: If you are in neighboring countries, you can enter Jordan by land through various border crossings. Some of the major border crossings are from Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Syria. Make sure to check the specific border crossing requirements and regulations before planning your journey.
By Sea: Jordan has a small coastline along the Red Sea, and the Port of Aqaba serves as the country’s main seaport. Aqaba is well-connected to other ports in the region, and some cruise ships also include Aqaba in their itineraries.
Domestic Transportation: Within Jordan, you can travel between cities and attractions using various transportation options. Buses, taxis, and rental cars are available for getting around the country. Jordan’s infrastructure is generally well-developed, making it relatively easy to move between different regions.
Tour Companies: If you prefer a guided experience or want to explore specific regions in-depth, many tour companies offer organized tours to Jordan. These tours can be tailored to your interests and can provide a hassle-free travel experience.
Visa Requirements: Before traveling to Jordan, check the visa requirements for your country. Many nationalities can obtain a visa on arrival, while others may need to obtain a visa in advance. Visa rules are subject to change, so it’s essential to verify the latest information with the Jordanian embassy or consulate in your country before planning your trip.
When to travel to Jordan
The best time to travel to Jordan depends on your preferences for weather and activities. Jordan has a desert climate, and its weather can be quite extreme, with hot summers and cool winters. The most popular time to visit Jordan is during the spring and autumn months when the weather is milder and more comfortable for outdoor activities. Here are some details about each season:
Spring (March to May): Spring is considered the best time to visit Jordan. The weather is pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F) during the day, making it ideal for exploring historical sites like Petra and hiking through scenic landscapes like Wadi Rum.
Autumn (September to November): Similar to spring, autumn offers mild temperatures, making it another great time to visit Jordan. The weather is comfortable, and the landscapes are still lush from the earlier rainy season.
Summer (June to August): Summer in Jordan can be extremely hot, with temperatures exceeding 40°C (104°F) in some areas, especially in the desert regions. If you can tolerate the heat, this might be a good time to visit if you want to experience fewer crowds at popular tourist sites.
Winter (December to February): Winter can be cold, particularly in the evenings, and some areas might even experience snowfall. While daytime temperatures can still be pleasant, ranging from 10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F), be prepared for chilly nights.
Keep in mind that some attractions, like Petra, can get crowded during peak tourist seasons, so plan your visit accordingly. Ultimately, the best time to travel to Jordan depends on your tolerance for heat or cold and your preference for dealing with crowds while enjoying the country’s rich history and stunning landscapes.
How to make to most out of your visit to Jordan
Day 1: Arrival in Amman
Upon your arrival in Jordan’s capital city, you’ll be welcomed into this vibrant country.
Once you’ve had some time to rest and refresh, venture out to explore the lively downtown area of Amman. Begin your journey by visiting the Citadel, perched on the highest hill, where ancient ruins and historical landmarks await your discovery. Explore the Temple of Hercules, adorned with impressive columns and a hand of Hercules statue, as well as the Umayyad Palace, a stunning 8th-century structure.
From the Citadel, marvel at panoramic views of Amman, a perfect opportunity for photography enthusiasts. Continue your exploration at the Jordan Museum, a treasure trove of artifacts spanning Jordan’s rich history, from prehistoric times to the eras of Nabateans, Romans, and Byzantines.
For lunch, treat yourself to authentic Jordanian cuisine at a local restaurant, savoring dishes like mansaf, falafel, and shawarma.
In the afternoon, visit the King Abdullah I Mosque, an architectural marvel boasting a magnificent blue dome. As a visitor, you’re welcome to explore the mosque outside of prayer times.
Dive into the bustling local shopping culture by heading to the souks in downtown Amman. Explore Souk Al-Bukhariah, renowned for its aromatic spices, and the Gold Souk, a haven for jewelry enthusiasts.
As evening approaches, immerse yourself in Jordanian arts and entertainment at the Amman Citadel Theatre, where cultural events and performances may be available.
For dinner, consider dining at one of the city’s rooftop restaurants, offering a delightful view of Amman’s skyline as you enjoy a scrumptious meal.
Optional: If modern art intrigues you, don’t miss the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, an opportunity to admire works from talented Jordanian and regional artists.
Remember, this itinerary is flexible, and you can tailor it to suit your interests and available time. Enjoy your first day in Amman, and prepare for more exciting experiences in the days ahead!
Day 2: Jerash and Ajloun
After a delicious breakfast, embark on a day trip to the ancient city of Jerash, located about 50 kilometers north of Amman. Discover the remarkably preserved Greco-Roman ruins, including the Oval Plaza, Hadrian’s Arch, the Temple of Artemis, and the South Theatre. Don’t miss a stroll down the Cardo Maximus, the grand colonnaded street that transports you back in time.
For a unique experience, consider dressing up in traditional Roman costumes available for rent at the entrance and take photos of the ancient ruins.
Indulge in a leisurely lunch at a local restaurant in Jerash, savoring the flavors of authentic Jordanian dishes.
After Jerash, journey to Ajloun Castle, a formidable 12th-century fortress erected to protect against Crusader attacks. Explore the castle’s chambers, climb its towers, and admire the breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Knowledgeable on-site guides will enlighten you about Ajloun Castle’s historical significance in Jordan’s past.
If time permits, you can visit the nearby Ajloun Nature Reserve, an oasis of lush vegetation with hiking trails, offering a peaceful escape into nature.
In the late afternoon, return to Amman, where you can either relax at your hotel or continue exploring more of the city at your leisure.
Optional: Experience Jordanian hospitality and rural life with a visit to a local homestay in one of the nearby villages. Interact with locals, participate in traditional activities, and enjoy home-cooked meals for a truly authentic experience.
Note: Jerash and Ajloun are located in the northern part of Jordan, so allocate enough time for travel and exploration. The historical sites and natural beauty in this region are truly captivating, making it well worth the visit.
Day 3: Petra – The Rose City
On Day 3, start early in the morning for the extraordinary city of Petra, located about 3 hours south of Amman. Have a hearty breakfast before the journey, or pack a breakfast to enjoy en route.
Arriving at Petra’s Visitor Center, secure your entrance tickets and embark on a mesmerizing journey through the Siq, a narrow and winding canyon that gradually unveils the hidden gem of Petra.
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As you walk through the Siq, marvel at the stunning rock formations and the anticipation of what lies ahead.
Finally, the Siq opens up, revealing the iconic Treasury (Al-Khazneh), one of Petra’s most celebrated landmarks. Take your time to admire the intricate carvings and the grandeur of this ancient structure.
Continue your exploration deeper into Petra, discovering the Street of Facades, the Theater, the Royal Tombs, and numerous other captivating sites.
For a breathtaking view of Petra, hike up to the Monastery (Ad-Deir), another impressive rock-cut monument. The hike takes around 45 minutes to an hour but rewards you with an unforgettable panorama. Alternatively, you can opt for a donkey ride or hire a horse for a more comfortable ascent.
Lunchtime calls for a delightful meal at one of the local restaurants inside Petra, where you can savor authentic Jordanian delicacies amidst this awe-inspiring wonder.
After lunch, continue your Petra exploration, revisiting favorite spots or venturing into lesser-known areas for more photographic opportunities.
For a unique perspective, consider a horse-drawn carriage ride from the entrance to the Treasury, offering a different experience of the Siq.
As the day draws to a close, journey back through the Siq and witness the rock walls transforming with a kaleidoscope of colors during sunset, adding a touch of magic to your unforgettable experience.
Retreat to your hotel in Petra or the nearby town of Wadi Musa for relaxation and a restful night.
Day 4: Wadi Rum – The Desert Landscape
Depart from Petra or Wadi Musa and head to Wadi Rum, a captivating desert landscape approximately 1.5 hours south of Petra.
Upon arrival at Wadi Rum Visitor Center, consider hiring a local Bedouin guide with a 4×4 vehicle for an authentic desert safari. The Bedouins, traditional nomadic inhabitants of this region, possess deep knowledge of the terrain and its history.
Embark on a thrilling desert expedition, traversing sand dunes, awe-inspiring rock formations, narrow canyons, and ancient petroglyphs.
Jeep Tour in Wadi Rum
Magical Bedouin Jeep tour & overnight
Pause at various viewpoints, capturing the surreal beauty of Wadi Rum with your camera, or simply bask in the breathtaking scenery.
Enjoy a traditional Bedouin lunch, thoughtfully prepared by your guide, offering a taste of the local cuisine while you relax in the shade of a rock formation.
After lunch, immerse yourself in the desert experience with a short camel ride, mirroring the authentic ways of the Bedouins.
Visit iconic locations such as Lawrence’s Spring, named after T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), who spent time in Wadi Rum during the Arab Revolt.
As the day unfolds, witness the desert’s changing colors during the golden hour before sunset, heightening the enchantment of Wadi Rum.
Consider spending the night in a Bedouin camp, savoring a traditional Bedouin dinner under the stars, and experiencing the tranquil serenity of the desert at night.
Optional: For an extraordinary experience, take a hot air balloon ride over Wadi Rum at sunrise, capturing a bird’s-eye view of the stunning desert landscape (subject to availability and weather conditions).
Note: Wadi Rum can become extremely hot during the day, particularly in summer. Wear light, breathable clothing, and remember to carry plenty of water and sunscreen to stay hydrated and protected from the sun.
Day 5: Aqaba – Red Sea Relaxation
Make your way to Aqaba, approximately a 1.5 to 2-hour drive from Wadi Rum.
Upon arrival in Aqaba, check in to your hotel and take some time to unwind and freshen up.
Aqaba is renowned for its stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters, offering the perfect setting for relaxation. Spend the morning on the beach, soaking up the sun and indulging in refreshing dips in the Red Sea.
For those interested in snorkeling or diving, Aqaba presents some of the finest underwater experiences in the region. The Red Sea’s coral reefs teem with vibrant marine life, creating a paradise for snorkelers and divers alike.
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Consider embarking on a snorkeling or diving trip to explore popular sites like the Japanese Gardens, Cedar Pride wreck, and the Tank wreck.
Savor a delectable seafood lunch at one of the beachfront restaurants featuring freshly caught fish and local delicacies.
In the afternoon, embark on a boat tour or a glass-bottom boat ride to experience the diverse marine life without getting wet. This is an excellent option for those who prefer not to snorkel or dive but still wish to marvel at the Red Sea’s beauty.
History enthusiasts can visit the Aqaba Fort, also known as Aqaba Castle, dating back to the 14th century. The fort offers sweeping views of the city and the sea.
Alternatively, explore the Aqaba Marine Park, a sanctuary for coral reefs and marine life, while also providing educational opportunities for visitors.
As the sun begins to set, unwind with a relaxing sunset cruise on the Red Sea, embracing the serene ambiance and stunning coastal vistas.
For dinner, relish more delicious seafood or venture into other culinary delights at one of Aqaba’s restaurants or cafes.
Optional: If you have an extra day in your itinerary and are intrigued by the magic of the Red Sea at night, arrange a nighttime snorkeling or diving excursion to witness the unique nocturnal marine life.
Aqaba offers the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure, making it an ideal destination to unwind after exploring Jordan’s historical and natural wonders.