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  • Writer's picturePretty Little Wanders

Best of Jordan in 11 days: what to see, what to do and where to go

Updated: Feb 6, 2022

Jordan makes many an appearance on a bucket list, and rightly so, it’s a destination that offers ancient historic sites, epic desert landscapes and a fascinating vibrant culture. We spent 11 days in Jordan, but this itinerary could be adapted to 7/8 days (by leaving out the additional 2 day Wadi Rum desert camp and focusing on the activities and sights that interest you more) or extended to 14 days by adding some of the extras suggested at the end.

Best time to visit

Mid-February to mid-May and October/November would be the best times to visit, avoiding the height of the summer heat, and not being limited by the colder winter mornings and nights. We went in October and the weather was perfect.

Independent travel or an organised tour?

With some concerns about safety (due to the instability of neighbouring countries) and our complete inability to speak any Arabic, we opted to do a guided tour, with an extra 2 nights added on to camp in the Wadi Rum desert. In hindsight this was definitely the best option. The company we booked with was Titan Tours who organised all travel, tickets and accommodation. There were options for 4 star or 5 star accommodation. The tented camp was booked independently online with Rum Stars campsite (, they were quick to reply to emails, arranged transport for us and were a great choice.

Magnificent view of the The Monastery in Petra Archaeological Park
'The Monastery' Can you spot the people?

11 days Itinerary

Day 1 UK to Amman

The capital of Jordan was built on seven hills but now sprawls over 19 hills. It is a modern luxurious city that still retains traditional Jordanian culture. It is worth noting that Amman has a more relaxed dress code for women compared to other parts of the Middle East, but there is still the need to dress conservatively avoiding shorts (this applies to men too!), vest tops and figure hugging clothing. A late arrival in Amman just left time for dinner and a little walk around the city, ending up at one of the Shisha bars. Shisha culture is big here and despite its’ negative health impact, it’s definitely worth trying once. It comes in a mind boggling number of different flavours, including cherry, pomegranate and peanut butter jelly!

Amman at dusk, city view
Amman as the sun sets

Day 2 Amman – Jerash – Amman

The first stop was to the medieval castle at Ajloun, and then on to Jerash which is about an hour’s drive north of Amman and boasts one of the most complete sets of Roman ruins outside of Italy. The classical site in Jerash is well preserved with ancient temples, theatres, streets of columns and the Temple of Artemis.

Day 3 Amman – Desert Castles

The main part of the day was spent exploring the castles of Qasr Kharaneh, Qasr Amra, Qasr Azraq, and we returned to Amman for a tour of the citadel, Archaeological Museum and the Roman Temple of Hercules.

Exploring the desert castles of Jordan

Day 4 Amman – Mt Nebo – Madaba – Shobak – Petra

Mt Nebo is the biblical pilgrimage site where Moses stood and surveyed the Promised Land of Canaan. It overlooks the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea. The endless views from here are nothing short of spectacular. Stop off at the Jordan River, Bethany Beyond the Jordan where Jesus is said to have been baptized and where John the Baptist resided. You can witness Baptisms taking place here, and people come from around the world for this, it’s quite a sight. Across the narrow stretch of river you can see into Israel, where it looks like you could literally just wade across, but don’t try and cross here!

The next stop was Madaba, a Byzantine town well known for its’ vibrant and colourful mosaics. After that a stop in Shobak to visit Shobak castle which is set atop a mountain, before a late arrival at Petra for the evening.

Today’s journey takes in part of the Kings Highway, an incredibly scenic drive. The total route is 280km.

Take the Kings Highway for breathtaking views

Day 5 City of Petra

This is one of the absolute highlights of Jordan, so aim to come here in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds and intense heat of the midday sun. Walking through the deep narrow mile long rock corridor that snakes it’s way through the sandstone cliffs and making that last turn in the Siq to catch a glimpse of the astounding Treasury building, is a moment you’ll always remember for taking your breath away. This area has been featured in various movies including Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Petra is 60 sq km, so choose the areas you want to focus on beforehand; Temple of Dushares, Renaissance Tomb, the Monastery, the Treasury are just a few. Take the hike up to the Monastery, it’s less busy than at the Treasury and a bit harder to reach. Take the path from near the museum and climb the 800 steps to get there. Or hike up to the High Place of Sacrifice and Al Khubtha trail (which we didn’t have time for) but gives an amazing view from the top.

If you are here on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday, you can do the ‘Treasury at night’ experience where more than 150 lamps light up the gorge and Treasury, creating a magical ambience. This is definitely worth doing and isn’t part of the tour with Titan, so will have to be arranged separately, but the Titan guide was happy to do this for us. For more information on this night experience click here

The Treasury at night experience

Day 6 Petra – Wadi Rum – Dead Sea

This particular tour gave an introduction to the Wadi Rum with most of the day spent in the desert, before heading to the Dead Sea. If you love exploring this kind of natural desert landscape then I’d highly recommend spending more time here. We came back for a 2 night desert camping experience at the end of the tour (see days 10 and 11).

Day 7 Dead Sea

Most hotels have direct access to the Dead Sea and it will be difficult to just walk up to it. The Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth, 400m below sea level. You can float in it and enjoy it’s natural buoyancy. The high saline level makes the water incredibly dense enabling everyone to float effortlessly in it. You can rub the mud from the sea all over your body too, the salt in it helps to remove impurities and improves the skins functionality by making it more elastic. I’d recommend choosing a hotel with a good spa to reap the full benefits, personally, I found a massage at the end of the day totally relaxing.

Day 8 Dead Sea – Aqaba

Aqaba is Jordan’s only coastal city, it sits on the Red Sea and despite having a short coastline, boasts 25 dive sites including shipwrecks. The whole diving scene is less busy than Eilat and the Egyptian Red Sea resorts. We dived a site called ‘Black Rock’ with Sinbad Dive Club, the corals were in pristine condition, with plenty of smaller fish, including angelfish and a few parrot fish. It is possible to snorkel at some of these sites here too. If you’re a Lawrence of Arabia fan, this city is also depicted in the film where the Arab forces gain victory over the Ottoman defenders in the Great Arab Revolt’s Battle.

The coastal city of Aqaba

Day 9 Aqaba – Wadi Rum

The Wadi Rum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an adventurers paradise, providing stunning views of an almost other worldly landscape with opportunities for hiking, rock climbing and camel safaris. The afternoon was spent exploring the rugged landscape from the back of a jeep and witnessing a wonderful desert sunset.

Day 10 Wadi Rum

The morning started with a camel safari and exploration of the local area, stopping off for a picnic lunch. I loved the way the guides would just stop off anywhere they fancied and made a little fire to make some coffee, the views beat any coffee shop! The afternoon was spent exploring by jeep, stopping to see the Mushroom Rock, climbing Um Fruth Bridge, Jebel Burdah Rock Bridge and the Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

Learning about the family of our Bedouin guide that still lived the nomadic life and moved their home depending on the time of year was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me (even though it wasn’t part of the organised tour). We got on really well with our guide and he invited us to his home to meet his family, enjoy a Bedouin lunch, learn about the Bedouin culture and witness a coffee drinking ceremony. A loud bell (like that used on a school playground) was rung and this signalled to the neighbours it was coffee time. They arrived one by one (all men, women weren’t a part of this, as a foreigner and guest I was permitted to stay along with my husband). We had been taught about the etiquette for accepting coffee and declining any offer of more coffee, taught when to use the right and left hands, what hand gestures to use without being rude...I certainly hadn’t imagined it to be so involved. It really was a fascinating experience.

Day 11 Wadi Rum - UK

Flight back home

Um Fruth Bridge in the Wadi Rum desert

If you have a couple more days to spend here, you could add any of these to the itinerary:

  • Wadi Mujib - river canyon (known as the Grand Canyon of Jordan). It is a 1.5 hour drive from Amman

  • Rock Climbing – If you like climbing then the Wadi Rum is one the world’s great destinations for that

  • Khazali and Burrah Canyons

  • Ma’in Springs – hot mineral springs that are located between Madaba and the Dead Sea

  • Dana Biosphere Reserve – Jordan’s largest nature reserve

  • The Kings Highway – 280km scenic drive through winding roads, it’s a longer route between Amman and Petra

For useful travel tips and essential information for travelling after Covid-19, click here.

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