Planning a trip to Jordan? Below is my guide to help you make plans and make the best of your time there. It covers itinerary planning, best time to visit, transportation options and is based on research and my own trip to Jordan in May 2013.
Navigate back to the complete Jordan Travel Guide
OVERVIEW OF JORDAN
About the country
Jordan's official name his the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It is slightly smaller than Indiana and slightly bigger than Austria.
Jordan is located in the Middle East surrounded by Israel to the West, Syria to the North, Iraq and Saudi Arabia to the East. The capital city is Amman is the home of 1 million of the 6.5 million Jordanians (as per 2014)
Learn more about its history on the tourism board website.
Jordan is a great place to visit. I felt very safe and really enjoyed the mix of ancient ruins such as Jerash and Petra with natural wonders such as Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea.
I felt safe during my whole trip through Jordan and would recommend it for all types of travelers: solo, family, couples...
If you have more questions about Safety, Lindsay travelled to Jordan with her family and answer the question: Is Jordan Safe? in details on here blog post.
THINGS TO DO IN JORDAN
Things to do and see
The main attraction in Jordan is of course the Nabatean site of Petra with its huge temple and tombs carved in the canyons cliffs.
However Jordan also offers:
- Spectacular roman ruins such as the Citadel, Jerash and Pella
- 'Beach' tourism at the Dead Sea and the Red Sea
- Castles such as the desert Castles and Kerak
- Religious sites such as Mount Nebo
- Natural wonders such as the desert of Wadi Rum and the Biosphere reserve of Dana
Resources to decide on your itinerary
Check out my JORDAN DESTINATION GUIDE for location specific posts which contains
- many pictures to help you decide which sites you want to visit
- information and tips help you make the most of your time there
I also recommend other blogs to complete your research:
- Highlights of Jordan by Never Ending Voyage
- All posts about Jordan by Young Adventuress
- All posts about Jordan by On the Luce
BEST TIME TO VISIT JORDAN
Despite its small size, Jordan has a great range of climate mostly due to altitude changes: The Dead sea lies 400m below sea level, whereas Amman, Petra and the desert of Wadi rum reach 800m. The Dana river goes up to 1500m.
In theorie, Jordan can be a year-round destination, but it is considered that spring and autumn are the best seasons to avoid the heat of the season in the desertic area and or the cold that can hit them in Winter.
So March to May and September to November are the recommended month with spring showing wildflowers and green. I personally visited in May and it was already really hot to do the various hikes. But I had long daylight to enjoy the various sites and activities.
And it you can stand extremely hot weather, you can consider summer to visit Petra and avoid all the big crowds.
You should also consider when the Ramadan falls that year as you should not eat or drink in public during the day.
TIME NEEDED TO TRAVEL AROUND
Jordan is not that beach and of course the time needed to visit Jordan depends on how many ruins your can visit in a row and how long you like to spend on the beach. Below are some suggested itineraries.
5 DAYS - highlights of Jordan
5 days give you a good taste of Jordan
- Day 1 - Amman and the Citadel and drive to the Dead Sea
- Day 2 - Dead Sea and drive to Petra
- Day 3 - Petra
- Day 4 - drive to Wadi Rum and Night in Wadi Rum
- Day 5 - Drive back to Amman
10 DAYS - the full Jordan Experience
For me the ideal length to visit Jordan is 10 days (but still with a pretty full agenda)
- Day 1 & 2 - Roman Ruins - Amman and Jerash
- Day 3 & 4 - Dead Sea, Mount Nebo, Kerak
- Day 5 - Hike in Dana Nature Reserve
- Day 6 & 7 - Petra with a hike off the beaten track, night day 7 in Wadi Rum
- Day 8 - Wadi Rum
- Day 9 & 10 - Red Sea and drive back to Amman
The roads are in good condition and the driving not too crazy so self-drive is definitely and option. Directions and signs might become more difficult in some less touristic region (e.g. Dana reserve) but people are friendly and ready to help.
I might 2 groups who went up North to Umm Quais. They both got lost and the police drove them back to the right road as they were getting to close to the borders with Syria.
Many companies offer small or big group organized tours in different languages. This way you do not worry about anything and just go with the flow but that also means you cannot stop whenever you want
I selected the local company Terhaal and their 8 day Jordan Adventure (check out the review - note: I paid entirely for that tour). The tour ended up being a private one as the other people canceled.
A good option is the private car and driver. Jordan is not yet too expense and even though they are not allowed to be guide as well, they organized the tour for you and you can customized how long you want to spend in one location.
For example as my tour became a private one I was able to change and leave Amman early in order to spend more time in the Dana Reserve and in Petra
You can reach most of the main sites by bus but those cater mostly for locals. JETT buses are more oriented towards visitors and go to some main sites including Aqaba and Petra. I am not an expert here but Rough guide wrote a great page on transportation in Jordan.
The inconvenient of course is that then you need more days to visit Jordan as you are bound to the bus running times if they are following a timetable but they might wait until the bus is full.
ACCOMODATION IN JORDAN
Jordan is well developed for tourism and has many options for accommodation.
I recommend camping for 2 nights: at the Rummana campsite in the Dana Nature reserve and in the Wadi Rum Desert.
When it is getting closer to leave for your amazing trip, you can also check my post on preparing and packing for a trip to Jordan! It includes clothes, money, language, food and beverage, internet and all you need to know before leaving.
Want to see MORE of JORDAN?
Discover more things to do with planning information and photos in my online Jordan Travel Guide.
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Any question? Ask in the comments
Can you give me the contact of private car and driver? I plan to visit Jordan in December for 3 days. Thank you in advance.
Claire, the Travel Planning Geek says
Sorry, the company I used does not do private tours. It is just that the other people cancelled and I ended alone on the tour.