Day One : Arriving in Amman, Jordan
With this itinerary, discover the beauty that is the Kingdom of Jordan. From the country's capital, Amman, to the thousand year old ruins such as Petra, travel along some of the most enchanting landscapes that the Middle East has to offer. With a rich history thanks to centuries of multi-cultural influences, Jordan is becoming a popular destination for anyone looking to discover this region of the world. It is considered to be a very safe country. The capital, Amman, is a modern metropolis and as such is well equipped to welcome tourists. With its international airport, you can travel to Jordan from many hubs around the world. Once you get to Amman, make sure to get the rental SUV from the Airport for better prices. Finally, don't forget to buy here the "Jordan Pass" before going on vacation. It is a little expensive but it will cover the cost of most sites on this itinerary, including Jerash, Wadi Rum and Petra for two days.
If you arrive early enough in the day, stop by the hotel to check in and spend the rest of the afternoon with an easy walk around downtown. I recommend staying at the InterContinental Hotel ( Islamic College Street ). Get a cab to head to the Nymphaeum ruins ( 10 Quraysh Street ). Built during the Roman occupation, it is a public fountain and pool. At the time, it is believed to have been one of the biggest water feature of the empire. From there it is about a 2 mile walk back to the hotel. The walk will take you west along the well known area that is Rainbow Street. From Mango House ( 3 Al Rainbow Street ) , built in new Jordanian architecture, to the numerous restaurants, this street is a lively neighborhood that is home to a few Jordanian landmarks such as the residence to King Talal. Souk Jara, a busy local market, is also located on a side street but is only open on fridays.
Day Two : Amman
Walk less than a mile to the King Abdullah I Mosque ( 7 Nation Council Street ). You can't miss it thanks to the magnificent mosaic dome visible from afar. Built during the 1980's, it has become one of the most known mosque of the country. Under the dome, more than 3000 worshipers can pray. Open every days except Fridays, tourists can visit the monument but must follow strict attire guidelines to include long trousers for men and a provided hooded gown for women. From there, take a cab to the Citadel ( 146 K. Ali Ben Al-Hussein St. ). This is a must see when coming to Amman. This historical site is located on top of one of the seven hills that make up the city. The ruins serve as a great timeline to learn about the different civilizations that have had significant influence on the region, for more than 4000 years. From fortification dating back to the bronze age, to the Palace from the Umayyad Caliphate and the Temple of Hercules, the citadel is an amazing place to spend a few hours time traveling while enjoying an amazing view of the city. Afterward, to finish the day of visits, walk down the hill to Amman's Roman Theater. While it has been somewhat renovated, you can easily recognize the roman architecture where 6000 people can still come and enjoy events such as concerts.
Day Three : Qasr Al Kharanah, Jerash
Drive about an hour south, along highway 40, to find in the middle of the desert, a very well preserved castle. Qasr Al-Kharanah ( GPS : 31.728950, 36.462850 ) is believed to have been built around the 8th century but some of it could date back as far as the third century based on the persian's influenced style. It is a completely stand alone building that has left archeologists puzzled and guessing as to what its purpose was but it has been suggested that it was an inn for travelers. After your tour, head back to Amman for lunch then continue driving north for another 45 minutes to spend the afternoon at the Archaeological site of Jerash ( GPS : 32.282870, 35.891687 ). While it is a vibrant city nowadays, part of it is a huge protected site where history can be explored. The area has been inhabited for almost 10000 years by some civilization or another. It is however from the Greek and Roman empires that the city thrived ; and did so for more than a 1000 years. After a series of earthquakes and crusades the city was eventually just abandoned until around the 16th century when the Ottoman Empire created a settlement. Today the city is referred to the "Pompeii of the middle east" due to the size of the excavation and preservation work, and it is another must see when coming to Jordan.
If there is some time left in the day, spending an evening touring the different souks of the city of Amman is a great experience. It is worth mentioning that some of them are only open certain days of the week so a quick check online is advised. Souks tend to have different specialties. For example Souk El Sri Lankiytat and Souk El-Boukharyeh are ideal is you are looking for sewing needs, fabrics and sarongs, Souk El-Sagha for gold, Souk El-Joura for furnitures or Souk El-Koudra for the colorful rows of spices and vegetables.
Day Four and Five : Wadi Rum, Bedouin Camp
After enjoying a local breakfast, leave early to drive south about 200 miles across Jordan, to eventually reach Wadi rum, in the Valley of the Moon. In a desert like atmosphere, surrounded by giant granite rocks, the largest wadi in the country is home to a few thousand Bedouins, and once upon a time, Lawrence of Arabia. You can stop at the visitor center ( GPS : 29.639714, 35.434158 ) for information about the area or continue another 5 miles down to the small town ( GPS : 29.573047, 35.420866 ). There isn't much to do here as the town or visitor center are mainly used as points of pick up for the camps. While driving your own car around the wadi is not officially prohibited, it is not recommended as you could easily get lost or stuck. I recommend booking the two nights with "Wadi Rum Palmera Camp" ( GPS : 29.528000, 35.480640 ). It is an expensive experience but this little bit of luxury will make the night a memorable one. If you are looking for a cheaper option, the area has many options that can easily fulfill your needs. Park your car at the point of pick up and have the camp pick you up. Try to check in as early as possible so that you can spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying the hotel amenities such as the pool but also to just take in the view of the desert while the sun is setting and the stars are shining bright. The Following day should be spent solely exploring Wadi Rum. Hotels have a lot of excursions so they can arrange the booking for you and you should email also regarding any requests or questions you may have as they will be able to help you organize your stay. Most people choose to spend the time either riding on camels or off road vehicles to discover the magical area. Most notable landmarks are Burdah Rock Bridge, Khaz'ali Canyon, Lawrence's House, The Pillars of Wisdom and the red sand dunes. If you have the opportunity to extend this itinerary by one day, doing so here, in Wadi Rum, would be recommended. It would give you a full day to visit the wadi and all it has to offer, as well as more time to enjoy the camp.
Day Six and Seven : Wadi Musa, Petra
After picking up your car, drive for about 3 hours to Petra. Most likely, depending on how long it actually takes to reach the area, it will give you just about half of the afternoon to explore some the city. The drive itself is quite enchanting especially when off the main highways. Petra does close at 6pm during the summer and 5pm the rest of the year so you might just have a short time to get an overview of the city. Not to worry, as this is why the following day is entirely planed around visiting this incredible UNESCO Heritage World site. You may choose instead to spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying the hotel and walking around the town of Wadi Musa. Musa was a settlement built by the Nabateans, just like Petra was. They were an ancient Arab tribe that was predominantly based around the the Arabian desert, stretching all the way to the Red Sea. Eventually the area was conquered by the Ottoman Empire which is why you can find Turkish Baths in town. If you are in need of relaxation, a short visit to one is a must.
For the two nights, i recommend staying at Petra Marriott Hotel.
The following day is one that many people wait their all life for. Visiting Petra is quite frequently on people's bucket list and for obvious reasons. Have the hotel drive you to the entrance of the city.Unless having seen it first hand, it is hard to realize that this site is not just a couple monuments. It is essentially an entire city that has been excavated and is now protected. As the busy capital of the Nabataean Kingdom more than 5 centuries before Christ, the area was eventually annexed by the Roman Empire but after suffering thru natural disasters and the 12th century conquest from the Ayyubid dynasty under Saladin, Petra just disappeared. The city only re-emerged in the early 19th century when an explorer, living with the local Bedouin, took it upon himself to make the area publicly known. The city has since then become the source of one of the greatest excavation project in the world. The only two ways to visit the city are by foot or riding the local animals. While it might be tempting to avoid walking, be aware that the animals are not really treated well and i cant recommend riding them here, on the site. Having all day here to visit, you can simply take your time on foot to tour the city. Make sure to grab a map of the landmarks so you can plot your mini itinerary. Some of the recommended sites to see are Siq Canyon, the Treasury, Outer Siq, the theatre, the Royal Tombs, the Great Temple and of course the famous Monastery, which is the largest carved building, that is more than two thousand years old. While it can take up to an hour to climb the 800 steps, it is absolutely worth it.
Day Eight : Dead Sea
For the last full day in Jordan, a completely different experience is on the agenda. Spend the morning and early afternoon driving thru the mountains and valleys for about an hour before reaching the south portion of the Dead Sea.The sea is the lowest point in the world, at an altitude of almost 400 meters below sea level. Another hour driving along it will take you to the northern side of it. After checking in at the hotel, spend the afternoon walking along the shores of the Sea but also swimming in it. The Dead Sea is called as such because it is an inhospitable environment for marine life due to the saltiness of the Sea. This hypersalination and therefore higher density of the water is also the reason why you can just float which is quite an experience. If your hotel doesn't have a private beach, you can head to Amman Tourist Beach, which is a public resort equipped with all the necessary facilities to enjoy the experience ( changing rooms, showers, restaurant... ). If you are looking for other activities, you can tour the Dead Sea Panoramic Complex which includes a museum about the Sea.
For the night, I recommend staying at the Hilton Dead Sea Resort and Spa ( GPS : 31.721600, 35.587730 ). It is a great resort with plentiful amenities that of course include a private beach.
Day Nine : Departing Jordan
Once again, it is now time to go home as this vacation comes to an end. From the Dead Sea, it is about an hour and a half drive to Amman Airport. It is an easy drive that can be done in the morning before checking in for a late morning or afternoon flight out of Jordan. If you are not quite ready to leave yet, this itinerary can be extended by two days to accommodate a quick trip to Jerusalem, in Israel ; only about a two hour drive from the Sea.
Expert tourist, I love visiting new places, discovering new cultures and meeting new people. With this blog, and my business "Itinerary of a passport", I want to share my passion, ideas and experience.