Adventure Travel to Jordan: 8-Day Itinerary
Arts & Culture
Jordan is the gateway to the Middle East; at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, its history reflects the rise and fall of some of the greatest civilizations in history. Jordan has a bit of everything. Walk amongst Roman ruins, dive in the crystal-clear waters of the Red Sea and explore the greatest ancient city in the world, Petra. A perfect place for history buffs and adventure seekers alike, Jordan is a country like no other.
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Where to stay
Al Manara, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Saraya Aqaba
Jordanian luxury in the ancient port city of Aqaba with an excellent local restaurant located directly on their private beach.
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Day 1-2: Amman
Many people skip Amman to head straight to Petra or travel to Jordan's other well-known sites, but it's well worth staying here for a few days and exploring.
Things to do in Amman
Amman Citadel: Located at the top of a hill overlooking the city, the Citadel is a window into Jordan's past. You can see the progression of Jordanian history through the Roman, Byzantine, and Umayyad ruins that cover the hill. Highlights include the Temple of Hercules, a Byzantine church and the Umayyad Palace. While you're there, check out the Jordanian Archaeological Museum.
Roman Theater: In heart of downtown Amman is the Roman Theater, a well-preserved Roman amphitheater and museum. It's a quick walk from there to Rainbow Street, THE place for shopping and eating your fill of Jordan's incredible food.
Jerash: Located just outside of Amman, Jerash is Jordan's largest and best-preserved Roman city. Known as the Pompeii of the Middle East, it's well worth the quick cab ride to check out the temples, plazas and theaters that showcase what everyday life was like in ancient times.
Places to eat in Amman
Sufra: Set in an old stone house on the side of a hill, Sufra has gorgeous views and equally amazing food. The unlimited pita and hummus are a great start, and go well with the other traditional Jordan dishes like mansaf (a lamb dish).
Mesh: Located in the W hotel, Mesh is great for breakfast or cocktails with a view of the whole city.
Hashem: Hashem is a no-frills local favorite with the best falafel in Jordan. It's always busy, making it the perfect place for people-watching.
Day 3: Dead Sea
After checking out Amman, head to the Israel-Jordan border for a day at the Dead Sea. So named because it's too salty to support life, its waters are perfect for keeping you afloat. Once there, you can cover yourself in mud (which you'll want to help protect you from the super-salty water).
Because the water is *so* salty, you can only spend about 15 minutes in it. Make sure to drink a lot of water and rinse off all the mud and salt afterward!
I would highly recommend staying at one of the hotels with direct access to the Dead Sea - there is not much infrastructure around the Sea on the Jordanian side, and the hotels can provide you with showers, snacks and mud.
Day 4-5: Petra
One reason why so many are inspired to travel to Jordan is for a trip to Petra. One of the seven wonders of the world, the ancient city carved into the sheer rock of the Jordanian desert is truly a sight to behold. Enter via a narrow canyon that opens dramatically onto the "Rose City", which gets its nickname from the pink-colored sandstone rocks that make up the canyon. You can ride camels or hike around the city, with well-marked trails taking you through ancient homes, temples and public spaces. The city itself is quite accessible and most of the main sites can be easily reached by travelers of all ages.
At night, visitors are treated to an incredible candle-lit walk through the canyon to a music and light show at Petra's most famous site, Al-Khazneh (the Treasury). You'll need to buy separate tickets in advance, but it's well worth it to see the city at night (and the desert stars up above!)
Day 6: Wadi Rum
Known as the Valley of the Moon, Wadi Rum looks more like Mars. With its red cliffs and canyons dotted amongst vast expanses of desert, it's absolutely otherworldly.
You'll need a guide to explore and can ride around on anything from a pickup truck to an ATV to a camel. Your guide will show you around to the best viewpoints in the desert and help you to find cave paintings and polyglyphs, writings and drawings left on the canyon walls by the earliest inhabitants of the valley.
Sunset is the most beautiful time of day, when the sun paints the desert glowing red, fiery orange and deep blue. At night, you can camp in the desert in Bedouin-style tents, complete with traditional Bedouin meals cooked in an underground pit. Being so remote, you can see the entire night sky full of stars - and on a clear night, the Milky Way is visible!
Day 7-8: Aqaba
After camping in the desert, head to Aqaba for some beachside pampering. The Jewel of the Red Sea is home to luxury resorts and spas, as well as some of the best diving on the Red Sea. With boat rentals, beach clubs, and snorkeling and diving schools, you won't be short on options for things to do here.
Aqaba has some incredible dining options thanks to the luxury hotels in town. For an amazing dinner, check out Kubba Levantin or Ali Baba.
Need to Know
Remember that Jordan is a Muslim country, so dress modestly (long skirts or pants that go to the ankle and no low-cut tops). Women don't need to cover their heads in public, but should keep a scarf handy in case you're going to mosques or other holy sites.
While alcohol is not illegal in Jordan, it will be more expensive than in the U.S.
Jordan is mostly desert, so it gets hot during the day and COLD at night. Don't forget to bring warm clothing!
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