Things to do in Jordan

Things To Do In Jordan - Petra's Treasury stands majestically in the background with some tourists taking pictures of it. Two camels are lying down in the sand in the foreground.

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

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.

Things To Do In Jordan - the Amman Citadel, almost a complete ruin on a sandy hilltop with blue sky and clouds in the background
The Citadel in Amman sits on top of a hill with panoramic views of the city

Must-See/Do

  • Amman Citadelsee 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

Nice-To-Do

Nearby

  • 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

Dead Sea

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.

Things To Do In Jordan - Dead Sea - I am floating sitting up and pretending to read the Lonely Planet - Jordan
Floating away in the Dead Sea!

Must-See/Do

  • Float in the Dead Sea
  • Apply Dead Sea mud all over your body!

Nice-To-See/Do

  • Day trip to Jerusalem
  • Spa treatments with Dead Sea products

Nearby

  • 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

Petra

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. 

Things To Do In Jordan - Petra's Treasury stands majestically in the background with some tourists taking pictures of it. Two camels are lying down in the sand in the foreground.
Camel ride anyone? There are many ways to get to and from Petras ruins

Must-See/Do

Nice-To-See/Do

  • 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?!

Nearby

  • 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

Wadi Rum

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.

Things To Do In Jordan - Wadi Rum - a sun flare to the top right in a clear blue sky. Craggy rocks can be seen in the distance and between them some haze. In the foreground is an expanse of orange sand.
Tracing Lawrence of Arabia’s footsteps

Must-See/Do

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)

Nice-To-See/Do

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.

Aqaba

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!

Things To Do In Jordan - Aqaba Red Sea Submarine - a yellow submarine floats in the clear blue waters of the marina waiting to pick up it's next customers and show them the depths of the Red Sea
Discovering the depths of the Red Sea in a Yellow Submarine

Must-See/Do

  • Beaches and pool – R&R!

Nice-To-See/Do

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!

Everything Else

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?

Emma Morrell
Emma Morrell

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