The Kings Highway is a stunning area to navigate. If you are thinking about taking a trip to the Kings Highway and are in search of some tips and advice, then look no further!
- The Kings Highway in Jordan
- What is the Kings Highway Jordan?
- A brief history of the Kings Highway
- How long does it take to drive the Kings Highway?
- When is the best time to travel the Kings Highway?
- Things to see along the Kings Highway Jordan
- Driving along the Kings Highway Jordan
- The Kings Highway- To Conclude
The Kings Highway in Jordan
Have you always wanted to do a road trip? It’s something high on many peoples’ travel bucket lists, and for good reason. Getting to explore multiple cities in one tip, at your own pace with time on the open road – what could be better?! And one of the best places to do a road trip is Jordan. Here are some tips for taking a road trip down the Kings Highway, Jordan…
What is the Kings Highway Jordan?
Kings Highway is an ideal way to see plenty of what Jordan has to offer. It is a 255 km-long stretch of road between Amman and Petra – two cities that are bound to be on your list when planning a trip to beautiful Jordan. The drive takes around 4.5 hours end to end, but there is so much to see and do along the way that you are best covering it over a couple of days. This is especially true in the winter when there aren’t as many daylight hours!
TOP TIP: the Kings Highway is, albeit sporadically, signposted as Route 35.
The Kings Highway, Jordan is definitely the most picturesque route. As it does take slightly longer, you’ll find that many people bypass it in favour of the Desert Highway. This means that quite often you will have the roads to yourself – perfect for jumping out and taking a fun ‘middle of the road’ snap to show your friends back home.
The road has a bit of history in itself. It was an incredibly important trade route which connected Africa with Mesopotamia. You can see a lot of history on your journey through Jordan.
A brief history of the Kings Highway
It is not difficult to travel back in time when you take the King’s Highway, as it has been utilised for an extended period of time – a whopping 5000 years!
When you drive along the road, you can almost visualise how hordes of caravans should have made their lengthy journey under the torrid sun. Right from its inception, the King’s Highway was a major trading route, and it was much longer than the existing Jordan portion.
The Kings Highway started in Heliopolis, in Egypt, and ended in Resafa, which is now in Syria.
The segment of the highway you’ll be travelling along was utilised by the Nabateans for trading purposes. During the Roman era, this same path was also used for military objectives, and was named the Via Traiana Nova after Emperor Trajan. Later, in the Byzantine period, Christianity was on the rise and a great number of pilgrims went along the road to reach Mount Nebo, a hill which was purportedly where Moses viewed the Promised Land. From the 7th century, during the Muslim reign, the King’s Highway was part of the Darb al-Hajj, the “Pilgrim’s Path”.
How long does it take to drive the Kings Highway?
The route from Amman to Petra, which is known as the King’s Highway, is 249 km (154 miles) in length. Although it is only slightly longer than the Desert Highway, the winding and steep roads make it take considerably longer due to the picturesque scenery that accompanies it. You can easily do the trip in a day or spread over a couple of days with several stops.
When is the best time to travel the Kings Highway?
Travelling the Kings Highway is possible at any time of year. Temperatures do not hugely fluctuate between the seasons in Jordan, however many choose to avoid winter (November-February) due to the cooler temperatures.
Things to see along the Kings Highway Jordan
There is so much to do when embarking on a roadtrip through Jordan! Whether it’s castles, scenery or ancient ruins, the middle east has it all. And so much of it can be seen on your drive along the Kings Highway, Jordan. Here are some of the highlights…
Once a crusader stronghold, this castle sits atop a hill in the city of Karak. It is well worth a visit. While it isn’t the most well-preserved castle in the world, it is really interesting and offers great views. There is an archaeological museum on site, and entry to the caste site is 2 JD. It is one of the must-see locations along the Kings Highway, Jordan.
Known as the Grand Canyon of Jordan, Wadi Mujib is incredible. You drive down through the canyon, but don’t forget to jump out and admire the view first. There is a tea stall on the rim so you can support local trade, soak up the views and stretch your legs before getting on with the drive. The canyon is one way to put things into perspective!
Umm ar Rasas
This is an ancient Roman town around 15km off the Kings Highway, Jordan. Well signposted and easy to get to, visitors often have the place to themselves. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a rumbling example of a Roman garrison town. You can see beautiful church mosaics and intact archways here. If you are interested in photography then this is definitely the place for you.
TOP TIP: near to both Wadi Mujib and Umm ar Rasas is a town called Dhiban (or Dibon, depending on who you speak to) where you can get great falafel if you’re peckish.
This is where Moses saw the promised land. It is also where you can see stunning views across Jordan and across to Jerusalem, with the Dead Sea shimmering in the distance. There is a church as well as multiple restaurants at Mount Nebo, and it’s definitely worth a visit if you can fit it in.
There are plenty of other things to see as you venture down the Kings Highway, Jordan. You can see dolmens and menhirs – burial chambers and standing stones – as well as another crusader castle known as Shobak and the fascinating Madaba mosaic.
Although highway 35 begins in the northern area of Jordan, it skirts around Amman, a popular tourist spot. However, for many travelers, the King’s Highway officially starts in Madaba. The center of the city can be navigated on foot, as it is quite small. The most remarkable sight in Madaba is the extensive Byzantine mosaic on the floor at Saint George’s Church. When traveling to Jordan, one should be equipped to witness mosaics, but the one in Madaba is particularly mesmerizing. This mosaic is the earliest representation of Palestine, and it portrays places such as Jerusalem, Gaza, the Dead Sea, and the Nile Delta.
Visiting the two Archeological Parks in Madaba is worthwhile. The first one has the oldest mosaic in Jordan, remains of Roman columns, and several other artifacts discovered in the region. The second one includes Burnt Palace, Martyr’s Church, other mosaics, and relics that point to the Roman occupation. Other attractions to consider are King Hussain Mosque, Carpet City, St. John Baptist Roman Catholic Church (climb to the top of the tower for an aerial view of the town), Madaba Museum, and Church of the Apostles.
The elevation of Mukawir is 700 m and it provides a panoramic view of the Dead Sea. The hilltop is dotted with the remnants of Roman ruins which are very attractive and attractive to take pictures. However, the primary motivation to go to Mukawir is not the ruins but the amazing scenic beauty. It is not a very popular tourist spot for this reason.
Dana Biosphere Reserve
Dana is the largest nature reserve in Jordan and is renowned for its rugged landscape, blooming flowers during the springtime, and various paths for hiking. If you are an enthusiastic hiker, then you ought to include this place in your travel plans. When selecting a trail, it is essential to consider your preferences and physical capabilities, as well as whether you will require a guide or not.
Driving along the Kings Highway Jordan
Driving in Jordan is notoriously easy. Everywhere except Amman, that is – but it has to be done. Just give yourself plenty of time to get out of the city, and stay calm! You can hire a car in Jordan with ease, and it’s a great way of exploring the country on your own terms.
There aren’t many petrol stations along the route so when you do see one, be sure to fill up. Google Maps works perfectly well here, so you won’t get lost, and the scenery on either side of the road is breathtaking throughout. Make sure your camera is well charged!
If you don’t fancy embarking on the drive yourself, you can arrange for a private taxi to take you. This can be shared with other tourists if you are travelling solo, too. Just ask your hotel to help you organise for a driver to take you along the Kings Highway, Jordan.
And there, of course, guided tours. If the DIY style of travel isn’t for you, then you don’t have to miss out on a Jordanian road trip. Just book a tour from Amman to Petra along the Kings Highway!
The Kings Highway- To Conclude
So that’s all there is to know about taking a road trip down the Kings Highway, Jordan. It is a great way to fit in some sightseeing, especially if you are on a tight schedule. But spreading it out across a few days is never a bad idea. There are plenty of lovely hotels in Jordan which will provide you with somewhere to get your head down while you explore this incredible country and everything it has to offer.
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