Jordan – a land of a world wonder, beautiful deserts contrasting with lush greenery, a sea in which you can not sink, cities filled with energy and people of great hearts who will warmly welcome you to their home. If you marvel at a destination that will be an exciting adventure for you, head to this Middle Eastern country. Jordan will capture your soul with its vibrant colors in the cities, scents of spices that enrich every meal, places from the ancient Roman and Byzantine era. I had an amazing time in Jordan and I’m sure this country will leave a trail of a lifetime experience on every visitor.
When deciding to travel to Jordan, I didn’t even realize what kind of adventure will be. I felt like Indiana Jones looking for lost treasure. And that treasure is Jordan itself. I spent six days in Jordan and it was enough to visit the most famous places in the country. The flight from Qatar to Amman through Royal Jordanian airline took only two an half hour. I used that time to sleep because I knew I will need the strength for the upcoming time in Jordan.
1 day. Amman.
The city center of Amman is about 45 minutes driving from the airport. I and my boyfriend settled into the hotel and after an hour of rest, we were ready for the Amman city tour. In order to meet the soul of the city, it is necessary to visit two of his points: the eastern Amman, a conservative Muslim, with very modest houses, a large oriental base and a huge number of Palestinian refugees and Western Amman that resembles large world metropolises with numerous cafes, bars, galleries and shopping centers.
Amman perfectly reflects Jordan’s ancient history and modern culture, providing endless viewpoints, fantastic Levantine cuisine, and one of the best art scenes in the Middle East. We started one day in Amman itinerary by visiting Jordanian restaurant “Al-Quds” ‘coz’ we were starving. It’s a cozy place that serves local dishes and it was filled with tourists. I have tried mansaf which is simply rice and chicken along with special yogurt but it was delicious!
The Roman Theater and Amman Citadel
The first Amman landmark we visited was The Roman Theater. It was built in the 2nd century A.D. Back in the Roman period when the city was known as “Philadelphia”. It could have held about held 5,000 spectators and is still used today for theatre and entertainment. The level of preservation is outstanding and ambiance truly takes your breath away. This magnificent place reminded me of a lot on architecture in Rome described in my post The best Rome Itinerary for a weekend trip. It was incredible to see the Roman architecture in the Middle East. This only witness the strength and magnitude of the Roman Empire back in time.
Another Roman ruin that was astonishing in its enormity was Amman Citadel or in Arabic as Jabal al-Qal’ a. The site is overlooking the city and major buildings are Temple of Hercules, a Byzantine church, and the Umayyad Palace. There are a small cafe and a museum. I really loved the combination of history and an amazing view of the modern city.
The next stop that day was The Grand Husseini Mosque, located almost in the center of downtown, where locals gather to pray throughout the day. Our Amman Itinerary ended by having dinner in one of the many restaurants in the Rainbow street. This is a vibrant place full of young energy and all kind of shops. If you are traveling to Amman do not miss to try veggie fakhariyyat, fatayer, or qallaya in Bateyah restaurant. This is small, but a cute restaurant and the food are very tasty!
Day 2. Mount Nebo.
On the second day after breakfast, we headed to the Dead Sea. It takes 2-3 hours from Amman to it and I was really excited!
If you are traveling to the Dead Sea, my advice is not to skip Mount Nebo on the way to it. Mount Nebo is one of the most important holy sites of Jordan, located 10 km west of the Roman-Byzantine town of Madaba. It is believed that on this mountain God showed the prophet Moses “a promised land” and where Moses was buried.
On this very high point, you can admire the dazzling view on the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea, as well as the rooftops of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
At the very top, there is a memorial church dedicated to Moses, and it was very interesting to observe the baptismal rite that was being played at the moment of our visit. The entire floor of the church is covered with mosaics from the Period of Byzantium, well preserved even today. After one hour and a half spending in this holy and peaceful place, we continued our drive on the wriggly way towards the Dead Sea.
…and Dead Sea Resort
Finally, we were there! The Dead Sea is as you already know the lowest point on Earth and his salinity amounts about 33 % which makes impossible any kind of life in it. But, it’s truly amazing to float on the water without the need for any kind of bodywork. My boyfriend doesn’t know to swim so he enjoyed the feeling. We had two days full of enjoyment and relaxation in the Crowne Plaza Dead Sea Resort&Spa.
The hotel is very luxury and has private beach access. That was awesome, ‘coz’ I’m a beach and sun lover! I was a little over-sunning because I got sunburns, so be careful. Don’t forget the suncream if you choose to spend time in Jordan! Also, you were not on the Dead sea unless you wrapped the body with mud. A must-try experience!
Day 3. Wadi Rum Desert
The next destination was Wadi Rum, known as the “Valley of the Moon”. The ride on the road to Wadi Rum along with the local radio stations is an experience. Wherever you turn to the beautiful desert landscape and the unpainted road in front of us. We came across several camels who were confused to see us and the children who were running to meet us!
Wadi Rum Tour involves stopping at several important points and it was a pleasure to look at the red rocks, the magical figures carved by nature and drink a Bedouin tea. U can’t resist making many photos here! In the evening, we arrived at the Room Magic camp which provides luxurious rooms and a buffet dinner.
If you think dessert camping is sleeping on the sand without water or shower, you will be wrong. Today’s camping includes VIP rooms with air conditioning, comfortable bed and even bathroom with all needed amenities. My expectations were rusty, actually. Although, I wouldn’t mind sleeping under the stars one night…
Day. 4: Jewel of the time in Jordan – Petra
On the fourth day after an excellent coffee with cardamon, we had to continue our adventure in Jordan. It was time for Petra – which was the jewel of our time in Jordan. Petra is the ancient capital of the Nabatean Empire, carved in a stone cliff two thousand years ago. Thanks to its rich history, incredible beauty, and excellent preservation, at the end of the last century it was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage as one of seven new “miracles of the world”.
There is an option of buying a ticket of two days in Petra, but we wanted to explore everything in one “shot”. At the entrance, you can hire a horse for the first route and then continue on foot. We rented horses and set off. Just when I relaxed a bit in the saddle and started enjoying it, we already reached the entrance to the narrow stone gap.
That stone gap was the Siq pass, decorated by natural sculptures, remains of old bridges and several barrels. The Siq is the result of the natural splitting of the mountain and the colors are unreal! Walking through that narrow canyon that is the only entrance to the ancient city is fantastic. Everything is so great and magnificent.
We bravely continued on foot to enjoy all the details. The road is very steep. It goes through the passage, stairs, slopes … Every honor to horses and camels, but the donkey is the number one in this place! The best part is when from the narrow canyon through which you walk for 30-45 minutes, suddenly in front of you appears the most beautiful largest temple carved into the rock – The Treasury.
It’s incredible that it is a work of human hands! Whoever emerges from the canyon and sees the treasury on his face, he expresses his enthusiasm. It is interesting that there are still Bedouins sleeping in the coves very high in the mountains. They earn enough money from tourism, but obviously, they live a beautiful life under the open sky.
My opinion that it is only a matter of a couple of hours to walk this famous place was once again wrong because Petra is the whole city sculpted on the stone! We walked and climbed the walls for eight hours to see all the points: The Theater, Place of Sacrifice, Royal Tombs, The Street of Facades, Great Temple, Qasr-Al Bint… In the end, we fell off our feet and my burns were more visible. Seriously, don’t forget a hat and suncream when walking around Petra! But, it was a memorable day.
Day 5. Jerash and Ajlon Castle
Finally, it was the last day of our incredible time in Jordan. As we had an evening flight back to Qatar we decide the see the remain landscapes in Amman. Late in the afternoon, we sat in the car and drove back to Amman.
About an hour’s drive from the city is Ajlon Castle – a 12th-century Muslim castle situated in northwestern Jordan. Its interior is impressively lite for photos of its Islamic Military architecture (shadowed arches, corridors, and steps). Nowadays, large numbers of caves serve as a museum featuring numerous artifacts. The views from the top are just awesome with olive trees planted on the hillsides.
Not far from the castle is Jerash – known for the ruins of the Greco-Roman city of Gerasa. People usually talk about it the “Pompeii of the Middle East”, referring to its size, the extent of excavation and level of preservation although Jerash was never buried by a volcano. The site is now generally acknowledged to be one of the best-preserved Roman provincial towns in the world. While walking around the ancient ruins you cant but to admire the magnificence of Roman Empire thousands of years ago. It also takes a lot of time walking but we enjoyed the last day of our time in Jordan.
Few tips for the best time in Jordan
In the end, a few tips if you decide to travel to Jordan. You should purchase Jordan Pass before starting your trip and you can do it at the Amman airport as soon as you land. The price is 70 JOD (around 100 USD), but it will save you money since it includes Jordan’s visa and entries for almost all sites in Jordan.
The best way of getting around Jordan is by car. After a calculation shall we hire a driver with a car or travel by bus, we choose the first option since the cost will be quite the same. Traveling by car is much more comfortable and it gives you the possibility to stop wherever you want.
When packing, you will need comfortable shoes because expect to walk a lot. Ladies, bring some scarf or pashmina when visiting religious places. You can wear shorts or crop tops, but people will look at you. It is an Arabic country still although Jordanian are used to foreigners. You should bring a good camera and goodwill to meet welcoming strangers. You will need that! I wish you the best time in Jordan!