Jordan is an explorer’s dream come true. The country is brimming with historical riches in a remarkable state of preservation, from Roman ruins in Jerash to the ancient city of Petra. Even Amman, the capital, has amazing archeological finds dating back to at least the Bronze Age, if not earlier.
Jordan’s natural landscape is equally fascinating and magnificent. The Valley of the Moon, commonly known as Wadi Rum, enchants visitors with its crimson sand dunes and wind-sculpted cliffs. The Dead Sea, a fabled lake famed for its severe salinity and epic beauty, is located in the country’s northwest corner.
Our Itinerary for Jordan
Day 1 – Aqaba & Desert Safari in Wadi Rum
For our first day in Jordan, we book for a full day jeep tour in Wadi Rum. During this jeep tour, we visited all the main attractions in Wadi Rum protected area, have a Bedouin-style lunch and Bedouin tea in the middle of the desert and learnt about the history of the area and the local Bedouin culture with our experienced Bedouin guide. We also added to this tour a short camel ride which was more than enough.
In the jeep tour, we visited the following attractions:
(1) The Nabatean Temple. (2) Lawrence’s Spring. (3) Khazali’s Dune. (4) Khazali Canyon. (5)The Little Rock Bridge. (6)Abu Khashaba Canyon. (7) Um Frouth Rock Bridge. (8) Burdah Rock Bridge. (9) The Mushroom Rock. (10) Lawrence’s House.
All along the desert there were black tents with Bedouins selling local merchandise and offering free tea and biscuits. They were all very welcoming, relaxed and smilling all the time. I quite enjoyed the chill vibe surrounded by shishas and camels.
For lunch, we had some cooked rice and traditional made chicken which we obviously ate with our hands. It was such an awesome experience and I would totally do it again. Our tour guide was a bit crazy and he always sped up in the desert and did some dangerous turns, but it was super fun all the way.
If you choose to spend the night in Wadi Rum, they also offer a free pick-up and drop-off service from any hotel/camp in Wadi Rum. We booked our AirBnB in Aqaba and I think it was better since we had to spend the morning walking around the Red Sea and had an amazing dinner in the city center at Castle Restaurant.
Day 2 – Explore the Lost City of Petra
Early in the morning we had a quick vegan breakfast on the Red Sea port and booked for a taxi to get us quickly to Petra.
On the time of writing, there are only two one-way excursions each day on the Aqaba Petra bus schedule. The morning bus departs from Aqaba at 8:00 a.m., while the afternoon bus departs from Petra at 16:00 p.m. The price for adults is 12JOD(€15) for each one-way journey. Make sure you have cash to pay for the tickets.
If you are a group of 4, I would strongly suggest to book for a taxi. That shouldn’t take more than 50JOD (€65) for one way. Even though the price is a bit higher, it’s totally worth it since you get there faster, safer and the driver we went with was so funny and knowledgeable. He stopped us at different sightseeing spots that only locals know about and stopped whenever we requested so we can take photos. It’s much easier to get around Jordan this way. If you are looking for a contact, I would strongly recommend contacting Firas.
Once you get to Petra, you will definitely go visit Wadi Musa (which means Valley of Moses in Arabic). It is said that Moses passed through the valley and struck water from the rock for his followers.
The prehistoric Jordanian city of Petra, carved directly into brilliant red, white, pink, and sandstone cliff sides, was “lost” to the Western world for hundreds of years.
Day 3 – Get a Free Tour in Amman
From Petra, we go another taxi ride to Amman with Firas which costs 55JOD(€70). The trip was a bit longer than the previous one from Aqaba, but we asked the driver to take a detour so we can see the Dead Sea at the border with Israel. We had to pay 35JOD extra but it was absolutely worth it. I never thought the sea would be that salty. They said it’s actually 8 times saltier than average seawater and each year the water level declines more than a meter.
Once we got to Amman, we went for a quick chicken shaworma bite and then visited the city on the Free Tour. Our tour guy, Alex, was speaking 6 languages and was very knowledgeable. We met at the Roman Amphitheatre and then he walked us to the roof of the hotel of Amman Pasha to see the distinctive view of old Amman where we introduce each other.
The tour continued by walking in the oldest main street in Amman, passing by the Roman Bath house, before we pass through the oldest vegetable and food market in Amman where we tried some local treats. Make sure to bring some change and some bags.
Day 4 – Get lost in the Amman Market
In our last day, early in the morning we went for a walk to visit the interior of the Roman Amphitheater. It felt amazing to be surrounded by stairs everywhere you looked. It’s not as big as the Colosseum in Rome, but it’s was great to visit it.
After that, we went straight to the market and tried to backtrack the steps we did in the free tour yesterday. We all got some peanuts, fruits, natural condiments for cooking and I got a really nice map of the old Palestine to hang it in the balcony.
For the time of writing, it was required for all the tourists regardless of their nationality to fill a Passenger Locator Form and undergo a Covid PCR test on arrival (for which I paid $28). I would suggest to check in advance for travel restrictions here. Below you have the full list of main expenses you should expect when travelling to Jordan. I just converted them in Euros to track them easier (we were 4 people so some prices are split differently):
- Flight: €35/pp (we got one way with WizzAir and return with RyanAir)
- 1 night in an in AirBnB in Aqaba – €60 / 4 = €15/pp
- 1 night in an in AirBnB in Petra – €30 / 4 = €7.4/pp
- 2 nights in a hotel in Amman – €60 / 2 = €30/pp
- Travel Insurance: €7/pp (check out SafetyWing)
- Jordan Pass: €100/pp (which includes 1-day entry to Petra + entry Visa on arrival + 40 more entries to national museums and attractions all over the country. Link here)
- Jordan Covid Test: €25/pp (link here)
- Aqaba Airport – Aqaba City Centre: €15 / 4 = €4
- Aqaba – Petra: €65 / 4 = €16
- Petra – Amman: €115 / 4 = €29
- Desert Safari in Wadi Rum: €70/pp
- Free Tour in Amman: €5/pp
Places to visit on our next trip to Jordan
Four days is obviously not enough to see an entire country. If you have the time and money, I would recommend to spend about 7 days to see the things that we didn’t cover in this trip.
Visiting the ruins of Jerash is the closest thing to going back in time you can get. It’s one of the best-preserved ancient Roman towns in the world, with breathtaking sights like colonnaded streets and temples, as well as a vast sports arena that originally held 15,000 people. The Forum is another attraction among the ruins of Jerash. The oval-shaped plaza is surrounded by still-standing columns, giving it a regal aura.
Wadi Mujib is Jordan’s answer to America’s Grand Canyon, stretching 70 kilometers from the Desert Highway to the Dead Sea. The four-kilometer-wide and one-kilometer-deep river canyon provides nature enthusiasts with the opportunity to witness a variety of animals, including Egyptian vultures, Nubian ibex, striped hyena and Syrian wolfes.
If you don’t mind getting a little wet, hiking through the Wadi Mujib gorge is a terrific option. You can also visit the Mujib Reserve Biosphere, which is only an hour and a half from Amman, to soak in beautiful hot springs.
Best time to visit Jordan
Jordan is best explored in the spring (March to May) or fall (September to November). The days are warm, with temperatures ranging from 16 to 37 degrees Celsius, but the nights are cold. It’s not too hot to go exploring or hiking in the nature reserves, which are rich in flora and animals. We got a good deal for flight tickets and even though we chose to go in early March, the weather was great ranging about 21-26 degrees.