The Perfect Jordan Travel Itinerary: Amman, Petra, Wadi Rum, Dead Sea

Jordan has to be one of my favorite countries in the Middle East. It is known for its rich history, cultural attractions, and natural beauty. From the ancient city of Petra to the stunning desert landscapes of Wadi Rum, Jordan has something for every traveler.

Camel relaxing at the base of Petra by the Treasury (Indiana Jones!)

In this blog post, we’ll provide a comprehensive itinerary for a trip to Jordan, including top things to do and see, where to stay, and practical tips for traveling around the country. Whether you’re interested in history, adventure, or relaxation, this itinerary has you covered. So, if you’re planning a trip to Jordan, be sure to keep reading for all the inspiration and information you need!

Wadi Rum Jordan
Incredible views of Wadi Rum

Where I went in Jordan?

I spent just over 1 week traveling through Jordan. I think this is enough time to see the highlights of the country as it really isn’t that big. You could spend more but I was satisfied with my length of time.

Some of the highlights for my trip to Jordan include the following:

  • Amman
  • Dead Sea
  • Petra
  • Wadi Rum

If these places ring a bell and are places you’d like to visit, then this itinerary is for you! I skipped out on Aqaba because it didn’t sound like there was much to see there for my interests. There is diving in Aqaba but it is nothing compared to the diving I already did in Dahab on the Egyptian side.

Before Jordan, I also spent a few weeks traveling through Egypt and ended up visiting Jordan via way of crossing into Israel which is always an adventure.

Best time of year to visit Jordan

Jordan can be visited and enjoyed year round. However, there are certainly things to consider based on your own preferences. Here is a breakdown of Jordan’s weather patterns by time of year.

Spring (March to May): Spring is a good time to visit Jordan, as the weather is pleasant and mild. The temperatures range from around 20°C (68°F) to 30°C (86°F). This is a good time to visit Jordan’s ancient sites and cities, as well as enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and camping.

Summer (June to September): Summer can be very hot in Jordan, with temperatures often exceeding 40°C (104°F). This may not be the best time to visit for those who are sensitive to heat. However, if you don’t mind the heat, this can be a good time to visit Jordan’s beaches and enjoy water sports.

Autumn (October to November): Autumn is a good time to visit Jordan, as the weather is mild and comfortable. The temperatures range from around 20°C (68°F) to 30°C (86°F). This is a good time to visit Jordan’s ancient sites and cities, as well as enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and camping.

Winter (December to February): Winter in Jordan can be cold, especially in the evenings. The temperatures range from around 10°C (50°F) to 20°C (68°F). This can be a good time to visit Jordan if you don’t mind the cold and want to experience the country’s cultural events and festivals. Winter time is also a lower season for tourists so this might be a good time to visit to avoid the crowds.

Jordan petra treasury

In general, you can expect colder temperatures in places like Petra which is higher up in the mountains. In fact, during the winter months, you might even need a jacket to withstand the cold temperatures!

How to travel around Jordan

Jordan is a small country with only 350km distance between Amman and Aqaba. Traveling around Jordan is very easy with many different options depending on the type of traveler you are.

Renting a car in Jordan

Renting a car to travel through Jordan is my favorite mode of transportation. The roads in Jordan are in very good condition and it is 100% safe to drive. Traffic in Amman is a bit chaotic but as soon as you leave the capital, driving is very peaceful especially through the stunning desert landscapes.

Many people opt to rent a car at Amman airport but if you plan to spend a few days in Amman, I would skip the immediate car rental and wait until you’re about to leave the city. There’s really no reason to drive around Amman when taxis are abundant and cheap.

You can find numerous car rental shops in Amman that are separate from the big international providers (like Sixt, Hertz, Avis etc.) that are usually cheaper. I paid about $40 a day for my small car. A small price to pay for driving through some of the most stunning sunsets you’ll see!

Catching the bus around Jordan

The Jordan Transport Company (JTC) operates a network of buses that serve major cities and towns in the country. Buses in Jordan are a cheap and convenient way to get around, but keep in mind that they can be crowded and may not be as comfortable as other forms of transportation.

It’s entirely possible to do this itinerary and just relying solely on the buses. You can take the bus from Amman to the Dead Sea to Petra to Wadi Rum to Aqaba and back to Amman. The buses are comfortable, cheap, and mostly punctual. As an example, the cost of the Amman to Petra bus is roughly 10 JD which is very affordable.

Search for Jordan bus tickets

Take a private driver through Jordan

If you don’t feel comfortable driving in Jordan, you can hire a private driver to take you around the country. This is a good option if you want to sit back and relax while someone else handles the driving. Private drivers can be arranged through your hotel or a local tour operator.

The cost of hiring a private driver in Jordan will depend on several factors, including the length of your trip, the distance you’ll be traveling, and the type of vehicle you choose. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $100 per day for a private driver in Jordan.

Keep in mind that this price is just an estimate and may vary depending on your specific needs and the availability of drivers. It’s always a good idea to get a quote from multiple companies and compare prices before booking. You can also try negotiating the price with the driver to see if you can get a better deal.

If you’re planning a longer trip or want a more luxurious travel experience, you may be able to find a private driver who offers a package deal for a set number of days. This can be a more cost-effective option if you’re planning to do a lot of traveling in Jordan and if you’re a larger group.

Day 1-2: Amman, Jordan’s Capital

Amman, the capital city of Jordan, is a vibrant and historic destination that offers a wide range of things to see and do. From exploring ancient ruins to experiencing local culture and cuisine, here are some suggestions for things to do in Amman:

aerial view of buildings

One of the top things to do in Amman is to visit the Citadel, which is a hilltop fortress that dates back to the Bronze Age. The Citadel is home to several important historical and cultural sites, including the Temple of Hercules, the Umayyad Palace, and the Museum of Popular Traditions. The views from the Citadel are also breathtaking, and you can see much of the city from this vantage point.

people standing on amman citadel national historical site under blue sky
Photo by heba alwahsh on

Another must-see attraction in Amman is the Roman Theater, which is a well-preserved ancient amphitheater that dates back to the 2nd century AD. The Roman Theater is located in the heart of the city and is a popular spot for concerts and cultural events. You can also visit the Jordan Archaeological Museum, which is located next to the Roman Theater and houses a collection of artifacts and relics from Jordan’s rich history.

landscape photography of the umayyad palace
Photo by Hisham Zayadneh on

If you’re interested in experiencing local culture and cuisine, you can visit one of Amman’s bustling markets or bazaars. The Souk Jara is a popular market that sells everything from spices and textiles to souvenirs and handicrafts. The Souk Jara is also a great place to sample local dishes and snacks, such as falafel, hummus, and shawarma. You can also visit the Amman Mall, which is a modern shopping center that offers a wide range of international brands and local stores.

For outdoor enthusiasts, there are several parks and nature reserves in the Amman area that are worth visiting. The Al-Muwaqqar Château is a nature reserve that is home to a variety of plant and animal species, and it also offers hiking trails and picnicking areas. The King Hussein Park is another popular spot for outdoor activities, and it has playgrounds, gardens, and a lake. You can also visit the Al-Rashidieh Landfill Site, which has been transformed into an urban park and is home to a variety of flora and fauna.

Overall, Amman is a diverse and exciting destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or nature, there are plenty of things to do and see in this vibrant city.

Day 3-5: Petra

Without a doubt, the ultimate highlight for any trip to Jordan has to be Petra. This ancient city is my absolute favorite in the world and an incredibly special place. I even compared Petra to other ancient cities like Macchu Picchu and Angkor Wat but in the end, I think Petra edges out.

For my Jordan itinerary, I would recommend spending at least two nights in Petra to fully appreciate the ruins. Three nights is most ideal as this will allow you to relax and really soak in the sights.

One full day in Petra is also possible if you start at 6am and end at 6pm. This is essentially what I did although I don’t recommend this approach if you can help it.

Hiking through Petra

From the visitors center you can walk only one way, through the Siq. You will get lots of times the question asked to take the horse (actually included in the ticket but be prepared to tip!), camel or donkey.

If you decide to take a ride make sure you negotiate a fixed price before taking it and make sure they understand that price is including the tip. Being the fit individual that I am, I calmly brushed off the gestures and went about my way.

Walking towards the Siq in the very early morning.
Walking towards the Siq in the very early morning.

The Siq is a narrow gorge through the mountains functioning as the entrance to Petra today. In ancient times, this was a wadi with water flowing towards the city.

The trick to Petra is to come EARLY. 

Petra opens at 6:00am and I made sure to get here shortly thereafter. Even so, there was a huge Indonesian tour group at the entrance so I made sure to pick up the pace so I could get to the main sights before them. After a half hour walk through the Siq, the scenery is amazing but colorful. I take some pictures, continue walking and then, BOOM. The Treasury is upon me.

Walking through the Siq, the scenery is this for a good half hour. It's easy to get distracted by the beautiful geological formations here.
Walking through the Siq, the scenery is this for a good half hour. It’s easy to get distracted by the beautiful geological formations here.

The Treasury of Petra

The Treasury was a crypt and mausoleum and has one of the best preserved facades in Petra. A lot of details still remain but many are eroded over time by water and wind.

Petra Treasury Jordan
Petra Treasury in all its glory
The Treasury in petra Jordan
The Treasury! Had this whole thing to myself for a long time!

The Treasury is probably the most photographed structure in Petra and many people think that the Treasury is Petra but there is so much more. From the Treasury continue walking the gorge which then opens up and you can admire the full view of the city of Petra. It was a good decision for me towake up early and scurry past the large tour group as I got to take pictures like these:

Now most people would continue on to see views of the city of Petra but I met two Dutch guys, one of whom had been to Petra once before and said we needed to hike up the mountains to the Monastery, an even more impressive monument than the Treasury. Already amazed by the Treasury, I couldn’t imagine anything more impressive, and the two guys seemed cool, so what the hell, why not have some hiking companions?

Donkey service for those who aren't so keen to hike up the mountain.
Donkey service for those who aren’t so keen to hike up the mountain.

From the Treasury, we walked another half hour to the base of the mountain. The hike is another 30 minutes to the top, and many people elect to take donkeys up (paid of course).

The hike isn’t difficult in my opinion but I did it in winter, with a change of shorts, knowing that even though the temperatures are low, the sun and the physical activity would make shorts a very welcome addition. I could only imagine how miserable it’d be to hike up this mountain in the summer when temperatures can get to 40 degrees. Nevertheless, we made it up with relative ease and what a GREAT decision this was.

The Monastery of Petra

My two hiking friends and I enjoying the Monastery all to ourselves for a good hour.
My two hiking friends and I enjoying the Monastery all to ourselves for a good hour.

The Monastery is absolutely marvelous. It’s even bigger than the Treasury and located high up in the mountains, surrounded by panoramic views of the region.

It’s over 50m high and 50m wide and is truly a breathtaking piece of architecture. How these ancient Nabateans chiseled these defined structures into the mountain rock is beyond me, but I thank them for it so guys like me could marvel at its glory 2000 years later. There’s a little tea shop with outdoor seating right in front of the Monastery.

monastery views petra jordan hike
Relaxing and enjoying the views of the Monastery all to myself

I’m glad I took the Dutch guys’ advice as we were the first people here for the day. We arrived around 9:30am and laid on the couches provided by the little shop and just stared at the Monastery, enjoying a much deserved rest.

Of course, we also took numerous pictures in front of the Monastery without a single soul. The best pictures of the Monastery are when the sun shines on it. We were too early for this so it worked out for us to just chill in front of it for two hours.

Just Amazing.
Monastery. Petra. Just Amazing.
Apparently the best view was this way so we followed.
Apparently the best view was this way so we followed.

From the Monastery, it’s another 10-15 minutes to the peak, where stunning views of Petra, and the deserts surrounding the region await. There are a few peaks to choose from and each one is just as stunning.

Just before noon, we descended the mountain to check out the rest of Petra. These included the temple, the various Roman ruins, the Church, Royal Tombs, and the Theatre.

It’s difficult to describe why I felt so much more affinity towards Petra than I did the sights of Egypt. Perhaps it’s because most of Egypt’s main attractions are located near large cities, heavily commercialized, and just felt less authentic. I really felt like I was walking around an ancient town whilst in Petra, despite the abundance of tourists as well.

Just to give an idea how massive this structure is, I decided to stand at the base of it.
Just to give an idea how massive this structure is, I decided to stand at the base of it.

Hike the Al-Khubtha Trail for famous aerial views of the Treasury

This was another hike you can do to visit the iconic views of the Treasury from above. The hike starts  from the Royal Tombs and you’ll need to veer off slightly by following all the signs pointing towards Al-Khubtha. The hike is long, but is quite easy as the elevation is not as steep as the Monastery. It’s just 600 manageable steps! The view from the top is nothing short of amazing however!

al khubtha trail petra jordan treasury hike

Walk to the high altar of sacrifice

My two dutch friends had to leave the same day for Aqaba so we said our goodbyes in the early afternoon after walking through much of Petra. I wasn’t ready to call it a day and asked around for what else I should see.

The high altar of sacrifice topped the list. Perched up at the top of one of Petra’s mountains with more stunning views of Petra, this was where the ancient Nabateans sacrificed animals to the Gods. It’s unclear whether they sacrificed humans however!

Walking up to the Altar of Sacrifice
Walking up to the Altar of Sacrifice

The walk is about 30 minutes through steep steps. There are local people selling souvenirs all over Petra and I ended up talking to one for awhile on this mountain. Turns out, they routinely walk these mountains every day!

Eventually, I made it to the top and at the top you will find the altar of sacrifice, some obelisk and a few other structures. The views on the top are amazing and I ended up just passing out at the top and waking up just in time for the sunset. What an absolutely amazing day.

Dead Sea, Jordan Side

The Dead Sea is a popular tourist destination located in Jordan, and there are several ways to get there from Amman, the capital city. Here are some options for getting to the Dead Sea from Amman:

  1. Car rental: Renting a car is a convenient option if you want to have flexibility and independence during your trip. There are several car rental agencies in Amman, and you can easily find a car that suits your needs and budget. The drive from Amman to the Dead Sea takes about an hour and is relatively easy, as the road is well-maintained.
  2. Bus: There are several bus companies that operate regular services from Amman to the Dead Sea. The journey takes about an hour and is relatively inexpensive. Buses depart from Amman’s central bus station and drop passengers off at various points along the Dead Sea.
  3. Taxi: Taking a taxi is another option for getting to the Dead Sea from Amman. Taxis are widely available in Amman and can be hailed from the street or arranged in advance through a taxi service. The cost of a taxi from Amman to the Dead Sea will depend on your negotiation skills and the time of day, but it is generally more expensive than taking a bus.
  4. Private tour: Another option is to book a private tour from Amman to the Dead Sea. Private tours can be arranged through a local tour operator and usually include transportation, a guide, and various activities and attractions along the way. Private tours can be more expensive than other options, but they offer convenience and the opportunity to customize your itinerary.

Overall, the best way to get to the Dead Sea from Amman will depend on your budget, preferences, and plans. Personally, I would always opt for a private car if I am more than one person as I think road tripping in Jordan is fantastic.

Otherwise, if you are a solo traveler, I would just take the bus as it is so fast and inexpensive.

Floating in the Dead Sea of Jordan

Floating in the Dead Sea in Jordan is a unique and unforgettable experience. The Dead Sea is known for its extremely high salt content, which makes it denser and more buoyant than any other body of water in the world. As a result, people who swim or float in the Dead Sea are able to float effortlessly, without any effort on their part.

The buoyancy was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. It was almost as if I was weightless, and I couldn’t help but laugh at how silly I must have looked as I tried to keep my balance. It’s an experience that’s impossible to describe since I am so negatively buoyant where I effortlessly sink into the sea.

man wearing sunglasses reading book on body of water

The water in the Dead Sea is also quite warm, with temperatures ranging from 21 to 32 degrees Celsius (70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit) depending on the season. The surrounding area is quite arid, with hot, dry air and low humidity, so it can feel quite hot and uncomfortable outside of the water.

One of the main attractions of the Dead Sea is the opportunity to apply therapeutic mud to your skin. The mud, which is rich in minerals, is said to have numerous health benefits, including helping to soften and moisturize the skin, and providing relief from muscle aches and pains. You’ll have plenty of shops selling “Dead Sea” creams and skincare products with salt directly from the sea. I’m not sure exactly how good these products are but I purchased some anyway.

Visiting the Dead Sea in Jordan vs in Israel

The Dead Sea is a salt lake located in the Jordan Rift Valley and is bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel to the west. Both Jordan and Israel offer a range of activities and attractions related to the Dead Sea, and there are both differences and similarities between visiting the Dead Sea in the two countries.

One difference is that the Dead Sea in Jordan is generally less developed and more isolated compared to the Dead Sea in Israel. The Jordan side of the Dead Sea is home to several resorts and spas that offer treatments and facilities for tourists, but it is less crowded and more low-key compared to the Israeli side. On the other hand, the Israeli side of the Dead Sea is more developed and has a wider range of facilities and amenities for tourists, including hotels, restaurants, and recreational activities.

It is also more expensive to visit the dead sea in Israel than in Jordan. Israel is notorious for being a very expensive country to visit while Jordan is much more affordable. I honestly couldn’t believe how expensive Israel was to visit after spending time in Jordan and Egypt.

Israel does have the added benefit of the incredible salt islands which are peaks of salt mounds that stick out of the water. With a drone, these look absolutely stunning, as if you were on a sandbank in the Maldives.

Day 5-7: Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum is one of the most amazing places I’ve visited in the world. This famous desert landscape was the setting for many famous movies throughout history like Lawrence of Arabia, Prometheus, The Martian, and many more. It’s one of the most martian like landscapes on Earth and it’s just a few hours away from Petra.

How much does it cost to Enter Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum is free to enter for all visitors. While there is no cost to enter Wadi Rum, you may want to consider hiring a guide or transportation to fully enjoy your visit. It is not possible to enter the valley past the Bedouin village in your own vehicle, so if you choose to explore on your own, you will be on foot. Keep in mind that the desert can be hazardous, so it is important to come prepared.

I don’t know many people that have ever visited Wadi Rum without booking a tour. Tours can be booked with everyone and their mothers in Jordan. I booked mine last minute in Petra with the guesthouse owner I was staying with. He had many contacts with the tour providers in Wadi Rum and organized the car transfer as well as the overnight stay at one of the Bedouin camps.

In total, my group consisted of six people which is the right number to have a good time.

What to do in Wadi Rum

From the breathtaking desert landscapes to the rich culture and history of the Bedouin people, there is so much to see and do in this amazing place. Here are my top recommendations for things to do in Wadi Rum:

Wadi Musa
  1. Take a Jeep tour: One of the best ways to explore Wadi Rum is by taking a Jeep tour with a local Bedouin guide. They will take you to some of the most breathtaking sites in the desert, such as the Seven Pillars of Wisdom and the Lawrence Spring.
  2. Climb a mountain: Wadi Rum is home to some of the highest peaks in Jordan, so why not do a little mountain climbing while you’re there? The view from the top is definitely worth the hike.
  3. Go stargazing: The desert skies in Wadi Rum are known for their crystal-clear views of the stars. Pack a blanket and some snacks and spend an evening stargazing under the Milky Way.
  4. Visit the Wadi Rum Visitors Center: Located in the heart of the desert, the Visitors Center is a great place to learn about the history and culture of the Bedouin people who call Wadi Rum home.
  5. Camp out in the desert: There’s nothing quite like sleeping under the stars in the desert. There are several campsites in Wadi Rum where you can set up your own tent or rent one from the local Bedouins.
  6. Take a hot air balloon ride: For a truly unique perspective on the desert, consider taking a hot air balloon ride. You’ll get to see the beauty of Wadi Rum from above as you drift over the landscape.
  7. Learn about Bedouin culture: Wadi Rum is home to a vibrant Bedouin community, and there are several opportunities to learn about their culture and traditions. You can visit a local village, try your hand at traditional crafts, or even participate in a traditional Bedouin feast.
  8. Go sandboarding: If you’re looking for a little adventure, consider trying your hand at sandboarding in Wadi Rum. It’s a lot like snowboarding, but on sand dunes instead of snow.
  9. Visit the Lawrence of Arabia exhibit: Fans of history won’t want to miss the Lawrence of Arabia exhibit, which tells the story of T.E. Lawrence’s time in Wadi Rum during the Arab Revolt.
  10. Go rock climbing: The rocky landscape of Wadi Rum is perfect for rock climbing, and there are several routes to choose from, ranging in difficulty from beginner to expert.

Can you self drive in Wadi Rum?

If you rented a 4×4 to road trip through Jordan, you can self drive in Wadi Rum but you’ll have to join a tour. These tours are essentially a caravan of other cars going on the same itinerary and won’t be any different than if you just booked a regular tour without self driving.

Given that Wadi Rum is a massive park, it’s easy to get lost or stuck in the sand for those that don’t know where they’re going. I wouldn’t want to drive through Wadi Rum anyhow without a guide.

Best time to Visit Wadi Rum

When I visited Wadi Rum, I wasn’t prepared for how hot and dry the atmosphere would be. Even in the winter, it can get extremely cold at night. I visited in November and I was freezing! It’s essential to bring thermals, hats, and gloves if you’re visiting during this time. In December and January, the desert is even colder and there are fewer tourists around. Just be aware that you probably won’t be able to use the hotel pool during this time.

Wadi Rum desert

The temperature in Wadi Rum can vary significantly throughout the year. In July and August, the maximum average temperature is a scorching 35C, while in December and January, it drops to a chilly 14C. The temperatures tend to fall somewhere in between these extremes for the rest of the year.

Spring (March to May) is a beautiful time to visit, as the warmer weather brings new plant growth to the valley after the rains. However, this is also peak tourist season, along with autumn/fall.

Summer (June to August) is hot, dry, and sunny, making it the best time for early morning and late evening sightseeing.

Autumn/fall (September to November) has more bearable daytime temperatures and is the peak season for hiking and trekking. There are more crowds around during this time.

In the winter (December to February), you can expect some rain, cooler daytime temperatures, and cold evenings and nights, as well as some cloud cover. This is actually a great time to visit as crowds are generally smaller and the weather is more suitable for long hikes

Stay at the bubble hotel in Wadi Rum

The bubble hotel in Wadi Rum is probably the most famous accommodation option in the whole region. These hotels are all over Instagram and make for some of the most FOMO inducing photos/videos in Jordan. I have to say, it was an unforgettable experience. Located in the heart of the desert, the bubble hotel offers a unique and immersive way to experience the beauty of Wadi Rum.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by the friendly staff and shown to our bubble room. The bubbles themselves are spacious and comfortable, with a queen-sized bed, a small seating area, and a private bathroom. The transparent walls of the bubble offer 360-degree views of the desert, which was truly breathtaking at night when the stars came out.

One of the highlights of staying at the bubble hotel was the opportunity to go on a guided Jeep tour of the desert. Our guide, a local Bedouin, was knowledgeable and friendly, and took us to some of the most breathtaking sites in Wadi Rum. We even had the chance to watch the sunset from a mountain top, which was a truly magical experience.

In the evenings, we enjoyed traditional Bedouin meals around the campfire, and even had the opportunity to learn a bit about Bedouin culture and traditions. The staff at the bubble hotel were always friendly and helpful, and went above and beyond to ensure that we had a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

Overall, I highly recommend the bubble hotel in Wadi Rum. It’s a unique and immersive way to experience the beauty of the desert, and the staff are friendly and accommodating. Whether you’re looking for adventure, cultural experiences, or simply a chance to relax and take in the beauty of the desert, you’ll find it all at the bubble hotel.

Jordan itinerary day by day

Here is a breakdown of my Jordan itinerary by day:

Day 1: Arrive in Amman and explore the city
Day 2: Full day in Amman
Day 3: Early morning departure to the Dead Sea
Day 4: Dead Sea area to Petra, visit Petra in the afternoon
Day 5: Full day Petra
Day 6: Morning in Petra, travel to Wadi Rum
Day 7: Full day Wadi Rum
Day 8: Return to Amman