WHAT TO DO IN JORDAN – BEST ACTIVITIES FOR ALL BUDGETS
- 1 WHAT TO DO IN JORDAN – BEST ACTIVITIES FOR ALL BUDGETS
- 2 Visit Petra
- 3 Enjoy Petra by Night
- 4 Explore Jerash
- 5 Cycle Through Jordan
- 6 Float in the Dead Sea
- 7 Wadi Rum Desert Safari
- 8 Spend a Few Hours at Wadi Mujib
- 9 Stay in a Bedouin camp
- 10 Hike at Dana Nature Reserve
- 11 Enjoy Views From Mount Nebo
- 12 Visit Amman
- 13 Watch the Sunset
- 14 Dive in Aqaba
- 15 Road-Trip Jordan
- 16 Enjoy the Food
- 17 PIN ME FOR LATER – THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN JORDAN
You might have heard about Jordan´s beauty and what an amazing country it is to visit?! Rightfully, Jordan has become more and popular these days, and I am pretty sure Jordan will not disappoint you. However, you might be wondering about the best things to do in Jordan and its main attractions. If so, read on and find out what to do and see.
Yes, Jordan is a quite small country, but there are still many things to do. To be honest, I would need to visit Jordan, again and again, to find out about all the good things to do. And while I do not even claim to have experienced all the fun things, I compiled a list of my favorite Jordan activities as well as more great things to see and do in Jordan.
Petra is probably the most famous place in Jordan, and you cannot visit Jordan without visiting Petra.Whether you see the monastery or the treasury, or any of the other ancient buildings and sights that were created more than 2,000 years ago, you have to explore this city. It was actually very prosperous back at that time, but it eventually died out.
However, it was rediscovered “recently“ and has become the main tourist attraction. It was also used as a filming location for Indiana Jones if you needed more reasons to visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Make sure to plan in enough time to see the “Rose City“ as it is home to many sights and people underestimate its size.
Petra is rather big, and it involves a lot of hiking, so plan in at least one and a half days so that you can do a few different kinds of hikes and see sights like the Treasury, the Monastery or the Tombs (just to name a few).
Price for Petra: The entrance fee for Petra is quite high. You can check the prices out here. If you have a Jordan Pass (highly recommended), you have the fees included.
READ MORE: Solo female travel tips for Jordan
Enjoy Petra by Night
Petra by Night is a big event that takes place three times a week. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, the Siq gets illuminated by candles, and in front of the Treasury, you’ll hear the sound of a Bedouin shepherd´s flute. For some, it is a must-do in Jordan and a highlight – for me, it was a disappointment. I expected something magical, and people were just loud. Along the Siq, people talked loudly, ran around, and ruined the moment for those looking for something magical. It probably would have been amazing if people could have shut up for some minutes so.
However, I have an alternative that you can do and see Petra by night – without extra costs and with the crowds.
Go to Little Petra, just a few kilometers near Petra, and have tea at one of the Bedouin camps. It is extremely beautiful and romantic and a better experience than the official Petra by Night. Many candles light the caves (they are electric, but you can’t tell from afar), and this is what a romantic and “authentic“ place looks like.
Jerash dates back several thousand years and is the best-preserved and largest Roman site outside of Italy and without a doubt, visiting Jerash is one of the best things to do in Jordan.It actually impressed me more than any of the Italian Roman sites. The place is so huge and one of the main attractions in Jordan. It has become the main Roman site in Jordan with attractions like the Hadrian´s Arch (Triumphal Arch), the hippodrome, the South Gate, and more.
From Amman, it is a half-day trip – you can drive there yourself or get there by taxi/Uber or even a public bus (leaving from North Station for around 1,10€). There is no entrance fee if you have a Jordan Pass.
Cycle Through Jordan
This is for you guys (not so for me) – cycling in Jordan seems like an amazing idea for the really active ones amongst you.
Of course, you could bike anywhere, but Jordan does have a specific Bike Trail. It is a 730-kilometer trail from the south to the north – passing the main attractions like Petra, the Dead Sea, and Aqaba. Surely, this is not for everyone, and you have to be a fit and experienced cyclist, but even for someone like me – who just cycles a few kilometers – this sounds absolutely amazing and intriguing.
So, surely exploring Jordan by bike surely is something to consider if you are into being active.
Float in the Dead Sea
Floating in the Dead Sea is a bucket list experience, and in Jordan, you can treat yourself to some time at the Dead Sea (which also makes the lowest point of Earth).This body of water is partly located in Jordan. Don’t expect to swim or float here for hours, though. Normally, most people are only in it for a few minutes.
It is known for its healing effects and is good for your skin because the water is so rich in salt and other minerals that it is said that even Cleopatra used to have her beauty spa sessions here. But be aware that you will feel every hole and pore in your skin while in the water.
Also, make sure to wrap yourself from head to toe with the mud here and try to find some salt to mix with it. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes before you wash it away – it will have an amazing effect on your skin, and while it will not last days, my skin has hardly felt better.
So, taking a mud bath and floating in the Dead Sea is another must-do in Jordan.
Wadi Rum Desert Safari
Wadi Rum is a desert valley in the south of Jordan, and visiting should be on any Jordan itinerary.It is also well-known because Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here, and this is where he actually began his journey through the desert.
But there is more to it than being a “pretty“ filling location – this UNESCO World Heritage Site was also inhabited by the Nabataeans in prehistoric times (like Petra), and now, it is a place where Bedouins live, and tourists visit for half a day, a full day or even longer.
You will see beautiful rock formations in this part of Jordan. You can do some really fun desert tours, and they are well worth both the money and the time.
Spend a Few Hours at Wadi Mujib
My favorite sporty, adventurous activity in Jordan was canoeing in Wadi Mujib. The Mujib Biosphere Reserve is the lowest nature reserve in the world. This is a gorge with water in the base which makes a fun activity to walk through (or biplane through, float, etc.).You will have to pay an entrance fee to get in here, and I booked a personal guide who helped me with the canoeing, sliding, climbing, and paddling but you can also do unguided tours. I did the shortest route, which took about 2 hours (3 hours in total with getting changed etc, and I paid around 30€ – cash only), but it was fun, and you can do even longer hikes if you want to.
Unfortunately, you cannot do these activities year-round as it closed in the winter, so make sure you check the opening times.
Stay in a Bedouin camp
I stayed at several Bedouin camps during my time in Jordan, and staying there was unique and amazing.Friendly hosts, stunning scenery (depending on where you stay), good food – these are some of the perks when staying in a bedouin camp in Jordan.
Also, most bedouin camps are affordable, but they are also very basic and not the most luxurious. However, it proves once more that there is no need for a luxury hotel to experience happiness. It’s an amazing experience, so don’t miss out on it during your Jordan visit.
Hike at Dana Nature Reserve
Hiking is another great thing to do in Jordan. Probably not in the summer months but when the weather allows it.The Dana Nature Reserve is one of Jordan’s most popular hiking spots. There are several different trails that you can do – from a couple of hours to several days.
To be honest, I had a love-hate relationship with my hiking in Jordan (and I just did a 3-hour hike) – but in the end, it was a fun activity, and others I met along the way LOVED hiking there.
Enjoy Views From Mount Nebo
Mount Nebo is another very interesting thing to do and is especially interesting from a religious point of view. Apparently, Moses climbed up to the top of the mountain and saw the Promised Land before he died. You have great views from here. It is close to Amman and the Dead Sea, so you could easily visit it while staying in Amman.
Some people skip Amman, but you seriously cannot miss out on Amman. Half of Jordan’s population lives in the Amman area, so it is quite busy and chaotic. But still charming and fun.You have to visit the capital of Jordan and stay for at least a day so that you can check out the downtown area with the ancient sights like the Amphitheater. You can hike up to the Citadel – another ancient sight – and enjoy the best city views from there. Check out my Amman itinerary for more tips.
Watch the Sunset
Jordan has some amazing spots to see the sunset. One of the places to enjoy beautiful sunsets is sown in the Dana Nature Reserve, the Dead Sea, or in Wadi Rum.You can also see great ones from the Citadel in Amman. Either way, make sure not to spend your time indoors when the sun sets but to enjoy this free activity in Jordan.
Dive in Aqaba
Jordan has only one coastal city – Aqaba, and this is a popular diving and snorkeling location off the Red Sea. Personally, I don’t dive or snorkel as I’m not very interested in these things, but for many, diving in Aqaba is one of the fun stuff to do.
For all those who love to be underwater, Aqaba is the place to be. Or for those who want to relax at the beach after so much traveling in Jordan (as fun as it is, it can be really exhausting).
The best way to get around Jordan is road-tripping. I am trying to be as environmentally friendly as possible, but I do make exceptions with flying and driving (sometimes), but Jordan is a country where road-tripping makes the most sense as getting around with – solely- public transportation is not the easiest thing.But driving in Jordan is an experience in itself. I tend to be chicken about driving in some (especially Arabic) countries, but it was actually quite easy and doable in Jordan.
The streets are okay (some are actually pretty good), and there are not many cars on the street, which makes driving in Jordan quite stress-free. I have a detailed post about a Jordan road trip – but in a sentence: Road tripping in Jordan was just amazing!
Enjoy the Food
Last but not least, eat a lot in Jordan because the food is great there. I am aware that I do not often recommend “eating” as an activity, but one of the very best things to do in Jordan is to eat. Eat a lot.Especially the falafel (chickpea balls fried in oil), which are really amazing most everywhere in Jordan, should be part of your diet here. They also have some meat dishes, but you will not find many places where the vegetarian food is as delicious as it is in Jordan.
Eat your weight in falafel with delicious bread, veggies, and hummus. And the best: You don’t have to stay in expensive hotels to have that great food – actually, smaller B&B or restaurants often have better and more authentic food so you can have all that great food for little money!
For more Jordan travel tips, click here.
Jordan is such a diverse and interesting place to visit, and these are some of the best things to do in Jordan. Make sure you plan some (or all) of these into your own Jordan itinerary to have the best trip possible. Since prices are lower than in many western European cities (or the US), most activities mentioned here are actually quite affordable – or even free – and they do not cost a fortune, making it even more fun!