Jordan, the land of the Ancient Wonders.
In December, together with our friends, we visited Jordan on a DYI two weeks tour.
This epic road trip through Jordan made us fall in love with its stunning scenery, delicious food, amazing historical sites and much more. So, we bring you this list of 15 amazing things to do in Jordan…and get ready to immerse in the Arabian night of the old times.
1. Camp under the stars in Wadi Rum desert
Wadi Rum is probably the most beautiful desert in the world. A place that seems completely out of this world with its enigmatic red dunes and breath-taking cliffs. Spending the night in a Wadi Rum desert camp is truly a once in a lifetime experience.
During the day, you can follow the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia and explore a magnificent landscape; instead, during the night you can listen to the stories of the desert people and watch millions of stars.
2. Explore the Stone city of Petra
This is the reason why most people visit Jordan – the famous red rose city of the Nabateans and one of the 7 New Wonders of the World.
It is one of the most magnificent cities of the ancient world.
Its monuments rise over hundreds of meters tall and this wonder of engineering is not constructed, it is carved out of sandstone cliffs. At its heights, Petra was the center of a vast trading network of spices and home to over 30,000 people in one of the driest deserts on earth.
It is a place that takes your breath away. So you shouldn’t miss it.
3. Witness Petra by night
A candle visit to the Treasury of Petra.
The ancient ruin of the Red Rose city is lighted by candlelight and the entire atmosphere is magic.
Over 1,500 candles line the walk from Siq to the Treasury, local Bedouins pay their traditional instruments that echo off the Canyon walls.
4. Relax at the Red Sea
Aqaba is Jordan’s only coastal city and the perfect place for snorkeling and diving in the Red Sea.
5. Drink tea with the Bedouins
Most of the Jordanian population is of Bedouin heritage, sometimes called “pure blood”. They are the original population of Jordan long before the borders where established.
Drinking tea in Jordan is never about tea. It is not about the mint, or the color of the tea or its benefits, it is about the ritual, about the welcoming you and the chance to have a good chat. It is a perfect way to understand another way of life and the way they guide themselves. You will be surprised by these enigmatic people.
5. Walk along the Roman streets of Jerash ancient city
These are one of the best-preserved Roman ruins in the world. You will be able to walk in the hippodrome which ones hosted chariot races watched by 20,000 spectators, or Hadrian’s Arch. Built to commemorate the visit of the Emperor. The site is well preserved and it’s easy to imagine the grandeur of the city that one was.
6. Hike in the Dazzling Dana Biosphere Reserve
This natural reserve cuts through the Rift Valley going all the way to Africa.
Dana Biosphere Reserve is Jordan’s largest protected area and it is home to fascinating geology: mountains, deserts, and canyons, not to mention many plants that only grow here. It is also home to several Bedouin villages that live here for centuries.
7. Road Trip the King’s Highway
The King’s Highway dates back to several centuries ago when Nabataeans, who lived in Petra, already used it like the Spice Road. In its glory days, the route extended from Egypt through today’s Jordan to Mecca. Later on, during the Roman time it was part of the Via Nova Traiana, a military and trade road. In the Byzantium time, The Highway has been used as an important pilgrimage route for Christians, to Mount Nebo, Jerusalem, and the “Baptism Site” on the Jordan River. As you can see, it is one of the most historical highways in the world. The view of the dry valleys is incredible spectacular not to mention the feeling of being on one of the most ancient commercial roads in the world.
8. Floating in the Dead Sea
Floating in the Dead Sea is probably one of those things that you just have to try it. It is hard to imagine the feeling of floating in a salty lake between Jordan and Israel at one of the lowest points on earth.
The water in the Dead Sea is extremely salty.
A popular thing is to have your picture taken while reading a newspaper and floating on the surface of the water.
9. Walk in the Footsteps of Moses on Mount Nebo
You shouldn’t miss heading to the Nebo Mountain, where Moses first glimpsed the Promised Land after having led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt.
It is not a particularly tall mountain, but the view is expansive. This is believed to be where God led Moses to show him Israel and the Promise Land.
Today the mountaintop is a popular pilgrimage site with a fourth-century church and view of the Jordan valley and Death Sea.
On a clear day, you can see Jerusalem in distance.
10. The Jesus Baptism Site
Whether you are a Christian or not, you can’t ignore the historical significance of this site.
Also known as Al-Maghtas, is a peaceful holy site where John the Baptist is said to have baptized Jesus. Right from the beginning, in the Byzantine era, Christians have worshipped here and conducted baptisms of their own.
Even today, it is not uncommon to hold baptisms at this site.
The River Jordan splits the two countries: Israel and Jordan and there are Baptism sites on both shores.
The Baptism Site in Jordan is located on the eastern bank of the River Jordan and it is not as well-known comparing with the Israel shore although it is UNESCO World Heritage Site. The place is surrounded by baptism pools and calm, quiet caves in which monks worshipped. It is easy to appreciate the stunning spirituality of this holy place.
11. Stroll the old streets of Amman
Amman is a fascinating city of contrasts. It has everything new to old, from ultra-modern buildings, hotels, yummy restaurants, old buildings, bazaars, and infernal traffic.
Amman is a modern city, built on the sands of time.
12. Taste the best of the Jordanian Food
Due to its geographical location, Jordanian cuisine has many influences from Persia, North Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean. It is said to be one of the most delicious cuisines in the world.
So, while in Jordan, don’t miss the delicious food like Mansaf, Zarb, Mezze
13. Enjoy the hot crunchy and stretchy cheese of Knafeh even late at night
It is the perfect combination of crispy with soft melted cheese. A layer of crisp pastry atop a layer of soft white cheese, all baked lightly in an oven, then covered with sugar syrup. Yummy!
We are crazy about it! No wonder that this is the most popular traditional dessert.
14. Visit the Kerak Castle
Kerak Castle was one of the most important crusader castles in the region. It was constructed perfectly on the Caravan Road called King’s Highway and it could influence the trade from the east to the west, at the Dead Sea. It was constructed in the XII century and has an immense underground complex of halls, living quarters and stables. It is very interesting to explore the dark corridors and hall and see how people must have lived there.
15. Drink cardamom coffee
In Jordan, coffee is more than a drink. It is a custom, a tradition and a way to bring people together.
Jordanian coffee, or “Al-Qahwa”, is made from coffee beans roasted with cardamom.
It is often served with dates or candied fruit.
We used to have a freshly brewed cup of coffee at any moment of the day. You should try it!