There are so many things to do in Jordan, you will want at least a couple of weeks to visit. From the thriving metropolis of Amman to the quiet retreat of the Feynan Ecolodge, there is something for everyone.
Jordan. The jewel of the Middle East. Surrounded by chaos and unrest, Jordan has remained a neutral destination and it is difficult to imagine the conflict that is happening outside its borders. It's advisable to stay away from the Syrian and Iraqi borders and be sure to steer clear of demonstrations in public places. But travel to Jordan feels no more insecure than anywhere else in the world these days and once you enter the country, you'll feel the welcoming friendliness of locals.
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We had the opportunity to visit much of the country and after going through some of our video archive footage, we realized that we never released any videos from our time there. This made us think that we should do a round up post of what to do in Jordan. So these are our top 10 things to do in Jordan that will make you want to pack your bags right now.
Things to do in Jordan from 1 to 10
It's one of the great ancient cities of the world. Petra is one of those places that lives up to the hype. With momentous buildings built into high cliffs, Petra will literally take your breath away as you step into the Treasury square after your 2km walk through the deep narrow gorge of the Siq. Dating back more than 2000 years, Petra was an important part of the Silk Route to China and India but was abandoned at some time around the 12th century. It was only known to locals for hundreds of years until it was rediscovered by the West in 1812. This legendary setting is so beautiful, Hollywood has since come a knocking using Petra for filming locations in movies such as Transformers and Indian Jones.
For a Unique experience make sure to visit Petra at Night.
Make sure to arrive early to beat the tour bus crowds and don't forget to venture up to the Monastery for a magnificent view of the end of the world. For us, Petra was one of the greatest ancient cities blowing us away far beyond our visits to Machu Picchu, the Pyramids or even Anchor Wat.
If you like Roman ruins, you will love Jerash. Jerash is the most well-preserved ancient Roman city outside of Italy. Jerash dates back 6500 years and was an important city on Rome's ancient trade route. Thanks to the dry climate, it laid untouched for centuries under stand waiting to be explored. Excavations began in 1925 and today it is one of the greatest examples of Roman architecture outside of Rome.
For more on Jerash, read our post, Jerash, the 2nd most popular of things to do in Jordan.
3: Dead Sea
The Dead Sea truly is filled with salt and you can float until your heart's content. Book a hotel directly on the sea so you can enjoy a daily dip in the healing waters. People have been known to lay on their backs reading a newspaper in the Dead Sea and it's true! You really float on top! The minerals of the dead sea have healing qualities and many people book retreats to help with ailments. If you rub mud all over your skin, it will be as smooth as a baby's bottom. I found the salt to be very powerful however and it stung my skin. It was good to have a bucket of fresh water on hand.
Only in Jordan for a limited time? Day tours can be booked to the Dead Sea.
4: Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum is an incredible desert valley filled with narrow gorges, towering cliffs and natural stone arches. It's home of the Bedouins where the human race has inhabited this land for nearly 12,000 years. T.E. Lawrence began his journey through the Arabian desert here. Lawrence of Arabia is so linked to Wadi Rum, that the beautiful rock formation known as the Seven Pillars of Wisdom was named after his autobiography.
Take a jeep tour deep into the desert and make sure to ride a camel living out your own Lawrence of Arabia fantasies.
One of our favourite activities in all of Jordan was splashing around in the waters of Wadi Mujib for a day. Canyoning in the warm waters of Jordan was a fantastic thrill beginning with a rappel down a waterfall into fast flowing water. Wearing a pfd we swam through pools, plunged down natural waterslides and slid through narrow gorges. It was an amazing way to escape the heat and get our adventure on.
Read all about it at our Canyoning Adventure in Jordan
6: Feynan Eco-Lodge
The Feynan Eco-Lodge is a luxury retreat that makes protecting Jordan’s natural resources and wildlife a priority. Hire a local guide from the lodge to take you on a nature hike through the reserve to point out the ancient ruins, local flora and fauna and to share personal stories of growing up in the area. At night enjoy a completely light pollution free view of the stars as you lay in silence on the roof of the lodge to enjoy the night skies while sipping fresh tea.
Read more about this experience in Jordan at Feynan Eco-Lodge a Quiet Retreat in Jordan
7: Sleep in a Bedouin Camp
8: Dana Nature Reserve
The Dana Biosphere Reserve cuts through the Rift Valley leading all the way to the heart of Africa. The town of Dana is a 15th century stone village overlooking the great valley. Once a thriving town, it has now been turned into an artist and farming community. Here you can explore the town and hike through the natural preserve seeing local life as it has been lived for centuries. There are multiday hikes you can do through the Biosphere Reserve and one even takes you from the village of Dana to the Feynan Ecolodge. Jordan is fast becoming an eco travel destination.
Read more here about the Dana Nature Preserve
9: Mount Nebo
For a spiritual journey visit Mount Nebo known to be the spot where Moses saw the promised land before he died. Looking out over the valley, you too can witness spectacular views of the promised land. Mount Nebo houses an active monastery and Byzantium church that is a popular stop for pilgrimages. Be sure to check out the mosaics.
10: Hang out in Amman
Amman is a thriving metropolis that is worth spending a few days in. Enjoy a shisha at a local bar, shop at one of the many markets and be sure to visit the The King Abdullah Mosque. For some local flare make sure to enjoy a meal at the Hashem Restaurant an outdoor café located in an alleyway packed with patrons.
If you don't want to travel Jordan independently, GetYourGuide offers an 8-Day Tour Showcasing the country's highlights.
As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in Jordan far beyond Petra. With excellent eco-adventures, rich history, and incredible landscapes, Jordan makes for a wonderful Middle East vacation destination. If you are looking for something different in your travels this year, be sure to give Jordan a try. You won't be disappointed.