Top 10 Places To Visit In Jordan
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Jordan boasts an incredible history dating back thousands of years. The many ancient and archeological ruins scattered across the country stand testament to its rich history. With over 100,000 archaeological and tourist sites, Jordan is a wonderful vacation destination. From the ancient rock city of Petra to the modern Aqaba Marine Park, from the Dead Sea to the Baptism Site of Jesus, Jordan offers an incredible range of attractions. Here is our list of the top 10 places to visit in Jordan.
The ancient Nabataean city of Petra should be number one on your list of things to see in Jordan. Spread across 260 square kilometers, it is much more than its famous Treasury building. One of the best ways to explore Petra is on the back of a camel, using trade routes that have existed for more than 2000 years.
- Follow the narrow As-Siq path for 1.2 kilometers for your first glimpse of the legendary city.
- Become enthralled by the atmosphere that envelopes the Treasury as day turns to night and hundreds of candles are lit.
- Explore the Royal Tombs, whose location and architecture will leave you breathless.
Amman is not just Jordan’s capital city, it is also the country’s nerve center. It is a great place to experience the rhythm of Arabia and learn about the rich history and culture that shaped the country. A trip to Amman will keep you captivated with its mixture of fresh and ancient flavors. The ultra-modern structures blend in seamlessly with the ancient civilizations.
- Explore the Citadel’s Temple of Hercules before hitting the Jordan Archeological Museum to see the world’s oldest large-scale representations of the human form.
- Watch artisans create their latest works around Rainbow Street, which really comes into its own on Thursdays and Fridays.
- Check out the modern Jordanian culture at Darat Al Funun, a series of historic structures converted into modern art galleries.
3. Wadi Rum
One of the most popular Jordan tourist attractions and heaven for adventure seekers, Wadi Rum is one of those places to visit in Jordan that has to be seen to be believed. Its stunning landscapes of sunbaked escarpments and deep orange sands have captured the hearts of everyone, from its traditional Bedouin inhabitants to the Lawrence of Arabia.
- Stay the night at a Bedouin camp and see billions of stars shining across the Milky Way.
- Jump into a 4x4 or onto a camel to seek out wildlife, including Nubian ibex.
- Slip into Khazali Canyon in search of rock art sites that predate even the Romans and Greeks.
4. Dead Sea
Of all the unique places in Jordan to explore, the Dead Sea takes some beating. Actually a huge hypersaline lake, its shores have numerous culturally important sites. So far from being dead, it is actually a treasure trove of delights.
- Grab your swimwear and float in water so dense it is possible to read a book without getting the pages wet.
- Opt for a little R&R at a spa using the mineral-rich mud to revitalize your body and soul.
- Dip your toes into the thermal springs of Hammamat Ma'in, which gush down the cliff sides into shallow pools.
One of the best-preserved Greco-Roman cities outside Europe, Jerash (or Gerasa) is another of the best tourist attractions you should not miss in Jordan. It has been inhabited since the Bronze Age, and just beyond the present-day city are the remains of the walled Greco-Roman hamlet of Gerasa. As its surviving structures testify, Jerash was linked to Egypt and the Red Sea by a trading route known as the King’s Highway.
- 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.
- Take a seat on the upper tiers of the theater to sample its exquisite acoustics.
Aqaba lies on Jordan’s Red Sea coast. Its warm tropical waters are ideal for getting your diving certification, whilst experienced divers can tackle technical dives among sunken ships. Above the waterline, Aqaba has such attractions as Mamluk Castle, which played a pivotal role in the Arab Revolt.
- Seek out the corals and colorful tropical fish of Aqaba’s reefs on snorkeling and scuba diving expeditions.
- Check out the region’s bird life at Aqaba Bird Observatory, which welcomes 70 species from three continents.
- Step back in time to Mamluk Castle, a sixteenth-century fortification that became key to the Arab Revolt.
7. Dana Biosphere Reserve
The country’s largest nature reserve, it is no wonder Dana Biosphere Reserve is a top tourist attraction in Jordan. Combining fine vistas with thousands of years of history and unexpected wildlife encounters, it is one of the best hiking destinations in Jordan.
- Join trails taking in rocky escarpments soaring to heights of 1500 meters and dry river beds dropping to 50 meters below sea level.
- Purchase freshly-pressed olive oil from the inhabitants of Dana Village, whose ancestors have lived in the area for over 4,000 years.
- Capture the night sky full of stars.
If you have not yet had your fill of historical things to see in Jordan, look no further than Madaba. Although this city of 80,000 people is not as well-known as Jerash or Petra, it can still pack a punch. Attractions include the world’s largest mosaic map and the open-air archeological park, alongside the lofty summit of Mount Nebo.
- 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, giving the same glimpses of the city as the prophet Moses had according to the Old Testament.
Known as the "place of baptism,’ Al-Maghtas is celebrated as the site where Jesus Christ was baptized in the waters of the River Jordan. One of the places to see in Jordan is Al Maghtas, which was rediscovered in the 1990s, the main site sits around a natural spring, although there is a myriad of shrines, churches, and other attractions that are sure to keep you busy for most of the day.
- Tour the caves that were once home to hermit monks.
- See intricately made mosaics dating back to the Byzantine period.
- Step inside the new Greek Orthodox church to admire the brightly-colored murals, depicting the ascent of the prophet Elijah into heaven.
10. Mujib Biosphere Reserve
Nestled over 400 meters below sea level, Mujib is the world’s lowest protected area. But that is not what makes Mujib one of the best places to visit in Jordan. It is the area’s stunning natural landscape, changing between flowing rivers, steep canyon walls, and rugged mountain tops. It has become a top destination for hikers and canyoneers.
- Get a sense of the majesty of Mujib Biosphere Reserve on the two-hour Siq hiking trail.
- Splash through river water and scramble over slippery rocks on the Malaqi trail.
- Fly above the valley floors on the twin zip lines from the Visitor Center.
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 while 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.