Jordan was, and remains, one of our most memorable trips. Ever. From ancient ruins and desert camping to surreal floating experiences and beaches on crystal clear water, it has so, so much to offer. We absolutely loved our trip to Jordan and would highly recommend it as a trip for any family. I’ve written extensively about our experience in Jordan including detailed posts on Amman, the Dead Sea, Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba (The Red Sea) as well as 3 inspiring Jordan itineraries. For those of you who like to see everything in the same place, here are our favourite things to do in Jordan.
Amman is the capital and biggest city in Jordan. Located in north-central Jordan, this is also where the main international airport so chances are you’ll fly in and out of here. Amman is a popular destination for tourists and businesses alike and is a fast-growing business center in the region. It boasts some significant history, which can still be seen around the city today.
- Amman Citadel: see remains from 3 different periods including the remains of the Umayyad Palace and the Hercules Temple. It has an Archaeological Museum with an excellent collection of artifacts. The panoramic view over the capital is spectacular.
- Roman Theatre at the Hashemite Plaza: an incredibly well-preserved theatre from the 2nd century which has great views from the top seats.
- Rainbow Street – one of the busiest streets in Amman, you will find it bustling with locals
- Raghadan Flagpole – 416-foot flagpole!
- Traditional souks – like many Middle Eastern cities, Amman boasts a great number of souqs to visit
- Stroll in Jabal Amman (one of the original 7 hills that made up Amman) with its 19th-century houses, in one of them the late King Hussein had been born
- Children Museum
- Royal Automobile Museum exhibiting classic cars of the late King Hussein
- King Abdullah I Mosque – built between 1982 – 1989, it has an amazing blue mosaic dome
- Jerash: the best example of a Roman provincial city in the whole Middle East comprising paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theatres, and spacious public squares and plazas. The most memorable sights are the Oval Plaza, Roman colonnaded street, the Nymphaeum, the Temple of Artemis, fountains and its city walls pierced by towers and gates. I highly recommend a trip here.
- Islamic castle of Ajloun – a 12th-century fortress
At 400 meters below sea level, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth, where ever since the days of Herod the Great, people have flocked to in search of its curative secrets. The area is characterized by high annual temperatures, low humidity, and high atmospheric pressure, the air is extremely oxygen-rich. With the highest content of minerals and salts in the world, Dead Sea water possesses anti-inflammatory properties, and the dark mud found on its shores has been used for over 2000 years for therapeutic purposes.
- Float in the Dead Sea
- Apply Dead Sea mud all over your body!
- Day trip to Jerusalem
- Spa treatments with Dead Sea products
- St George’s Church, Madaba with its famous mosaic 6th-century map of Palestine
- Mt. Nebo, the place where Prophet Moses had gazed at the promised land before he died and believed to be his burial place
- Machaerus – a fortified hilltop palace and supposedly where John the Baptist was imprisoned and executed
The red rose city of Petra was first established around the 6th century B.C. by the Nabataean Arabs, a nomadic tribe who settled in the area and laid the foundations of a commercial empire that extended up to Syria.
- Bab al Siq – entrance to Al Qiq
- Al Siq – a narrow gorge leading to the entrance to Petra
- The Dam
- Al Khasneh – aka The Treasury
- Street of Facades
- The Theatre
- The Royal Tombs
- The Colonnaded Street
- The Buildings, Garden and Pond Complex
- The Great Temple
- Petra by Night – this only runs on certain evenings each week. I highly recommend trying to arrange your itinerary so you can fit this in
- Ad Deir – aka The Monastery
- Highest Place of Sacrifice
- There are many, many, many other things to do in Petra which you can see by walking around or using a guide.
- Petra hiking trails – there’s loads of hiking that you can do in and around Petra. Details can be found at the Visitors Centre or from one of the guides
- Cooking classes – I can’t personally vouch for this company but I have seen Petra Kitchen mentioned and recommended by other travellers
- Cave Bar – what better way than to finish your day in Petra than with a drink in an ancient tavern that’s built into a cave?!
- Kerak – famous Crusader castle built in 1132/34 by King Baldwin I of Jerusalem – along the famous ancient biblical caravan route the King’s Way
- Wadi Al-Mujib – a great wide valley with magnificent geological formation
- Siq al-Barid – Little Petra – is less crowded and more relaxed than Petra itself and it features the Painted House, which has no counterpart at Petra
The protected area of Wadi Rum is one of the most impressive desert landscapes in the world and was the backdrop for the film Lawrence of Arabia as this was the area he spent the most time in.
Depending on your previous Middle Eastern experiences, you may be more interested in the following activities:
- 4×4 ride with Bedouin driver/tour guide (which would include the following activities)
- Camel rides
- Al Hasany Dunes (red sand dunes)
- the Nabatean rock inscriptions
- Natural rock bridge
- Khazali Siq (canyon) and Jebel Khazali
- Ain Abu Aineh (narwal spring) and Lawrence’s Spring
- Bedouin tea
- Sun City Camp (overnight accommodation)
There are plenty more rock formations to climb up, canyons to explore and natural rock bridges to see should you have more time to spend in Wadi Rum.
The city of Aqaba is on the tiny part of Jordan’s coastline on the Red Sea. Amazingly, not far down the road is the border with Saudi Arabia. From the beach, you can see Eilat in Israel and Taba in Egypt. That’s 4 countries all joining in one place!
- Beaches and pool – R&R!
I wouldn’t say there’s anything you absolutely must do while in Aqaba. We planned our stay here for the end of our trip and we had done ALOT of sightseeing along the way so we were ready to take it easy!
- Scuba diving and/or snorkelling trip
- Submarine and/or boat trip
- Aqaba Archaeological Museum
- Ayla – medieval ruins of a medieval Islamic city and port
- Aqaba Fortress
- Sharif Hussein bin Ali Mosque
- Aqaba Marine Park
- Aqaba Flagpole
- Duty-free shopping
Trips to Jerusalem
- Dana Biosphere Reserve, one of the largest nature conservation parks in the Region (you can stay here if you want to)
- Qasr Amra – well-known desert castle
- Ma’in Desert Springs – hot springs and thermal waterfalls
- Azraq Wetland Reserve – 12 square kilometre nature reserve in East Jordan which attracts migratory birds
What have I missed?
Have you been to Jordan? Where did you go and what did you see? What were your favourite bits?
Anything I should add?