If you’re looking for stunning desert landscapes, spectacular archaeological sites, good food and friendly locals, Jordan needs to feature on your travel bucket list. Jordan had been on my list for quite sometime and being able to recently spend 7 days in Jordan was a dream come true for me. In this post I’ve put together my Jordan itinerary with information on what to see, where to stay, travelling times between destinations and anything else you might need to know for your own Jordan 7-day itinerary. So read on and start planning your Jordan itinerary!
- 1 Jordan itinerary planning: Essential things to know
- 2 7 days in Jordan itinerary
Jordan itinerary planning: Essential things to know
Before jumping straight into my day-by-day Jordan itinerary I want to cover a few of the biggest questions I had before my Jordan trip, which I think you will find useful in planning your own time in Jordan.
When is the best time to visit Jordan?
Starting with the basics, when should you actually visit Jordan? The high season in Jordan is in spring, from March to May, when the temperatures are moderate and the days start getting longer. I was there in December, which isn’t recommended since it can rain quite often and it gets very cold in the evenings, but I loved it since there weren’t as many people around, especially in the main tourist attractions like Petra. I wouldn’t recommend visiting in summer since the temperatures can go up to 40°C in Aqaba and the Dead Sea.
Getting around Jordan
There are buses and coaches that travel around the country, however they are not very regular and only touch the big cities. The best way to get around Jordan is to rent a car and drive yourself. If you’re not a comfortable driver you can also hire a driver with the car, this will obviously be more expensive but you will still have the freedom of going where you want and spending how long you want at each location. You can also do an organised tour and sit back, relax, and have someone else take you around Jordan.
Cuisine in Jordan
The cuisine in Jordan is similar to that in other countries in the Middle East, with lots of rice based main dishes and traditional “mezzes” as starters. Some of the most famous dishes are hummus, a puree of chickpeas, and falafel, deep fried chickpea balls. One thing to note about eating out in Jordan is that Jordan is a Muslim country, meaning a lot of places don’t serve alcohol. You will find alcohol in big five star hotels or liquor stores, but the average restaurant most likely won’t serve alcohol.
Why you need the Jordan Pass
If you’re planning on spending more than 3 nights in Jordan I highly recommend you get the Jordan Pass. The Jordan Pass is an initiative of the Jordanian tourism authority to make it easier for tourists to travel around the country. There are different packages, the most basic one costs 70 JOD (99 USD) and includes your tourist visa for Jordan, 1-day entry to Petra and entry to a lot of other attractions in Jordan. If you calculate that just the tourist visa would be 40 JOD and 1-day entry to Petra would be 50 JOD, you’ve already saved money!
What to pack
What you should bring to Jordan massively depends on the time of year you’re visiting, however there are some essentials that you will need regardless of when you’re in Jordan.
Comfortable walking shoes: If you’re planning on following this Jordan itinerary (even if you’re not) you will probably find yourself walking a lot every day, make sure you’re comfortable doing so! You don’t necessarily need trekking shoes, I only had a pair of trainers, just make sure to bring shoes you know you can walk in for long periods of time.
Power bank: Yes I may be a little attached to my phone but especially when I’m travelling to a new country I like to make sure it’s always charged, you don’t want to be lost somewhere you don’t know without Google Maps handy!
Tank tops, t-shirts and long sleeved shirts: Dress in layers! More so than any other destination I found that the layer approach was necessary in Jordan. The days started off very chilly, became fairly hot as the sun climbed and then it got cold again at night. If you wear a couple different layers you can strip and then dress up again as the day goes on.
Swimsuit: Whether it’s in the Dead Sea or in the Red Sea you will most likely go for a swim in Jordan, don’t forget your swimsuit!
7 days in Jordan itinerary
Day 1: Fly into Amman
What better place to start your Jordan trip than in the capital city of Jordan? We flew into Amman early in the morning, which gave us a full day in the city. Even if you have the Jordan Pass it can take a while to get through passport control, add to that waiting for your luggage, changing money and organising a transfer into the city centre and it can be a while before you’re ready to hit the city. There are lots of beautiful places to visit in Amman. Depending on what time you land you can start your Jordan trip with a visit to the Roman Amphitheatre (just make sure to check the time, as this closes at 4PM in winter and 6PM in summer) or walking around the souks of Amman. Entry at the Roman Amphitheatre is included in the Jordan Pass. You can end your first day in Jordan with a local Jordanian dinner at one of the trendy restaurants in Rainbow Street; my personal favourite was Sofra Restaurant. We spent our first night in Jordan at the Shams Alweibdeh Hotel Apartments, a 20 minute walk from the centre of Amman.
Day 2: Jerash & Dead Sea
As soon as you wake up on day 2 it’s time to hit the road. You only have one week in Jordan and lots to see! Pick up your rental car and get ready for a 45-minute drive, enroute to Jerash. Jerash is a city 52km north of Amman, where a huge Roman archaeological site can be found. Entry at Jerash is included in the Jordan Pass. I was surprised to find that the archaeological site of Jerash is located in the middle of the modern city of Jerash (it can be confusing, I know). On Google Maps search for “Jerash Visitor Car Parking”, not “Jerash Visitor Centre”, as this is the correct entrance and there is also plenty of space to park.
Jerash was a prosperous city until the mid-eighth century when a huge earthquake destroyed large parts of it. In the following centuries it was ruined by subsequent earthquakes and due to being the location of war efforts. They started excavations on the ancient city in 1925 and are gradually bringing new parts of it to light. Today only 5% of the ancient city is actually above ground and visible. The main areas of ancient Jerash that you should visit include the Amphipheatre, the temple of Zeus, the temple of Artemis, Hadrian’s Arch and the Forum. The site is fairly big and it will take you at least 2 hours to visit it all. When you arrive at the entry local guides will come up to you offering to show you the site, the guide isn’t compulsory so it’s up to you whether you want one or not. If you do get a guide just make sure to haggle on the price (like with everything else in Jordan)!
Once you’re done visiting Jerash grab a quick wrap or sandwich to eat in the car since it’s time to hit the road again! The stretch of the drive is much longer so make sure you have snacks and water with you, as there aren’t many shops along the road. There are 88km from Jerash to the Dead Sea and it will take you at least 1 hour and 45 minutes to drive there, probably more if like us you get out at the wrong exit in a roundabout and get stuck in traffic.
The Dead Sea is a salt lake that is 430m below sea level, the lowest point on dry land on Earth. It has a salinity of 34.2%, which is 9.6 times saltier than the ocean and the 7thsaltiest lake in the world. The high salinity prevents any plants and fish from living in it, hence the name Dead Sea. The salinity also makes it extremely easy to float, which turned it into a popular tourist attraction. If you don’t take a photo floating in the Dead Sea with a book in hand, have you even really been there?
You can try driving along the coast of the Dead Sea and just going for a dip anywhere you find, but I would highly recommend going to an equipped beach. As soon as you step out of the Dead Sea the salt will dry off and get really itchy on your skin, you’ll really appreciate having a fresh water shower readily available. Also if you’re visiting Jordan in autumn or winter, when the temperatures aren’t that high, it’s nice to have hot showers there. One of the cheapest beaches you can go to is Amman Beach, for 20 JOD per person. What you get is very basic and not really worth the price in my opinion, but the alternative of having extremely dry and salty skin until you reach the closest shower made it worth it for me. After floating around in the Dead Sea we waited for the sunset and then drove to Madaba, where we spent the night at the Delilah Hotel.
Day 3: Kerak & Little Petra
You have one of the longest drives of the trip ahead of you today; a whole 213km from Madaba to Wadi Musa, approximately 3 hours of driving. If you want to break up the drive you can do a stop at Kerak Castle. Kerak Castle is one of the largest crusader castles in the Middle East and it sits on top of a hill with epic views of the surrounding landscape. The castle is very well preserved and you can explore the various rooms, tunnels and all the internal and external areas of the castle. Access to Kerak Castle is included in the Jordan Pass. There are some local restaurants just outside Kerak Castle where you can grab lunch on the go before heading on to Little Petra.
Little Petra is located just before Wadi Musa, and it’s the perfect site to visit prior to seeing Petra. It’s lso known as Siq el-Barid and it’s a Nabataen archaeological site, with buildings carved into the walls of the canyons. It’s a much smaller site than Petra and while the buildings are less elaborate, the natural beauty of the location is what amazed me. We walked through to the canyon and past the buildings, to a small rocky platform that overlooked the rocks and canyons. From here you need to climb a bit over some rocks to reach a beautiful viewpoint where you can wait for the sunset. The path isn’t well marked though so I would ask one of the local guides to take you. We paid 5 JOD per person for the whole visit to Little Petra, prices aren’t fixed and you can haggle when you’re there.
After Little Petra we went to our hotel in Wadi Musa, the Peace Way Hotel, to shower and chill a bit, we had an early dinner in town and went straight back out to see Petra by Night. Petra by Night is a show that is on every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 20:30 to 22:30 where they light 1,500 candles all along the Siq and in front of the Treasury, where they play live music, serve complimentary tea and tell stories of the place. Entry isn’t included in the Jordan Pass and costs 17 JOD, you can ask your hotel and they’ll get you tickets. Make sure to get there early enough so you can enjoy it without too many people, seeing the Treasury lit up by thousands of candles is magical.
Day 4: Petra
I hope you’re ready for the highlight of your Jordan trip. Petra is one of the most famous attractions in Jordan and rightly so. Petra is a 60 squared kilometre archaeological site, where stunning Roman and Nabataean ruins can be found on a red rock and canyon backdrop. The Treasury and Monastery of Petra, with their well-preserved facades built into the rock are amongst the most iconic locations in Petra. Make sure to get to Petra early in the morning, so that you can beat the crowds. A one-day entry ticket is included in the Jordan Pass. Some people prefer to spend longer in Petra, I personally found that one day was enough to see everything I wanted to. In one day we walked 20km and saw the Siq, the Treasury (both from below and the viewpoints above), the Royal Tombs, the theatre, the Colonnade and the Monastery. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and to bring water and snacks with you!
Day 5: Wadi Rum
After the last two days you might think it’s impossible to top the beauty of Petra, and yet you will find that the Wadi Rum desert will give Petra a run for its money. On the fifth day you can have a bit of a lie-in to recover from all the walking, but you should still set off fairly early in the morning as you have 112km and almost 2 hours of driving ahead of you. We did a tour of the desert with Beyond Wadi Rum Camp. We parked our cars at the Wadi Rum Village where our guides were waiting for us with open back 4×4 jeeps. We set off for a full afternoon tour of the Wadi Rum desert.
The Wadi Rum desert is huge, but most tours will take you to see all the same main attractions. There include; the red sand dunes, Lawrence’s spring, the Khazali canyon, the house of Lawrence, Abu Khashaba canyon and Um Frouth Arch. You won’t easily forget the natural beauty of the canyons, arches and views you will see today. It’s easy to see why the movie The Martian was filmed here! The viewpoints at Lawrence’s spring and house aren’t well marked so you need to do a big of climbing to reach them, but they’re well worth it! We ended the day at viewpoint that is also a popular sunset spot, where we watched the sinking sun turn the rocks and sand around us even more red.
I was in Jordan in December and the sun set at 16:30 and I was a bit worried about what we would actually do for the rest of the afternoon and evening. After the sunset they drove us to the camp, where we had dinner in the big communal tent (they cook the food in the traditional Bedouin way under the sand and will take it out just before it’s time to eat!) and danced traditional dances. Unfortunately it started raining while we were having dinner so we were unable to see the stars, but if you’re there on a clear night sky you will see the most incredible stars. Maybe bring some card games with you so that if the weather is bad you have something to entertain yourself with for the evening.
Day 6: Aqaba
After a pretty packed week this is the relaxing day of this Jordan itinerary. Breakfast is served fairly early at the Beyond Wadi Rum Camp, so once you’re up its time to hit the road again. The drive from the Wadi Rum desert to Aqaba is only 70km and will take around 1 hour. Once you get there pop by your hotel (we stayed at the Dweik Hotel) to drop off your bags, change into a swimsuit and you’re ready for the beach and the Red Sea!
Similarly to the Dead Sea, I suggest visiting an organised beach since women aren’t allowed to be in a bikini in public beaches. We went to Berenice Beach Club, a short 15-minute drive away from Aqaba. Entry is 10 JOD each and it’s a very well equipped beach. There is a changing room with lockers, a pool, a beach bar, sun beds with beach umbrellas, a beach volley court and snorkelling gear you can rent. You can snorkel by the beach and will be able to see lots of coral and fish, or you can do an organised 2-hour boat trip that will take you to snorkelling spots slightly further away. Berenice Beach Bar serves alcohol so why not sit back on your sunbed, order a mojito and wait for the sun to set on your last full day in Jordan.
Day 7: Return to Amman & fly out
Your Jordan trip is coming to an end, time to head back to Amman and squeeze in some final sightseeing before you fly out. Amman is 330km away from Aqaba, approximately a 4-hour drive depending on whether you do the more direct Desert Highway or the more scenic Kings Highway. If you set off early enough in the morning you can make it to Amman in time for lunch. After a quick wrap on the go from the souk, head over to see the Amman Citadel (entry is included in the Jordan Pass). This is archaeological site located on top of a hill in the centre of Amman and it’s a great combination of history and epic views, the perfect way to end your time in Jordan! After this final sight seeing in Amman it’s time to head back to the airport and fly home, where you can start planning the next trip.
Have you been to Jordan before? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below! Visiting Petra and Jordan had been on my travel bucket list for a very long time and I was stoked to finally travel there. For me 7 days were enough to see everything I wanted to, if you want to visit Petra more in depth or spend long relaxing by the Red Sea you can always shuffle around this itinerary or spend longer in Jordan. I hope you find this 1-week Jordan itinerary useful in planning your own Jordan itinerary!
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