Things to do in Jordan: Attractions and places to visit

Spaziergang in Petra Jordanien (Jarod Carruthers)  [flickr.com]  Public Domain 
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The Kingdom of Jordan is currently still one of the less well known destinations for Germans, but the country offers thousands of years of history, very hospitable locals and fantastic beaches.

The varied landscape and the world-famous excavation sites make Jordan an extremely interesting holiday region for both cultural travellers and bathers.

Below we present you the most exciting tours, the most beautiful attractions and the best sights in Jordan.

Jordan-18C-031 - The Monastery & Inside (Dennis Jarvis)  [flickr.com]  CC BY-SA 
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...in Jordan (Jurgen)  [flickr.com]  CC BY 
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Jordan-18C-095 - Temple of Dushares (Dennis Jarvis)  [flickr.com]  CC BY-SA 
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1. Ruined city of Petra

The ruined city of Petra is one of the most important sights in the Middle East. Petra is a cultural and natural wonder at the same time, situated in the desert of the Edom mountains, halfway between the Gulf of Aqaba and the Dead Sea. This favourable position allowed the town to blossom into an important trading centre between the 5th century BC and the 3rd century AD.

Access is through a narrow gorge. Petra owes its excellent state of preservation to this hidden location between rugged rock faces. The elaborate facades of the tombs, carved into the rock, have been UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1985. The most famous buildings of the excavation site are the so-called treasure house in Hellenistic style and the Roman theatre.

2. Jordan’s capital Amman

Most travellers will land at the airport of Jordan’s capital Amman. Today, the metropolis is a modern city with numerous sights that bear witness to its eventful history. The Roman amphitheatre is the highlight during a city tour. It dates from the 2nd century and fits into a flank of the Jaufa hill.

It is one of the best-preserved theatres of its time and impresses especially with its 95 metre wide stage building and excellent acoustics. A whisper on stage can be heard well on any of the 6000 seats. Since its restoration in the 1950s and 60s, it has been regularly used for events during the summer months. Other highlights for visitors to Amman are the Citadel, the ruins of the Hercules Theatre and the Ahl al Kahf Necropolis.

3. Crusader castle of Kerak

The place Kerak in the west of Jordan is already mentioned in the Bible as “Kir” or “Kir-Moab”. The imposing crusader castle was built at a strategically favourable location and served as a stopover for the crusaders in the 12th century. It is enthroned on a rocky promontory and shows a mixture of crusader architecture, Byzantine and Arabic elements.

All entrances are underground for defensive reasons and there are no gates. Today the fortress also houses an archaeological museum. From its highest point, the visitor is offered a magnificent view that reaches as far as Jerusalem on a clear day.

4. Wadi Rum

The mars-like desert landscape Wadi Rum lies east of Aqaba and is one of the most important tourist attractions in Jordan. As 4000 year old rock paintings prove, the landscape was already inhabited in prehistoric times – today several Bedouin tribes live here, whose main source of income are now tourists from all over the world.

It is a good idea to visit the Visitor Centre at the entrance to Wadi Rum and find out about this labyrinth of bizarre rock formations up to 1750 m high. There are possibilities for camel rides, jeep safaris or overnight stays in tents. An excursion to this UNESCO World Heritage Site is certainly an experience you will not forget for the rest of your life.

5. Madaba, the Mosaic City

The at first glance inconspicuous city of Madaba reveals several spectacular attractions in the form of detailed floor mosaics. The most important of these works of art is located in St. George’s Church and represents a map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land in the 6th century. The mosaic, composed of more than two million stones, is invaluable because it also contains descriptions of landscapes and cities in Greek.

Since various biblical stories have also been described, it is most likely a map for pilgrims. In the archaeological museum of the city and its garden, further mosaics can be seen, which show in a fascinating way scenes from the everyday life of humans, mythology or the animal and plant world. For those who are interested in art, a trip to Madaba is highly recommended.

6. Mount Nebo

Only about 30 km southwest of the city centre of Amanns, in the middle of an extremely barren landscape, rises the 808 m high mountain Nebo, which plays an important role in the Old Testament when God Moses lets Moses look from there into the promised land. On the summit there are fragments of one of the oldest churches in the world and a newer church with a monastery belonging to the Catholic Franciscan Order.

The view to Israel and the Dead Sea is unique and a visit can be wonderfully combined with a visit to Madaba. Thus you have two important sights in Jordan combined in a pleasant way and will collect unforgettable impressions.

7. Historical Site Jerash

In the green valley of Gilead in the north of Jordan is the huge ruined city of Jerash, which together with Petra is one of the most popular sights of the country. Its heyday dates back to the first centuries after Christ, when Jerash was also called the “Pompeii of the East”. Within the city walls, archaeologists excavated numerous temples, colonnaded streets, paths and houses that give a good impression of how a Roman city was built at that time. If you are interested in culture and history, you should plan a trip to Jerash, which is about 40 km north of Amman.

8. Mujib Nature Reserve

Jordan is also a great place for adventure holidaymakers. The Mujib Nature Reserve on the east coast of the Dead Sea is considered to be the deepest nature reserve on earth. It is located in a gorge where rivers and differences in altitude have created a biological diversity that attracts nature lovers from all over the world year after year. Flora and fauna can be discovered with experienced local guides.

At least 10 predator species (including jackals, wolves and wild cats) and rare birds, which find a safe habitat here, live in the areas, some of which are very difficult to access. Numerous hiking routes cross the reserve and allow breathtaking impressions, especially in the early morning hours when the sun shines on the orange and red rocks.

9. Dead Sea

Who hasn’t seen photos of bathers in the Dead Sea? The high salt content of up to 30%, the sunny weather all year round and the low humidity are the reasons why people with skin problems and joint diseases find relief here.

In the Jordanian resort of Sweimeh there are numerous hotels that have adapted to this type of holiday. An unforgettable experience is a swim in the Dead Sea, where a sinking is impossible even for non-swimmers, for every tourist and should not be missing on any excursion program.

10. Aqaba (Aqaba)

Jordan is still relatively unknown to us as a beach holiday destination. The southernmost town of the kingdom on the Red Sea is a true paradise for swimmers, divers and snorkelers. Due to the excellent infrastructure in Jordan, the combination of cultural and beach holidays is easily possible.

Aqaba offers wonderful sandy beaches and the offshore coral reefs are a perfect spot for observing the colourful underwater world. Parrotfish, manta rays and reef sharks are abundant in the Gulf of Aqaba.

More things to do and activities for your Jordania holiday

Best time to visit Jordania

We recommend the following months as best time to travel for exploring the attractions and acivities of Jordania:

March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November

You can find more information about the weather, including all climate data, on our climate page for Jordania.

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