The archeological and natural treasures in Jordan have attracted millions of tourists for decades. Although adventurous tourism has always been popular, cycling in Jordan has only been upcoming for a couple of years. The geography of Jordan allows for some of the most spectacular cycling rides in the region.
During one cycling ride you pass through multiple bio-geographical zones, see a wide variety of flora and fauna and see the most impressive ancient structures. Cycling in Jordan also allows you to get in touch with Jordanians in a different way. It allows you to visit people in rural villages and to learn from them in unique ways. We strongly believe in responsible and sustainable tourism. That’s why we have put together this list of the best day trips by bike from Amman.
The village of Umm Qais, formerly known as Gadara, is located in the most northern part of Jordan, about a two hour drive from Amman. Your bike is waiting for you at the parking lot of the Umm Qais archeological site. Today’s cycling ride will take you through the lush countryside of northern Jordan. After turning away from the archeological side you will be treated with views over the Golan Heights and the beautiful Tiberias lake. On a clear day you will even be able to see the Lebanese mountains in the distance.
From the archeological site you cycle downhill through Umm Qais village. Once you leave the village you find yourself surrounded by farms and the Jordanian countryside. It’s only a short ride down to the Yarmouk river. This river marks the border between Jordan and its neighbouring countries, forming an important natural protection of the country.
After resting at the Yarmouk river your ride continues. However, this time you will be cycling uphill back to the starting point. Don’t worry, you can take as much time as you want while enjoying the spectacular views.
Distance: 9 kilometers (5.6 miles)
Difficulty level: Easy
As an experienced cyclist you will definitely enjoy this ride. You start at the impressive 12th-century Islamic castle in the hills of Ajloun. This castle doesn’t disappoint. There are three floors for you to explore. Additionally, from the top floor you have views over the whole region. On a clear day, and if you’re lucky, you’ll even be able to see Jerusalem from here.
The ride starts at the castle square at a height of 945 meters (3130 feet) and takes you through rural villages and farms along the way. Your final destination is the Azraq river, located at a height of 45 meters (148 feet) below sea level. Winding roads take you through the Ajloun hills past the ancient town of Anjara. This is the last village you will see in a while as you continue driving on- and offroad through the countryside.
At the end of the ride, you’ll end up at the Azraq river. Here you will enjoy some delicious snacks and lunch before heading back to Amman. In spring the riverbed is covered in flowers, making this a perfect place to hang around for a picnic or to enjoy the sun after a long cycling ride.
Distance: 46.4 kilometers (28.9 miles)
Difficulty level: Advanced
Iraq al Amir
This is the best route for both experienced and inexperienced cyclists. The trip starts in Amman, near the King Hussein Public Gardens, and will take you through Iraq al Amir towards the Kafrain water dam. You’ll cover a distance of 35.5 kilometers (22.5 miles) and descend 1452 meters (4764 feet). The climbs are minimal, making it doable for all generations.
After departing from the gardens you’ll soon leave Jordan’s capital. Your first destination for today is Iraq al Amir. The trip takes you around Dabouq village. Driving past Al Rababieh and Al Bayader you will then reach Iraq al Amir. Iraq al Amir is known for the nearby castle named Qasr al-Abd. This hellenistic castle was build in the first quarter of the second century B.C. and can be accessed free of charge for a visit.
After Iraq al Amir you leave the greater Amman region. From now on you will enjoy spectacular views of the countryside of Jordan. Your final destination for today is the Kafrain Water Dam. Upon arrival, lunch will be served while you relax at the side of the dam.
Distance: 35.5 kilometers (22.5 miles)
Difficulty level: Intermediate
Mount Nebo and the Dead Sea
This cycling ride may be one of the most scenic ones you can do in the vicinity of Amman. You’ll start at Mount Nebo which is only an hour drive away from Amman. This is the place from where Moses saw the Promised Land. It is believed that Moses has been buried on this mountain. On a clear day you can even see Jerusalem from here. The ride today is approximately 54 kilometers and is mostly downhill on paved roads. At Ouin al Theeb you will be driving off road.
This route gives you great panoramic views of the valley below. In total you descend 1665 meters until your reach the lowest point on earth: The Dead Sea. From Mount Nebo you start with a spectacular view over the valley below. In the far distance you can already see the Dead Sea. After departure you first make a descent into the valley below, followed by a short climb. On the way you ride past houses located in the valley. If you are lucky you even get a chance to talk to some locals who are going about their daily lives.
The climbs can be steep at certain points during the ride, however the views are totally worth it. After you had the biggest climb it is mostly downhill. Riding through the mountains you slowly feel the temperature and humidity increasing until you reach the Dead Sea Road. This is the end of this ride. However, why not change into your swimming suit and jump into the Dead Sea? This is an experience that you will never forget.
Distance: 36 kilometers (22.4 miles)
Difficulty level: Intermediate
Mount Nebo and Mukawer
This ride starts at Mount Nebo as well. However, this time you won’t be cycling downhill. Your route starts approximately 170 meters above sea level and will first take you through the beautiful countryside of Madaba. On the way you will cross through small villages such as Fayhaa, Ma’in and Mukawer. If you are hungry or would like to experience the local Jordanian lifestyle then you can even have dinner at one of the local families in these villages.
After lunch the route leads you past a panoramic road with stunning views of the Dead Sea. After taking in the breathtaking views you will continue cycling towards Mukawer. The ride is not easy: there are lots of climbs and descends. However, you will know it has all been worth the effort upon arrival to Mukawer Castle. This fortified hilltop palace is the location of the imprisonment and execution of St. John the Baptist. Here you can explore the site and rest before heading back to Amman.
Distance: 46.2 kilometers (28.71 miles)
Difficulty level: Intermediate