Salt is located only 35 km outside of Amman and has recently been nominated as UNESCO world heritage site. This ancient town was once the most important settlement between the Eastern Desert and the Jordan Valley. We figured this small town is definitely worth a visit when in Amman – here are the top 10 things to do in Salt on a day trip!

 

1. Stroll down Hamman Street and Al Ein Plaza

You should not miss a stroll down Hammam Street. With plenty of small shops lining up next to each other and full of locals, there is lots to see (and taste!). Vendors offer everything: local food and produce, clothing, household goods, handmade perfumes, delicious sweets from bakeries, old Arabic beddings, traditional crafts, more clothing and more food. Back in the days, the lower half was sued to sell cattle and horses, while the upper half was filled with shops selling fruit and veggies.

Al Ein Plaza is considered the heart of the city. Here you’ll see the local old men playing a traditional game called Manqala and you’ll hear the Islamic call for praying. Most people from As-Salt come here every day to talk to others, pray in the surrounding churches or head to the markets, as part of their daily routine.

2. Eat at Salaam (Peace) Restaurant

The perfect place for lunch on a day out in Salt! Head to Salaam Restaurant, which is located close to the Archaeological Museum for some good and local food. We ordered half a chicken with bread, cucumber salad, tahina salad and pickled vegetables – very delicious!

 

3. Head up to the mosque on top of the hill for amazing views

Climb up the hill towards the mosque on top, and you can enjoy nice views over As-Salt – in every direction! Just head towards the tower of the mosque on the hill from the Al Ein Plaza, which will also lead you through characteristic, small alleyways.

Photo by: Vadim Skorobogatko

4. Check out Salt’s museums

In Salt, there is the Historical Old Salt Museum and the Archaeological Museum that are well worth a visit. The Historical Museum has free admission and is located right next to the visitor centre. In the visitor centre, you’ll also find plenty of useful brochures and maps for walking tours through As-Salt. There is also a nice cafe with a terrace, and you can buy local produce from there. The rather small Archaeological Museum is 2 JOD per person and filled with old artefacts from the surrounding region.

5. Dinner with a local family

The perfect finishing touch for a day out in Salt: Have dinner with a local family. You’ll meet them at their home, help prepare the food and learn how to prepare a traditional dish. And then, of course, you’ll eat dinner together. This is a great way of meeting locals, learning from them and discovering new food! Get in touch with us, we can organise it for you[email protected] 

6. Empower locals by buying handmade products

The ideal place to get some souvenirs for your loved ones back home! The shop is located right next to the visitor centre and sells local products made by the people in As-Salt. It is a community project which aims to give locals the opportunity to display their items. That way, they can sell their products directly and without intermediaries, ensuring a fair price. You’ll find things like soaps, oils, jewellery, homemade jams and other produce or bags and paintings.

7. Go on a city walking tour with a local guide

A great way to get to know As-Salt is by going on a walking tour through the city with a guide, who will be able to tell you about the history and personal stories of local people. There are also several different routes, depending on your interests. The first one focuses on religious harmony in As-Salt and will take you to various mosques, churches and heritage buildings. The second trail is called Daily Life trail and is all about tasting new foods, buying unusual products and speaking to locals. Finally, you can choose to do the Educational Trail, where your guide will tell you more about the educational buildings in As-Salt, and you will pay a visit to the secondary school there. Click here for more information: http://www.saltcitytour.com/

8. Visit the churches in Salt

There are three churches you should visit in Salt: the Al-Khader Orthodox Church was built over the remains of an old chapel and Muslims as well as Christians come to pray at this church. There is also the Dormition of Virgin Mary Orthodox Church, constructed in the 16th century. The local community funded part of the refurbishment of this church. Last but not least, you should visit the Latin Church. It was designed by an Italian architect and back in the days, the basement of this church was used for storing supplies of the Turkish Army and local citizens.

Photo by: L’esc Photography

9. Go paintballing at the Mountain Breeze Resort

You can also combine your day in Salt with an overnight stay or visit to the Mountain Breeze Resort. Here you can do all sorts of exciting and fun stuff: Go paintballing (the only paintball field in Jordan!), unleash your inner Robin Hood and do some archery, play volleyball or football, hire a bike, ride ponies or go on a hiking tour! Follow this link for more info: http://www.mountainbreeze.jo/about/

Photo by: Mountain Breeze Resort

10. Get Lost

You can discover many characteristic alleyways in Salt. Most likely you will get lost, which is not as bad as it sounds: You will find small local shops, old and abandoned houses, stunning architecture and lots of friendly people who are more than happy to help you to get back on track again!

Photo by: Adeeb Atwan

Don’t miss out on the ultimate food experience when travelling in Jordan. The kingdom’s national dish, Mansaf, should be a point on every traveller’s bucket list.

Photo by: WAELBQ

What is Mansaf?

It is a traditional Arabic dish, noticeably most popular in Jordan, which has made Mansaf its national dish. It is a dish made of rice, lamb, dried goat yoghurt (also called jameed), pine nuts and shrak (very flat bread, similar to crepes). Sometimes, the head of the lamb is placed on top as a symbol of good quality and fresh meat. In fairness, Mansaf is also popular in Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Palestine, with slight variations in preparation.

In Jordan, it is usually served on a huge platter, with the shrak spread out on the bottom. Then, a gigantic mountain of rice is piled on top of it. The lamb meat is scattered on top, and pine nuts are sprinkled over the whole dish.

Mansaf is more than just delicious food, it is an experience in itself!

A bit of history

There is no better way of putting it: Mansaf is not only food, it is part of the Jordanian culture. In the past, the dish was known to resolve conflicts between Jordanian tribes. Nowadays, it is common to eat Mansaf at parties, family reunions or celebrations.

Mansaf was first prepared by Bedouins in the Arabian desert. Back then, it was made with camel or lamb meat, shrak bread and ghee or meat broth. Rice and jameed were included in the dish at a later stage. As Bedouins lived like nomads and moved around a lot, they spread their recipes throughout the region.

Photo by: Delphine Vincent

Etiquette around Mansaf

There is a certain Jordanian pride and significance that goes with eating Mansaf. The national dish is served on one big platter, with everyone eating from the same platter with their hands. Amongst locals, women and men sometimes have separate platters. Usually, Mansaf is eaten while standing around the table it’s served on.

In a very traditional setting, the host is always serving the guests. This shows appreciation, respect and good hospitality. The host is expected to continuously place pieces of lamb in front of all guests, and also keep pouring the jameed sauce. As a guest, you would not help yourself to the meat, but a good host will ensure that there is always some in front of you. You should also only eat from the “section” in front of you and not take food that is placed in front of other people. The host is not supposed to stop eating until the last guest has finished.

And finally: After your feast, you are allowed to lick your hands! Only if you don’t intend to dip your hands back into the platter, of course…

How to eat Mansaf

To really get the taste of Mansaf, you should eat it the traditional way: with your hands. It’s not as easy as it sounds, though. First and foremost, you should eat with your right hand and your left hand behind your back.

When aiming to catapult the first load into your mouth, take a good handful of rice and lamb, and form a ball in your hand. Avoid squeezing the rice too hard, as it will stick to your palm otherwise. Eat the entire ball in one bite and try not to touch your mouth or lips, if possible. Also, try to keep your face and the space around you tidy J

If you know how, Mansaf is not too difficult to prepare. Here is a good recipe: http://foodemag.com/recipe-mansaf/

Photo by: Gigiola

If you want to experience a Mansaf feast during your trip to Jordan, get in touch with us, and we make it happen! Contact us via Trip.me here: https://www.trip.me/profile/31265 or check out the trips on our website: https://in2jordan.com/intineraries/

 

Meet Ahmad Alomari, In2Jordans tour guide for Um Qais and proud camp owner. Let him tell you about his job and favourite places. 

Name: Ahmad Alomari
Age: 45 years
Occupation: Tour guide and camp owner in Um Qais, Northern Jordan
Languages spoken: Fluent Arabic, fluent English, proficient in German

 

Q: How long have you been working with In2Jordan?
A: I have been working with In2Jordan for three years now.

Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: The best part of my job is that I get to go hiking in beautiful landscapes every day and help visitors discover the history and natural wonders of Jordan.

Q: What parts of Jordan do your guests get most excited about?
A: It’s not a specific aspect of my program that people enjoy. It is the way I put each piece together that my guests like most. When hiking, I take my guests on unique trails that other people don’t get to see. During the homestay, my guests get to forage and farm the organic food they will eat, and prepare it using traditional methods. All of this takes place in a camp surrounded by panoramic views. I also offer swimming in hot springs for further relaxing moments for guests in summer and winter seasons.

Q: Where is your favourite place in Jordan?
A:. I love Petra and I’m yet to find a guest who doesn’t love it too. Wadi Rum is my favourite place in Jordan though. The red sand and rock formations are amazing.

For first-hand insight into what hiking through Um Qais with Ahmed is like, check out Hiking In Umm Qais and Yarmouk Nature Reserve by Baker Alkarimeh.

Q: What is the hardest part of your job?
A: Actually, but the hardest part of my job is to find an assistant when I have a bigger group coming. It doesn’t sound so difficult, but it’s the hardest part.

 

From skydiving to SCUBA diving, horse-back riding to walking and 4×4 driving; this country caters for all types of adventures. Find out which adventures in Jordan you can experience.  

Writer: Carmen Scholten

Are you the type of person who enjoys a two-day break on the beach before starting to grow restless for an adventure? Or perhaps you’re the type who seeks out exciting travel destinations to pursue activities that offer a challenge in new environments and terrains? Whatever your travel style, Jordan offers adventures for everyone with an adventurous spirit and a daring soul.

At In2Jordan, we know that the sky is (literally) the limit for some of our guests. So here are seven different adventures to help build the foundations of your next Jordan holiday. And the best thing is: for every adventure we have a dedicated travel consultant who helps you to plan your trip!

Adventure one: Horseback riding from Petra to Wadi Rum

When one thinks of crossing the desert on horse-back, a mental image of Lawrence of Arabia is usually close to follow. However this nomadic style of transport has been favoured by the Bedouin tribes for centuries. Now it is still a viable and fun way for visitors to explore the vast desert landscapes.

For horse-lovers and explorers alike, a classic trek from the ancient city of Petra to the desolate environment of Wadi Rum is a must. Previously this journey was selected as best horseback riding holiday around the world! Discover the south of Jordan on horse-back where the natural environment is breathtakingly beautiful and rugged. From Petra you will ride with local experienced Bedouin guides on active horses – AKA, horses who carry the blood Arabic stallions – in the direction of the desert. Throughout the tour you will see the landscape transform as you journey through mountains and valleys along the way to the red desert of Wadi Rum. A Bedouin chef joins you for a traditional lunch on location, which is synonymous with famous Bedouin hospitality. A journey through these vast, echoing and colorful deserts is a true paradise making a horse-back riding holiday an adventure of a lifetime.

Click here for 4 and 6 day riding tour options

Adventure two: Skydiving above Wadi Rum or the Dead Sea

Adventure in Jordan - visit Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum

SkyDiveJordan – part of the The Royal Aero Sports Club of Jordan – offers a couple of skydiving experience each year for those who seek the adrenaline that comes with jumping out of aeroplanes. There is no standard schedule, but previous tours offered sky-dives above the Dead Sea and the Wadi Rum desert.

Check out the website for more information:

https://web.facebook.com/RoyalAeroSportsClubofJordan

Adventure three: Camping and canyoning in Wadi Araba

Adventure in Jordan - camping in the desert
Campfire in Wadi Araba

The Siq in Petra is not the only canyon in Jordan. Deeper in the desert, revealing expansions lead to the lowest point on earth: The Dead Sea. The flow of nature water from the desert wadi’s results in incredible oasis’ and canyons that become an awesome playground for thrill seekers. From a walk through streaming water to abseiling with a professional team of guides: all is possible. Wadi Al Hasa is one location where you can spend the night under the stars from a tent, and spend the days hiking through the Wadi Araba desert.

Adventure four: Walk the Jordan Trail

Adventure in Jordan ; hike the Jordan Trail
Hiking the Jordan Trail

Also known as the Abraham Path, The Jordan Trail is a walking route that runs from Um Qais in the most northern part in Jordan, all the way to Aqaba in the south. A few fanatic walkers have walked the full 650 kilometre trail over 40 days. However hiking shorter day or multi day options is also possible. Along the path, hikers will come across small villages where traditional hospitality will keep you well rested and fed. Ancient olive trees as old as Roman times will often line the path while leading you to natural springs as you journey through arid desert and sprawling grassland terrains. Walk through the Great Rift Valley. Or walk straight through the desert combined with the main highlights of Jordan such as Petra and the Dead Sea. It will have every box on your must-see list ticked before heading home.

Click here for more info on the Jordan Great Outdoors itinerary

Adventure five: Petra 2.0

Hiking adventure in Petra, Jordan
Camel at the Monastery in Petra

For real Petra fans there is a wide range of possibilities to discover the ancient city and its surrounds. Walk various routes to enter the site. Like walking the backroad with expansive views over Wadi Araba. Walk through the Sig to reveal the great Treasury, you are guaranteed amazed at every turn. Climb to the Monastery, Petra’s biggest monument; venture up to Jabal Haroon where you’ll find a tomb in honour of Aaron, the brother of Moses; scramble up the Um al Biyara or Jabal Khubta mountains for a birds-eye view of the desert landscape. Or walk via the Nabatean inscriptions to the place where ancient springs, water and orchids still grow inside Petra. Leave no stone unturned before leaving this wonder of the world.

Check this itinerary for your Petra 2.0 adventure

Adventure six: 4×4 jeep tour in Wadi Rum

Adventure in Jordan - Wadi Rum
Jeeptour in Wadi Rum

Why just skirt the edges of the Wadi Rum desert when you can experience a 4×4 jeep safari? This adventure will take you along the best places of this UNESCO heritage. Or get dropped off at the foot of the highest mountains in Jordan. Scramble up for views of surrounding countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel and Palestine. A stay in the unique desert white spots which cut you off from the interest and mobile reception will give you a true sense of peace and relaxation as you enjoy the array of stars in the unlit sky.

Adventure seven: Diving in the Red Sea

Diving adventure in Jordan
Diving at the Red Sea

In the very south of Jordan, close to the border of Saudi Arabia, lies the small town of Aqaba. Boasting 25 kilometers of expansive white, stony coastline and crystal clear waters, Aqaba is the gateway to the ultimate underwater experience in the Red Sea. With a whopping 22 dive and snorkel sites, many of which are accessible from the shallow shore; Aqaba is the ultimate destination for both beginner and experienced divers. For beginners exploring the shallow reefs offer abundant sights of fish, coral and marine critters. Such as crabs, sea urchins and shrimp. For more experienced divers, deep dive wrecks such as the Cedar Pride provide views of rare fan-corals, eels and larger fish in deeper seas.

Click here for more information on package options. 

The great thing for you is that all of our travel consultants have first hand experience in these adventures! What else would you expect from these bunch of girls that are living and working inside Jordan? For more information, send your inquiry to [email protected] and we will get in touch with you.

Are you someone who likes to go away from the mass or off the beaten track? With overnight stays at the following accommodations, you will not only get to beautiful places, you might even stay the night with people from your own country!
Already have in mind what you want to do during your trip in Jordan? Send us an email and we’ll work out a price for your itinerary!

Boutique hotel in Amman

The La Locanda Boutique hotel in Amman is located in Jabal al Weibdeh, the new place to be with the hipsters of Amman. The hotel has a modern set up and the design of every room is inspired by important musicians from the Arabic World. It’s centrally located and with a walk you’ll be right at the amphi theater and Jabal Amman with the temple of Hercules.

In between Pilgrims

Something completely different is the Russian Pelgrimage house. This resthouse is built on the border between Jordan and Israel, where you stay the night in the middle of Pelgrims from all over the world. It’s located in the area of Bethany beyond the Jordan, close to the place where John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan river. From here it’s just a small drive towards the Dead Sea or to the border when you make a combination tour between Israel/ Palestine and Jordan.

For nature lovers

For the fans of nature the Sherhabil Ecpark is a good idea. This park has different kinds of bungalows and even the possibility to camp with your own tent. In the park you can make nice walks, hang around the Ziglab Dam or use the Zipline to get from one side to the other. Last time I was there, I saw chameleons in the bushes, local women cooked our meal and we spoke with the mayor who came to explain to us about the park.

Overnight stays with locals in the North of Jordan

By staying the night in a home stay, you always have a nice chat, you get to know the culture and the locals can show you beautiful places. For example you can stay at a farm in the Ajloun area North of Jordan. From here you can walk beautifully along the Jordan Trail, visit local initiatives such as the Soap or Biscuit house or even climb and abseil from the steep rocks in the area.

Bed and Breakfasts

And last but not least: if you’d like to hang around with one of our travel consultants, you can also stay at their B&B’s! Stay with Jolanda from Holland in her Petra Fig Tree villa or with Patricia from Belgium in Petra Bed and Breakfast.