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Jordan is an extraordinary country with many historical sites, natural wonders, and cultural treasures. So naturally, deciding the best places to visit in Jordan—apart from the obvious ones such as the ancient city of Petra, the otherworldly desert scape of Wadi Rum, and the ancient ruins of Amman—can be challenging. Here, we have compiled a list of the top 10 places to visit in Jordan, each offering unique insight and experience to make your Jordan trip unforgettable.
- Brendan Nixon
Hidden within the breathtaking canyons of southern Jordan, the enchanting Rose City of Petra stands as an enduring testament to the architectural brilliance of the ancient Nabatean Kingdom. This historical wonder unveils its splendor after a thrilling walk through the narrow Siq, leading visitors to the awe-inspiring monuments carved into the rock, including the Treasury, the Monastery, and the Royal Tombs. A Petra tour promises an immersive experience, connecting you with the region’s rich history and culture.
Quick tip: Start your exploration early in the morning to avoid the crowds and experience the magical tranquility of this ancient wonder at its best.
Distance from Amman: 230 kilometers
- Marvel at the Rose-Red City’s crown jewel, the awe-inspiring Treasury (Al-Khazneh), steeped in legends and mysteries.
- Conquer the challenging trail to uncover the majestic Monastery (Ad Deir), a remote rock-carved wonder with stunning vistas.
- Wander through the mesmerizing Street of Facades lined by a row of ancient tombs.
Amman is one of the best places to visit in Jordan which is more than just the capital city and gateway to Jordan. The city is home to some of the most interesting Roman-era ruins in the world. Discover the city’s ancient history in the Citadel and Roman Theater, then plunge into the bustling souks of downtown, where every corner holds a surprise. Let the friendly locals take you on a culinary adventure, indulging in flavorful Jordanian dishes and experiencing the art of Arabic coffee. Wander down trendy Rainbow Street, savoring the chic cafes and boutiques. Amman’s dynamic spirit makes it an unmissable destination, where past and present intertwine to create an unforgettable experience.
Quick tip: Friday is not a good day to explore Amman as traditional shops and markets typically close during prayer time.
- One of the best places to visit in Amman is the Citadel’s Temple of Hercules and the Jordan Archeological Museum to see the world’s oldest large-scale representations of the human form.
- Climb to the Amman Citadel and Rotana Tower for panoramic cityscapes.
- Experience contemporary Amman on Rainbow Street, where trendy shops, art galleries, and cafes await.
Step into the enchanting world of Wadi Rum where a surreal Mars-like landscape awaits. Its vast sand dunes, towering sandstone mountains, and peculiar rock formations have inspired many filmmakers and adventurers alike. Explore this desert wonderland on thrilling jeep safaris or camel treks. As night falls, immerse yourself in the stargazer’s paradise, where the Milky Way illuminates the tranquil desert. Wadi Rum is also an excellent place to experience the Bedouin culture. Whether you seek thrilling adventure, peaceful serenity, or a connection with nature, Wadi Rum promises an unforgettable journey into a world of wonder and discovery.
Quick tip: The best way to explore Wadi Rum is via a jeep tour. Plan a full-day tour and spend the night in a Bedouin tent.
Distance from Amman: 320 kilometers
- Camp under the blanket of stars and witness a celestial spectacle as the night sky comes alive with countless stars, offering an unparalleled stargazing experience.
- Jump into a 4x4 or on a camel to seek out wildlife, including Nubian ibex.
- Explore ancient inscriptions and petroglyphs that reveal the rich historical past of this desert region, once traversed by Lawrence of Arabia.
The Dead Sea is a one of the top places to visit in Joran to relax and heal your travel-weary body during your Jordan trip. Situated on the border between Jordan and Israel, the Dead Sea is known for its highly saline (hence buoyant) and mineral-rich waters. Surrender to the sensation of weightlessness while floating on its surface and embrace the tradition of mud bathing, known for cleansing and revitalizing the skin. There are also several luxury hotels where you could enjoy an invigorating spa day.
Quick tip: As there are no public transport services to the Dead Sea, we recommend taking a taxi or renting a two-wheeler.
Distance from Amman: 60 kilometers
- Indulge in a revitalizing mud bath believed to have a variety of healing properties.
- Head to Hammamat Ma'in, a series of waterfalls and hot springs in the hill above the Dead Sea.
Nestled in the hills of northern Jordan, Jerash stands as a remarkable testament to the grandeur of ancient civilizations. Known as the “Pompeii of the East,” this archaeological gem offers an immersive journey into the Roman past, revealing a city frozen in time. Marvel at the remarkably preserved structures like Hadrian’s Arch and the Temple of Artemis, stroll along the Cardo Maximus, and be awestruck by the Grand Roman Theater with its stunning backdrop for cultural events. Jerash’s historical significance and ongoing excavations make it one of Jordan’s best places to visit.
Quick tip: Wear comfortable shoes and bring sunscreen, as you will be walking through ancient ruins exposed to the sun.
Distance from Amman: 51 kilometers
- Stroll along Cardo Maximus, one of the city’s main avenues, in the shadow of ancient chariots whose wheel ruts can still be seen in the Roman-era paving.
- Stand in awe of the multi-story Arch of Hadrian, constructed to welcome the Roman Emperor in the second century AD.
- Experience the Jerash Festival that takes place during August, which brings the ancient ruins to life with vibrant celebrations of Jordanian heritage.
Aqaba is Jordan’s coastal gem that is nestled on the northern tip of the Red Sea. Besides breathtaking marine wonders, the city also boasts many historical sites and landmarks. From snorkeling and diving adventures to touring historical and cultural monuments such as the Aqaba Fort, Sharif Hussein bin Ali Mosque and Aqaba Church, you can combine both beach vacations and sightseeing tours in Aqaba, all the while staying at one of the numerous luxurious beachfront resorts.
Quick tip: Consider taking a sunset cruise on the Red Sea. It is a magical way to end your day, witnessing the stunning hues of the setting sun reflecting over the tranquil waters.
Distance from Amman: 334 kilometers
- Explore the Red Sea's vibrant marine life and coral reefs by joining diving and snorkeling expeditions.
- Check out the region’s bird life at Aqaba Bird Observatory, which welcomes 70 species from three continents.
- Unwind at one of many beaches of Aqaba, soaking up the sun and enjoying the warm waters of the Red Sea.
Nestled in the rugged mountains of Jordan, Dana Biosphere Reserve is a sanctuary of biodiversity and natural beauty. Its unique blend of diverse ecosystems, from deep valleys to high plateaus, offers a haven for an array of flora and fauna. The biosphere is home to vulnerable antelope species like the Arabian Oryx and Nubian Ibex, as well as 215 bird species. Beyond its scenic beauty, Dana also embodies a living museum of culture and heritage where genuine Bedouin traditions and warm hospitality await.
Quick tip: Check the weather forecast before visiting Dana Biosphere Reserve and pack accordingly.
Distance: 199 kilometers
- Join trails featuring rocky escarpments soaring up to 1,500 meters and dry river beds dropping to 50 meters below sea level.
- Spot rare animal and bird species as you explore Dana Biosphere Reserve.
- Capture the night sky full of stars, away from the city lights.
Look no further than Madaba if you want to immerse yourself in Jordan’s rich historical treasures. Known as the “City of Mosaics,” this enchanting destination boasts an incredible collection of ancient mosaic masterpieces. The star attraction is the famous Madaba Map, a stunning mosaic floor depicting an ancient Holy Land map, providing invaluable insights into biblical geography and historical sites. From exploring archaeological excavations to savoring traditional cuisine and experiencing local hospitality, Madaba offers a delightful and immersive encounter with Jordanian heritage.
Quick tip: Watch for the renowned “Madaba Map” mosaic at St. George’s Church while exploring Madaba's archaeological sites. This ancient treasure offers a unique glimpse into the Holy Land’s historical geography, making it one of the must-see highlights during your visit to Madaba.
Distance from Amman: 32 kilometers
- Marvel at the Madaba Mosaic Map in Saint George’s Church, the oldest surviving depiction of the Middle East.
- Explore the churches and mosques standing side by side, a symbol of true religious harmony.
- Follow the walking trail to Mount Nebo’s summit, retracing the footsteps of Moses.
Known as Bethany Beyond the Jordan, this sacred destination on the Jordan River is believed to be the place where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Explore the Unesco World Heritage Site, uncovering ancient churches, baptismal pools, and artifacts that unveil the region’s religious heritage. Amidst the serene surroundings, feel the presence of pilgrims from diverse Christian denominations, partaking in baptismal pools and artifacts that reveal the region’s religious heritage. Embrace the tranquil surroundings and engage with local communities while experiencing the harmonious convergence of history, spirituality, and nature in one of the best places to visit in Jordan.
Quick tip: Respect the sacredness and follow designated paths and guidelines. Preserve the site’s sanctity for a meaningful visit to this historical baptismal site of the Jordan River.
Distance from Amman: 59 kilometers
- Visit the traditional crossing point on the Jordan River, where pilgrims and travelers have historically journeyed, symbolizing a spiritual crossing into the Holy Land.
- Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site, discovering ancient churches, baptismal pools, and artifacts that offer a tangible connection to the past and the region’s religious heritage.
- Step inside the new Greek Orthodox church to admire the brightly-colored murals, depicting the ascent of prophet Elijah into heaven.
Nestled in the heart of Mujib Biosphere Reserve, this breathtaking canyon offers a unique and adrenaline-pumping journey for visitors of all ages. With every step, nature’s raw beauty unfolds, immersing you in a world of cascading water and vibrant flora. The canyoning experiences are unparalleled, providing the perfect blend of excitement and tranquility as you explore the hidden gems of Wadi Mujib.
Quick tip: Consider booking a guided tour to fully enjoy the canyoning experience in Wadi Mujib.
Distance from Amman: 84 kilometers
- Experience the ultimate thrill of rappelling down the waterfalls and plunging into cool pools on a Wadi Mujib canyoning trip.
- Marvel at diverse flora and fauna within the canyon walls, showcasing the abundant life sustained by the Mujib River.
- Embrace the refreshing waters of Wadi Mujib, escaping Jordan’s heat as you wade through pools and streams.
Jordan is a land of contrasts. Here, the ancient and the modern coexist in harmony. Experience the push and pull of the past and present as you explore Jordan’s dizzying array of attractions. Do not miss our 10 recommended places to visit in Jordan, but also find time for yourself to discover the country’s many other hidden gems.