Things to do in Jordan

Things to do in  Jordan

Dead Sea to the Red Sea

Jordan is a feast for all the senses, from treks through swirling sands and candlelit visits to the Nabatean city of Petra to camping under the stars in Wadi Rum and days spent floating in the Dead Sea. Yet, while most visitors make a beeline for the big attractions, the best things to do in Jordan don’t always involve traveling far and wide. Many can be found much closer to the capital, Amman, which boasts bustling streets that hide Roman ruins, colorful markets, and a treasure trove of culinary delights.

Top 15 attractions in Jordan

Petra

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The stone city of Petra was carved into Jordan’s red rock cliffs more than 2,000 years ago. Once a Roman trading stop and stronghold of the Nabataean Arab kingdom, Petra is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s most iconic archaeological destinations.More

Wadi Rum

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The brilliantly colored sands and stark rock formations of Wadi Rum make this desert wilderness a must-visit for most travelers to Jordan. Signature sights include the Burdah Rock Bridge, a natural arch; the Khazali Siq, a narrow canyon; Jabal Umm Ad Dami, the highest mountain in Jordan; and the scarlet Al Hasany Dunes.More

Dead Sea

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The Dead Sea, home to the lowest point in the world at 1,269 feet (383 meters) below sea level, also ranks as one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water. This hyper-salinity that is so unique to the Dead Sea attracts visitors from all over the world who come to experience the unusual buoyancy, as well as access the nutrient-rich mud on its banks.More

Coral Beach Nature Reserve

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Home to some of the world’s most northerly tropical coral reefs, Coral Beach Nature Reserve offers Eilat’s—and likely Israel’s—best snorkeling. Seagrass patches draw hawksbill turtles, seahorses, and more; hundreds of different coral species lure aquarium favorites including lionfish, angelfish, and clownfish.More

Little Petra (Siq al-Barid)

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A northern satellite of Petra, Little Petra centers on a narrow canyon known as Siq al-Barid. With its water cisterns, carved houses, and rock-cut stairs, it has more of a lived-in feel than Petra proper. Its signature site, the Painted House, is home to one of the only surviving Nabatean painted interiors, which features jaw-dropping frescoes.More

Treasury (al-Khazneh)

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First approached by way of a deep, narrow gorge known as the Siq, the Treasury (al-Khazneh) is one of the most dramatic and iconic monuments in the ancient city of Petra. At 131 feet (40 meters) tall, this towering ancient tomb has lost none of its power since Nabatean times.More

Petra Royal Tombs

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Situated close to the Roman Theater, the Petra Royal Tombs are carved dramatically into the cliffs above the city, and their facades reveal many Roman and ancient Greek influences. Notable tombs include the vast Urn Tomb, later used as a church, the three-story Palace Tomb, and the Silk Tomb, with its natural swirls of color.More

Siq

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The signature sight of Petra, Jordan’s signature sight, the Siq is a geological wonder: a stark rift in the land, smoothed by time into a scenic swirl of sandstone. The walls reach more than 500 feet (150 meters), while the path narrows to just 7 feet (2 meters), and the view of the Treasury at the end is one of the world’s great reveals.More

Shobak Castle (Krak de Montréal)

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This ruins of Shobak Castle (Krak de Montréal) date back to AD 1115 when they were built by Baldwin I of Jerusalem as a way to control the caravan and pilgrimage routes between Syria and the Arabian Peninsula.Today much of the original fortifications lie in ruins. Calligraphic inscriptions on the exterior of the remaining walls date back to the thirteenth century, and within the castle, visitors will find remains of a small chapel, the original gatehouse and several Ottoman cottages. Two large buildings with arched entrances date back to the time of the Crusaders but were later used by the Mamluks as a school.More

Jerash (Gerasa)

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Second only to Petra in terms of archaeological importance, Jerash (Gerasa) is one of Jordan’s most significant Roman sites. The area has been inhabited for over 6,500 years, but its high point was under Roman rule, beginning in 63 BC. Today it’s known for beautifully preserved ancient architecture, including temples and an amphitheater.More

Ajloun Castle

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Perched on top of Mount ‘Auf, with commanding views over the Jordan Valley, Ajloun Castle was built in the 12th century by a general under Saladin, Egypt and Syria’s first sultan. Destroyed and rebuilt numerous times, it’s been used to deter Crusader attacks, defend iron mines and trade routes, and as part of a beacon and pigeon communication network.More

Amman Citadel (Jabal al-Qalaa)

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Ancient history sits high above downtown streets at the Amman Citadel (Jabal al-Qalaa), a compact hill topped with Roman ruins, a palace, and the National Archeological Museum. Whether you’re exploring the sites or just enjoying panoramic views across Amman, the Citadel is an essential stop.More

Amman Roman Theater

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Spectacularly restored, Amman Roman Theater once held an audience of 6,000, and in summer, it’s still used for shows and concerts. Dating to the second century AD, it nestles towards the base of Amman Citadel. The 3-tier seating structure reflects Roman society: rulers sat at the front, army in the middle, and ordinary folk above.More

Monastery (Ad Deir)

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Set in the hills above Petra, the Monastery (also known as Ad Deir or al-Deir) is this ancient city’s most recognizable monument after the Treasury. Carved out of sandstone during the 3rd century BC, the Monastery was built as a Nabatean tomb, but takes its name from the crosses etched into its walls during Byzantine times. It’s 148 feet (45 meters) high.More

King’s Highway

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Winding through some of Jordan’s most stunning scenery, this ancient trading road runs south from historic Madaba to Wadi Musa, your base for exploring Petra. While faster routes exist, the King’s Highway offers majestic crusader castles at Karak and Shobak, the spectacular Wadi al-Mujib canyon, the Dana Nature Reserve, and more.More

Top activities in Jordan

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All about Jordan

When to visit

Jordan is most popular in the spring and fall, when days are sunny and warm and evenings are pleasantly cool. Temperatures hover around 77°F (25°C) during these seasons, offering ideal conditions for exploring archaeological sites (including Petra) and nature reserves. Big annual events such as the Aqaba Traditional Arts Festival in February—a celebration of Bedouin culture and crafts—also attract visitors.

Getting around

Jordan’s public transportation is pretty limited. In Amman, use the metered green-and-yellow cabs or ride-sharing apps. To travel between cities, you can take public buses—which leave when they’re full—or shared service taxis. Alternatively, book a seat with a private bus company like JETT buses, which also offers long-distance routes around the country. For a more comfortable trip (and more flexibility), you can rent a car or—if you’re a nervous driver—hire a driver or book private tours. If you’re traveling between Amman and Aqaba, you can also take a domestic flight.

Traveler tips

If you’re taking a cab anywhere in Jordan, be aware that women shouldn’t sit in the passenger front seat next to a male driver—it’s considered impolite. Also, try to avoid cab trips (or any driving) during the morning or evening rush hours. Congestion at these times can be nightmarish and chaotic, and you’ll likely encounter long delays with the meter ticking and lot of stress (whether you’re riding in a cab or driving a rental car).

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People Also Ask

What is Jordan famous for?

Jordan is most famous for its natural heritage, from the otherworldly canyons and sand dunes of Wadi Rum to the Red Sea coastline and the salt-filled Dead Sea. Added to that, you’ll find one of the world’s most interesting archaeological sites, the rock-cut, rose-colored city of Petra.

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What is the most visited place in Jordan?

Designated as one of the new seven wonders of the world, the ancient Nabataean capital of Petra—carved from rose-colored canyons in the desert—remains Jordan’s most popular destination. It’s a sprawling site that takes time to cover; some people rent mules or horses. Admission tickets grant visitors access over two days.

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How many days are enough for Jordan?

If you’re looking to make a speedy trip to Petra or Wadi Rum, then a few days is enough. That said, anyone who spends a week or more traveling around Jordan gets to spend more time off the beaten track and interacting with local communities.

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What should I not miss Jordan?

Visitors flock to Petra, Wadi Rum, and the Dead Sea, but that means the verdant and historical north—filled with lush nature preserves, ancient archaeological sites, and welcoming local communities— is left off most itineraries. Hiking opportunities abound, while attractions include the Greco-Roman ruins of Jerash and panoramic 12th-century Ajloun Castle.

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What are the do’s and don’ts in Jordan?

When in Jordan, follow the same guidance as you would in any Muslim or conservative-leaning country by wearing loose-fitting clothing and not showing much skin. Be respectful of local cultures, especially during prayer times and the holy month of Ramadan, when it’s best not to eat or drink in public.

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Is Jordan safe for tourists?

Jordan is one of the safest countries to visit in the Middle East. The rate of violent crime is low and locals are famous for their friendly and welcoming dispositions. You’ll even find plenty of solo female travelers. That said, it’s always a good idea to exercise basic precautions.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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