There are many incredible places to visit in Jordan.
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Jordan is Petra. Yet, this country is packed with many more interesting places to visit. From well-kept archeological sites to tiny villages off the beaten path; from the traffic of Amman to the silence of Wadi Rum desert; from the incredible hikes to the clear waters of the Red Sea and the impressive vistas along King’s Highway – Jordan really has it all.
This is a country that will capture you with its unique landscapes; its friendly, generous people; its delicious food; its breathtaking sunsets and much more. Top this off with the fact that it is super safe – including for solo female travelers – and you’ll see why it is a favorite of travelers.
Curious to discover the best places to visit in Jordan? Let me show you!
12 Best Places To Visit In Jordan
Petra definitely is one of the best places to visit in Jordan. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is incredibly spread, so plan to spend 3 nights in Wadi Musa – the town that provides the easiest access – and invest in a 2 days pass. That costs JD55 (around $77 USD). A one day pass is JD50 ($ 70 USD).
The main sights in Petra include the Djinn Blocks, stone monuments whose purpose is still unclear; the Obelisk Tomb; the Siq (the canyon pathway) which leads all the way to the Treasury; the Monastery; the High Place of Sacrifice; theTheater and the Colonnaded Street. You should also plan to attend the Petra By Night show.
Free guided tours that follow the main trail depart every hour or so from the visitors centre, but the groups are generally very large. Otherwise, you can hire guides through the information office right by the ticket office.
Make sure to read my post A Complete Guide To Visiting Petra.
Not far from Petra, Siq Al-Barid, know colloquially as Little Petra, is thought to have been an agricultural centre and a re-supply centre for camels and caravans. There is no admission fee, and there are so few tourists that it is really pleasant to explore.
You can walk hiking trail that connects Little Petra to the Monastery of Petra. Do keep in mind that it is better to hire a local guide, as the trail isn’t easy to find, and that a valid ticket to Petra is also needed.
The capital is certainly one of the places to visit in Jordan. Two days are usually enough to visit Amman, and you’ll have plenty of things to do to keep entertained.
Make sure to visit the Roman theater. Likely built in the 2nd century AD, as a lot of Roman theaters, it is cut into the side of a hill (which was once a necropolis) and it used to have a seating capacity of 6000 people (which gives a good idea of how big the city was at the time the theater was built).
The best view of the Roman theater is actually from the Citadel, another must-see. This is located on the highest hill in Amman, Jebel al-Qala’a, at around 850 meters above sea level. It is a beautiful archeological site, where the most impressive building is the Umayyad Palace, built around AD 720 by the Umayyad Arabs and subsequently destroyed by an earthquake in AD 749.
You will also enjoy the view of the Roman Temple of Hercules with its remaining pillars (they can actually be seen from around town). Not far from it, there is a fantastic lookout with views of the modern city.
The Jordanian capital has a truly artsy heart. You can see this in the many beautiful murals spread around town, but especially at Darat al-Funun, located on the hillside to the north of downtown Amman. It is a beautiful complex (which includes an art gallery) showcasing the best pieces of Jordan’s contemporary art. The view from there is splendid.
Another cool find is the Jadal for Knowledge and Culture, a great combination of a café, art gallery, and a place for education located in a traditional house dating back to 1933 and recently renovated, on al Kalha Stairs that connect Downtown with Jabal L’Wiebdeh.
For a truly hidden gem, head to Duke’s Diwan, a historic townhouse built in 1924 and that has served as a post office, the seat of the Ministry of Finance, and a hotel. The house is owned by a local businessman who’s also the Duke of Mukhaybeh, who restored it to its original splendor, with period furnishing, and opened it to the public.
Finally, don’t miss Rainbow street, the heart of nightlife in Amman.
Check out my post The Best Things To Do In Amman.
Jerash is the perfect place for a day trip. Located about 1 hour drive north of Amman, it has some of the best preserved Roman ruins in the Middle East. At its peak, Jerash had a population of around 20000 people, with a sports arena – the Hippodrome – built in the 2nd century and that could fit a whopping 15000 spectators.
Other must-sees in Jerash are Hadrian’s Arch; the Forum – where you’ll be able to admire beautiful columns; the Temple of Zeus, from which you can admire splendid views.
30 Km north of Amman, Madaba is known for the beautifully kept mosaics. The most impressive – the Madaba Mosaic Map – is found in St. George’s Church. This is a 6th century map of the Holy Land during the Byzantine times – including Bethlehem, Hebron and more – and although some pieces are missing remains impressive.
For more mosaics, including the oldes in the country, head to the two archeological parks.
You can visit Madaba on day trips from Amman such as this one. It also goes to Mount Nebo, thought to be the place where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land.
The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is considered a prime tourist destination in Jordan. Most people actually spend a few days in one of the all inclusive resorts, but it is actually possible to visit on a day trip, going to what is known locally as Amman Beach – a public beach run by the municipality of Amman and meant to give affordable access to the area.
Swimming (or rather, floating) in the Dead Sea is a lot of fun. You can go to Amman Beach for the day via public transport from Mihajireen Bus Station. Or else, opt for a taxi or rent a car. Keep in mind that locals swim pretty much fully clothed, and while foreigners are free to wear swimsuits, it’s better to be modest.
For guided day trips to the Dead Sea click here.
This gorgeous river canyon goes all the way from the Desert Highway to the Dead Sea; it is 4 km wide and one km deep, and is one of the best places to visit in Jordan to admire wildlife. You’ll be able to spot – among others – Egyptian vultures, striped hyena, and the Syrian wolf. It’s also a great place to go hiking!
Dana and Dana Nature Reserve
Dana and Dana Nature Reserve are about 3 hours drive from Amman and off the more beaten path.
The village of Dana dates back to the 15th century and is entirely built in stone. The views of the valley below from Dana are simply spectacular, especially at sunset. Dana village is nowadays mostly abandoned. Only 3 families live there – the rest have moved to the nearby Tafila – and at the moment both the village and the reserve are under the care of the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN).
The village is the perfect starting point for a number of hikes. There are several trails. The Rummana Campground Trail goes along the canyon through some beautiful nature, with the chance to admire local wildlife. The Wadi Dana Trail starts in Dana and after a very steep descent it follows an easy path all the way to Feynan village.
Feynan definitely has to be mentioned among the unmissable places to visit in Jordan. The village is actually tiny: no more than a few bedouin families living in camps, a couple of houses and a school. The setting is gorgeous, in Dana Nature Reserve, and although it can be reached on a 4×4, the best way to get there is on foot, on a hike that starts in Dana village.
Once in Feynan, you will be in awe of the incredible sunset. Join a Copper Mine Tour and hike the Wadi Al Nakheel Trail, but hire a local guide as trails are not marked.
Shobak Castle will be a lovely surprise, and you are bound to enjoy it. Formerly called Mont Real, or Montreal (the Royal Mountain), the castle was build by the Crusader King Baldwin I in 1115 AD. After several attacks from Saladin, and an 18 months siege, the castle succumbed in 1189. In the 14th century it was occupied by the Mamaluks. The views from the castle are incredible.
If you are fascinated by deserts, you will love Wadi Rum. Plan to spend two nights there to enjoy all that it has to offer. Made famous by TE Lawrence book Seven Pillars of Wisdom, this is a place that gets extremely cold in the winter, and unbearably hot in the summer. It was around 29 degrees Celsius when I visited, at the end of March. A strong wind started blowing in the early afternoon, and it gave it an incredibly mysterious aura.
The most beautiful sights of Wadi Rum are the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, named in honor of Lawrence’s book. This is a large rock formation that can be admired from the view point of the visitors centre. You can even hike the Seven Pillars. Other interesting sights include the rock inscriptions that date back to the Nabatean and Thamudic civilizations, Lawrence’s Spring, and the various siqs.
Aqaba is a good starting point to visit Wadi Rum and it provides access to the Red Sea, with some good beaches to relax and some incredible diving opportunities.
Are you planning a longer trip to the Middle East? Make sure to read my other posts:
- A 3 Day Itinerary For The Jordan Trail
- The Best Travel Tips For Jordan
- Where To Stay In Amman
- The Best Places To Visit In Israel
- 29 Things To Do In Jerusalem You Can’t Miss
- 21 Absolutely Unmissable Things To Do In Tel Aviv
- A Guide To The Things To Do In Haifa, Israel
- 17 Truly Unmissable Things To Do In Eilat, Israel
- Everything You Need To Know To Hike The Jesus Trail
- What You Should Know Before Doing A Hebron Tour
- Everything You Need To Know Before You Visit Palestine
Legal Disclaimer: This article is written in partnership with The Jordan Tourism Board, of whom I was a guest. All the views and opinions expressed are my own and based on my personal experience. The views expressed are honest and factual without any bias.