8 of the most effective locations to go to in Jordan

There are a lot of causes to place Jordan in your journey want listing. 

Past the well-known (and justly well-known) cliff-carved metropolis of Petra, guests right here can the discover pleasant villages and forested trails of Jordan’s north, the traditional ruins in Amman and the mind-bending Mars-like desertscapes of Wadi Rum. Jordan is a superb vacation spot for vacationers with an adventurous spirit and an curiosity in Arab historical past and tradition. 

The depth right here – of the climate, visitors and terrain – will be overwhelming for first-time guests, but in case you let go of your expectations and embrace all that Jordan gives, you’ll probably discover heat hospitality and distinctive experiences you’ll bear in mind eternally. 

Every of Jordan’s totally different areas provide locations with a lot to see and do (and eat!). Listed below are 9 of the most effective locations to go to in Jordan. 

Immerse your self in the most effective experiences the world has to supply with our e mail publication delivered weekly into your inbox.

1. Umm Qais

Positioned about 2 hours north of Amman, Umm Qais is a perfect base for exploring northern Jordan, with its forested trails, farm-to-fork meals, heat hospitality and archaeological websites full with sweeping views of the encompassing space. We advocate looking for out native experiences (from an skilled operator like Baraka Destinations) – assume exploring the Greco-Roman ruins of Gadara, foraging with a neighborhood farmer, cooking with a Jordanian chef, biking the countryside with a neighborhood information or harvesting honey with a neighborhood beekeeper. This number of actions means Umm Qais is a superb vacation spot for every type of tourists, together with households, {couples} and solo vacationers. 

Nature lovers and mountain climbing fans might be spoiled for selection, too, with the Yarmouk Forest Reserve – a favourite of savvy locals like mountaineer Mohammed Ziad Abdullatif – inside simple attain. Abdullatif suggests hiring a neighborhood information by means of the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature or a tour operator reminiscent of Baraka Locations; such an knowledgeable can introduce you to the wildlife, and (in case you’re fortunate) put together shai (tea) to share within the shade of the deciduous oak timber that develop right here. 

Planning Tip: Umm Qais can be the start line for the Jordan Path; you may e book a guided day hike from right here to Arab Dam. (We advocate Experience Jordan.) Trek this northern section within the springtime for the best probability of seeing the area carpeted in wildflowers.

Dana Biosphere Reserve has assorted terrain and unbelievable views © lrosebrugh / Shutterstock

2. Dana Biosphere Reserve

Dana Biosphere Reserve, Jordan’s largest, comprises mountains, wadis, greater than 600 plant species, practically 200 fowl species, uncommon mammals such because the Syrian wolf and Nubian ibex, and an archaeological website. Native hikers advocate this space for its distinctive ecology, assorted terrain, unbelievable views and serenity. 

Guests could make Feynan Ecolodge their house base, earlier than connecting with Bedouin tradition and the land by means of domestically led experiences reminiscent of grazing goats with a shepherd, mountain climbing within the wadis with a Bedouin information, baking arbood bread, studying about medicinal vegetation and making Arabic espresso over a fireplace. For intrepid vacationers trying to keep out beneath the celebs, multi-day hikes in Dana and on the Jordan Path’s Dana-to-Petra section will be organized.

3. Jerash

A simple day journey from Amman, Jerash is house to Gerasa, one of many best-preserved Roman cities within the Center East. You don’t need to be a historical past or archaeology buff to understand the fantastic thing about this spectacular website, however it’s useful to rent a information both on-site or prematurely by means of a tour operator reminiscent of Engaging Cultures, as signage is proscribed. Because the Oval Discussion board lined by stone columns is a can’t-miss and is greatest seen from above, you should definitely take the steps up the Temple of Zeus for a panoramic view of the traditional metropolis, with modern-day Jerash within the background.

This area can be identified for superior-quality olives and olive oil, with among the olive timber believed to be a whole lot of years previous. Should you’re touring to Jordan in September or October, e book a multi-day journey with Participating Cultures that features an olive-harvest expertise, lunch and an in a single day with a neighborhood household in close by Orjan, in addition to a go to to Ajloun Citadel. 

Planning Tip: The location at Jerash is huge, so plan accordingly. Rely on a minimal of three hours to see the principle sights, plus extra time to discover extra and for images. Put on comfy footwear and convey solar safety. 

A wide view of dense apartment blocks on a hillside in Amman, Jordan, at sunset
Jordan’s capital of Amman gives an thrilling mixture of previous and new © gualtiero boffi / Shutterstock

4. Amman

Don’t make the error of simply passing by means of the capital metropolis: Amman is properly value attending to know. Greater than only a gateway to the nation, it’s Jordan’s heartbeat, pulsing with the power of the previous and new, and millennia of historical past and tradition.  

Should you solely have at some point in Amman, you’ve obtained to go straight to the highest. Go to the best hill within the metropolis to search out the Citadel, an archaeological website that features Umayyad Palace and the remaining pillars of the Temple of Hercules. Take pleasure in 360-degree views and respite from the vehicles and crowds beneath. 

What goes up should come down – and while you do descend, make a cease on the Roman Theater earlier than wandering Al Balad, the buzzing downtown district, the place you’ll discover memento outlets, road souks, argileh (shisha) cafes, and distributors serving up contemporary falafel and kunafeh (a Center Jap cheese pastry topped with nuts and syrup). Take a stroll on Rainbow Road earlier than ending the night on a excessive be aware with a sundown dinner at one of many metropolis’s rooftop bars or eating places.

In case you have two days in Amman, study extra in regards to the nation’s historical past on the Jordan Museum or dive into Jordanian tradition fingers first with an interactive class reminiscent of a cooking lesson at female-run Beit Sitti or an olive-oil-soap-making workshop at Mosaic House.

5. Madaba

Simply 20 minutes from Queen Alia Worldwide Airport, Madaba is a handy and quiet place to relaxation your head on arrival in Jordan. A pleasant and welcoming city for all guests of all faiths, Madaba is house to one of many largest Christian communities in Jordan. You’ll discover a number of church buildings on the town; go to St George’s Church to admire one of many oldest identified maps of the Holy Land, manufactured from mosaic tiles in 560 CE.

Planning Tip: Whereas within the area, save time for a go to to Mt Nebo, simply quarter-hour from Madaba. It’s believed Moses noticed the Promised Land from the mountain’s summit – a view you may absorb, too. Atop the mountain, a few of Jordan’s most prized mosaics will be seen at Moses Memorial Church, whereas a small on-site museum highlights the place’s historical past.

A man wearing sunglasses and a dark Speedo floats on his back in the salty blue waters of the Dead Sea, Israel
A soak within the waters of the Lifeless Sea in Jordan is a spa-like (if very salty) expertise © ra66 / Shutterstock

6. The Lifeless Sea

Soak and scrub your worries away with a spa expertise on the Jordanian shores of the Lifeless Sea. DIY sorts can wade in and slather on some mineral-rich mud earlier than floating within the high-salinity water, whereas magnificence experts can proceed the expertise at a spa at one of many quite a few luxurious resorts by the shore. (We love the therapies on the Kempinski Lodge Ishtar.)

Along with the therapeutic properties of the mineral-filled mud and water, the oxygen-rich air and dry local weather of this area are additionally believed to be helpful for individuals with a wide range of well being circumstances. Simply remember the warmth will be insufferable through the summer season. 

Planning Tip: Within the hotter months, take into account an outside jaunt in close by Wadi Mujib – the “Grand Canyon of Jordan” – with a hike within the shade of the gorge adopted by a cool dip within the contemporary water. You can too hike within the wadis (valleys) close to South Ghor on the southern finish of the Lifeless Sea with Al Numeira Environmental Association, then refuel on the group’s cafe, which serves meals and drinks produced from domestically sourced components.

7. Petra

Nonetheless lengthy you are in Jordan, Unesco-listed Petra is someplace you should not miss. The “Rose Purple Metropolis,” so named for the pink stone and sand discovered right here, is huge at 264 sq km (102 sq miles); you might spend hours, a full day or a number of days trekking the realm and marveling on the handiwork and historical past of the traditional Nabatean tradition. 

Select your individual journey relying in your pursuits, time and talent. Should you’re brief on time, take the street most traveled and hike by means of the Siq to succeed in the Treasury facade. (Sure, Jordan’s most well-known website is the carved-stone setting you’ll have seen within the 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Final Campaign.) 

Should you’ve obtained a full day, map out your can’t-misses prematurely. In case you have a number of days put aside and wish to transcend the commonest websites, e book a guided tour which may embody storytelling, mountain climbing, Arabic espresso and meals. 

Native Tip: Wish to see Petra from one other angle? Take a tip from Mohammed Ziad Abdullatif and hike to Petra (both from Little Petra or, in case you’re up for a tougher trek, through the multi-day Dana-to-Petra leg of the Jordan Path) earlier than exploring the traditional metropolis. “The Petra Again Path from Little Petra to Petra is my all-time favourite hike for its location, surroundings, historical past and that first glimpse of the Monastery when it begins to look,” Abdullatif says. 

Two Bedouin men eat food on a brightly striped carpets in the desert of Jordan
Spending time within the desert with the Bedouin is a spotlight of any journey to Jordan © Nitin Gairola / Lonely Planet

8. Wadi Rum

No spaceship is required to go to the Mars-like landscapes of Wadi Rum; modes of transport right here as an alternative vary from foot and camel to 4WD and even hot-air balloon. Rugged mountains and swish pure arches in a sea of rust-colored sand make this protected space one of the crucial photogenic and exquisite locations in Jordan – and the world.

Many vacationers come looking for a slower tempo and lengthy silences, although Wadi Rum has turn out to be so standard that you’ll have to go farther afield, away from the principle websites and camps, to search out true desert tranquility. You can too spend a day with a Bedouin mountain climbing, cooking and studying tips on how to construct a tent.

Top-of-the-line locations on the planet for mountain climbing, Wadi Rum additionally attracts lively and adventurous vacationers. E book a guided climb and “wild tenting” (overnighting in collapsible tents, away from the crowds and bigger established camps) with Shabab Sahra and study from Bedouin who’ve grown up scaling these sandstone giants.

Planning Tip: The Purple Sea resort metropolis of Aqaba is an hour’s drive away and the proper place for an indulgent spa remedy and a luxurious keep after working up a sweat in Wadi Rum.