There are many incredible tourist attractions in Jordan, so much so that Jordan is one of my favourite tourist destinations. If you are planning a trip and you want to know which are the best tourist attractions in Jordan and why, then you have come to the right place. In this article I will tell you all about the top tourist spots in Jordan. Ready to learn more? Keep reading…
- The Top Tourist Attractions in Jordan
- Jordan Pass
- Visiting Petra at night
- Little Petra
- Wadi Rum
- Crusader Castles
- Mount Nebo
- Tourist Attractions in Jordan- To Conclude
The Top Tourist Attractions in Jordan
There are so many incredible tourist attractions in Jordan. From ancient ruins to beach resorts to desert escapes and more, there is something for everyone in Jordan. But which tourist attractions in Jordan are best and which tourist attractions in Jordan should you visit?
Below I will give you details of the tourist attractions in Jordan that I visited during my week long visit to the country. And if you want to see what this looked like in practice, head on over to my article about visiting Jordan with kids.
Lets take a look at the top tourist attractions in Jordan and what makes them so great. But first, I want to share with you details about the Jordan pass, which will make your life a lot easier and save you some money…
So, you’re going to Jordan. It really is a country so rich in culture, history, beautiful scenery, tasty food and so much more. You’re probably now in the midst of planning your trip – planning which tourist attractions in Jordan to visit, writing packing lists and booking transfers, scouring Instagram for Petra photo inspiration and deciding which shoes will be most comfortable for walking around castle ruins. And one thing you might not have thought about is the Jordan Pass. So here’s what it is, why you need one when visiting the tourist attractions in Jordan and more…
What is the Jordan Pass?
The Jordan Pass is an absolute necessity when visiting the tourist attractions in Jordan. It is a package that gives you pre-paid entry into over 40 tourist attractions in Jordan. For a set paid-in-advance fee, you won’t have to pay upon arrival and everything will be taken care of. The Jordan Pass also gives you access to digital downloads which are jam-packed with information about the tourist attractions in Jordan.
GOOD TO KNOW: The Jordan Pass also waives the visa fee for tourist entry to the country, as long as you purchase the pass in advance and plan to stay at least three nights in Jordan.
Valid for two weeks from the first use, the Jordan Pass is an incredible way to make sure your trip to Jordan goes smoothly and you visit all of the top tourist attractions in Jordan. You can buy the pass up to a year in advance, too!
How much is the Jordan Pass?
There are three different tiers when it comes to the Jordan Pass. The price difference is nothing major, but each one allows you to spend a different amount of time in Petra and visit different amounts of tourist attractions in Jordan. Here are the different Jordan Passes…
This grants you a one day visit to Petra, your free entry to over 40 other tourist attractions, the free downloads and your visa. The Jordan Wanderer pass costs 70 JD, which is 99 USD or approximately 77 GBP.
This tier of the Jordan Pass gets you all of what’s included in the Jordan Wanderer, but with two days in Petra. It will cost you 75 JD. This is 106 USD, or around 83 GBP.
Finally, the Jordan Expert includes everything from the other two tiers with three days in Petra. This level of pass will set you back 80 JD, 113 USD or 88 GBP.
What tourist attractions in Jordan are included?
There are over 40 tourist attractions in Jordan included in the Jordan Pass. Here is the entire list! Those with a * next to them are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, too.
- Wadi Rum*
- Amman Citadel
- Aljoun Castle
- Umm Qays
- Qasr Al-Azraq
- Quseir Amra*
- Karak Castle
- Umm Ar-Rasas*
- Umm Qays Museum
- Shobak Castle
- Umm al-Jimmal
- Museum of Popular Traditions (Amman)
- Jordan Archaeological Museum
- Aqaba Museum
- Madaba Archaeological Museum
- As-Salt Museum
- St. Elijah’s Hill (Tal Mar Elias)
- Dar Al-Saraya Museum (Irbid)
- Karak Museum
- Iraq Al-Amir
- Qasr Al-Kharranah
- Roman Theatre Amman
- Qasr Al-Mushatta
- Qasr Hammam Al-Sarh
- As-Salt Historical Museum
- Madaba Archaeological Park
- Church of the Apostles
- Burnt Palace (Madaba)
- Lowest Place on Earth Museum
- Aqaba Castle
Is the Jordan Pass worth it?
If you are heading to Jordan and want to visit the tourist attractions in Jordan, then the pass is absolutely worth it. Not only does it save you money in the long run, especially if you’re travelling for a couple of weeks (or doing a road trip), it also takes the hassle out of making sure you allocate cash for each place you want to see.
The Jordan Pass also means you don’t have to pay the visa fee if you’re staying longer than three nights. You’re saving even more money on what could otherwise be quite a pricey trip. Simply display your Jordan Pass at the airport on arrival, and you won’t have to pay the visa fee. The pass in itself is NOT your visa, but it does help you save on the cost.
TOP TIP: when you buy your Jordan Pass you will get an e-ticket with a QR code, but do print it out too. This is because at some attractions, they are unable to read or scan movie devices.
Remember, children under 12 get free entry into these tourist attractions in Jordan anyway. So don’t bother buying one for your kids, as that will be a waste of money!
Make sure you bring your passport or ID out with you to each of the tourist attractions in Jordan. Alongside the Jordan Pass, you need to show valid ID or pay the full entry price. So it won’t be worth it if you forget your ID…
You can save up to 150 USD or 117 GBP by purchasing the pass before heading out there. So, when all is said and done, the Jordan Pass is definitely worth it.
Jordan is a beautiful country and Petra tops the list of magnificent tourist attractions in Jordan. One of the most famous archaeological sites in the world, Petra is a historical city in southern Jordan. You and your family will love exploring the various parts of the site, and there are some great photo opportunities too.
Petra: a bit of background
Before we go on to looking at how to visit Petra, here’s a little bit about the ancient city itself…
Petra covers an area of 102 sq mi, or 264 square kilometres. There really is so much to see and explore at Petra! Walk through the Siq, a gorge created by the mountain breaking in two – seeing the sun shine through is just exquisite; admire the Treasury, Petra’s most famous view, and wander down the Street of Facades. Enter the Royal Tombs, hike around the area, explore the Roman colonnaded street. Gasp at the Great Temple and even ride a donkey – there is just a wealth of ways to spend your time at Petra.
This is one of the tourist attractions in Jordan which dates back to possibly as early as the 5th century BC, and it is known as one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. New structures at Petra have been discovered as recently as 2016. Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New7Wonders of the World.
It really is no surprise that Petra is on everybody’s tourist attractions in Jordan list. Whether it’s history, architecture, archaeology, culture, scenery or just the great outdoors that piques your interest, Petra has something for you!
History of Petra
Petra is an ancient city in the Jordanian desert that was once the capital of the Nabataean Empire, an Arab kingdom that flourished between 400 BC and 106 AD. This is one of the tourist attractions in Jordan with the most history, for sure.
The Nabataeans were a nomadic people who established a trade route through the region, trading with the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, and Assyrians. The city of Petra is known for its elaborate building projects, including the iconic Treasury and the Great Temple complex. The city was eventually conquered by the Romans in 106 AD, and it has remained largely untouched since then.
The city of Petra was rediscovered by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812, and has since become a popular tourist destination. In 1985, Petra was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it has been drawing visitors from around the world ever since.
Why You Should Visit Petra
There are many reasons why Petra should be on your travel bucket list. The city is a stunning example of the ancient Nabataean culture, and its iconic monuments are a testament to the power of human engineering. The architecture of Petra is breathtaking, and the city has a rich history that is sure to captivate any traveler. There are also countless opportunities for adventure and exploration in Petra, from hiking and exploring the city’s canyons to camel rides and camping in the desert.
In addition, Petra is a great destination for those who are looking for a unique cultural experience. You can visit the local markets, explore the ancient ruins, and try some of the local cuisine. You can even learn about the ancient Nabataean culture by visiting the Petra Museum.
Accommodation in Petra
Petra is one of the best tourist attractions in Jordan, so you will definitely want to stay here at least one night.
When it comes to accommodation, Petra has something for everyone. There are various luxury hotels, such as the Movenpick Hotel, and budget-friendly options, such as the Petra Guest House. There are also plenty of camping options in the area, as well as airbnb rentals.
For those looking for a unique experience, there are also Bedouin camps in the area, where you can stay in a traditional tent and experience the culture of Petra up close. These camps also offer camel rides, traditional meals, and guided tours of Petra.
Things to Do in Petra
Being one the biggest tourist attractions in Jordan, it is no surprise that there are plenty of activities and things to do in Petra. From exploring the ancient city and visiting the various monuments to hiking the canyons and taking a camel ride, there is something for everyone. Here are some of the top things to do in Petra:
- Explore the ancient city: Take a guided tour of the ancient city and explore the iconic monuments and buildings.
- Visit The Treasury: The iconic Treasury is the most iconic monument in Petra, and it is a must-see when visiting the city.
- Take a guided tour of the canyons: The canyons of Petra are a stunning sight, and there are plenty of guided tours available.
- Go on a camel ride: Camel rides are a great way to explore the desert and get a unique perspective of the city.
- Visit the local markets: The local markets in Petra offer a unique shopping experience and a great chance to explore the culture of the city.
- Visit the Petra Museum: The Petra Museum is a great place to learn about the history and culture of the ancient city.
Petra is a stunning destination, and here are some of the tourist attractions in Jordan that are located here- be sure to check out:
- The Treasury: The iconic Treasury is the most iconic monument in Petra, and it is a must-see when visiting the city.
- The Great Temple Complex: This complex is a stunning example of the ancient Nabataean architecture, and it is one of the most impressive buildings in Petra.
- The Royal Tombs: The Royal Tombs are a series of elaborately decorated tombs carved into the rocks of Petra.
- The Siq: The Siq is the main entrance to Petra and is a stunning canyon that leads to the ancient city.
- The Amphitheatre: The Amphitheatre is a stunning example of the ancient architecture and is a great place to take in the views of Petra.
Petra as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Petra is one of the tourist attractions in Jordan that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, declared in 1985, and it is a testament to the power and grandeur of the ancient Nabataean civilisation. The site is protected and preserved, and it is a great place to learn about the history and culture of the ancient city.
The site is also an important destination for archaeological and historical research. The Petra Archaeological Park, which is managed by the Jordanian Department of Antiquities, is a great place to learn about the history of Petra and the ancient Nabataean culture.
Petra Tour and Travel Tips
If you’re planning to visit Petra, alongside other tourist attractions in Jordan, here are some tips to help you make the most of your trip:
- Make sure to bring plenty of water, as the desert can get quite hot during the day.
- Wear comfortable shoes, as there is a lot of walking involved in exploring Petra.
- Bring a hat and sunblock to protect yourself from the sun.
- Pack light and bring a backpack, as you will be doing a lot of walking.
- It is best to visit Petra in the early morning or late afternoon, as the desert can get quite hot during the day.
- Be sure to bring cash, as many of the local markets and shops do not accept credit cards.
- If you are planning to stay overnight in Petra, make sure to book your accommodation in advance.
- Make sure to check the weather before you go, as the desert can get quite cold at night.
- Make sure to check the opening hours for Petra before you visit, as the site is only open from 8 am to 4 pm.
Visiting Petra at night
Petra is one of the most magnificent tourist attractions in Jordan, so why not visit at night too?
There is something really magical about Petra at night. Maybe it feels a little bit like you shouldn’t be there – like it’s a terribly kept secret, and you’re sneaking around about to get caught at any moment. But rest assured it’s perfectly legal to visit Petra at night. There’s even a light show!
Petra by Night, the official way to visit Petra at night time, is available three nights per week. These are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. The entrance gates open at 8.30 pm, and it costs 17 JOD – around £18.30 GBP or $24 USD.
TOP TIP: children under 10 get into Petra at night for free!
To purchase a Petra by Night ticket, you are required to have a valid day time ticket. No advanced reservation is necessary. However there is often a queue, so it can be worth purchasing your night time ticket at some point during your day time visit.
There is a 1.5 mile (2.4 km walk) from the entrance to the Treasury, which is worth noting. The way will be lit by candles until you reach the iconic Treasury area. This is where the show takes place, and you don’t go any further than this when visiting Petra at night. You’ll sit on mats, drink some tea and wait for the show to begin…
What is the Petra by Night show?
Petra by Night is less of a show and more of an experience. The candle lit walk from the entrance, through the Siq and out towards the Treasury is just incredible. It will feel as though you’re stepping back in time and experiencing Petra as the ancient inhabitants did. The cool evening air, warm candle light and peaceful atmosphere of the walk is amazing.
When you reach the Treasury area, as mentioned above, there are mats and hot tea is available. Petra at night is lit by hundreds upon hundreds of candles, and it really is awe-inspiring. The ‘show’ part of the experience consists of a musician playing the rababa (similar to the flute) and a Bedouin guide who goes on to tell the story of Petra.
The show lasts approximately half an hour, but expect to be there for around 2 hours in total when visiting Petra at night.
Top tips for visiting Petra at night
Now you know a bit about Petra, and about the Petra by Night show, you’ve probably already decided to go! And so you should, because it is fantastic. Here are some top tips for ensuring your visit runs smoothly…
- Wrap up warm! Just because you’re in the desert and it was boiling hot all day doesn’t mean you won’t feel the cold at night, so take a coat with you. Better still, pack a blanket if possible.
- Get there early – there will be crowds. It is a magical, once in a lifetime experience and one that most people want to enjoy when visiting Jordan. So get there with plenty of time to spare to be one of the first through the gates. That way you won’t have to deal with the crowds quite as much!
- Wear your comfiest shoes. The walk from the entrance gates to the Treasury isn’t too long but you’ll want to make sure your feet don’t get sore and spoil the ambience.
- Don’t use your flash when taking photographs. And be respectful to other guests – you may want to get a hundred perfect shots, but some people will just be enjoying the atmosphere so try not to get in anyone’s way and move around too much.
- It is better to visiting Petra at night before your day time visit. Spending the whole day in Petra will leave you exhausted, so you won’t want to head back out at night. The best way to do it is enjoy the Peta by Night show, stay in Wadi Musa and then head back out to Petra the next day. If you can get up in time, the sunrise is incredible.
If you thought Petra was one of the best tourist attractions in Jordan, then you will definitely want to hang around long enough to see Littel Petra too!
Jordan has a lot to offer, especially if you’re interested in history and archaeology. Little Petra is just one of these. Never heard of Little Petra? I hadn’t either! In fact, we accidentally stumbled across the archeological area when visiting the main Petra site! But just because I hadn’t heard of it before, doesn’t mean that it isn’t one of the best tourist attractions in Jordan….
What is Little Petra?
As the name suggests, Little Petra is fairly small. Also known as Siq al-Barid – the cold canyon when translated into English – it is an archaeological site located just north of Petra in Jordan. It is a site that consists of buildings carved into the walls of sandstone canyons. There are three wider open areas connected by a 450 metre (1480 ft) canyon.
Little Petra is part of the Petra Archaeological Park. Histories and archaeologists aren’t entirely sure what some of the buildings are, but it is widely believed that Little Petra was a suburb of Petra itself, designed to house visiting traders on the Silk Road.
In the late 20th century, Diana Kirkbride and Brian Byrd excavated Little Petra. Later, in 2010, surviving artwork showing heavily detailed grapes and vines was found in a dining room in one of the caves. These ceilings have since been restored. They provide a rare large-scale example of Hellenistic painting, which is a big draw for tourists in the area and contributes to this being one of the best tourist attractions in Jordan.
Getting there from Petra
The two sites of Petra and Little Petra are around 5km apart. Many people opt to visit Little Petra as an extra part of their day, because it is FREE to enter. It is often much quieter than Petra, too.
You can walk from Petra to Little Petra, which is what we did. Getting down from Petra is the tough bit, with hills and steps, but after that the last 4km between to two sites is a flat and relatively easy walk. You can use a map app on your phone to show you how to get between to the two locations – these can be downloaded if you don’t want to use your data.
There are also taxis that will take you between the two sites. You may need to haggle for the best price, but if you don’t want to walk or haven’t hired a car then it’s worth it.
Or if you want a more unique experience you can charter a horse and cart or a donkey to walk you between the two sites!
Day trips to Petra often include Little Petra in their itinerary. As the two sites are so nearby, it is well worth visiting both in one day. However, many visitors say that you should visit Little Petra before you go to Petra itself – as it might seem less impressive if you visit afterwards.
Other visitors say that children prefer their time at the smaller site, as there is more of an opportunity to climb and explore. Whilst we travelled Jordan before we had children, I’m sure that my girls would LOVE Little Petra with all the opportunities to explore, run around and climb!
What you can see at Little Petra
There are a few tourist attractions in Jordan based in the Little Petra area. The aforementioned restored painting is one of the best things to see at Little Petra. It makes an excellent photo opportunity to impress your friends with! However, there are other things to see around the area of Little Petra.
The siq, where you will find the painted house, also boasts a temple and four triclinia. There are steps at the end of the siq, and climbing these allows you a great view of the landscape. You can picnic here, too! Don’t forget to check out the Nabataean quarries and cisterns of Umm Qusa on your way back out of Little Petra.
To the left alongside Little Petra, you will find the neolithic ruins of Al Beidha. They are 9000 years old, making up one of the oldest archaeological sites in Jordan and indeed, the Middle East as a whole. It is a short 15 minute walk to the site, where you can see 65 structures that pinpoint a physical transition from hunter-gatherers to settled communities. There are marked trails and tablets, and you may have to use your imagination but it is pretty awe-inspiring to see.
On your way to Little Petra you will be able to spot Al Wu’ira. It was built by crusaders in AD 1116, and 73 years later was overrun by Muslim forces. There is an old bridge and gatehouse at the castle, too.
Wadi Rum was is one of the best tourist attractions in Jordan!
Visiting Jordan, like many places in the Middle East, can seem slightly complicated. But it doesn’t have to be! During my tour through Jordan we visited many places and Wadi Rum was undoubtedly one of my favourites!
So if you’re thinking about heading to Wadi Rum, then here is everything you need to know about visiting!
What is Wadi Rum?
Wadi Rum, also known as the Valley of the Moon, is a valley in southern Jordan. It is cut into sandstone and granite rock, and is the largest wadi (valley) in the whole of Jordan. It is also one of the largest tourist attractions in Jordan.
Over the years, the area has been inhabited by many different cultures. They have left their mark in the form of paintings, graffiti, petroglyphs and even temples.
Now, the small village itself is home to a few hundred Bedouin people. They live in a mixture of goat-hair tents and concrete houses, and the village has two schools (one for boys and one for girls) as well as a couple of shops and the Desert Patrol headquarters.
Famous for its feature in the film Laurence of Arabia, the area of Wadi Rum is truly magical, making it one of the best tourist attractions in Jordan. It is like no other place I’ve visited before. The landscape is spectacular- I could literally sand board all day long and stare all the stars all night! This is without a doubt one of the most impressive tourist attractions in Jordan.
How to get to there
Despite it’s isolated location, this is one of the tourist attractions in Jordan that is hard to reach. Here’s how to go about it…
We hired a car whilst travelling in Jordan. Once we got out of the crazy streets of Amman, it was a breeze. Driving is really easy and allows you to reach isolated places, like Wadi Rum, without difficulty.
If you don’t have a car, there are local buses that travel between Aqaba, Petra and Amman. These can drop you at the intersection of the Desert Highway that leads to Wadi Rum. From here, many people hitchhike the rest of the way – or, you can wait for another minibus costing a couple of Jordanian Dinar.
Taxis will take you from Aqaba, Amman or Petra to Wadi Rum. It will cost you between 15 and 30 JD to travel to Wadi Rum from any of these cities.
TIP: it costs 5 JD to enter the Protected Area. It is FREE with the Jordan Pass.
Be prepared for a bit of walking, especially if travelling by bus. The intersection leads to the Wadi Rum Visitors Centre, where there is an office for the police as well a plenty of guides around to offer camel or 4×4 rides, treks and camps.
Wadi Rum weather
This is the most important of the tourist attractions in Jordan when considering weather!
The weather in Wadi Rum is quite temperate – it never gets extremely cold, or extremely hot (unlike some other deserts!). The winter months see lows of 3-5°C and highs of 14-16°C, while the summer drops to the lows of 18-20°C, getting up to highs of 32-34°C.
In the day time we were perfectly comfortable in shorts and t-shirt but at night it was a bit chilly, so we were glad that we packed a jumper!
August is the driest month in Jordan, while December gets the most precipitation in terms of rain, hail and snow.
Wadi Rum tours
There are many tours that can take you to the area. Whether that’s combined with seeing Petra and the Dead Sea, a hiking trip through the open desert, or just a full day of exploring Wadi Rum with a guide – drinking Bedouin tea, walking through sand dunes and even riding a camel. Tours are very popular amongst tourists, particularly solo travellers, so its worth taking a look at what’s out there.
As mentioned above, when you reach the Wadi Rum Visitors Centre, you will also find guides eager to show you the area. You can haggle with them for the best price.
Wadi Rum climbing
Traditional rock climbing is big in Wadi Rum, with climbers from around the world flocking to Jordan to climb. For the most part, climbers bring their own equipment and gear to protect from falls, removing it at the end of their climb. However, some permanent anchor points and protection have ben permanently installed in the area as climbing in Wadi Rum is so popular.
It is best to climb with a guide here. There are various climbs you can do, from one-day scrambles to 5-night climbing trips. You can find more information here, and for inspiration and advice head to Amazon to purchase Tony Howard’s fantastic book, Treks and Climbs in Wadi Rum, Jordan.
Wadi Rum map
Exploring the area at night
Visiting this slice of the desert at night is pretty special, making it one of the most special tourist attractions in Jordan. Due to the location being so isolated and far away from other civilisation, the peace and quiet offered here is like nothing else. You can also see the constellations, especially on a clear night, completely unhindered by light pollution-it really is incredible, I’ve never the night sky so clearly!
If you arrive just before sunset, you’ll be treated to the most incredible sky as it changes colour before settling into dusk. Wadi Rum is family orientated, and children are welcome to camp in the desert. There are not many places that I would be happy to return to on my travels, but I know this is a place that the kids would LOVE! So hopefully we will return someday as a family.
Where to stay at Wadi Rum
Camping at Wadi Rum is seriously cool and it is such a brilliant experience. There are a variety of different types of camping: bubble tents, martian domes, Bivouac camping and more!
On our visit we stayed at Hasan Zawaideh Camp, which offers both private and shared Bedouin-style tents in the desert. Staff can organise jeep and camel tours, and there is a camp fire at night for guests to sit around while enjoying authentic (and freshly prepared) Bedouin dishes. Tents are traditionally decorated, and thick wool blankets are provided to keep you warm. There are toilet and shower facilities available too (phew). Reviews praise the kind staff, incredible views and good food- I would highly recommend this place!
Wadi Rum Night Luxury Camp offers bubble tents with air-conditioning, BBQ facilities, a private terrace and traditional Arabian decor. There are toilet and shower facilities on site, and the location is phenomenal in terms of being able to see the stars – lights are off by 10pm, allowing you a clear view of the constellations. Reviews call it magical, and praise the staff and food too. Now that we have a little bit more money than we used to, I plan to stay here on our next visit!
Space Village Luxury Camp offers plenty of privacy. It isn’t crowded, and the rooms are spacious with – as reviews say – comfortable beds. You will be treated to complete peace and quiet here, and check in is 24-hours a day. Breakfast is included and there is a BBQ area too. Previous guests praise the cleanliness of the tent units, as well as the friendly staff and how safe they felt in the desert. Children are more than welcome here, too!
Another one of the best tourist attractions in Jordan is Madaba. Lets learn a bit more about what this small city has to offer…
What is there to see in Madaba?
As mentioned above, the town is pretty famous for its mosaics. Not only is there the impressive map of the Holy Land, but you’ll also be able to see hundreds of other mosaic artworks scattered throughout the homes and churches in Madaba.
In the Church of the Virgin and the Apostles, as well as in the Archaeological Museum, you’ll find mosaic masterpieces that display flowers, fish, plants, exotic beasts, animals, mythological scenes and everyday life. There are scenes of hunting, fishing and farming all made out of mosaics.
Did you know: the Madaba Map contains over 2 million individual tiles!
Madaba Archaeological Park is definitely worth a visit at only 3 JD per person. Half of it is associated with the Virgin Mary Church, and half with the Burnt Palace/Martyrs Church. It doesn’t take too long to get around it, but there is an excellent selection of mosaic artwork from the area. There is also information and guides to tell you exactly what you’re looking at!
There are plenty of other churches and historical sites in the area, such as the Memorial Church of Moses, Umm ar-Rasas, Khirbet al Mukhayyat and many more. We really enjoyed just walking around and looking at all of the ancient buildings.
How to get to Madaba
From the town of Madaba, you’ll have easy access to Mount Nebo. This is where Moses was shown the Promised Land, as the story goes. The views are spectacular! You can see the Dead Sea, the Jordan Valley, Jericho, Bethlehem and even Jerusalem on a clear day. It gets cold up there on windy days, but other than that it’s well worth the short journey out of town.
For something other than mosaics and history, head to the Ma’in Hot Springs. Around half an hour out of town, they definitely provide something a bit different. It is a natural spring, and there this fantastic spa & resort on site offering treatments and a relaxing place to stay. This is especially nice if you’re on a road trip around Jordan, and are looking for somewhere to chill out undercharge your batteries. The waterfall itself gives excellent massages!
What’s the weather like?
Madaba can get fairly cool in the winter, and quite warm in the summer. However, the temperatures aren’t too extreme. The winter sees lows of 1-2°C, but highs of 13-15°C – while the summer months see lows of 12-14°C, with highs of 32-33°C.
It’s worth checking the weather just before you visit – especially if you plan on going up to Mount Nebo, where the harsh winds can seem quite cold. You might want to pack your warmer gear!
Where to stay
There are hotels and apartments available in Madaba. Here’s a selection to help you find the right one for you…
Near the St. George Church, you’ll find the Madaba Hotel. There are dormitories as well as twin and triple rooms, all with shared bathrooms. There’s free WiFi and free parking, and an outdoor seating area for relaxing of an evening. Airport transfers can be arranged, and previous guests really praise the location and how good the hotel is for the price.
If you’re after something a bit more spacious, perhaps if you’re travelling as family, have a look at this luxury apartment. It has three bedrooms and sleeps six; there’s free WiFi, and a garage for parking if need be. With a kitchen to cook meals at your own leisure, a garden for relaxing in and the St. George Church only a mile away, this is a great option if there’s a gang of you travelling to Madaba!
For a full range of accommodation options available on your travel dates in and around Madaba use the search box below.
Jerash is one of the great places to visit, offering some of the best tourist attractions in Jordan! I loved Jerash- it wasn’t overly touristy and has some brilliant ancient architecture to explore. It was also super easy to reach from Amman.
Where is Jerash?
One of the northernmost located tourist attractions in Jordan, Jerash is the capital city of the Jerash Governorate. It lies around 30 miles north of Amman, Jordan’s capital. Jerash is known as Gerasa in the Greco-Roman world, and historically the city is a blend of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arab Orient.
Getting to Jerash is fairly simple. The nearest airport is Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) which is in the capital, Amman. Flights arrive here from cities around the world such as Cairo, Vienna, Beirut, Istanbul and more. We flew with easyJet from London, but easyJet have unfortunately since stopped operating these flights.
From the airport, there is an hourly bus costing around £6 GBP that takes tourists and travellers to Amman Tabarbour Terminal. And from here, another bus (around £2 GBP) takes you on to Jerash. In total the journey from airport to city takes around 3 hours.
If you’re heading from Aqaba to Jerash, there are a number of ways you can do so. Take a domestic flight from King Hussein International Airport, located in Aqaba, and then follow the above steps to get from Queen Alia to the city. Otherwise, you can get a bus from Aqaba to Tabarbour, which takes around 6 hours and costs between £7 and £22 GBP, followed by the bus from Tabarbour to Jerash. It’s a long journey, but for DIY travellers or those on a tight budget, buses are a great way to get around Jordan.
In my opinion, the best way to see all of what Jordan has to offer is by hiring a car. We drove to Jerash from Amann, which took about an hour. You can also book an organised tour, such as this one.
What is there to see and do?
Jerash is one of the most incredible tourist attractions in Jordan. Jerash is mostly known for the ruins of the walled Greco-Roman settlement which lies just outside of the modern city. They are said to be the most well-preserved Roman ruins outside of Italy.
Surrounded by pine forests, rolling hills and valleys full of olive trees, the ancient city was particularly wealthy due to its fertile lands and permanent supply of fresh water. However, a huge earthquake in 749AD destroyed parts of the city and left the ruins buried for hundreds of years.
DID YOU KNOW: the ruins were discovered much later, in 1806, by German explore Ulrich Jasper.
It takes a few hours to walk around the ruins at Jerash. It is offered as a day trip from Amman, or you can stay in the area (see below). There are a lot of ruins in a concentrated area, and some of the best are:
- The Oval Plaza, also known as the Forum, which is the main attraction and the one you’ll see plenty of photos of online. It is bordered by 160 columns, and you absolutely can’t miss it.
- Hadrian’s Arch, which marks the boundaries of the ancient city. It was built in 129AD.
- The Temple of Atermis, which speaks for itself: the ruins of an impressive temple dedicated to Artemis, an ancient Greek god.
- Nymphaeum, a beautiful public fountain decorated with ornate lion heads. It is dedicated to nymphs, which is how it gets its name.
- The South Theatre, which sits up to 3000 people and is still used for performances today.
- The North Theatre, which is smaller and was likely used for government meetings during ancient times.
- The Cardo, which is a 600 metre long colonnaded street that runs the entire length of the ancient city.
- Agora, the ancient city’s main food market. It is positioned around a central fountain, and would have been an important part of everyday life.
- The Hippodrome, which is a restored Roman-era stadium.
There is also the Jerash Archaeological Museum. This is home to sarcophagi, coins, statues, pottery and more. All of the artefacts have been found during the excavations that have taken place in the area of the past couple of hundred years.
The museum is free to enter. It is open between 8am and 4pm in the winter, and 8am and 6pm in the summer.
Once you’ve had your fill of archaeology and history, take in a bit of local nature as there are other tourist attractions in Jordan nearby too. The Dibbeen Forest Reserve is set in 8.5km of pine-oak hills, and is a biodiversity hot spot. There are several rare orchids here, as well as 17 endangered species. You can hike here, stop for a picnic or just drink in the incredible scenery. Animals include four types of bat, the Persian red squirrel, striped hyenas and grey wolves.
Weather in Jerash
Jerash has a varied climate. The colder months of November-March have lows of 5°C and highs of around 20°C, while the warmer months of June-September have lows of 18°C and highs of 32°C.
July-September are the driest months in Jerash, with December-February having a higher chance of rain. There is often between 30 and 50% humidity in Jerash, too.
Where to stay
Many people stay in Amman and visit Jerash as a day trip, like we did. But if you are looking to stay nearby, here are a few options to get your planning started…
Olive Branch Hotel is a 10 minute drive from the ruins. Offering single, double, triple and family rooms, it has free WiFi as well as free parking. The hotel has a pool, bar, restaurant, 24-hour check in and incredible mountain views. Previous reviews praise the friendly staff and comfortable beds.
Offering single-sex dormitories, The Blue House is ideal for solo travellers in the area. It has a shared kitchen, is entirely located on the ground floor, and has free WiFi/parking. There is plenty of outdoor seating and beautiful views, as well as clean, bright decor.
Slightly further out you’ll find Wooden Arcs Resort & Spa, which has chalets that sleep up to four. Set in the mountains, there is a spa and wellness centre, BBQ facilities, room service, a kids club, free WiFi and parking, a restaurant & bar and so much more.
The Crusador Castles are sone of the coolest and most unique tourist attractions in Jordan. There are various Crusader castles around the world. These are, as the name suggests, castles that were founded or occupied during the Crusades. The castles can be found in the Middle East and the Eastern Med, as well as in Poland and some of the Baltic states.
Some of the best crusader castles to visit are in Jordan and these are some of the best tourist attractions in Jordan.
There are various Crusader castles around the world. These are, as the name suggests, castles that were founded or occupied during the Crusades. The castles can be found in the Middle East and the Eastern Med, as well as in Poland and some of the Baltic states.
We visited the castles as part of our one week Jordan itinerary and absolutely loved them. There were not many (as in, like maybe two or three?!) tourists and it felt like we had found some real hidden gems.
But because not many people visit the crusader castles in Jordan, there isn’t a great deal of information about them online. So, here is everything that I learnt about these tourist attractions in Jordan…
A brief history of the Crusader castles in Jordan
There are five Crusader castles across Jordan. They were mostly built during the 12th century, and served as important parts of the Crusades. These were a series of religious wars that took place in Europe and western Asia between the 11th and 17th centuries.
They were considered, by those participating, to be a penance which would bring forgiveness for any sins they had confessed.
The Catholic Church supported (and sometimes even directed) the Crusades, thus having a big influence on the tourist attractions in Jordan.
Crusader castles were used for battles and sieges, executions and attacks – they were an important part of the wars, and many still stand today as some of the most fascinating tourist attractions in Jordan.
The five Crusader castles in Jordan
If you are planning a trip to Jordan, then considering visiting one or more of the Crusader castles- because they really are some of the most unique tourist attractions in Jordan.
Depending on where you are staying, there will likely be one within easy driving distance – or perhaps consider an organised tour, such as this one. Don’t forget that Jordan is a Muslim country and that these attractions are of cultural significance so don’t forget to dress respectfully. This post gives you some good ideas about what to wear in Jordan.
The six Crusader castles in Jordan are:
- Ajloun Castle
- Kerak Castle
- Vaux Moise
This is one of the lesser visited tourist attractions in Jordan. Located in the Mount Ajloun district of northwestern Jordan, Ajloun Castle was built by the Ayyubids in the 12th century. The name comes from the mountain, of course, which is named after a Christian monk who lived there during the Byzantine era. Ajloun Castle was actually built on the grounds of a ruined monastery.
The castle is opened for visitors. Many tourists in Jordan head here, as it is one of the most famous Crusader castles. There is a museum inside, home to many artefacts showcasing the long history of the area.
Entry to the castle is 3 J.D. This is roughly $4.25 or £3.25 – so it’s really reasonable. The castle is around 1.5 hours from Amman by car, or 40 minutes from Jerash. If you have hired a car for your trip to Jordan, then it couldn’t be easier!
When visiting Jordan, you’re probably going to visit Petra. It is high on everyone’s bucket list and is one of the best tourist attractions in Jordan!
And there you will find Al-Habis, one of Petra’s “High Places”. Here there are the remains of one of Jordan’s Crusader castles! While it isn’t the most impressive castle, the views are incredible. And if you’re visiting Petra anyway, it’s worth a look!
This is another of the mnost interesting tourist attractions in Jordan. In al-Karak, a city in west-central Jordan, you’ll find Kerak Castle. This was a stop that we took when we were doing a road trip along the Kings Highway (which I would absolutely recommend, by the way). We thought this castle was particularly impressive and we were the only tourists there!
Karak Castle is one of the larger Crusader castles, and the city is famous for it. The castle isn’t in the best condition, but does offer an interesting insight into the history of the Crusades.
The best way to reach the castle and the city itself is by car. Many people visit Kerak Castle on their way to other destinations throughout Jordan. The area is a 2.5 hour drive from Jerash, just under two hours from Amman and almost three hours away from Aqaba.
On a clear day you can see from the castle all the way across the Dead Sea to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, making this one of the best tourist attractions in Jordan for views. It costs just 2 J.D to visit the castle.
This is another of the tourist attractions in Jordan that isn’t visited too often. Built in 1115, Montréal has never been fully excavated. The ruins are known as Shoubak, after the modern town in which they are located – this is part of the Ma’an Governorate in the south of Jordan. Famous for the fruit farms around the area, there is no doubt that the castle is also a popular part of their history.
It costs just 1 J.D to visit Montréal Castle. It is another of the Crusader castles that is perfect to visit if you are passing the area en route to another destination. However, at 2 hour and 40 minutes from Amman, 3 hours 20 from Jersah and just over 2 hours from Aqaba, it likely isn’t worth the dedicated journey. Petra is only forty minutes away, though, so it’s worth combining the two if you have some extra time.
Another one of the most infrequently visited tourist attractions in Jordan, this is one of the smaller Crusader castles in Jordan. Created as an outpost of the aforementioned Montréal Castle, and is around 30km north. It is located in Wadi Musa (Valley of Moses) so again it’s not too far from Petra. If you do have some spare time it is one of the lesser-visited castles which is interesting to see!
The lesser-known Crusader castles
Jordan is a country that is full of surprises and whilst some of the tourist attractions in Jordan are world- famous, other tourist attractions in Jordan are lesser known! On our last day of our tour we set off in the car to the desert area not far from Amman, where we were staying.
Close to the borders of Syria and Iran, there are a number of small desert castles. You will need a car to reach them or to book a tour, because they are in pretty remote locations. But once you reach them they are something very special!
Many of these desert castles have UNESCO site status, making them important tourist attractions in Jordan. They provide some information about why they are there, but not a lot- so they do keep you guessing a bit! Nonetheless, these tourist attractions in Jordan are spectacular to visit and make for a wonderful day trip from Amman.
Are you considering visiting Mount Nebo? If there’s one incredible thing about Jordan, it’s the stunning scenery the country has to offer. And Mount Nebo is no exception- it is one of the most historical tourist attractions in Jordan.
What is Mount Nebo?
One of the key tourist attractions in Jordan, Mount Nebo is the highest part of the Abarim mountain range in Jordan. It is an elevated ridge around 710 metres above sea level (that’s approximately 2,330 ft).
Popular with tourists, it is said to be the place where Moses was shown a glimpse of the Promised Land. This can be found in the Book of Deuteronomy in the Hebrew Bible. Christian tradition says that Moses was actually buried on the mountain. Islamic stories sometimes agree, but there is a grave dedicated to Moses at Maqam El-Nabi Musa so nobody can be sure. On top of this, scholars and historians don’t actually know if Mount Nebo is the same mountain referred to in the Book of Deuteronomy. However, it is a fascinating story and being able to visit a place to religious significance means a lot to many people.
DID YOU KNOW: Pope John Paul II visited Mount Nebo in March 2000. He planted an olive tree here to symbolise peace.
What can you see from the mountain?
When visiting Mount Nebo, the scenery is spectacular- it has some of the best views of all of the tourist attractions in Jordan. You’ll see panoramic views of the area as well as the valley of the River Jordan to the north. On a clear day you can usually see Jericho the West Bank from the summit of Mount Nebo. If you really have perfect weather you can see as far as Jerusalem. It really is an incredible view, so it’s definitely worth visiting the mountain while on a trip to Jordan.
At Mount Nebo you can also see plenty of mosaics. They are beautifully well preserved, and well worth looking at. Mount Nebo is home to the Moses Memorial Church (constructed in the 4th century and full of said mosaics) as well as the Brazen Serpent. This is a sculpture, created to represent the snake that Moses made to save people from the plague.
There is a museum of Mount Nebo. This is the La Storia Tourism Complex which has plenty of historical information about the area and its religious significance. There are workshops available to visitors. The museum is also in the process of creating what they hope will be the world’s largest mosaic.
Getting to Mount Nebo
Generally, public transport in Jordan isn’t the best. It is doable, but most previous visitors (and locals) advise you to hire a driver or book a taxi when trying to get around Jordan. Of course, a road trip around Jordan is always a great idea, and car hire in Jordan is fairly easy.
Mount Nebo is in the Madaba Governorate. This is a 30 minute drive from Amman, a one-hour drive from Jerash and a 3.5-hour drive from Aqaba.
You can fly from Aqaba to Madaba, or get a bus as far as Abdali and a taxi for the remaining 20 miles. Queen Alia Airport is only a 27 minute drive from Madaba, so the area can be a great place to start your Jordanian adventure. You can fly here from various major cities worldwide.
From central Madaba, the mountain is around 15 minutes away by car. A taxi will take you to the base of the mountain. It is also walkable – this does take around 2 hours but if you are up for the challenge then exploring Jordan by foot is beautiful. Mount Nebo is located slightly north-west of Madaba itself.
The weather in the area
July and August are the hottest months in this part of Jordan. The temperature reaches highs of 33°C at this time. You also have a 96-97% chance of a sunny day when visiting during these months, and a 0% chance of rain.
December through until February is the coldest time year; with highs of just 13-15°C and lows of 1-2°C, it can get pretty chilly in the Madaba area. There is a 17-25% chance of rain, and a 33-34% chance of still having a sunny day.
Tips for visiting Mount Nebo
- As you do need to walk up from the base of the mountain, make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes. Flip flops are no good here! Walking boots, sturdy trainers or proper sandals are all ideal choices.
- The Mount Nebo site is open from 5.00 am – 7.00 pm between April and October. The hours change to 7.00 am – 7.00 pm from November and March.
- Pack your SPF! Jordan is a hot country during the summer months, and being on a mountain leaves you open to the elements. A cap or sun hat to protect the top of your head, good sunglasses and a bottle of water are all good ideas too. You don’t want to get ill from the warm weather and miss out on all the fun that Jordan has to offer.
- It currently costs 2 JOD to visit Mount Nebo. This is around 3 USD and 2.20 GBP.
- Make sure your phone and/or camera is charged. The views of and from Mount Nebo are breathtaking and you will want to capture them. Regardless of whether you’re a keen travel Instagram-er or you just want to be able to show your friends and family when you get home, you’ll be constantly taking snaps in Jordan. Mount Nebo is no exception!
The beaches of Aqaba are some of the best tourist attractions in Jordan. On our travels through Jordan we experienced the hustle and bustle of city life, explored several ancient ruins, drove the scenic Kings Highway, visited several castles and slept under the stars in the desert- all in just a few days! So a few days in the luxury of an Aqaba beach resort was a welcomed rest at the end of a very exciting and busy travel itinerary.
A bit of background on Aqaba
Aqaba is the only coastal city in Jordan, as well as being a port city. It is located on the Red Sea’s Gulf of Aqaba, has a population of around 150,000 and plays a major role in the development of Jordan’s economy. This is mostly down to trade and tourism.
Due to its proximity to other major tourist attractions in Jordan- namely Wadi Rum and Petra, Aqaba is said to be in Jordan’s “golden triangle” or tourism. You can access Aqaba by King Hussein International Airport – from cities such as Istanbul, Cairo and Moscow – or via the port on a cruise that has Jordan on its itinerary. You can also travel in from Amman, where more international flights land. Take a short connecting flight on to Aqaba, or hire a car at the airport for the 4 hour drive.
Things to do in Aqaba
There is plenty to do in Aqaba. Being such a bustling port city, there’s always something happening and something to see. Here are some of the best tourist attractions in Jordan that are found in Aqaba…
A nice stroll through the old town won’t cost you a thing, and there is so much stunning architecture to marvel at. The colours and shapes will stick in your mind for a long time! There’s a market place here, too – you can find local souvenirs, tea, herbs & spices, jewellery, clothing, incense, homeware and more. Try your hand at a bit of bartering while you’re there for the true Jordanian shopping experience.
Aqaba is also well known for its sweet pastry. There are plenty of cafés, bakeries and sweet shops in the city where you can try kunafeh – a pastry made with fried cheese, syrup and pistachios. An acquired taste, perhaps, but something you should definitely try while you have the chance to do so. It’s not just pastry either; Aqaba is famous for its fish. Being a port city, this makes sense -Sayadieh Fish, which is grouper in a sauce with peanuts and caramelised onions, is a common dish to find in Aqaba.
There is a lot of night life in Aqaba. The streets are lined with bars and restaurants, emanating a happy and chilled out vibe. With shops and eateries open late, and plenty of shisha bars around to wind down the evening, you can have such a good night out. There is also a Friday night market in downtown Aqaba known as Souk by the Sea. There are over 50 local artisans, with local food, drink and music to boot. You can pick up some bargains and support the business owners of the area.
The highlight of visiting Aqaba for most people though, is the ability to relish in relaxation offered in one of the several luxurious holiday resorts, which make for some of the best tourist attractions in Jordan. Most of the beaches are privately owned or restrictive for tourists (it is offensive to the locals if you take your clothes off, for example), so you will need to go to a resort if you want toward on your tan. That said, you don’t need to actually stay at the resort, most offer a small charge, allowing you to enjoy the facilities for the day.
Map of the city
Here you can see the main sights and areas of the city of Aqaba to help you plan your visit to the tourist attractions in Jordan.
This is another one of the tourist attractions in Jordan- also known as Aqaba Fort or Mamluk Castle, this is a fortress that was built by crusaders in the 12th century. It has been used as a defence time and time again throughout history – as recently as 1916, it was used as part of the Arab Revolt.
You can visit the castle, but at the time of writing it is currently closed for renovations. It is a striking building, though, so it’s worth a look if you’re in the area and feel like soaking up a bit of history.
Being a coastal city, it’s no surprise that Aqaba has a number of private and public beaches for tourists and travellers to enjoy. If you’re after a bit of rest and relaxation, head to one of these beaches…
Berenice Beach Club is one of the most popular private beaches, and many Aqaba hotels have an agreement with them meaning guests can use the beach club for a reduced cost. Berenice also offer sunset cruises, on-site showers, towels for use and plenty of food/drink.
South Beach is a public beach, free to use and well maintained with dive clubs nearby. It is perfect for chilling out, and the sunset looks great from here too. It is recommended that women cover up on public beaches, which is something to bear in mind.
Of course, alongside the beaches there is the chance to snorkel in Aqaba. If you take your mask and snorkel with you to South Beach, you will be able to swim among brightly coloured fish and plenty of beautiful coral. The biodiversity here is incredible. You can also book tours here. I recommend one of these boat trips or a snorkelling trip in Aqaba! Take a look at the video clip below to see why Aqaba is such a great place for snorkelling…
Other things to do in the area
There are plenty of other tourist attractions in Jordan, most notably mosques and churches in Aqaba. Not only are they incredible beautiful, but peaceful and welcoming too. Don’t forget to dress appropriately when you visit though, or they might not let you in! I’ve written a guide here on what to wear when visiting a mosque.
You can also visit the Islamic city of Ayla while you’re in Aqaba. It was the first ever Islamic city built outside of the Arabian Peninsula, and the site is well marked with informative panels to teach you about the history and significance of the area.
On our visit to Aqaba we visited the Intercontinental Resort and Hotel and I cannot recommend it highly enough! It was brilliant! We only had one day in Aqaba so unfortunately we didn’t get to stay the night here but I’m sure we wouldn’t have been disappointed if we did. The resort was absolutely beautiful with fantastic service all round. It has multiple pools, a beautiful beach, spa facilities, playgrounds and lots more. It was such a treat after a busy few days of travelling!
If luxury is your thing you can also head over to Kempinski Hotel Aqaba – five stars, five restaurants and plenty more to offer. You’ll be overlooking the read sea, and each room has its own balcony. The hotel offers water sports, and the city centre is just a five minute walk away. WiFi and parking are free, and there are spa facilities too!
For budget travellers, check out this studio apartment for two: Arwa Hotel Apartments. Basic but clean and bright with two single beds, a kitchenette, sofa, TV, laundry facilities and your own bathroom, the apartments are just 350 yards from Aqaba Fort. There’s free WiFi and free parking as well as outdoor seating to relax in the sun.
Tourist Attractions in Jordan- To Conclude
As you can see, there are many tourist attractions in Jordan that are worth visiting. Some of the tourist attractions in Jordan are world famous too! Tourist attractions in Jordan include cultural, historical and natural attractions, making for a great well-rounded trip. I certainly believe that the tourist attractions in Jordan are the biggest attraction to the country!
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