Jordan Travel Guide: What to See and Do in Jordan
General Information of Jordan
Jordan, officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, called Transjordan until 1950, is an Asian country located in the Middle East region.
It borders Syria to the north, Iraq to the northeast, Saudi Arabia to the east and south, the Red Sea (in the Gulf of Aqaba) to the southwest, and the Dead Sea, Israel, and Palestine to the west. Its capital and most populous city is Amman.
It is a constitutional monarchy in which the king (Abdalá II) holds extensive executive and legislative powers. Classified as a high human development, as well as an emerging market thanks to the freedom of its economy compared to its surrounding countries. It is a member of the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area and was a founding member of the Arab League and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation.
Geographical Location of Jordan
Here's where Jordan is located.
Map of Jordan on Google Maps
What to See and Do on a Trip to Jordan
Jordan is a haven of peace in the Middle East, it is the "land of hospitality", it is a land of passage in the middle of three continents. It is part of the Holy Land mentioned in the Bible, the place where three of the main monotheistic religions on the planet were born and where Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Nabateans, Greeks, Romans, Crusaders, Turks, and Europeans marched through.
Home to merchants and spice merchants who came and went from the farthest reaches of Asia. The last resting place of the Bedouin nomads who made the Arabian desert their own. With so much history, it is not surprising that it is one of the most attractive destinations in the Middle East.
Its vast territory allows you to discover the jewels it hides inside; its people, its landscapes, its gastronomy, and its historical architecture, make it a fascinating country that anyone will fall in love with.
Main Sites of Interest in Jordan
Amman is the capital of Jordan and the gateway to the country. Despite being a chaotic city, it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on the planet, sitting on seven hills covered by a blanket of white and beige buildings that give it a very special color.
Its best viewpoint is the Citadel, an archaeological enclave where you can learn about the history of one of the oldest cities in the world.
The Temple of Hercules, the Umayyad Palace and the ruins of a Byzantine church are some of the best-preserved traces of its past.
With more than two thousand years of history, Petra was the ancient capital of the Nabateans, a nomadic tribe that dominated the trade routes that linked the East with the Mediterranean for more than 500 years.
The proceeds from this profit were invested in creating a monumental capital with a classical taste in which its peculiar construction method stands out: the temples and tombs are carved into the rock. They took advantage of a natural gorge that made the city practically impregnable.
The also known as "Pink City", considered one of the new seven wonders of the world, remained abandoned for centuries until it became a legend and was rediscovered in 1812, becoming the great attraction of Jordan.
Aqaba is a modern city and the only outlet to the sea in the country, but not just any sea, the Red Sea, bordering Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Its tourist infrastructure stands out, with all kinds of hotels and beaches (mostly private).
It is above all a destination for divers, in just 27 kilometers of coastline it hides coral reefs in which more than 200 species of coral live and more than 1000 specimens of fish. With simple glasses and a tube, you can enjoy these incredible underwater gardens.
Explore Jerash and Ajlun Castle
One of the largest and best-preserved Greco-Roman cities in the Near East lies less than an hour north of Amman.
Despite having suffered an earthquake and not a few wars, being covered by sand kept it in good condition until it was discovered in the 19th century. Along with Petra, it is the preferred visit for travelers who come to Jordan looking for pure archeology.
Ajlun Castle or Qal'at Ar-Rabad is in the city of Ajlun just 75 minutes from Jerash, an old commercial transit area. Of Arab architecture, XII protected the main commercial routes that led to the Jordan Valley at the same time that it served to defend the iron mines in the area. In the 13th century, it was occupied by the Mongols and in the 16th century, it fell under the rule of the Ottomans.
Get to Know the Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is an inland lake of 80 kilometers and 416 meters below sea level (the lowest and most oxygenated point on earth) fed by the Jordan River with a salinity index nine times higher than any ocean on the planet.
It is barely an hour from Amman and from the Jordanian shore, you can see Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
It is a must if you come here to enjoy a relaxing bath in which to float effortlessly and it is considered one of the largest open-air spas in the world where even Herod came to treat a skin infection with its wonderful healing mud.
Traverse Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum is one of the most beautiful stone deserts in the world with supernatural landscapes that often make us think of Mars. Located in the south of Jordan, it borders Saudi Arabia and has been the setting for several films, The Martian, In Hostile Land or the acclaimed Lawrence of Arabia linked to the real British officer who was hiding in the desert with his men.
The best way to enjoy the great sandstone mountains that make up Wadi Rum is by sleeping one night in one of the stable camps and at dawn taking a long jeep ride appreciating the extravagant shapes of the desert, the gigantic rocks that emerge from the plain like mysterious cities or the great columns of fossilized sand of colors that go from intense red to mother-of-pearl.
What Is the Best Time of the Year to Travel to Jordan?
Jordan is located in a climate transition zone between the Mediterranean region (wetter in winter) and a continental desert climate. Generally, the Red Sea (Aqaba) region has dry and hot months in summer and a mild and sunny winter.
In the northwest, the Mediterranean climate is hot and dry in summer, but very humid in winter, and the mountain area is extremely cold. The rainy season is from November to March.
The south and east have a desert climate, especially in summer. It could be said that the rainfall increases significantly from east to west and from south to north.
Like many destinations with a desert climate, it is recommended to travel in Spring (April-May) or in Autumn (October-November). The temperatures are warm and the nights a little cool.
Temperatures are around 20 degrees and it is very pleasant to visit the desert or the Red Sea. The longer days will allow you to take advantage of the trip and get to know this wonderful country better.
Enjoy the Jordanian Cuisine
Although it is very close to Turkish, Syrian and Lebanese cuisine, its origins go back largely to the Bedouin culture and the influence of being a place of passage for trade routes. It is a simple and unpretentious gastronomy, very healthy whose main ingredients are vegetables, legumes, fruits, yogurt, nuts, and meats such as chicken and lamb.
Mealtime is a very important aspect of Jordanian culture, and it is considered an event, almost a ritual. It is preceded by an abundant assortment of appetizers (mezze) arranged in the center of the table within reach of all diners.
There is never a lack of typical Jordanian bread (Khubez), which is accompanied by a series of creams such as hummus and baba ganoush (similar to hummus but based on aubergines). Salads are usually very present as well, highlighting in this case the tabbouleh. Other starters are fattayer (dumplings stuffed with minced meat) and Kubebeh (fried meatballs stuffed with meat, wheat and onion).
Normally the base of the main dishes is meat, although in coastal areas seafood is very important. The Kefta (baked lamb with tomato, parsley, and onion), the muskán (chicken baked in Arabic bread accompanied by pine nuts, onion, and olive oil) or the sish kakab (lamb and marinated chicken stew) stand out.
Not forgetting the traditional Kebab and bean stew (fasoliyeh). But the Bedouin specialty, the national dish that cannot be missing at any party is Mansaf, served on a large tray in the center of the table. It is a lamb stew accompanied by Arabic rice and a sauce made with dried yogurt that takes several hours to prepare.
Is It Safe to Travel to Jordan?
Jordan is considered the safest country to travel to the Middle East, so much so that it is known as the "Switzerland of the Middle East".
Despite being in an area that borders on situations of constant conflict such as Syria or Iraq, it is a country that has enviable tranquility compared to its neighbors, and a much more visible Westernization than other Muslim countries.
How to Travel from Israel to Jordan
As Jordan and Israel are bordering countries, it is a shame to come here and not take the opportunity to get to know both countries at once.
Perhaps the easiest way would be by hiring a tourist package, although you can also venture out and get to know them freely by renting a car since the roads are in good condition and the directions, in addition to their own languages, are usually in English.
Since the two destinations are so close, it is a good idea to combine them in one trip.
At Greca, you can find travel packages to Jordan and Israel at the best price and modify them to suit you!
Its vast territory allows you to discover the jewels it hides inside; its people, its landscapes, its gastronomy and its historical architecture make it a fascinating country that anyone will fall in love with.
Like many destinations with a desert climate, it is recommended to travel in Spring (April-May) or in Autumn (October-November).