Jordan is the country that is famous for Petra – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and the Dead Sea. Yet, there is so much more to explore in the beautiful country where people are so generous even if they don’t have much to offer.
A recent trip to Jordan left me amazed. It is affordable, the food is delicious with a great variety of selection, and the landscape is beautiful and very diverse.
I got to visit Jordan in the winter season, which is considered off-season. Yet it was such an advantage as visitor numbers were low and I was able to avoid crowds.
It is such a great country it should be on everyone’s bucket list. So, after you figure out what to ask in salary negotiations, book your flights and get ready for an adventure.
Before You Go
Most likely you will need to apply for a visa to enter Jordan, so check it here before you go.
The best option is to grab a Jordan Pass, which costs 70 JOD. It includes the price of your visa and numerous entry fees for sights such as Petra or the Citadel.
Also, consider how you are going to get around between stops. You have multiple options depending on how flexible you are with timing.
The most straightforward way to travel around is by car. There are many car rental companies, but personal experiences with Monte Carlo car rentals were superb. They offer a portable Internet hotspot, which was extremely useful when directing.
The weather in the off-season greatly varies depending on which side of the country you are in. Generally, the northern parts are colder while in the south it is warmer.
From November till February temperatures are between 12-20oC during the day. Evenings can get very cold with lows of 0-5oC. So, don’t forget to pack some warm jumpers and a jacket.
First Stop, Amman
You will most likely get to Jordan by flying to Queen Alia Airport in Amman. Grab a taxi or hop on the bus to get to the city center and let the fun begin.
Amman is built on seven hills, so you will have plenty of leg days going up and down in the city.
Luckily, the city makes up for all your hard work and you can rest in one of the innumerable great restaurants and eateries.
The Jordan Museum is a great place to aim for first because you will explore insightful facts about the country and the Jordanian way of life.
Next, visit the Amman Citadel, which is located on top of Jebel Al Qala’s, a hill 850 meters above sea level, so you can spot it from most parts of the city.
The view is spectacular from the top, so allow yourself the time to admire the cityscape and take lots of pictures.
The Duke’s Diwan is another special place to visit in downtown Amman. Courtesy of Duke of Mukhaybeh, a local businessman, this five-bedroom flat is also a little exhibition space honoring all aspects of art and talent.
Next, move on to take a walk on Rainbow Street. It is liveliest from the evening onwards, and it is a great destination for nightlife. The street is lined with Ottoman architecture and quirky street art.
Float in the Dead Sea
About an hour from Amman is the Dead Sea which is also the lowest point below sea level on Earth.
While the high salt levels and beautifying Dead Sea mud are beneficial for your skin, it is also just fun to float carefree on the water.
It is best to stay the night in a hotel around the Sea, as they all have their private beaches where you can lay back on a sun lounger and enjoy the sunshine.
Dive in the Red Sea
Head south to Aqaba, where the Red Sea has so much to offer for marine lovers. The city itself is not too big, the main attraction is the sea life.
The area is popular with holidaymakers, you can find most holiday lets and hotels in Tala Bay.
It is worth signing up for a day trip of diving or snorkeling. Deep Blue Dive Center was an excellent choice located in Tala Bay.
They offer a five-hour-long boat trip along the coast. I opted for snorkeling as I am not comfortable with diving, but it was still spectacular!
The sea life is amazingly rich with different corals and an abundance of colorful fishes. We stopped at three places and got to see a sunken tanker, a plane wreck, and a shipwreck.
A delicious lunch was included and all soft drinks, coffee, and tea. The atmosphere was very laid back, every crew member was very friendly and helpful.
Snorkeling in the Red Sea was the highlight of the trip.
Wadi Rum Adventures
Wadi Rum is an absolutely special place that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. It is not the usual desert scene, yet you feel you arrived at the Martian movie set.
It is worth choosing a local company and opting for a jeep tour. This way you will see the main sights of the desert and get to know more about the Bedouin way of life.
Wadi Rum Nomads have one of the best tours available, focusing on providing a unique experience. They only take a limited number of people every time.
The tours start early in the morning to make the most of the daylight, especially in the winter.
Several parts of Wadi Rum are just breathtaking with monstrous rocks and orange and red sand. I am glad I opted for the jeep tour because we had to cover big distances which we couldn’t have done on foot.
This protected area is still home to some traditional Bedouin families who live complete nomad lives and do jobs around animals.
We got a taste of how they live, as we gathered around the campfire for dinner and stayed in tents for the night.
Petra the Wonder
Petra is a place that you can’t miss if you are in Jordan. The famous UNESCO World Heritage Site’s rock-cut architecture and innovative water management system were created by the Nabateans.
Stay in the town of Wadi Musa and choose the accommodation that suits your budget. You won’t have a problem finding something.
If you buy the Jordan Pass the entry fee to Petra is included, if you choose to buy it separately, the 1-day ticket costs 50JOD. Even if you are limited on time, spend at least half a day exploring the beautifully carved tombs, huts, and churches.
Once you enter the site a curvy path takes you through the Siq, lined by orange-colored rocks.
The path leads you to the Treasury, one of the main sights of Petra, but do the hike up to the Monastery for the breathtaking view.
It is best to start early in the morning or late in the afternoon to beat the tourist crowds. Then, you only need to deal with the persistent local men who constantly want to sell you tours or donkey, horse, and camel rides.
Petra by Night is a special experience that is on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The Siq and Treasury are lit with candles providing the place with a magical atmosphere. Tickets cost 17 JOD for the tour that starts at 8:30 pm and finishes around 10:30 pm.
Photo Credit: Filippo Cesarini
Photo Credit: Konstantinos Kaskanis