What do the Roman Emperor Hadrian, the Prophet Moses and Lawrence of Arabia have in common? They are just three of the many historical personalities who passed through Jordan, and whose travels now attract adventure seekers and action vacationers from around the world.
Jordan offers guaranteed sunshine for 8 months of the year, a base of powerful, unique cultural attractions such as Petra, Jerash, and many others, together with a wide range of very different, often stunning natural environments that are easily accessible and virtually undiscovered by the tourism industry. The destination is full of soft and hard adventure activities for everyone!
Amman is a fascinating city of contrasts, a unique blend of old and new. Visit the Citadel and the Archeology Museum, then venture down a stair path through the city streets and old homes from the Citadel leading towards the Roman Theatre in downtown; enjoy a walk through the colorful Souq, and enjoy local culinary delights at Hashem & Habiba, and mingle with the people, the heart and soul of the country. You can also catch a train ride on the historic Hejaz Railway and check out the Royal Automobile Museum where you learn more about the history of Jordan through Late King Hussein’s fleet of automobiles. Make sure to visit the Royal Stables and learn all about the history and importance of Arabian horses and see them up close and personal, and maybe enjoy a horseback ride if you are so inclined!
Head to Rainbow Street, a vibrant strip that comes to life with coffee shops / cafés, shawarma stands, bookstores, art galleries, bars/lounges and much more. If you happen to be in Amman on a Friday, make sure to check out Souk Jara (Jara Market), a seasonal flea market opened annually in the springtime through October, where locals set up stalls on one of Amman’s oldest streets lined with historic homes. With over 100 booths, here you can find everything from handmade traditional items to items made from recycled materials to knickknacks to antiques, local street foods, local artists, entertainment, etc. This is another great place to mingle with the locals and buy gifts for friends and family back home.
Freshen up for an evening of wine-tasting at the Zumot Winery headquarters in Amman where you will sample and learn how some of Jordan’s finest organic wine is made. Check out some of Amman’s nightlife hot spots!
Head East of Amman and go on a biking adventure around Jordan’s Desert Castles, showcasing beautiful examples of both early Islamic art and architecture, that stand testament to a fascinating era in the country's rich history. Their fine mosaics, frescoes, stone and stucco carvings and illustrations, inspired by the best in Persian and Greco-Roman traditions, tell countless stories of the life as it was during the 8th century.
Several of these preserved Castles, all of which are clustered to the east and south of Amman, can be visited on one-day or two-day loops from Amman. Don’t miss out on visiting Quseir Amra, one of Jordan’s four UNESCO World Heritage Sites!
Check into the Azraq Eco-Lodge, an old military hospital that has been turned into a wonderful eco-friendly lodge and enjoy the local cuisine from the Northern parts of Jordan. Tour the local handicraft center where all products that are made are eco-friendly and are made to help sustain the lodge and the local people.
Your day will begin traveling west to the ancient city of “Jerash, the Cross Roads of Civilization”, remarkable for its unbroken chain of human occupation. Here, in the hills of Gilead, you will find remains from Neolithic times, as well as Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Omayyad civilizations. See a live performance of the Roman Army and Chariot Experience (RACE) at the hippodrome (if available).
Head 30 minutes north of Jerash to the Ajlun Nature Reserve, and on your way stop off at the historic Ajlun Castle, built by one of Saladin's generals in 1184 AD to control the iron mines of Ajlun, and to deter the Franks from invading Ajlun. Then take one of many hikes offered in this area and hike through the ancient olive and oak trees surrounding you, try the local flavors from the Biscuit House, learn Arabic Calligraphy at the Calligraphy House and experience the ancient tradition of olive soap making by local women from the area at the Soap House at Orjana. All local products are made by the local villagers, using natural ingredients from the surrounding land. Enjoy a home-made lunch with a local family from the area and learn about the lifestyle and culture. Spend the night in one of the eco-friendly log cabins within the Reserve.
Explore some of the many rock climbing routes, of all grades, available in this Northern part of the country!
Drive south towards the Ma’in hot springs and along the way peek into the Church of St. George to get a glimpse of the most ancient mosaic map of the Holy Land. Then head east to the Ma’in hot springs and indulge yourself in this natural spa and explore the area on one of the many hiking trails.
Enjoy the sunset at the Dead Sea panorama before checking into the Mujib Chalets on the coast of the Dead Sea for overnight.
In the morning take a float in the Dead Sea and then head out on one of the many trails in Wadi Mujib, the lowest nature reserve, and hike, wade and/or swim through this slot canyon if you are not afraid of heights, repel down a 20m waterfall!
Continue your journey south to the Dana Nature Reserve, the largest and only reserve in Jordan that includes the four different bio-geographical zones of the country. Tour one of the oldest villages in the world and then settle in at the beautiful Rummana campsite for overnight. Take the opportunity to hike and explore the area and end the day watching the spectacular sunset overlooking the beautiful landscape along the face of the Great Rift Valley.
Enjoy an evening of authentic cuisine by the fire, Bedouin style. Wake up early and visit the look-out to see what animals you can find. If you are lucky you will see one of the beautiful Jordanian Hyenas that have been rehabilitated and reintroduced into the wild or if you are really lucky you may spot the Caracal Cat! The beauty of this nature reserve goes as far as the eyes can see. Make sure to take time to go on one of the many hikes in the area and explore this world of natural treasures. You never know what ancient ruin you will stumble across along the way!
Start your day with a 5-6 hour hike, passing through sandstone gorges, leading downhill to Feynan, and escape the beaten path to a sensory experience that awaits you. Deep in the heart of the mountainous Dana Biosphere Reserve, at the end of a rugged track, an idyllic candle-lit lodge rests in the magnificent Wadi Feynan. Hailed as one of the top 50 Eco Lodges in the world by National Geographic Adventure Magazine, the solar powered Feynan Eco Lodge offers the most developed eco-adventure experience in Jordan. If you are still up for more adventure after your morning hike, you can embark on various hiking trails or biking routes to explore the area, and discover the most diverse flora and fauna in Jordan, unearth the history of an ancient land, and unlock the mysteries of native Bedouin life through the warm welcome of this humble native community.
Make sure to visit the local Bedouin families to learn how to make bread, Kohl eyeliner, candles and traditional Arabic coffee. Enjoy the story telling of the Bedouins and experience first-hand their incredible hospitality while learning more about the Bedouin culture and traditions in one of the only remaining places in Jordan where the true Bedouin lifestyle still exists. Don’t forget to visit the roof top at night because gazing at the stars is the most beautiful site. If you are lucky you will see Saturn, Mars, Jupiter and the craters on the moon with the lodge's high definition telescope!
Spend the morning with Indiana Jones in “The Last Crusade” as he charges through the desert gorge to the Treasury in search of the Holy Grail! Jordan abounds in archeological riches, but few sites in the world can rival the Nabataean city of Petra, carved out of the rose-red rock cliffs!
This jewel of the middle east, surrounded by imposing mountains and approached through a deep, narrow cleft in the rocks known as the Siq, Petra is a unique and unforgettable place, an altogether overwhelming experience that neither you or your family will forget. Approaching the Siq you will follow its towering sandstone walls towards the site of the captivating and iconic splendor of the beautiful Khazneh (the famous Treasury), one of the city’s most iconic structures. A guided orientation tour will then take you to some of the key parts of this remarkable and ancient site, one of the most impressive and exciting anywhere in the world. You will explore the Royal Tombs and the Roman theatre, with its 8,000 seats carved from the solid rock that surrounds it.
Enjoy lunch at the Basin Restaurant and go off the beaten path on one of the many trails and continue to explore this vast, ancient city. If you happen to be in Petra on a night that it is available, the Petra by night tour is a must! Tours start at 8.30pm and finish at 10.00pm every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Return to the city the next day and you can climb steep paths to the sacrificial ‘High Places’ (altars) and hike to the top of Jebel Harin (1396m) for a stunning view over Wadi Araba and the Negev Desert. The Monastery is the largest of Petra’s monuments and certainly worth the climb up to it. Towering to a height of 40m its doorway alone measures 8m in height, dwarfing anyone framed within it. This is truly a place to lose oneself in the history and ambience of the past. Drive for 10 minutes down the Wadi “Valley” to Little Petra historically known as “Al Beidha”. It may not be quite as monumental as the main site but it was an important suburb of Petra and there is still much to see here.
In the evening, head to the Petra Kitchen for a relaxed, informal atmosphere where you will gather to prepare an evening meal. Working alongside local women and men under the supervision of a local chef offers an evening of learning, fun and a very special dining experience, with each dish bearing the special flavor of a reward well-earned.
No trip to Jordan is complete without a visit to the infamous UNESCO world heritage site, Wadi Rum. This extraordinary desert landscape is where Lawrence of Arabia operated throughout 1917 and launched the strike on Aqaba. It provided David Lean with his most memorable movie locations.
“Vast, echoing and God-Like” is the way Lawrence described Wadi Rum, where you will enjoy this largest and most magnificent of Jordan’s desert landscapes. Your experience in Wadi Rum can begin with a visit to the museum, craft shops and a sumptuous lunch at the Visitor’s Center. The Visitor’s center is also where all vehicle tours operate from and where you must register and pay the entrance fees to enter the protected area.
After lunch, venture off the beaten path in a four-wheel-drive vehicle to explore the desert and see up close the “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” about which Lawrence wrote, Lawrence’s spring and what’s left of the house in which he resided. Wadi Rum is indeed a foreign world, so make sure to take in the stars at night as you lay by a camp fire outside your Bedouin tent, but only after tasting the best cuisine of Wadi Rum, Zarb, which is cooked in the ground! Oooh and tea at sunset in the middle of the desert is really a MUST!
There are many more adventures to be had in Wadi Rum:
Camel & Horse Trekking
After exploring Lawrence's path in the desert head to Aqaba, a year-round resort. The port of Aqaba became a major supply base for the advancing Arab Revolt. The Red Sea and its surrounding pink mountains is truly one of nature’s most breathtaking sites. Enjoy a lunch cruise on the Red Sea and make sure to take in one of the many options of water sports offered. One of the most beautiful attractions in Aqaba is the untouched coral reefs. Scuba dive through the shipwreck, snorkel in one of the reserves, or sunbathe at your leisure. Spend the evening walking and exploring the downtown of Aqaba, go shopping in the souq and stop for tea/coffee and chat with the locals at a coffee shop. Make sure to try Jordan’s famous fish dish Sayadeyeh.