Jordan Destination Guide
From the magnificence of Petra to the deserts of Wadi Rum, from witnessing the traditional lifestyle of the Bedouins to spectacular diving at the beach resort of Aqaba, Jordan offers a wealth of interesting opportunities and experiences for travellers. Make sure you allow enough time to truly appreciate all that Jordan has to offer.
Jordan charms, entices and enchants with its mix of historical, cultural and natural wonders!
This Jordan Destination Guide gives information about some of the best things to see and do whilst visiting the country. While many of these sites can be seen independently, you may find it more convenient, or more education, to take a tour with a local company - for bookable tours throughout the country, go to our Jordan Tours page. Jordan Hotels are also bookable on our site. General country information can be found by visiting our Jordan Country Guide.
Jordan - Things to See and Do
The capital of Jordan, Amman is a city which blends modern and ancient into its fascinating mix of contrasts. The commercial hub of the city features modern office blocks, expensive hotels, up-market restaurants, boutiques and galleries, all which sit cheek-by-jowl with traditional coffee shops and artisans' places of work. The downtown area is much more traditional, with older buildings and shops producing jewellery and numerous other items.
Amman dominates the economy of Jordan, and half of the country's population live in the city. The people of Amman are educated, hospitable and justifiably proud of their city and country. The tree-lined avenues of the residential districts house the bulk of the population, and can be pleasant to wander through.
Words cannot do Petra justice. Jordan's most highly regarded historical site and most popular tourist attraction, this massive city complex was carved into the sheer rock face over 2000 years ago. Petra was an important centre along the trade routes for silk, spice and other products that joined India and China with Egypt, Rome and Greece.
Entering Petra is an experience in itself. 80 metre high cliffs tower over the Siq, a narrow gorge over a kilometre long, which leads up to the entrance of the city. The exquisite colours and unique formations of the rocks dazzle as you wander up the path towards the Al-Khazneh (Treasury).
This enormous façade, standing 43 metres high and 30 metres wide, carved out of the pink rock, dominates its surroundings, and was carved as a tomb of an important king in the early part of the 1st century. Also inside Petra are temples, obelisks, tombs, museums and shrines. To fully explore and appreciate Petra, you should allow yourself at least four or five full days here.
We offer a range of Petra Tours from each major city and town in Jordan. Visit our Jordan Tours page for more information.
One of the world's most surreal and amazing places, the Jordan Rift Valley's landscape is breathtakingly gorgeous. Its centrepiece is the Dead Sea, which, at more than 400 metres below sea level, is the lowest place on earth. A number of rivers, including the River Jordan, feed into this expansive stretch of water, where they become land-locked and consequently evaporate. Left behind is a rich mix of minerals and salts that have a multitude of uses, granting agriculture, industry and medicine some of its most useful and high quality products.
The main attraction of the Dead Sea is the water itself. Relaxing, soothing, warming and exceedingly salty, the waters are rich in a cocktail of minerals. The exceptionally high levels of salt enable visitors to float effortlessly above the waters. Due to the health-giving properties of the minerals found in the Dead Sea, it has been used throughout history as a natural spa. Today the region offers numerous health and well-being tours and packages.
We offer a range of Hotels at the Dead Sea, check out our accommodation page for more information or contact our team!
Rising up from the vastness of the desert are the infamous rock monoliths of Wadi Rum. These were carved by the weather and the winds, and give a true sense of the awesome power of nature. Some of these imposing structures reach heights of up to 1,750 metres. The vast, desolate nature of Wadi Rum allows a real sense of space and freedom.
Wadi Rum is also home to Bedouin people, traditional nomads who have retained many of their ancient customs and lifestyle. It is possible to camp out in a Bedouin tent, and enjoy a meal by the campfire listening to traditional Arabic music. Please ensure you are aware of Bedouin customs so as not to dress or behave disrepectfully.
The Red Sea resort of Aqaba makes a great place to base yourself for an exploration of various sites throughout southern Jordan, particularly Wadi Rum. The town itself offers excellent visitor services, a wide range of hotels and activities, good shopping and a number of fascinating places of interest. There are also direct domestic flights from Amman to Aqaba Airport, which makes visiting here very convenient.
The Red Sea is the main attraction of Aqaba, and it offers some of the world's best snorkelling and diving. There are a number of other ways to experience the underwater beauty of the Red Sea, including glass-bottomed boats and submarines. The waters of the Red Sea teem with a variety of marine life, from dolphins and sea turtles to crabs, lobsters and whole schools of multicoloured fish.
The arresting site of Kerak, 900 metres above sea level, greets as you approach from either east or west. A fortress since biblical times, the castle as it stands today was built in the 12th century by the Crusaders. The city surrounding the castle lies within the walls of the old city, and features many restored Ottoman buildings, hotels and restaurants. Kerak Castle is the undisputed highlight of the city, however, and exploring its various passages and tunnels by flashlight is thoroughly enthralling.
Second only to Petra in terms of popularity with visitors to Jordan, Jerash is an ancient city that has been continuously occupied for over 6,500 years. The golden age of the city came during Roman rule, after it had been conquered in 63 BC by General Pompey. Known as Gerasa, it was one of the ten great Roman cities, and is widely acknowledged to be one of the world's best examples of a preserved Roman provincial town.
Jerash was hidden in sand for centuries , and it is only in the past 70 years that careful excavation and restoration of the site has exposed the city once again. Featuring paved streets, hilltop temples, sweeping public plazas squares, grand theatres, ornate baths and fountains and city fortifications interspersed with gates and towers, the site is an inspiring historical journey into urban life and architecture of the Roman era. Take a Jerash Tour to learn more about this wonderful city in Jordan.
Ajlun, in northern Jordan, is home to two of the most important historical and ecological sites in the Middle East: imposing Ayyudib castle, and the vast expanse of pine forest of the Ajlun-Dibbine region. Ajlun is located near Jerash, and the journey there takes you through rows of olive groves and the endless pines, as well as past numerous ancient sites, such as forts, villages and water mills, dotted throughout the scenic hills of the region.
Ajlun Castle (Qal'at Ar-Rabad) was built in 1184 AD by one of Saladin's generals, in order to prevent the Franks from invading and also for control over the Ajlun iron mines. It protected the trade routes between Syria and Jordan and was a strategically important defensive link against to Crusaders. The original castle was destroyed in AD 1260 by the Mongols, although it was recaptured and rebuilt almost immediately afterwards. The views from the castle of the surrounding countryside are stunning.
Irbid is the second largest city in Jordan, and the large university ensures that it is quite a lively city. Although it does not feature many famous sites, Irbid does boast two excellent museums, and it is also a good place to base yourself for trips to the north of Jordan, or onwards to Syria.
Located about half an hour from Amman, the charming little town of Fuheis contains a number of quaint craft shops, restaurants and galleries. Antiques, jewellery and ceramics are all on offer here. As well as this, the town features a range of outdoor theatre and musical performances during the summer months.
Located in the semi-arid desert of eastern Jordan, Azraq Wetland Reserve is a beautiful oasis, which features a number of natural and manmade pools, marshland, and Qa'a Al-Azraq, a large mudflat. This is a favourite area for bird-watchers, with numerous species stopping here during their annual migration between Africa and Asia. Many of them also breed in the protected region of the wetland.
Madaba, also known as the "City of Mosaics", is located about 30 kilometres from Amman, and is along the King's Highway. Featuring gorgeous Umayyad and Byzantine mosaics, Madaba is best known for the 6th century Mosaic Map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. This mosaic is made up of over two million richly coloured pieces of local stone, and it portrays villages, towns, valleys and hills all the way to the Nile Delta. Check out our Madaba Hotels before travelling.
Um Qais, formerly known as Gadara, was at one stage a cultural centre of the region. With its entrancing locating atop a hill, looking out over the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan Valley, it allows stunning views of three separate countries. It also boasts some impressive ruins, streets and terraces, and some therapeutic springs are located about 10 kilometres north of the town.