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March 22, 2022

The Right Jordan Itinerary For You

Plan your perfect Jordan itinerary and enter a world of swirling red sand, ancient cities, stargazing skies and stories that will last several lifetimes. Pull up a chair, grab some cardamom coffee and let's walk you through our Jordan travel guide.

Jordan - Wadi Rum - landscape view with car in distance

Finding The Right Jordan Itinerary for You

I love travel in Jordan. There, I've said it. I love the swirling red desert sand, the stargazing at night, and the dates and pomegranates at open markets. I love the raspberry ripple stone canyons of Petra, the childlike joy of floating in the Dead Sea and the philosophical power punch of visiting holy sites from long ago. But most of all, I love the welcome from people.

Through tea, sumac and spice, I've enjoyed this Middle Eastern country so much that I go back time and again. 

But when planning my first trip to Jordan, I didn't know where to start. Jordan's position in the Middle East means that a little planning is required when putting together your Jordan itinerary.

So here's my guide to do just that. You can find all the more atmospheric stories about visiting Jordan over here and a guide to visiting the best places in the Middle East here.

In the meantime, let's plan your itinerary for Jordan.

Jordan Itinerary At a Glance

  • Arrive Amman
  • See Amman and Jerash
  • Explore Wadi Rum
  • Hike through Petra
  • Visit Kerak Castle and the Dead Sea
  • See Mt Nebo, the Madaba Mosaics and Bethany Beyond the Jordan
  • Head back to Amman

Jordan Itinerary Google Map

Jordan - Jerash - Theatre - Abigail King

Jordan: one of the most interesting countries on earth...

Disclosure - I have travelled to Jordan many times, now, in partnership with Visit Jordan and Globus Travel on occasion. As ever, as always, I keep the right to write what I like here on the Lab. Otherwise, what's the point? Also, if you book or buy through any of the links on this page then I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Cheers!

Why Visit Jordan

Where do I begin?! Jordan has not one, not two, not three but many more world class places that stand head and shoulders above the highlights of many other countries. 

First, and perhaps most famously, there is Petra. This hidden city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, buried in the rocks, was "rediscovered" by the world in 1812 by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. But local Bedouin had known about it, of course, for all this time. The view of the Treasury may be the most famous image of Jordan, but the Nabatean city extends for miles behind that. 

Then there is the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, with a saline concentration so high you can float on its waters. 

Jordan straddles part of the ancient Holy Land and so you can visit the site where Jesus was baptised, according to archaeologists and theologists alike, then conduct historical jigsaw puzzles with the mosaics of Madaba. 

Jordan - Wadi Rum - Abigail King by jeep and rocks

Wadi Rum, though not as well known, carves deep red dunes into the camel stone of the desert. It is powerfully, poignantly beautiful. 

Then you have ancient Roman ruins, the oldest continuously inhabited city on earth, a range of fresh and flavoursome Jordanian food and a modern city with modern women running businesses from their home.

Phew. And do you know what else? I'm actually only getting started. Read about the best things to do in Jordan over here.

Now, let's roll our sleeves up and get talking about practical travel tips for Jordan and work out how to plan the perfect Jordan itinerary for you!

How long do you need to visit Jordan?

You can comfortably hit the main sights with either a 7 day Jordan itinerary or a 10 day one. Of course, as a big supporter of slow travel and as someone who absolutely loves travel in Jordan, the longer the better if you can. More time will give you more opportunities to meet local people, hike off the beaten track and sample more of the food on offer.

But if time is tight, as it usually is, then you can still see a lot within a 7 day Jordan itinerary. 

Jordan - Wadi Rum - Group of jeeps

Should you join a group or go it alone?

Should you travel independently or join a tour?

Ah, that’s a big question. Again, as a passionate supporter of independent travel in general, there are a few things to bear in mind about travel in Jordan. 

The first is the language barrier. In the popular tourist spots in the capital Amman and in the big resorts at the Dead Sea, Petra and Aqaba, you will find enough people who speak English to get by. 

However, in more rural areas, and even in other popular spots like Wadi Rum, you will find that without speaking Arabic, it’s going to be difficult to work out what to do. Even if you blunder through to success (another method I enjoy on occasion) you will miss out on conversations with people, and that’s a shame because meeting new people is one of the best things to do in the Middle East. 

With a tour, you will be travelling with a guide and interpreter and can learn much more about how Jordanian society works and interact with people more easily. 

The second issue to consider involves the borders with Jordan’s neighbours. Jordan borders Iraq, Syria, Israel and Saudi and these are all borders with geopolitical significance - and often military guards. While Jordan itself is a very safe country to travel through, a blunder onto the wrong side of a border with the wrong paperwork is not a safe situation to find yourself in. 

For these two reasons, I’d highly recommend travelling with a guide, at least outside the capital of Amman. 

Jordan - Amman - street art to see on a Jordan itinerary

Globus Jordan Escape group walking through downtown Amman

Should you join a group trip?

So, onto the next question. Should you hire a private guide and driver? Or join a group tour?

Let's talk about the pros and cons of joining a group tour, based on my recent trip to Jordan with Globus Escapes.

Pros

  • You save an enormous amount of time! Calculating drive times, checking opening times, coordinating permits and border permissions, booking hotels, comparing rates, looking for parking, checking visas, checking safety recommendations. Sheesh! When someone does all that for you, you save a lot of time. 
  • You get company! Sure, you're unlikely to become best friends with everyone, but in a group of more than about six people, you're bound to find someone you like. I've made lifelong friendships from people I met travelling. Plus, even with more casual acquaintances, it's nice to have people to meet at breakfast, to look after your bags and, well, in general look out for each other.   
  • You get access to things that are difficult to arrange on your own. This partly depends on the company (and I've travelled with some bad ones!) But Globus really made the effort to take us to places that would be difficult on your own. Sustainable travel places, like the Bait Khairat Souf and a family homestay meal in Wadi Musa. Not all of these excursions are included in the tour price but it was always clear in advance when that was the case. And they were all absolutely worth it.
  • You get access to rich background information. Travel on your own and you're with your own thoughts for the journey. Travel with Globus and you have a local guide filling you in on the background of the country, from how to tie the keffiyeh headscarf to deciphering marriage traditions, from bellydancing to mineral exports and everything in between. Do make sure this is the case, though. I have travelled with other tour companies where the guide is an enthusiastic fellow traveller just reading material from a worksheet. Globus always uses professional local guides.
  • You get help if things go wrong. This is priceless. Especially during coronavirus times. Not only do you have access to someone who can speak the local language right in front of you but they also know the country and how it works. In our group alone, our guide tracked down lost electronics, sorted out health problems and provided advice for border crossings.
  • Your interpreter can help you get to know people. One of the best things about the Middle East, or perhaps travel in general, is meeting people from different backgrounds to you. But that's hard to do, sometimes, when you can't speak the language. Having a Globus guide, for example, meant I could ask away and connect on a deeper level.
  • You get off to the right start. I never fail to enjoy the treat of someone meeting me at the airport. In Jordan, with Globus, they meet you before you pass passport control and help with your visa application as well. Then, instead of haggling with waiting taxi drivers and wondering whether or not you're being ripped off, you simply step into your waiting transport and are whisked off to your comfortable hotel. A great start to a journey. 
  • It's much less stressful. This point really builds on all the others. But you know that if something goes wrong while on the trip, it's not your problem alone to fix it. You know that you are travelling with professionals who know the area and the language. If you get caught up in traffic, they will know the short cut and be able to call ahead to say you're running late. If something worse happens, well, again, you have backup. It's liberating.
  • You can have some down time. Shhh. This is a bit of a strange one but I'll say it anyway. When you travel with a private guide, there's often a social expectation that you are both chatting all the time, which can start to feel a little awkward. Sometimes, it's nice to be able to give your mind a break or close your eyes on long journeys. When you travel on a group tour, you can drift in and out of conversations, giving your mind some much needed rest.

Cons

  • The size of the group makes some thing difficult. The more people there are, the longer the toilet breaks take, and the same for shopping trips, photo stops, snacks and everything else. Groups can't visit small eateries and it's harder to initiate authentic interactions with local people with a group of 30 behind you. Plus, if decisions go to a vote, chances are you won't get your first choice. That's just the way democracy works!
  • If you miss something, you miss it. Travel on your own and if you feel unwell, you can often pause and try again the next day. With a group, there's no chance for that. The group moves on and you have to rejoin them when you can. 

Having said all that, you can easily overcome many of the cons with a little initiative. You can peel off to arrange some meals on your own or leave the main tour to pick up a smaller one, if you wish. With Globus, we did this in Wadi Musa near Petra. A smaller group of us left the buffet one evening to dine in a family home. The next morning, we hired a guide to hike a different route into Petra. The key lies in good communication so that the rest of your group aren't left confused and hanging around!

If you decide not to book through a group trip, then check out the Jordan Pass. It may help you arrange your sightseeing.

Jordan Itinerary - Osama Globus guide in shop in Amman Old Town

Osama: fabulous guide

Jordan - Jerash Hadrian Gate Abigail King-1

Travel in the off season, beat the crowds...

The Globus Escapes Concept

  • Escapes by Globus have a genius idea: they take place during the off season. This way, you avoid temperature extremes, are less likely to be jostling nose to armpit with crowds of tourists and, yes, the tours cost less as prices are lower in the off season.
  • This was my first experience of a Globus Tour but I found myself travelling with many, many people who had travelled with them before and who had booked this trip just as soon as they'd got home from their last Globus adventure.
  • Our guide, Osama, was outstanding in his level of knowledge, degree of helpfulness and, crucially, sense of humour and joie de vivre.
  • Our group was mostly 40 plus and for those travelling solo, they waive the single supplement.

Bookmark these Jordan travel itineraries and this Jordan travel guide on Pinterest to read later.

Jordan Travel Guide - Jordan Itinerary 10 day, 7 day, 5 day
Plan your itinerary for Jordan

Your 7 day Jordan Itinerary

This Jordan itinerary is based on the Jordan Globus Escapes plan. I've mentioned some extras that you can add in along the way and at the end, I've offered some alternative 10, 8, 5 and 3 day Jordan itineraries. 

Day One - Jordan Itinerary

Jordan - Amman - driving through downtown in the King's cars

Arriving in Amman...

 Arrival into Amman

Amman is a bewitching city, with its ochre-white walls and calls to prayer mixing with trendy coffee shops, design, art and innovation. It's not the most beautiful capital in the world but it is one of oldest: the Ghazal figures at the Citadel museum mark  the oldest representation of people in the world. 

If you arrive early and have time to spare, then you can find an easy introduction into life in Jordan by wandering along the coffee shops and restaurants on internationally minded Rainbow Street. But if you've had a long flight, take it easy on yourself on day one. Rest and save your energy for later.

Where to sleep: The Kempinski Hotel Amman

Jordan - Jerash Hadrian Gate Abigail King

Day Two - Jordan Itinerary 

Amman & Jerash

Now we're getting started! Spend the morning travelling back to the past in Amman. (See also more ideas for Amman here.)

Jordan - Amman - citadel abandoned hand

Remains of Hercules at the Amman Citadel

The Amman Citadel

If you want to feel young, head to the citadel. Perched on one of the seven hills or jabals in Amman, this dry and dusty place has seen civilisations come and go like waves on a shore. First was the Neolithic period, then the bronze age. The Ammonites, neo-Assyrians, neo-Babylonians, Ptolemies, and Seleucids roamed around and that's all before the Romans arrived in around 100 BCE. 

The temple of Hercules is the site's most famous set of ruins, the hand elbow and, er, other body part lying unceremoniously in the rust red earth. 

Jordan - Amman - citadels - oldest figures made by man
Jordan - Amman - citadels - oldest figures made by mantext close up

The unassuming museum houses artefacts from throughout time, including the Ghazal figures: mankind's first artistic representation of himself (or herself, who knows?)

The Old Town

From the solitude and windswept stone of the citadel, head to the warmth and bustle of Amman's Old Town. If you have your heart set on anything Aladdin-like then here's your best shot. Piles of spices, hanging fruit, glittering gold in shop windows and fluttering fabric in the breeze. 

Jordan - Amman Old Town - Men smiling and working at Habibah Sweets
Jordan - Amman Old Town - knafeh like pastry with hot cheese and pistachio
  • Top tip: try some crumbling, hot and sinful knafeh at Habibah Sweets in the Old town. It's one of the best things to do in Amman! If I ever start a Jordan travel blog, this will be the very first food entry...

  • Jordan - BAIT KHAIRAT SOUF - baba ganoush with pomegranate seeds

    Lunch: Bait Khairat Souf

    Now, the Globus Jordan Escape team organised this lunch: it's not a straightforward place to reach independently. But I'm writing about it here because of three important reasons:

    • It disproved my idea that group meals on tours tend to be bland and divorced from local traditions
    • The story behind Bhait Khairat is one that deserves to be heard
    • The food tasted good!
    Jordan - BAIT KHAIRAT SOUF - garden

    Set in beautiful gardens, with flowering petals, small fountains and a canopy of green, the Bait Khairat Souf is a women's cooperative supported by the Queen Al Noor foundation. Food is largely home grown and definitely home cooked and it provides options for local women to develop skills, friendships and economic independence.

    Jordan - Jerash - sweeping columns

    Jerash

    There are Roman ruins. And there are Roman ruins. 

    Forget the odd mosaic, baths or villa you might find lying around in the UK. Jerash is an entire city. Just 45 minutes from Amman, the columns and colonnades sprawl in a leisurely fashion from Hadrian's Arch for mile after mile, making it one of the best preserved Greco-Roman ruins in the world. 

    And just to make you wonder if you're losing a grip on reality, you're also likely to catch a bagpipe show in the amphitheatre. 

    Yes, forget everything you ever knew. Bagpipes do actually originate from the Middle East, not Scotland. 

    How's that for an impressive and little known fact?!

    Jordan - Jerash - Bagpipes display

    Bagpipes: not from Scotland after all...

    Traditional Jordanian Food Recipes learned at Beit Sitti in Amman

    Nothing breaks through barriers faster than eating and drinking together

    Learn to cook at Beit Sitti

    Get to work for your evening dinner at the fabulous Beit Sitti cooking class, run in a home by the lovely Maria. I first met Maria ten years ago on one of my earliest assignments. Post Covid, I was thrilled to see that her business had survived and elated when she recognised me the moment I walked through the door. Read more about that story and her delicious Jordanian recipes here.

    This experience isn't part of the standard Globus tour (as all 30 people can't fit in her house) but you can add it to your Jordan itinerary by heading directly to the Beit Sitti website.

    Jordan - Wadi Rum - Group of jeeps

    Day Three - Jordan Itinerary

    Wadi Rum

    Day Three - Wadi Rum

    On the face of it, a visit to Wadi Rum doesn't sound all that enticing. You go, you see the desert, you leave. 

    But. 

    Once you go and you see the desert, I'd bet eighteen camels you don't want to leave. Because it is absurdly beautiful. Richly stunning. Imagine untouched ski slopes rising and falling around you, except replace white snow with burned red sand. Picture the sky a lavender blue and the wheels of the jeep gliding over the landscape, a breath, a sigh of wind in your hair. 

    Imagine an undulating kaleidoscope of those blues and oranges and purples, rising and falling, shifting and drifting. Then stop for tea or cardamom coffee in a blood striped tent, the traditional way. 

    Jordan - Wadi Rum - Camel

    Yeah. I know what you're thinking...

    Ride camels in Wadi Rum

    Of course, you could go all out for tradition and hike your backside up onto a cantankerous camel. Those images may look serene but I can assure you that the reality is anything but (or butt.)

    Yes, dear readers, after years of riding camels across the desert sands in many countries, I can tell you that those days are over. The lurch and swing, the projectile snot, the abrasive hide. 

    But, you know. Try anything once etc.

    Beyond the sand and the camels, you'll also find yourself sifting through the complicated legacy of Lawrence of Arabia. Not just a Peter O'Toole movie, the real Lawrence (T.E Lawrence) did indeed exist, befriend the Bedouin and fight against the Turks. But the legacy beyond that is complicated, to say the least. Amid the conundrums, today's Bedouin take you to see a somewhat questionable  carving of his likeness in the rock.

  • Inside tip: make sure your legs are covered if you plan on riding a camel. Just saying...
  • Jordan - Wadi Musa - Dinner in a Bedouin home
    Jordan - Wadi Musa - Selection of desserts in a Bedouin home

    Dinner in a Bedouin home

    Now, depending on who you ask, Bedouin are people who live a nomadic life in the desert. Or those who did until recently but who now have a permanent home but who have maintained the traditions of their communities and people. 

    And one of the most moving experiences of the trip was the invitation to dinner in Ameena's home, with her children and their uncle, Sohaeb. More about that later!

    Where to sleep: the Mövenpick Resort Petra right by the entrance to Petra

    Jordan - Petra - The Monastery - Abigail King

    The Monastery in Petra

    Day Four - Jordan Itinerary 

    Petra

    Petra. This is the jewel in the crown, the sandwich in the picnic, the meat in the sandwich (sorry veggies.) Even before you know what it is, I'll be you you've seen that image of Petra, the face of the Treasury peering between the raspberry ripple rocky gorge. 

    Petra is simply outstanding. No matter how many times you visit, you'll always find something new. It's like London, only prettier. If a man is tired of London, he is tired of life. If a woman is tired of Petra, she needs to have a word with herself. Basically.

    However you plan your itinerary through Jordan, whether through Globus, another tour or through someone else, I would highly recommend this: make sure you rise and fall with Petra. That is, arrive the night before and give your aching, hardworking, unsuspecting muscles the chance to recover by staying the night after as well. 

    The site of Petra is huge. Vast. Enormous. Gigantic. In the words of my nursery age daughter, a million, billion years big. 

    Even if all you do is walk from the entrance to the Treasury and turn back, you will have walked four kilometres. And missed the point, to be honest. 

    Jordan - Petra - approach to the Treasury through the canyon

    The famous approach to the Treasury

    Understanding Petra

    Petra is an ancient city, built by the Nabateans and extending over 102 square miles. It has columns and colonnades, an amphitheatre, tombs, marketplaces, mysteries and the awe-inspiring Monastery. 

    And it has been made more accessible over the years and over my visits. The rough stony approach to the Treasury is now a smooth concrete path. Golf buggies now buzz where horses used to roam. This is great for those with mobility issues. 

    For those without, it's worth pulling on the hiking boots, slapping on the sunscreen and dosing up on your mojo to hike at least to the Monastery. 

    It's hard to provide a sense of just how big the complex is. And it's definitely worth visiting with a guide, to get a sense of who the Nabateans were.

    Jordan - Petra - By Night

    Petra by night: serenity by candlelight.

    Petra by Night

    An optional extra to Petra is the evening experience known as Petra by night. Personally, I think it's utterly beautiful, a constellation of stargazing, candlelight and folk music in front of the majestic Treasury of Petra itself. But for those who expect a blaring, glaring light and sound show, you'll be disappointed. Read more about my thoughts over here: is Petra at night worth it?

    • Inside Tip - When it comes to visiting Petra, Globus Escape has the right idea. When I visited during the summer heat, my lasting memory is of collapsing into bed with black dots battling with stars in my head. And I was ten years younger. Simply put, Petra is best visited in the off season.
    • Where to sleep: the Mövenpick Resort Petra right by the entrance to Petra

    Bookmark these Jordan travel itineraries and this Jordan travel guide on Pinterest to read later.

    Jordan Travel Guide - Jordan Itinerary 10 day, 7 day, 5 day
    Plan your itinerary for Jordan

    Day Five - Jordan Itinerary

     Kerak, Wadi Majib and the Dead Sea

    OK, OK. Today you can relax. After a hard day hiking through Petra, the fifth day of this Jordan itinerary sees you spend a recuperating amount of time on the road. (What some inspiration? Check out these fun road trip questions for grown ups.)

    But in between watching camels slide by through the window and listening to your guide talk about the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, you will have a few key stops. 

    Kerak castle

    Everyone who's heard of Robin Hood, Prince John and Richard the Lionheart has heard of the Crusades, albeit vaguely. But of course, these weren't the background scene of a Nottingham legend but a real series of conflicts held around the Holy Land in the Middle Ages. 

    Kerak Castle helps to put some context into the period, through its dungeons, windswept battlements, stables and broad views of the cream and russet countryside. It's one of the largest and best preserved castles from the Crusader Period. Built in 1140, it changed hands several times in very many bloody, messy ways. Today, though, it's a peaceful spot and the restaurant just outside serves beautiful refreshing mint and lemon drinks.

    Click to play

    Wadi Majib

    Wadi Majib (or Wadi Mujib) is a deep canyon cuts through rust red rock with a sense of passion and drama. It's also a hotspot for adventure sports and canyoning (you can have a good laugh at a retro video of a younger me canyoning in Wadi Majib right here.)

    On the Globus Jordan itinerary, though, you don't have to splash yourself through that. You drive down, across, and up the gorge, stopping for photo spots but nothing more arduous.

    Then it's on to the lowest point on earth: the Dead Sea.

    Jordan - Dead Sea - Sign you are at the lowest point on earth

    The Dead Sea

    Glistening between Jordan and Israel, the Dead Sea sits at 427 metres below sea level and, well, is a lake rather than a sea. Despite the off-putting name (it's the fish who can't survive, not the people,) it's become a popular place for spa resorts. Each weekend, Jordanians leave the capital of Amman and head to the Dead Sea, slathering themselves in mud for a youthful complexion and watching a bellydancer for, well, reasons unknown. 

    Three times, now, I've been lucky enough to visit the Dead Sea and each time has been a blast. There's something faintly ridiculous, no boldly ridiculous, about covering yourself in mud and bobbing about like a drunken penguin. The high salinity means you can't sink but you sure as anything can't swim either. 

    Bluntly put, the Dead Sea is a wonder of the world and an absolute must on any Jordan itinerary.

    Where to sleep: the Mövenpick Dead Sea Resort and Spa

    Jordan - Baptism Site - sometimes you have to run to catch up with the group

    It's a busy day - you need to move fast!

    Day Six - Jordan Itinerary 

    Mt Nebo, Madaba, Bethany Beyond the Jordan

    Today is a busy day. One which spans thousands of years, scales a mountain, views the promised land and, well, puts your feet on the earth where world-changing events took place. 

    Wherever you sit on the religious spectrum, there's absolutely no denying that the events that took place here had monumental, far reaching consequences for the world at large. Consequences that continue to this day. 

    Because in just a few square miles, you can stand on the spot where Jesus was baptised and also on the mountain where Moses saw the promised land of Israel. 

    If you believe, the significance is obvious. If you don't, it's perhaps more powerful to stand and wonder why these places, why these stories achieved the global fame and far reaching consequences that they did. 

    And in either case, to visit is to witness a striking contrast to what you see on the news: soldiers chatting in the sunshine on the West Bank. And Muslims and Jews paying to protect sites that matter to Christians. 

    But enough chatting. Let's talk about what you can see. 

    Jordan - Baptism Site - His Excellency Rustom Mkhjian

    His Excellency Rustom Mkhjian, Director of the Baptism Site

    Jordan - Baptism Site - Abigail King

    Powerful thoughts...

    Bethany Beyond the Jordan

    We arrived in Bethany Beyond the Jordan in an appropriately biblical downpour of rain. Greeted by the Director of the Baptism Site Commission, His Excellency Rustom Mkhjian, we walked through the archaeological ruins and remains that suggest that this area was the place of ministry for John the Baptist. 

    Then you move to the baptism site itself. The place where historians tend to agree was the original baptism site of Jesus, and the pivotal moment where He began His teachings. 

    A tiny stream trickles through a cross-shaped grave of mud and the noise sounds livelier and more energetic than it looks. In the Bible, Jesus is baptised in the River Jordan, which is not, of course, this. But experts agree that the river has changed course over the last two thousand years or so and other archaeological remains almost unanimously suggest that this is the place. 

    But not entirely unanimously. Just a little way further along, you can visit the Jordan River, which separates Jordan from the West Bank. Various irrigation systems upstream have siphoned off the water, so what sounded like the Hudson or Thames in biblical times is now around the size of a country road.

    Still, people attend on both sides for baptism and a beautiful church, resplendent in the breaks of sunshine between the clouds, also celebrates the site.

    Saint George church mosaic in Madaba Jordan

    Madaba: famous for mosaics but there's more to the story than that

    Madaba

    Just along the road in Madaba, the word on the street is mosaics. In fact, the mosaics were the streets in Roman times which, of course, were also the times when Jesus and John the Baptist were roaming around. 

    The most famous mosaic in Madaba is the 6th century depiction of the Holy Land in the Greek Orthodox Church of St George. It's worth visiting, not only for the mosaic, but also to witness the practice of Christianity in a Muslim country. 

    Just along the road is the Church of the Virgin Mary, which I missed on my first visit to Madaba (thanks again Globus for the heads up!) 

    Inside, you'll find mosaic after mosaic after mosaic, well, you get the picture. 

    But it's worth seeing them. See why the mosaics of Madaba matter more than you think here.

    Jordan - Mt Nebo - Crucifix and Abigail King

    It gets cold and windy up here!

    Jordan - Mt Nebo - view of the promised land

    Sunlight marks the Promised Land...

    Mount Nebo

    From the peak of Mt Nebo, God showed Moses the Promised Land of Canaan. And standing on that peak, even amid the wind and rain, the whole idea makes sense. For while we stood battered and smattered by the elements, a golden expanse of sunshine seemed to breathe with ease over the land of today's Israel. 

    Beyond the viewpoint, you'll find a memorial, a small museum and a covered selection of more mosaics. They are all interesting in their own right but it's the view from the mountain itself that makes this a world class visit. 

    Reading newspapers while floating in the Dead Sea

    The Dead Sea (again)

    In the Globus Jordan itinerary, you head back to the Dead Sea spa for the night because, why not?! It's fun!

    Alternatives would involve travelling back to Amman to cram in a few more city sights before you fly.

    • Inside tip: leave all your preconceptions behind. Respect and reverence and an open mind make for getting the best and the most out of this day.
    Jordan - Petra - Abigail King looking thoughtful

    Sad to say goodbye...

    Day Seven - Jordan Itinerary

    leave from Amman

    Depending on your flight time, you can either spend the day lazing by the side of the Dead Sea... or get up at the crack of dawn to hot foot it to the airport. 

    That's it! Your seven day Jordan itinerary has come to an end. Want more time? Check out the other Jordan itinerary suggestions below...

    Bookmark these Jordan travel itineraries and this Jordan travel guide on Pinterest to read later.

    Jordan Travel Guide - Jordan Itinerary 10 day, 7 day, 5 day
    Plan your itinerary for Jordan

    10 day Jordan Itinerary

    With 10 days in Jordan, you can expand some of the stops on the 7 day Jordan itinerary but follow the same basic loop of the plan. Spend a night in Wadi Rum, two in Petra and in the warmer months, head further south to Aqaba.

    • Arrive Amman
    • See Amman and Jerash
    • Explore Wadi Rum - stay overnight
    • Hike through Petra and Little Petra - 2 nights in Petra
    • Head to Aqaba
    • Return via Kerak Castle and the Dead Sea
    • See Mt Nebo, the Madaba Mosaics and Bethany Beyond the Jordan
    • Head back to Amman

    8 day Jordan Itinerary

    For an 8 day Jordan itinerary, follow the outline above but spend one night in Wadi Rum or at the Dana Biosphere Reserve mid trip.

    • Arrive Amman
    • See Amman and Jerash
    • Explore Wadi Rum 
    • Stay in the Dana Biosphere Reserve
    • Hike through Petra
    • Return via Kerak Castle and the Dead Sea
    • See Mt Nebo, the Madaba Mosaics and Bethany Beyond the Jordan
    • Head back to Amman

    5 day Jordan Itinerary

    With 5 days in Jordan, time is tight! I'd suggest cutting the Kerak Castle day and combine Petra and Wadi Rum into one day. It will be a squish but you can just about pull it off. 

    • Arrive Amman
    • See Amman and Jerash
    • Explore Wadi Rum & Petra
    • See the Dead Sea, Mt Nebo, the Madaba Mosaics and Bethany Beyond the Jordan
    • Head back to Amman

    3 day Jordan Itinerary

    With only three days in Jordan, instead of a week in Jordan, then something has to go. Head straight from Amman to Petra, then to Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea and then back to Amman to fly home.

    • Arrive Amman and head straight to Petra
    • See Petra and Wadi Rum
    • Back to Amman via the Dead Sea

    More options to add to your Jordan itinerary

    With more time, you can see more! Here are more details about the activities mentioned above.

    Stay overnight in Wadi Rum: Hot air balloon ride in the morning

    Once you've seen Wadi Rum, you'll want to stay. At night you can see the stars in a perfectly dark sky. And early in the morning, you can head into the air in a wicker basket, powered simply by raw fire. You can watch my hot air balloon ride in Wadi Rum on YouTube here.

    Hit the coast in Aqaba in the south

    Jordan may have a small sliver of a coastline but it likes to make the most of it. Aqaba in the south borders the Red Sea, with plenty of rainbow fish to keep snorkellers and divers happy. It's also a good spot for windsurfing. Bear in mind that winters are cool, however, so plan to visit Aqaba during the warmer months.

    Go stargazing in the Dana Nature Reserve 

    Hidden in the Dana Biosphere Reserve is one of the most forward-thinking eco lodges in the world. Built on an abandoned archaeological site, you can stargaze at night in a pollution free sky. You can also hike through the reserve or take a driving tour through Roman mines and sit and have coffee and homemade bread with Bedouin people who live on the land. 

    It's a special place to visit and you can read my full account about the Feynan Ecolodge here.

    Hike Little Petra

    Little Petra, in virtually any other setting, would be big news. Somewhat overshadowed by nearby Big Petra, Little Petra also represents Nabatean city life set in a sandstone canyon. Its name in Arabic is Siq al-Barid, meaning the cold canyon, and it does offer plenty more shade than the bigger version.

    Hike the off the beaten track routes in Petra

    You could honestly spend a week hiking through the ancient city of Petra. And indeed, that's what keen hikers do. 

    But if you're not in a position to spend another seven days away from the desk, you can spend one day exploring different parts of the site. You don't have to join the crowds and walk straight from the visitor centre to the Treasury. With the right guide, you can hike straight to the Monastery, via the back route. Other options include four hour excursions to those stunning viewpoints seen on instagram.

    Jordan - Amman - hanging bags of fruit in the Old Town

    Fresh oranges and pomegranates hanging in Amman Old Town

    Spend extra time in Amman

    You could fill 3 days in Jordan with nothing but an Amman itinerary to soak in a sense of the country. In particular, I'd recommend the following highlights:

    Jordan - Amman - Royal Automobile Museum

    The Royal Automobile Museum

    Car lovers will fall head over heels in love with the Royal Automobile Museum. But the rest of us? It's more interesting than you may think. Amid the shiny metal and scent of rubber, you'll find the whole history of the modern state of Jordan told through news archive and, well, automobiles. It's the first time I've seen engineering history combined with humanities and, well, it's a success!

    Ride like a king!

    When we left the Royal Automobile Museum, we couldn't help but notice that our trusty tour bus had been replaced. By a fleet of vehicles from the King's personal collection, complete with royal guards. They were assembled to take us back to our hotel!


    Now, this isn't something that you can arrange but I mention it because it reminds me of the joys of travel: you really never know what will happen in a day. 

    Jordan - Valley of the Orchards - Bait Khairat Souf - Ceramics workshop at Iraq Al Amir Women Coop
    Jordan - Valley of the Orchards - Bait Khairat Souf - Bait Khairat Souf ceramics close up

    The Iraq Al Amir Women's Cooperative

    Just 20km southwest of Amman, so perfect for a leisurely day trip, you'll find the Iraq Al Amir Women's Cooperative. Here, cooking and crafts workshops take place within ten renovated historic farmhouses. They in turn overlook the Qasr Al-Abd archaeological site which dates back to 200BC and the Hellenistic era of Hyrcanus the Tobiad.

    This beautiful spot provides home-cooked meals and sells hand crafted ceramics and pressed flowers. 

    Jordan Itinerary - Jordan Art Gallery in Amman with Lina of Divergent Travelers

    Lina from Divergent Traveler in the Amman Art Gallery

    The Jordan Gallery of Fine Arts

    To get a sense of where a nation is right now, you can't beat visiting a modern art gallery. The Jordan Gallery of Fine Arts curates work from across the Middle East in a series of white, light, beautiful exhibition spaces. It also has a wonderful multicolour balcony space that overlooks the neighbourhood outside (plus a cafe, always good to find coffee.)

    As an extra Globus plus, we met with Suhail Baqueen, founder of the Darat Suhail Art Center where he runs the Scent of Color programme. There he pairs colours with scents (pink with rose, lemon with yellow, orange with, well, yes, orange and so on) allowing visually impaired students to create visual art.

    Jordan - Wadi Rum - Abigail King taken by Helene Sula

    Travel in Jordan makes you feel alive!

    Frequently Asked Questions About Jordan

    Whenever you're planning a Jordan trip, it's important to ask yourself the following questions:

    When is the best time to visit Jordan?

    Summers in Jordan are hot, hot, hot and that heat can feel crushing when you’re spending the day hiking through Petra or beneath the burning desert sun in Wadi Rum. 

    Jordan’s most popular seasons, therefore, are spring and autumn: the months of March to May and September to November. During those months, Jordan’s heat has faded but the skies are still a sun kissed golden warm. 

    However, there is another time to visit, as I discovered on my Globus Escape. Their Escape tours prioritise travel during the off season when prices are lower and crowds are thinner. And it worked. We saw the beautiful ruined cities of Petra and Jerash with few tourists for company. And the tour prices are, on average, 30% cheaper than during the high season. 

    Of course, if you travel in the off season, you need to be aware that it can be cold. It’s unusual but possible for snow to fall on Petra, for example. And exposed places like the top of Mt Nebo and the Citadel in Amman, you will need to wrap up warm with the full works: hat, scarf, gloves, waterproof. 

    It’s also a great season for seeing the more authentic side of Jordan. And with fewer tourists around, people are more relaxed and likely to stop and chat. 

    Jordan Itinerary - what to eat in Jordan overhead platter of hummus and fattoush and pitta bread

    What to eat in Jordan

    Food is a big, feasting, sharing tradition in Jordan and it comes with plenty of fresh salads, hummus and flat breads. You can read more about Jordanian food here, including recipes, but expect plenty of cardamom coffee, baba ghanoush, rice and meat based dishes like mansaf and the hard white yoghurt of lebneh. 

    Vegetarianism is still seen as a quirky curiosity across most of the country but it shouldn’t be too difficult to find meat free options. 

    If you’re travelling on a Globus Tour, then most evening meals will involve a buffet in one of the four and five star hotels. This will offer plenty of local options but also some international food, in case the saffron and sumac is getting too much. 

    On the other hand, if you’re feeling more adventurous, then you can ask your guide to arrange a home visit or cooking class for you (for an additional charge) in the evening. 

    Lunchtimes are a mix between large restaurants that cater for large groups of tourists or off the beaten path co-ops that burst with local traditions and flavours.

    If you’re travelling independently, of course, you can choose whichever you wish. Although, bear in mind that some of the cooking classes and home visits rely on personal introductions, often through tour companies, so you may find your options more limited than they first appear.

    What about dietary restrictions in Jordan

    In general, the Jordanian customs are extremely hospitable and people will try to cater for your needs. That said, it's still not that common to present vegan, gluten free and lactose free options as a matter of routine. As always, travel with a translated version of what you need to ask about, remain calm and polite and bring your own snacks, just in case.

    Jordan - Wadi Rum - Abigail King in keffiyeh

    What to wear in Jordan

    It’s natural to be slightly concerned about what to wear in Jordan - and in fact I’m going to write a whole new post about it. 

    Certain parts of the country, particularly in the desert, are extremely conservative and there you will see women fully covered with a headscarf and burqa. In Amman, on the other hand, don’t be surprised to see women in skin tight leather trousers and slouchy sweaters with their hair loose. 

    So what should you do?

    In short, it’s best to wear loose clothes that go down to your wrists and ankles. Girls, it’s handy to have a scarf with you for visiting holy sites (and sheltering from the rain) but other than that, it’s rarely necessary. Keep shoulders and cleavage covered and avoid slits in skirts and dresses.

    Is Jordan safe?

    In short, yes. While nowhere is perfect, Jordan has had a stable government for many years. The main places that tourists will visit are far from the borders with places in conflict. The police presence is visible and the level of street harassment is very, very low, even from hawkers. As a solo female traveller, I've walked around Rainbow Street and Downtown Amman on my own with no trouble at all.

    Is it a good idea to travel to Jordan with kids?

    Yes and no. While I'm a passionate supporter of family travel and write about plenty of family travel itineraries, there are a few things to bear in mind about Jordan. Firstly, Petra is huge and is best enjoyed by walking around. Secondly, the Dead Sea isn't fun to splash around in: all that salt hurts! Finally, the desert in Wadi Rum doesn't have many facilities. It's part of its beauty but it does make things harder if you're travelling with very young children. 

    If you're travelling with teens, I would highly recommend a trip to Jordan for your family travel bucket list. But for children younger than 10-12, I would recommend waiting. You'd be fine but you'll enjoy it a lot more (and so will they) when they are older.

    Jordan - Wadi Rum - Keffiyeh headscarves on Abi and Susan

    What to pack for Jordan

    Don't fall for the myth that the Middle East is always hot. Even in the summer, temperatures plunge at night in the desert. 

    I would recommend packing long sleeve, long legged trousers in cool linens, with some thermals and a lightweight jacket and warmer jacket as well. Make sure you have proper walking shoes of hiking boots for areas outside the city. 

    It's not essential for women to cover their hair but it is really useful to pack a scarf to protect yourself from the sand if it's windy. 

    Don't forget to pack a travel adapter, your usual medication, chargers and so on. See our ultimate packing checklist here.

    What is it like to travel solo in JOrdan?

    If you join a group tour, it's going to be a whole lot of fun. If you don't speak Arabic and you're travelling on your own, then it's going to be intense and quite hard work. It's a safe country, though, with a tradition of politeness and hospitality. Even the markets feel far calmer and safer than, say, Cairo or Marrakech.

    Do you need a visa for Jordan?

    Obviously, this depends to some extent on your own passport status. But in general, US and UK citizens can collect a tourist visa upon entry to Jordan and the process is straightforward. Always check properly in advance, though, with your own government. 

    How to get to Jordan

    Most visitors arrive into Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA) in Amman. Flights connect to most of the world's major hubs, from London Heathrow to New York. The airport is around 45 minutes drive from downtown Amman. While not the most exciting airport in the world, it is clean and well equipped for shopping and eating.

    From London, both British Airways and Royal Jordanian fly from London Heathrow. The fastest way to connect from Heathrow to central London is via the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station, the gateway to the west, southwest and Wales. Using the Heathrow Express website in advance, you can book tickets for as little as  £5.50. Plus, children 15 and under travel for free.

    Jordan - Wadi Rum - Coach for Globus

    How to get around Jordan

    The easiest way to get around Jordan, by far, is by car or coach with a dedicated driver. As mentioned above, given the border situation with neighbouring countries, it's not the best place for a self drive. 

    In Amman, you can walk or take a taxi or Uber pretty easily. Public transport options do exist but if your time is short and you're trying to get through this 7 day Jordan itinerary, then your own wheels make the most sense. 

    What currency do you need for Jordan?

    Jordanians use the Jordanian Dinar, which equates to around 1 GBP or 0.8 USD. In main hotels and some tourist sites, you can pay in USD but it's always a good idea to have some local currency on you just in case. ATMs are plentiful and straightforward to use in Amman.

    Bookmark these Jordan travel itineraries and this Jordan travel guide on Pinterest to read later.

    Jordan Travel Guide - Jordan Itinerary 10 day, 7 day, 5 day
    Plan your itinerary for Jordan

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    About the author

    Hi, I'm Abi, a doctor turned writer who's worked with Lonely Planet, the BBC, UNESCO and more. Let's travel more and think more. Find out more.

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