Are you looking for the best things to do in Jordan? From Amman to Petra, the Dead Sea and more. Our guide of what to do in Jordan details all the best tourist attractions to help you plan your trip to Jordan!
From exploring ancient archeological sites, to diving in the Red Sea, hiking through a canyon river, or glamping under the stars in the desert.
With such a diverse range of things to see and do in Jordan and equally amazing places to stay, there’s something to suit everyone. Jordan is also a great place to plan an adventurous road trip and has some amazing photography locations!
Below we’ve detailed our pick of absolute must-see attractions and places to visit in Jordan, plus 15 other activities that are not quite so well known.
These amazing things to do in Jordan will inspire you to book a trip ASAP!
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The Best Things to Do in Jordan
#1 | Explore Amman Citadel
Perched high on Jebel Al Qala’a hill overlooking Jordan’s capital city, sits the ancient ruins of Amman citadel.
The site, located near downtown Amman, dates back to the 8th Century BC and comprises spectacular Roman ruins including the Temple of Hercules, Umayyad Palace, a Byzantine Church, and the Jordan Archeological Museum.
It’s a great place for photographers to capture some amazing shots of the ruins surrounded by the beige coloured building of the old city.
In my opinion, it’s one of the best things to do in Amman and one of the most underrated places to visit in Jordan. We arrived at Amman Citadel expecting it to be heaving with tourists, but it was relatively deserted by comparison with the ruins Petra. And the best part? Entry to the Citadel is free.
Pro Tip: While visiting Amman Citadel, be sure to allow enough time to explore the nearby Roman Theater, as well as the local shops, painted murals, and quaint cafes of downtown Amman.
Where to Stay in Amman:
#2 | The Lost City of Petra
Petra is undoubtedly the star of the show when it comes to the best places to visit in Jordan. It’s the primary reason why most people organise a trip to Jordan!
The ancient city dates back as early as 5th Century BC. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the 7 Wonders of the World. The “Red Rose City”, as it is known, is famous for its Hellenistic architecture, which is remarkably preserved.
The city is made up of a series of tombs, temples and monasteries carved from the red rock cliffs that is located in Wadi Musa (the valley of Moses). The Treasury is the most impressive (and most visited) site in Petra, with the Monastery being the largest.
Don’t forget to bring your camera. Petra one of the most stunning photography locations in Jordan. And you won’t want to leave without snapping that amazing Instagram photo to make your friends and family back home very jealous indeed.
Pro Tip: Wear good walking shoes. The hike from the entrance of Petra to the Treasury is approximately 2km. From here the valley stretches a further 2-3 km before winding up steep stairs to reach the Monastery at the top (8 km one way). We highly recommend you don’t hire a donkey to get around Petra, as these animals are treated very poorly. Be prepared to do a lot of walking instead!
Where to Stay near Petra (Wadi Musa):
#3 | Glamping in Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum is a desert in Jordan, located between Petra and Aqaba. It’s one of the most isolated places to visit in Jordan and known for its stunning bright red coloured sand dunes, rocky mountain peaks, and ancient archeological sites.
Wadi Rum is often known for its similarity to the landscape of Mars and it reminded us of the desert landscapes we encountered during our trip to Abu Dhabi.
Wadi Rum is a place that was much loved by British Army Officer and writer T.E. Lawrence (a.k.a. Lawrence of Arabia), who was well respected by the local tribespeople. It’s also the setting for a number of Hollywood blockbusters including The Martian, Star Wars, Dune, and of course, Lawrence of Arabia.
Wadi Rum is home to the traditional Bedouin tribes, many of whom still reside there and continue to practice their ancient nomadic traditions and resourceful ways of living off the land.
The Bedouin tribes are largely responsible for bringing tourism to Wadi Rum, offering overnight stays in their camps complete with a traditional feast and a chance to experience the warm Bedouin hospitality. It’s also possible to explore Wadi Rum by jeep tour or camel ride during the day, but nothing compares to spending a night under the stars.
Visiting Wadi Rum was one of our favourite things to do in Jordan and an experience we would 100% recommend for other bucket list seekers alike!
Where to Stay in Wadi Rum:
#4 | Float in the Dead Sea
Located on the western side of Jordan, along the border with Israel, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth. The reason for the name, is because the salt content is so dense (approximately 34%) that nothing can survive in its waters. There is absolutely no sea-life in the Dead Sea.
With the salt levels being 4 times higher than the ocean, it also makes the water extremely buoyant. It would be almost impossible to sink! So, one of the most unique things to do in Jordan is to spend some time floating in the Dead Sea.
The experience is quite relaxing. Most tourists find it amusing to lay back and snap gimmicky Instagram photos of reading the paper or a book. Don’t forget to wear a hat though as it can get hot! Just prior to sunset is a great time to relax and enjoy some floating.
There are some things you should know before visiting the Dead Sea. Firstly, you must swim at the official Dead Sea beaches with life guards on duty. Don’t dare attempt to swim across to Israel (or you’ll be shot, legit).
Also, the Dead Sea is receding at a rate of 1 metre per year, so it won’t be around forever – you better add it on your bucket list now!
There is a number of upmarket resorts located along the shores of the Dead Sea. It’s a very popular tourist attraction in Jordan and is a great place to spend a few days indulging in some poolside relaxation, and spa treatments using natural minerals sourced from the Dead Sea.
Where to Stay at the Dead Sea:
#5 | Diving in the Red Sea
If you love the water, then a visit to Aqaba on the Red Sea might be a much-needed respite from the harsh desert landscape that covers the majority of Jordan.
With amazing shipwrecks, coral formations, and tons of sea-life, it’s no wonder the Red Sea is one of the most popular diving destinations in the world.
There are approximately 25 dive sites off the coast of Aqaba. Given the Red Sea is quite narrow, it’s possible to reach dive sites from the shore, as well as from a boat.
As all dive sites are located within a Marine Park, you will need to dive with a registered guide, regardless of your level of experience. There are plenty of Dive Centres located in downtown Aqaba or around the South Beach area, where many dive sites are accessible directly from the shore.
With year-round warm water and great visibility, the Red Sea is the perfect spot for beginners and experienced divers alike.
Where to Stay in Aqaba:
#6 | Explore the Ancient City of Jerash
Just under an hours drive north of Amman sits the ancient city of Jerash – the most well-preserved Roman ruins outside of Italy and one of the most elaborate ancient cities in Jordan (aside from Petra, of course).
The archeological remains are so well preserved thanks to being hidden beneath the desert sand for centuries until it was excavated and restored in the early 1900s.
Jerash experienced its prime during the era of Alexander the Great (around 330 BC) when the city was known as Gerasa and the population was estimated to be between 10,000 and 25,000.
It’s worth hiring a local guide and spending a few hours exploring the ancient city. Don’t forget your camera as it’s one of the most Instagrammable places to visit in Jordan. The Greco-Roman ruins cover a vast area, so expect a lot of walking.
The re-enactment at the hippodrome is a highlight, where actors conduct military drills, gladiator fighting and chariot races for visitors to gain a sense of life in one of the wealthiest cities that existed during the days of Roman rule.
As if your trip to Jordan is not already filled with enough ancient ruins, but Jerash is absolutely spectacular and well worth a visit.
Where to Stay near Jerash:
#7 | Canyoning in Wadi Mujib
One of our top-rated things to do in Jordan was canyoning in Wadi Mujib. An activity that’s not for the faint hearted, canyoning in Wadi Mujib offers a dose of adrenaline for those looking for a bit of adventure.
Wadi Mujib is a freshwater river fed by seven tributaries that empties into the Dead Sea. The Siq Trail offers visitors a unique experience hiking upriver that cuts a path through a narrow canyon surrounded by towering sandstone cliffs.
Navigating the canyon requires wading through gushing water that rises above head height in some parts. There are fixed ropes and ladders in place to guide the 1 km route upstream, finishing at a stunning waterfall.
You can opt to hire a guide or navigate the passages on your own, though it’s nearly impossible to get lost and there are usually plenty of other tourists around to assist if needed. But if you’re not confident then we recommend this tour.
Where to Stay near Wadi Mujib:
#8 | Hiking in Dana Biosphere Reserve
In a country where the landscape is almost entirely made up of pink sand desert and red rocky mountains, Dana Biosphere Reserve is a breath of fresh air (pun intended).
Dana is Jordan’s largest nature reserve, covering an area around 320 square km near the Great Rift Valley. The cool climate in the mountaintops makes for the perfect environment for a variety of plant life and animals, including the Sand Cat, oryx, the Lesser Kestrel, and the Syrian Wolf.
If you love hiking, then a visit here is a must. There are a number of trails ranging from a few hours to a few days in length.
Expect dramatic rocky mountains offering sweeping valley views, steep canyons to explore, and beautiful desert colours to marvel. Most tourists tend to skip Dana Biosphere Reserve so it’s one of those completely underrated places to visit in Jordan!
Where to Stay in Dana:
#9 | Stand on Mount Nebo
Located between Amman and the Dead Sea, stands Mount Nebo. According to ancient scriptures, the historical site on Mount Nebo is the place where Moses died and was buried.
Mount Nebo offers sweeping views over the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Jericho and Jerusalem.
Mount Nebo is a well-known pilgrimage site for travellers of religious faith. At the top of the mountain sits the archeological remains of a Byzantine Monastery. Here you can see the well-preserved mosaics featuring scenes of hunting, wine-making and pastoral activities.
# 10 | Baptism Site of Jordan
Otherwise known as Al-Maghtas, “Bethany Beyond the Jordan” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and widely considered the original baptism site of Jesus Christ.
Located on the east bank of the Jordan River, the baptism site is located near Madaba and Mount Nebo and is an easy stop between Amman and the Dead Sea.
The site has great religious significance with thousands of tourists choosing to visit the site on January 6th to mark Epiphany.
From the baptism site, you can wander down to the nearby Jordan River which separates Jordan and Israel. It’s very common to see baptisms being performed on the Israel side. Just be sure not to set foot in the river or you’ll have to answer the armed guards.
More Things to Do in Jordan
If ticking off these top 10 things to do in Jordan is not enough to fill your itinerary with a ton of adventures, we’ve listed 15 additional Jordan tourist attractions that are also totally worth experiencing:
- Rent a car and plan a road trip from Amman to Petra, Wadi Rum, Aqaba, the Dead Sea, and back to Amman.
- Visit Lawrence’s Springs and the ruins of Lawrence’s House (Lawrence if Arabia, that is)
- Drive the scenic route to Petra along the King’s Highway
- Explore the 12th Century Ajloun Castle
- Try Jordan’s famous falafels (normally enjoyed at breakfast time)
- See the Madaba Map made entirely of mosaics in the Church of Saint George, Madaba
- Relax in the Ma’in Hot Springs
- See the well-preserved mosaics of Umm Ar-Rasas
- Visit the rock arches of Wadi Rum (Umm Fruth, Little Rock Bridge, and Burdah)
- Watch the Petra by Night show
- Wander under the umbrellas on Rainbow Street in Amman
- Explore the ancient city of Umm Qais
- Visit the castle of Quseir Amra
- Marvel at the vast car collection in the Royal Automobile Museum in Amman
- Take a hot air balloon over Wadi Rum
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What to Do in Jordan Wrap Up
We’ve made no secret of our fondness of Jordan. It’s a beautiful country with incredibly friendly people and amazing places to see. We’ve put it up there with one of our favourite countries we’ve visited to date. It’s one destination we think you should totally add to your bucket list.
We hope this Jordan travel guide has provided you with some inspiration on what to do in Jordan.
To help you plan your trip to Jordan be sure to check out what’s going on in Jordan and current travel restrictions by visiting the Official Jordan Tourism website. And don’t forget to take a look at our other Jordan travel blog articles:
Can you recommend any other great places to visit in Jordan? Let our readers know about them in the comments below.
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About the Author:
Amanda Twine is the founder and creator of Bucket List Seekers – a luxury travel blog sharing informative travel guides, food guides, hotel reviews, itineraries, and tips about how to make luxury travel more affordable.