Like the Empire State Building is to New York City and Big Ben is to London, the most famous tourist attraction in Jordan is Petra.
At its peak in the late 90’s, Jordan received between 700,000 and 1 million visitors a year. Sadly since, numbers have almost halved. On my trip to Jordan, I realised that although Petra deserves its prime position as Jordan’s number one attraction, there are heaps of other budding hot-spots outside of the ‘Rose City’ that you should head to.
So pack those bags, here’s my ultimate Jordan travel hit list:
If you’re into hazy sunsets and starry nights then a trip to the Wadi Rum is a must. The home of the nomadic Bedouin people for centuries not only offers up amazing views of stars and sunsets as promised but also an array of other exciting activities. Two of which involve methods of transport you may not be used to.
Whizzing through the dunes on a 4×4 is an experience you won’t forget in a hurry! Pair this with an early sunrise ride on a camel (the change of pace transporting you back in time) and you’ll leave the desert wishing you had a little longer here.
There’s no better place to cool off than in Jordan’s only Red Sea resort, Aqaba. A city filled with enchanting cafes and bustling bars, it’s also home to many a boat trip offering up cruises along the Red Sea sharing views of Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Most cruises are inclusive of lunch and soft drinks as well as snorkels and flippers for you to burn off those extra calories.
With the water warm and clear, you’ll be swimming among exotic fish and even see a few sunken shipwrecks. As the day draws to a close, spend your evening at one of Aqaba’s several rooftop bars.
Once you’re in the mood for a bit of beach action, take the opportunity to visit the Dead Sea. At 400m below sea level and the lowest point on Earth, there’s enough salt to season all future breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Not only will you be captivated by the crystal formations on the sea surface, but also at how effortlessly you float. And because it’s impossible to swim properly, take the opportunity to relax, read a book and let the salty goodness do its thing.
Another ‘must do’ is a trip to Jerash (The City of Columns). Inhabited since the Bronze Age and home to The Temple of Artemis (although not the ancient wonder- that one’s in Ephesus, Turkey), Jerash is Jordan’s number two attraction. With plenty of space to wander around, try counting all the pillars. ( P.S. if you don’t quite manage it- there’s 1000 of them!)
The ancient city is also home to a Hippodrome and Hadrian’s arch. If you close your eyes and imagine hard enough, you’ll be taken back to a time of chariots and dust. A lot of conservation effort has been put in to maintain this ancient city and it shows.
The capital of Jordan is rarely avoidable as most international flights into the country enter from this point. The city is one of the best places to experience both authentic and modern Jordanian culture. Luxurious shopping malls and international restaurants intertwine among traditional souks and eateries. Home to four million, Amman also offers up fabulous city views, which can be seen from the the Citadel. If you’re into history you can discover the Hand of Hercules here too.
Is Jordan on your bucket list? Check out our Jordan Adventure Trip.