Somewhat still a very underrated travel destination, Jordan is slowly but surely gaining popularity. Adorned with the greatest of landscapes, the best of ancient ruins and monuments, Jordan is an Arab nation sandwiched between Iraq, Israel and Syria. Despite housing UNESCO World Heritage Sites, desert castles and natural reserves, it isn’t only about exploring the past, there’s a lot of modern and fun activities to do in Jordan. Once you’re ready to take a trip to the Middle East, here are the best places to visit in Jordan.
Also known as the Red City or Rose City, this impressive attraction is unsurprisingly on the list of the new wonders of the world. Once the capital of the Nabataean Kingdom, Petra is loaded with so many registered sites so you’ll need a few days to wander around this ancient city. Some unmissable attractions here include Djinn Blocks, Obelisk Tomb, the Siq, the Street of Facades and the famous Treasury. Petra is even more breathtaking at night as it’s magically lit by 1500 flickering candles. Petra is without a doubt a traveller’s dream.
2. Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum is one of the reasons you should put Jordan on your travel bucket list. Found on the southern region of Jordan, Wadi Rum or Valley of the Moon is a breathtaking desert valley surrounded by sandstone mountains and towering granite cliffs. Inhibited by the Zalabia Bedouin, this gem’s endless golden sands and red sandstone can be explored on the back of a camel or Arabian horse. Additionally, you can hike through the canyons, go rock climbing or devour traditional Jordanian food. Many tourists also love camping under the light of the stars since its one of the best places to stargaze.
Amman, Jordan’s capital, with both skyscrapers and traditional mosques making up the skyline, its a perfect mix of old and new. Some must-see attractions in Amman are the Roman Theater, Nymphaeum and Odeon. Be sure to make your way to Citadel to see for yourself the Roman Temple of Hercules and the large stone Ummayad Palace. A visit to Al Balad, the bustling downtown street is a necessity since it’s lined with souks, souvenir shops and cafes.
Jerash is regarded as one of the world’s best-preserved ancient Roman cities. Jerash is stacked with splendid sights like Colonnaded Street, the city’s monumental main road filled with columns on each side and paved with the original stones still rutted by the wheels of chariots. When exploring Gerasa, don’t miss out on Hadrian’s Arch, the Hippodrome, the Forum, Temple of Zeus and South Theater. Spare some time to visit Jerash Archaeological Museum that will give you an incredible insight into the rise and development of the settlement of Jerash.
The perfect setting for a Jordanian holiday, Aqaba is a seaside vacation spot in southern Jordan. This breathtaking coastal city is favored by luxurious resorts and hotels, huge ports and ancient archaeological sites. Things to do in Aqaba include swimming, diving and snorkeling in the deep blue waters of the Red Sea. If you prefer a more relaxing activity, you can opt to go on a boat cruise. Nearby local restaurants serve mouthwatering seafood and local cuisines.
6. Dead Sea
Located on the lowest point on earth, prepare to be amazed by the Dead Sea. The waters of the Dead Sea are so dense and saline that its impossible to sink so most tourists prefer to lay afloat on their backs. Furthermore, the Sea’s mineral-rich water is believed to possess healing properties. The area surrounding the Dead Sea is packed with hotels and spas to enhance your relaxation. This mind-blowing attraction has wowed many and is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Jordan. Avoid getting the salty water in your eyes, it stings.
7. Desert castles
A collection of castles east of Amman constructed by the Umayyads around the 7th century. There’s plenty to explore here so rent a car and drive through the Desert Castle Loop to see the captivating Quseir Amra whose interior is covered with lovely frescoes, the black rock and mosaics of Quseir Hallabat, Quseir Al-Kharanah and Azraq Castle.
The old city of Madaba is situated on the edge of the famous King’s Highway. Madaba is home to the largest number of mosaics discovered in their original location in the world. The Madaba Mosaic Map housed in St George’s Church is probably the most renowned mosaic in Jordan. Madaba has two archaeological parks where tourists can enjoy looking at more mosaics. Just 15 minutes from Madaba lies Mount Nebo, one of the holiest sites in Jordan and the place where Moses is believed to have seen the Promised Land.
9. Dana Biosphere Reserve
An interesting medley of mountains and wadis, Dana is Jordan’s largest nature reserve. Dana Biosphere Reserve is an ideal location for an adventure lover as it’s the perfect place to hike, cycle scenic trails, and spot different bird species. The old village of Dana and the remains of a copper mine are also amazing places to visit. Other activities tourists have enjoyed in Dana Biosphere Reserve include baking arbood bread, learning about medicinal plants and making Arabic coffee over a fire.
10. Umm Qais
Umm Qais or locally called Gadara is presumably the only green town in Jordan. Previously called the ruins of the Decapolis city of Gadara, Umm Qais is where you’ll get a chance to explore the abandoned Ottoman village, Roman Streets, and the ruins of two theatres. The hilltop views offer a spectacular vantage point over Sea of Galilee, Jordan Valley, Syria and Israel. It’s believed it’s at Gadara where Jesus performed the miracle of casting out demons out of 2 men and sending them into a herd of pigs. Umm Qais is undoubtedly one of the top spots in Jordan.