Explore the classic highlights that Jordan has to offer, combined with some relaxing time in Aqaba by the Red Sea and a rejuvenating dip into the Dead Sea. Jordan is a small country with lots to offer, and in seven days you can see quite a lot! For young and old, this classic trip is a great itinerary to show you the highlights of the country and a great start to customize your trip to your wishes.
Day 1: Welcome to Jordan
Upon arriving in Amman, one of our trusted drivers will await you in the arrivals hall of the Queen Alia International Airport to welcome you to Jordan. Together, you will make the 45 minutes drive into the capital Amman. Just like Rome, it was built on seven hills. Amman is one of the oldest cities in the world, and considered one of the most westernized and liberal cities of the Arab countries, with plenty of history and old heritage to be found. If you arrive early, then you can visit downtown Amman, eat delicious traditional cuisine at Sufra or relax after your long trip at the hotel.
Day 2: Roman ruins and green hills
After a delicious breakfast at your hotel, be ready for your driver to pick you up and take you to explore the north of Jordan. This part of the country looks completely different, and sometimes resembles the south of Italy a little bit, with olive trees and vinyards, lush forests and green hills. Enjoy the drive through the countyside and small villages!
First, you will head to Jerash, some of the best preserved Roman ruins outside of Italy, and therefore also named “Pompeii of the East”! A visit in spring is particularly nice, as all the wildflowers are in bloom.
Jerash used to be one of the Decapolis cities under the name of Gerasa. The site holds remains from Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and early Muslim periods in form of temples, public squares and plazas, theatres, baths and fountains. Jerash is quite big, and there are lots of places to be climbed and explored!
After your visit to the ruins of Jerash and quite a bit of walking, it might be a good time for lunch. The town of Jerash has many delicious bakeries and restaurants, but notably, the traditional BBQ (in Arabic: Mashawi) restaurants are the highlight for every meat lover! If you are keen, ask your driver to make a recommendation, or head to the Khayam Global Restaurant (looks a bit weird from the outside, but they serve delicious meat grills/ Mashawi).
After lunch, continue to Ajloun, an ancient Muslim fortress which was built under the military leader and sultan Saladin. In the past, pigeons were used to deliver messages from the castle to the army. It is situated on a hill near the village of Ajloun, with breathtaking views over the Jordan Valley and the surrounding area. Due to earthquakes, the castle has been rebuilt many times and many of the original features are gone, but there are many towers, chambers and tunnels to keep young and old travelers entertained.
After a day full of new impressions and memories, your driver will take you back to your hotel in Amman.
Day 3: On the Kings Highway to Petra
Today, you will travel down the ancient Kings Highway! It will be a long day, but you will get to see a lot. Your first stop is in the market town of Madaba, where you can visit the famous Byzantine mosaics and old churches. Here, you will find the oldest map of the Holy Land, which dates back to 600 AD. Don’t forget to also climb up the bell tower of the Church of St John the Baptist, as you will have a great view over Madaba! If you want to spend some more time in Madaba, there are plenty of things to do: Learn how to cook a local Jordanian dish at Hikayet Sitti (and of course eat it afterwards), or go on a biking tour through the village streets or the countryside. One of the best restaurants in Jordan, called Haret Jdoudna is also located in Madaba. The restaurant offers traditional Jordanian cuisine, and has a lovely shady and green courtyard. It is also an experience to just take some time and stroll through the streets and explore the local shops.
After Madaba, continue to Mount Nebo, overviewing the Dead Sea, the West Bank and the Valley of the Jordan River. Here, Moses saw the Promised Land for the first time. Some say that Moses is buried here, while others believe that the grave of Moses is near Jericho. Decide for yourself!
You will travel onto Karak, where one of the largest crusader castles is located, dating back to the 12th century. You will notice its striking silhouette from far away. Here, once again, many corners, vaults and tunnels can be explored. If you have a torch (or the one in your phone), you can also explore the darker areas of the castle, if you dare…
But Karak has more to offer than “just” a castle: you can go canyoning in the nearby Wadi bin Hammad, a deep valley with hanging gardens, lush vegetation, palm trees and lots of water flowing down the gorge. Karak is also the home of the Jordanian national dish, Mansaf! It is a dish made of rice, lamb, dried goat yoghurt (also called Jameed), pine nuts and shrak (very flat bread, similar to the French crepes). If you’re interested, ask your driver for a restaurant recommendation!
Travel further down the Kings Highway, until you reach the magnificent Dana Nature Reserve. If you have some more days to spend, Dana is a good place to be, with lots of hiking opportunities in a unique landscape. Explore the ruins of the old Ottoman village, and enjoy the great views over the Great Rift Valley. You will notice that some buildings have been restored and built into small hotels, in effort to breathe the life back into this isolated but beautiful place.
After roughly another hour of driving, you will reach your final destination for the day: the town of Petra, also called Wadi Musa! You can check into your hotel and get some rest for what awaits you tomorrow. It will be a lot of walking, you’ll need the energy! For dinner, you can either grab something to eat at your hotel, or venture out again into the town. My Mum’s Recipe is one of our favorite restaurants here!
Why people book their classic Jordan trip with In2Jordan
A good and safe car with driver to travel around the country, where you’ll have wifi in the car on longer transfers. A driver that knows his country and loves to share about it. And when you look out of the window, enjoy an ever-changing landscape. From a quick hop-over to Jordan from neighboring countries, to fully customized round-trips, our experts know the way.
Day 4: Red rose city of Petra
Today, you will visit Jordan’s biggest treasure: The UNESCO and world heritage site of Petra! The site opens as early at 6 AM, and the earlier you go, the less crowded it will be. The archaeological park accounts for 2640 acres, and you will have to do a lot of walking today! Bring some lunch, or head to the Basin restaurant in Petra around noon time.
Although it is not clear when exactly Petra was built, but as a city it started to get lively from the 1st century BC onwards, as the capital of the Nabateans. The city grew rich through trading spices, myrrh and frankincense. Petra then became part of the Roman Empire, until an earthquake in the 4th century AD destroyed a big part of the city, which eventually also let to its downfall, and only Bedouins remained in the area.
When entering Petra through the main gates, you will walk down a narrow gorge, which is called the Siq. At the end of this trail, you will reach the Treasury. There is also a viewpoint opposite to it that you can climb, to get some great photo shots from above. You can also climb up to the High Place of Sacrifice, where the Nabateans used to sacrifice amimals to their gods. You’ll have a great view from here, and the High Place of Sacrifice is the most accessible one of all high places of Petra.
The Monastery, on the other hand, has an even more striking view, but the climb is steep (800 steps to be precise, and down again). But it is well worth it: The Monastery is the largest monument of Petra, and if you continue further where some small, improvised coffee shops are build up, you’ll undoubtedly have the best view over the Petra Basin and Wadi Araba. The best time to attempt this climb is in the afternoon, as by then a big part of the path will be in the shade, and the Monastery will be hit with by sunlight full on.
In the late afternoon, make your way back to the exit and to your hotel, where your driver will pick you up, for your next adventure: The desert of Wadi Rum.
The drive will take approximately 2 hours, and then you will reach the village of Wadi Rum. From here, you will continue off-road with a 4×4 through the desert, and to your camp for the night. There are plenty of options on where to stay for all budgets and comfort levels, ranging from basic eco camps to high end luxurious camps with a panoramic ceiling. The choice is yours! Enjoy a great Bedouin dinner, often a dish called Zarb, which is cooked in the ground. After dinner, sit in the cozy Bedouin tent by the fire and enjoy some tea, or marvel at the amazing sky, with a seemingly endless amount of stars!
Day 5: From the desert to the beach
Wake up in the great outdoors and get excited for your most adventurous day yet. After having breakfast at your camp (you will be woken up quite early, so don’t be surprised!), a local Bedouin guide will take you on a jeep tour through the mars-like landscape of Wadi Rum. Movies like The Martian, Aladdin and Star Wars have been filmed here!
Depending on how long you decide to go for a jeep tour, you will explore canyons with Nabatean inscriptions (you can also hike here!), red sand dunes, spectacular rock bridges and even the House of Lawrence of Arabia!
If a jeep tour is not your cup of tea, there are many other things you can do: Go on a hike to one of the mountain tops, and marvel at the surrounding landscape. You will also see Saudi Arabia! Alternatively, you can also hike through a canyon, and if you have a day to spare, even sleep there!
For early birds, explore the desert from a different vantage point and go on a hot air balloon ride over the Wadi Rum desert! Starting at 6 AM, this experience costs its share, but is absolutely worth it. For adrenalin seekers who like to stay on the ground, go on an ATV ride instead!
Mid-morning, your camp will take you back to the village, where your driver will await you. He will take you further south to the cozy coastal town of Aqaba, located by the Red Sea. The towns biggest “selling point” is the diving that you can do around here: Underwater, you can dive to an old plane wreck, a tank, an old ship wreck, and of course explore beautiful corals and its inhabitants. The reef is over 25 kms long, and stretches right down to the Saudi Arabian border, offering dive spots for experienced divers as well as beginners. If diving is not for you, you can also go snorkeling. Every dive shop offers rental snorkeling gear. The best place to go for some snorkeling is South Beach, as you can follow a “path” marked by ropes and floating devices. These will lead you on a tour through the underwater flora and fauna of the so-called Japanese Gardens. It’s a public beach, so on weekends and towards the evening, many locals will be there, hence why it is considerate and polite to wear a T-shirt and maybe some leggings when you jump in the water.
For those who don’t want to get wet, don’t worry, you don’t have to miss out! There is a glassbottom boat, which takes you to some of the dive and snorkeling sites, and you can also explore the underwater world – from a dry spot! Click here to find out about what you can do in Aqaba!
For your overnight stay, you will either stay in hotel located in the city of Aqaba, or in the more secluded Tala Bay Compound (5* Hotels only). For the more adventurous travelers, there are also some small and basic local hotels in South Beach.
Day 6: To the lowest point on earth
After having breakfast at your hotel, drive the 4 hours north to the lowest point on earth: The Dead Sea. You will be travelling on the scenic Dead Sea Highway, along the border with Israel/ Palestine, while enjoying great views over the Dead Sea.
If you are not in a rush to reach your hotel with access to the Dead Sea, you can also make a stop at Lot’s cave, where Lot, the brother of Abraham, is said to have lived for some time with his two daughters. If you head further up the Dead Sea Highway, you will also pass the salt pillar of Lot’s wife (a strangely shaped rock): While fleeing from the sinfulness of Sodom, it is said that despite being warned, Lot’s wife turned to look back upon the city, and hence, turned into a pillar of salt.
For an even better view over the Dead Sea, head to the Dead Sea Panoramic Complex. The curvy mountain road leading there is also an experience, and once you reach the complex, you will also find a small museum, as well as a restaurant (if you want to have lunch there).
For those in need of more thrill, the water canyon of Wadi Mujib is nearby! Open from April to October, you can indulge in some canyoning before your well-deserved rest at the Dead Sea. If you’re over 18 years of age, nothing can stop you: Climb up waterfalls and rocks, float, swim and hike through water, up the narrow gorge of the canyon. The end of the trail is marked by a big waterfall, if you’re daring enough, you can swim behind it and see it all from a different perspective. You will head back the same way you came from, and with your life vest (mandatory) you can float all the way back to the start. But don’t worry, guides are positioned at the most difficult part, ready to help you.
In the early afternoon, you will reach your Dead Sea hotel, which means you can relax for the rest of the day: Float in the salty waters, go for a full body mud treatment, enjoy the pools or relax in the sun. Most hotels there also have spa’s where you can book some treatments or massages. In the evening, you can enjoy a beautiful sunset over the mountains on the other side, belonging to Palestine/ Israel. Dinner is included, so dig in when the buffet opens!
Day 7: Time to say goodbye
The last day of your Jordan adventure has come, it’s time to say goodbye! If your flight departs later in the day, you can spend some more time relaxing at the Dead Sea, and go for another float! In time, your driver will take you back to the airport, for your departure.
Are you ready for an adventure of a lifetime? Or are you looking to make a visit to Jordan’s classic highlights in about 4 days time? We got you covered. Get in touch to either book this trip or to receive your very own customized trip to Jordan by our experts.