Here is the big question everyone asks: Should you visit Little Petra when you go visit the jewel of Jordan: Petra? Well my research showed that opinions vary greatly. As I had 2 full days in Petra and arrived early the day before, I decided to go for it. Below is my experience.
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INFO & PLANNING TIPS - LITTLE PETRA
With 2 full days dedicated for Petra, I did a lot of research before my trip to plan wisely my time there (Don’t forget to check my tips to organize your time in Petra!). During that research I learned that there was another place nearby called Siq al-Barid alias ‘Little Petra’ and I found a lot of discussion about whether a visit is worth it or not. Some say no, it is nothing compared to Petra. Some say yes, before Petra it is a nice introduction… So I had not decided before getting there.
However after my hike in the Dana Reserve in the morning, I arrived quite early at the hotel. I really wanted to discover the Siq for the first time almost to myself early the next morning, therefore I decided to use my time to go to Little Petra.
TIPS FOR TRAVEL PLANNING ADDICTS - Little Petra
Getting to Little Petra
- It is a short drive from Petra, easily accessible by car or taxi (less than 10km). The taxi can wait for you and drive you back.
- From the parking all the lower ground is reached quickly walking on a flat area.
Visiting Little Petra
- Little Petra as 2 main sections:
- the lower ground with caves and tombs like Petra, including the one with the remainings of a painting
- the higher ground with a view point. This is accessed via a steep and narrow staircase
- Entry is free
On the way to Little Petra
The hotel organized for me a cab to go there and wait for me. I am glad I went, as even just for the road which was amazing. When arriving and departing Petra, I took roads in the mountains which had nothing to do with the scenery on that one. I am a big fan of crazy rock formations and this was delightful, I wanted the driver to stop almost at every turn!
Little Petra – Lower ground
Little Petra is like a ‘suburb’ of Petra according to some. The siq is not as long but also has beautiful rock features before arriving to the tombs and caves. Carved temples and houses have less impact than the ones in Petra but it is a nice introduction as to what one can see later.
One of the interesting thing about Little Petra is that there is still a bit of a fresco we can admire in one of the cavity. This is something you cannot see in Petra:
What I loved mostly was that is was not full with tourists although there are no entry fees. I was able to enjoy the peace of the place and imagining life at the time of its greatness.
Little Petra – Upper ground
At the end of the ‘street’ there is a big staircase which leads to a viewpoint. I decided not to go for mostly 2 reasons. First it was really narrow and abrupt on one side (and I am not a big fan of heights). Second was that I had done a big hike in the morning and was planning on climbing to the Monastery the next day so I needed to rest my legs. So I cannot tell you if it is worth it…
My conclusion to 'Should I visit Little Petra or not?'
At the end of the day I was very happy with my little escapade.
- Free entry
- Easy walk
- Less tourists
- A fresco feature you cannot see in Petra
- No incredible temples like the Treasury or the Monastery
- Very small site
This was indeed a nice introduction to Petra but if you have only one day there, I would not recommend taking time out from Petra to visit Little Petra.
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Discover more things to do with planning information and photos in my online Jordan Travel Guide.
Do you think you will include the detour?
hello. once again I need to ask you a question. we will be in Petra for 1..5 days. I am thinking about going to Little Petra for the first half day as Petra will be closed at 4 pm(we will be there on March 30th). is there any visitor center we can get the maps at least for Little Petra? don’t want to get lost. thank you.
Claire, the Travel Planning Geek says
There is no need for a map for Little Petra. It is a straight short canyon with the stairs at the end.
Hi Claire, thank you for the info, that’s very helpful. How long did it take you to visit Little Petra?
Claire, the Travel Planning Geek says
I spent 2h there.
Have a great trip!