Need some travel inspiration? Come on, armchair travelers, today let’s take a look at what to do on a holiday in Jordan!
First, the basics. Jordan is a relatively small country, bordering Israel, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. This fascinating region has seen thousands of years of civilization. As a strategic position for ancient armies and trade routes, it bears the marks of several cultures that once controlled the area, from the ancient Egyptians, to the Greco-Romans to the Persians and Assyrians. Today, it’s a constitutional monarchy with strong ties both to its Arab neighbors and to the United States and European Union.
Now, let’s look at some of the important places to visit:
For many travelers the be-all and end-all of visiting Jordan is a stop at Petra. Featured in many films (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ), Petra is a breathtaking ghost city carved into impressive red sandstone cliffs. Now a UNESCO-recognized site, the city that once housed these 2,000-year-old ruins once was an important stop along ancient trade routes.
The site is quite large, so plan on spending a day or more exploring if you love ancient sites and want to capture the best photos. The most iconic building of Petra is probably the Treasury, which has the imposing columned entrance you’ll have seen on film. However, the Treasury isn’t the largest of the ruins o n offer in Petra. That title goes to the Monastery. Perched on top of a hill, the Monastery offers great views of the surrounding arid countryside and a chance to get some exercise. If you plan on visiting the Monastery, visitors recommend making sure you’re wearing appropriate footwear, because it’s quite a hike up the steps to the top of the hill.
The capital of Jordan is often skipped by travelers hoping to make the most of their time in more remote areas. But if you have the luxury of time, it’s worth stopping here longer than it takes to simply fly in and out. Jordan is a relatively prosperous nation, and the architecture and infrastructure of the city reflect that. Enjoy the national gallery and local street markets to get the flavor of both the arts and the artisans who shape local culture. Amman has a population of nearly 3 million people.
The desert has shaped not only the landscape of Jordan, but also its cultural heritage. Visitors can get a feel for the beauty and austerity of the desert with a trip to Wadi Rum, an arid valley popular for hiking, rock climbing and camel safaris. It’s also a place to get a look into local Bedouin culture; tourism to Wadi Rum is an important source of income for them.
Though the Israeli coastline may be more famous than the Jordanian one, taking a day trip (or longer; I always vote for longer!) to the Dead Sea is a great experience. You can bathe in the super-salty water and indulge in skin treatments at nearby hotel spas. If you’re interested in visiting holy sites, Mount Nebo, said to be the resting place of Moses, is not far and is possible to combine into a day trip from Amman to the Dead Sea.
Have you been to Jordan? What was your favorite place?
Hi! I’m Beth. Thanks for visiting Everyday Travel Stories, a site that celebrates all of the glorious travel opportunities on our planet.