Have you ever booked a trip to a destination you had no special expectations about and it turns out to be one of your favorite travels ever?! Jordan was one of these destinations for us. It is an amazing country with lots of history to explore, an incredible nature and very kind locals. In this blog post I will give you an example of an itinerary for one week in Jordan which covers the best places in the country you can’t miss!
When is the best time to travel to Jordan?
The best months for a visit in Jordan are either the spring or autumn months. During this time the weather will be dry and the temperature warm. Did you know that the winter months in Jordan can get really chilly and windy? And of course the temperatures in the summertime can get unbearably hot.
How many days should you plan for Jordan?
We stayed seven nights in Jordan and managed to visit all of the most beautiful places. If you would like to include a few more days of relaxation f.e. at the red or the Dead Sea I would even suggest 10 days for Jordan.
Arriving in Jordan
We took a flight from Prague to Amman which only took us about four hours.
At the immigration you have to pay for a Visa (40 JD / around 56 USD). But instead I would suggest you to get the Jordan Pass which is 70 JD but it includes the visa, the entry for Petra & many more attractions all around Jordan. It saves you a lot of money and you can already purchase the Jordan Pass before your trip via this website and present it at the airport immigration.
After we got our luggage we picked up our rental car to drive to our hotel in Amman since it was already around 8 pm. Renting a car during your whole stay in Jordan is very convenient. It gives you a lot of flexibility and the possibility to see many wonderful places in just one week.
Jordan Itinerary – Day 1
The Archeological Side of Jerash
Jerash is definitely a Must See in Jordan and just a 30 mins car ride away from Amman. The archeological side contains the ruins of an ancient roman city with some very well preserved arches and parts of old temples which will make you feel like stepping back in time. The regular entry is 10 JD per person but is included in the Jordan Pass.
After passing the impressive Hadrianus Arch and continuing the Main street (cardo) you pass several ruins and a hippodrom (ancient horse race track) until you reach the main forum. You can even find a huge arena which gives you a nice overlook if you stand on top of the rows overlooking the whole areal. Keep your eyes open for countless photo opportunities like the small temples and pathways.
For photos you will have the best light and atmosphere during the golden hour right before sunset. In the late autumn months the sunset was already quite early around 4.30pm which is something you should keep in mind if you plan your trip. In total we stayed 4 hours in Jerash since there was simply so much to see and to shoot.
After our visit at the archaeological park went to a nearby restaurant called ‘Lebanese House Um Khalil’ which I can highly recommend for delicious traditional food & good prices.
After dinner we had a three hours ride to Petra which was our next stop in Jordan.
Jordan Itinerary Day 2
Staying in a hotel close to Petra, the night before your planned visit, is necessary if you want to visit the side early in the morning. We stayed at the The Old Village Resort which is a great and traditional hotel and it offers a free bus shuttle to the entry gate of Petra (around 8 mins driving time) but we decided to take our rental car instead to be more flexible.
The gates of Petra are opening at 6 am and I can highly recommend you to go there as early as possible – especially if you want enjoy the place all to yourself for some time and take photos without many tourists. The whole areal of Petra is huge and you can easily spend a whole day exploring it, which is another reason to arrive early.
After getting your ticket ( 50 JD for one day / included in the Jordan Pass) and passing the ticket control you have to walk a while until you’re reaching the Siq – the canyon which leads to the famous Treasury.
After walking through the Siq for around 20 minutes we finally spotted the first glance of the Treasury and it is even more impressive, bigger & so much more beautiful than it was in my imagination.
Due to its incredible size and the fact that you stand close in front of it, it is not easy to catch the whole treasury in one photo if you don’t shoot with a wide angle lens. But there are a few spots which make really great photo opportunities:
The first spot is a bit hidden but easy to find if you directly walk to the right after passing the Siq. You will spot a little ledge in the rock to sit on and see the monument right behind it.
treasury photo spot
If you want to see the famous view above the treasury you have to climb up the rocks. It’s almost impossible to miss the exact spot since there will be local guides around the treasury which are asking the arriving tourists if they would like to go up. The guides not only bring you up, show you the easiest way but also help you while going back down which might be a little slippery. We paid our guide 25 JD for three people – but make sure to negotiate the price before the hike. At the top is a little shelter to buy cold drinks but the highlight is of course the famous view! The treasury was completely illuminated by the sun around 8.30 am when we visited Petra in November.
We passed all the following attractions and went directly to “Ad Deir” (The Monastery) to arrive there before most of the other tourists. Most people visit all sights in the chronological order and the monastery at the very end, for this reason you will find it still quite empty until midday. The monastery looks very much like the Treasury and it is the most isolated monument in Petra. The hike up takes about 1-1,5 hours and gets quite steep and exhausting at some points. I can only imagine how strenuous it has to be in the summertime! Make sure to make a few breaks during the hike to rest, drink some water and appreciate the views all around you.
After you finally arrived at the beautiful monastery you will see a little restaurant to get some refreshments and snacks and watch the monument. If you walk behind it you will spot a cave where you can easily climb in and get a nice view at the monument. It is my favorite spot to capture a photo of the monastery with a beautiful framing.
Another great shooting spot are the two oleander bushes growing in front of the monument (they are the only two – and you will easily find them). They give your picture a nice foreground with the Monastery in the background. But you have to be lucky or arrive early to get a shot without any other people in it.
After returning from our hike and on they way back to the Siq we visited some other attractions like the lapidary Royal Tombs with a great view over the areal or the street of facades, which leads right to the treasury. At some parts the street is completely lined with smaller caves which used to be tombs of the simple people or caves for storage.
The Royal Tombs
The Street of Facades
Tips for your visit in Petra:
- Closing time: If you go in the wintertime you should keep in mind that Petra is closing at 4 pm due to the early sunset (in the summertime the areal will be opened until 6 pm).
- Food & Drinks: Theres just one real Restaurant in the area but you can find smaller shops where you can get drinks or sandwiches.
- Clothes: I don’t think it’s really necessary to wear a full hiking outfit for your visit in Petra. Just for you shoes I would recommend to wear sneakers since it can get slippery in sandals. Also keep in mind that the temperature is still chilly early in the morning and also later in the afternoon, when the sun goes down. So bring a light jacket or sweater. It’s also not necessary to cover you shoulders during your visit but I nevertheless had a light scarf over my shoulders most of the times since I was wearing a dress.
Petra by Night
Every Monday, Wednesday & Thursday there is a special show called “Petra by night”. During this event the whole way to the Treasury and the Siq is only illuminated by candles. At the monument itself are hundreds of candles arranged and the treasury is illuminated by a mysterious light. The show starts 8.30 pm – but the entry gate opens already at 8 pm. We were lucky (& walked quickly 😉 ) and have been the first ones arriving at the treasury and had it all to ourselves for a while. It get’s really packed and while everyone is sitting on mats on the ground, locals are playing traditional music, serving hot tea and telling stories about the ancient times.
The atmosphere is magical but the show is not included in the one day ticket. You have to get a separate ticket at the cashier for 17 JD.
Jordan Itinerary Day 3
At the third day we drove from our hotel in Petra to Wadi Rum which took us around 2 hours. The drive is really impressive because it was clearly visible how the landscape around us is changing from kilometer to kilometer until we reached the access and security point for the Wadi Rum desert area. Behind the gate is the Wadi Rum village located where we left our car and started a desert tour with Wadi Rum Nomads. We booked a two days tour including one night in a desert camp.
Together with our friendly Bedouin guide we’ve been a four person caravan and started our bumpy ride through the desert. As soon as we started our tour and took the first steps in the sand dunes I couldn’t believe my eyes. The landscape in Wadi Rum is so insanely beautiful and varied: from red sand to bizarre rock formations which were carved by sand and the wind, to huge sand dunes like in the Sahara desert. And the best part: We had it all to ourselves! Most of the times I could turn my head in all directions without seeing or hearing anyone else but us.
We made several stops at some interesting points like the ‘sand dune’. It was build by the wind which day by day carries more sand to the same spot and created a huge dune over the hundreds and thousands of years. Walking up the dune is quite exhausting but the view is simply insane and the feeling of the warm sand under my feet so wonderful. Since we’ve been in Jordan in November the weather was sunny but not hot! In the summertime it’s impossible to walk in the sand without shoes – the sun and heat is simply too strong.
At the ruins of ‘Lawrence’s House’ we made a lunch & tea stop and climbed up the rocks behind us afterwards for another breathtaking view. The amazing thing about Wadi Rum is that no place looks like the other. Every formation is different – from soft waves to hard edges, you can see a color range from bright yellow to deep red. When I posted pictures from Wadi Rum a lot of people told me that it looks like I was visiting planet Mars – and that’s so true: There’s a reason why Wadi Rum was the film set of so many movies e.g ‘The Marsian’ – the landscape looks simply extraterrestrial!
Later in the afternoon we arrived to the desert camp and watched the sunset behind the rock formations which lets them appear even more colorful!
The camp is build behind a great rock to protect it from the wind. It consists of ten tents, a bathroom with two toilets, sinks and even two showers! There’s a kitchen where a friendly Bedouin cooks for the whole camp during the day and another huge tent with benches for the meals together. The dinner exceeded my expectations a lot and was absolutely yummy. There were a lot of Arabic dishes like Hommous, pide bread, rice, meatballs but highlight was a traditional bedouins cooked dish. They prepare it by making a huge fire in a sand hole at the beginning of the day. Later they put chicken, seasoning & vegetables inside a special oven, put it in the hole and cover it with sand again. Thanks to the heat the meal gets slow cooked throughout the day and will be super tender and delicious in the evening!
The night in the desert is freaking cold – but luckily the team of Wadi Rum Nomads provided everyone with huge wool blankets which kept us warm. We slept really well and woke up to a wonderful sunny morning and a huge breakfast.
Jordan Itinerary Day 4
Wadi Rum & Aqaba
For our second day in the desert we did a Jeep tour with our Bedouin Guide Nawaf. He showed us all his favorite places in Wadi Rum and we really enjoyed this special tour.
One of my favorite places was ‘The Canyon’. It’s a wide gap between rocks which you can walk through. Along the way we were passing fig trees, rocks and a deep red sand dune. Throughout the whole walk we had the place all to ourselves and only met other people when leaving the canyon on the other side where our guide picked us up. He was dropping us off on the one side, drove around it and was waiting for us at the end.
Some other highlights were different ‘bridges’ which were carved by the wind, a ’mushroom rock’ another one that looks like a ’camel eye’ and so many more.
We booked the tour with a company called ‘Wadi Rum Nomads’ which I can recommend 100%. The guides are all locals and know everything about their beloved Wadi Rum and the Bedouin culture. At the last day our guide Nawaf even cooked lunch for us at a small fire place while we were exploring another view point! These two days in the desert have been such a real and authentic experience. For the two day trip paid 140 JD per person including all drinks & food and the accommodations.
From Wadi Rum we drove around 30 mins to our next destination: The city Aqaba at the Red Sea. Aqaba is quite modern and the people living here are very open minded. We just arrived in time for sunset at the DoubleTree Aqaba and had the best view over the bay from the rooftop bar.
Jordan Itinerary Day 5
Red Sea & Drive to Dead Sea
On our fifth day we went snorkeling at the Red Sea and we found the perfect beach to o snorkeling in Aqaba: It’s called ‚Sunset Beach‘. It is not the prettiest beach to chill but the number one choice if you want the perfect snorkeling experience. The water is crystal clear and the reef wonderful and still intact & colorful – which is unfortunately not often the case these days.. You will spot countless different fish – but never touch any of them since some of them are really poisoning. There are even rays, turtles, dolphins, sharks and many more maritime animals living in the Red Sea.
Unfortunately we had to leave Aqaba for our next destination after only 24 h to drive to the Dead Sea. A week goes by so fast and we really wanted to see as many Jordan highlights as possible during this time.
Usually there is a direct street from Aqaba to the Dead Sea but it was closed due to a flood which covered the street with mud. So we had to take a detour of three hours and it’s been quite a trip until we finally reached the Hilton Dead Sea.
Jordan Itinerary Day 6
We started the next day a swim in the salty water plus a mud pack for our skin coming directly from the sea. As you may already know there’s ten times more salt in the Dead Sea than in ordinary sea water which makes it impossible for any animal or plant to live in the water. It’s so salty that you will swim on top of the surface no matter how hard you try to sink!
For sunset we found a wonderful place with white salt formations via google maps. Luckily the street was opened again this day and we could take a short drive with our car until we saw the salt crystals. The only problem was that we had to climb down quite a bit to reach the formations.
The structures made out of salt may look fragile but they are razor sharp and you have to be very careful while walking – I cut my legs & feet several time. But it was all worth it when we arrived in time for the most magical pastel sunset. We saw a color range from deep blue, to turquoise, pink & orange. I couldn’t believe my eyes – another unforgettable moment in Jordan.
If you’re planning to go there make sure to bring good shoes and not flip flops like we did – it makes the way down & back up way more easy and less hurtful!
Where to find the salt formations
Jordan Itinerary Day 7
The next day it was already time to say goodbye. But since our flight departed from the capital Amman again and we didn’t had a chance to explore the city, we decided to leave the Dead Sea a little earlier.
The Amman citadel has been my favorite place in the city. It’s located on the Citadel Hill and offers the perfect view over the city, the ancient arena and the worlds largest flag. The old mosque & several other ruins make a great contrast with the city behind it.
The best time to visit the citadel is late in the afternoon to avoid the tourist groups and get the best light for photos. If you’re owning of a Jordan Pass the entry is included.
Unfortunately these were the last impressions we got from Jordan before we had to take off back to Germany again. One week went by way too fast. The seven days have been amazing to visit the best places in Jordan, but if you like your itinerary a bit more relaxing and want to visit other places like Wadi Al Mujib at the Dead Sea, I would suggest to plan at least 10 days in Jordan.