- Sightseeing in Jordan
- Andy Nurse
Looking for Some Great Places to Visit in Jordan? Here are the Country’s Best Things to Do.
Jordan, long recognised as one of the safest and most beautiful of Middle Eastern countries, has a lot to offer the curious traveller.
It’s a feast for the senses and mind. From truly ancient ruins to natural wonders, from cosmopolitan bars and restaurants to excellent spots for climbing and hiking, it’s got something for all of your interests.
Here are some of our favourite things to do in Jordan.
Chances are you’ll have heard of this one already.
Petra is perhaps one of the most iconic places in the world. And, for even the most crowd-weary traveller, it is still one of the essential things to do in Jordan.
Built and inhabited by Nabataeans, the ancient Bedouin people living across the Arabian desert, Petra is known for its awesome rock-cut structures, its rose-tinted sandstone cliffs, and its winding Siq.
It is, quite frankly, incredible.
And whilst it is most famous for the Al-Khazneh, or ‘The Treasury’ – thanks, probably, to its role in Indiana Jones – there is so much more in Petra to take your breath away.
2. The Dead Sea.
It’s the sea in which you can’t sink. The Dead Sea – so called because its extreme saltiness prevents the growth of much life.
But, thanks to this massive mineral content – nearly ten times higher than ocean water – you can happily lie back and float. You can even read the news, or text your folks back home, whilst floating.
The strangeness of its waters attracts most visitors. But add in its spectacular surroundings, its other-worldly salt formations, and the fact that it is the lowest place on the whole planet, and you’ve got one of the best places to visit in Jordan – if not in the world.
Sadly, however, the Dead Sea is shrinking dramatically. Whilst it remains one of the top things to do in Jordan, take time to appreciate its significance. It’s a top sight, yes, but it’s also an ecological crisis playing out in real time. We might be the last generation to see it.
3. Wadi Rum.
The word ‘wadi’, in Arabic, means a dry valley. And in this particularly punishing desert environment populated only by Bedouins, you’ll find some of the most dramatic landscapes to be seen in the Middle East.
Popular with climbers, who scale its colossal bulks of sandstone, or with day-trippers from Petra, Wadi Rum is just an astonishing place. You won’t see anywhere else like it – no matter how far you travel.
We too often think of Jordan as a place only of ancient ruins and jaw-dropping geography. But that’s doing it a disservice. Because whilst it has those things in truckloads, it also boasts a capital city that is lively, modern, and cosmopolitan.
For the trendiness of Rainbow Street, for the tastiness of the city’s bars and restaurants – and, of course, for the ancient history – Amman deserves to be on any list of the top things to do in Jordan.
If you skip the city for Jordan’s more recognised destinations, you are missing out on one of the best, and easiest, places to visit in the Middle East.
And if you thought Italy was the best place to go for wondrous Roman ruins, we’d all understand. But, Jordan’s city of Jerash – an easy day trip from Amman – gives even Rome a run for its money.
Jerash, as a settlement, dates back at least some six millennia. And, since then, it’s been ruled and inhabited by the Greeks, the Romans, the Persians, the early Muslims and, later, the Ottomans.
Given its long and fraught history, it’s pretty amazing that its ancient structures are as well preserved as they are. We have Jordan’s dry climate to thank for this.