The seaside city of Aqaba along the Red Sea is Jordan’s only coastal destination. It’s not only a perfect spot to visit if you just want to relax by the beach, but it’s also a great place to get a taste of local Jordanian culture and cuisine. If you are looking for cool things to do in Aqaba, here are 11 ideas to get you started:
1. Take a stroll on the Public Beach.
Head towards the public beach and take in the locals having fun. Head from the Royal Yacht club until you see the Jordanian flag. Stop for a tea or coffee at one of the many local cafés, order a refreshing limon u nana (lemon and mint) slushy or try a shisha. You’ll see lots of families enjoying the beach and guys showing off in their boats, going full speed with the music on full blast.
2. Indulge in the local seafood
As you face the beach continue on your walk to the left. Next you’ll find a lovely local gem- The Aqaba House restaurant which serves nice fish-dishes. Have a seat under the tents in relaxing chairs– right on the beach.
3. Learn to cook a local specialty
Are you a self-proclaimed foodie? There are several food experiences where you will learn how to make traditional folk dishes that are famous in the city of Aqaba. From main dishes, to arabic bread and desserts, this is a tasty class and among the most educational Aqaba activities you can enjoy. Some classes are quite suitable for kids as well.
4. Create some great souvenirs to take home!
Other classes are available where you can learn to make sea glass jewelry or make sand bottle art. You can also get some artistic henna designs that will gradually fade.
5. Chill out on a private beach.
There are 3 private beaches in Aqaba which you might try if you aren’t staying at one of the 5* hotels and resorts directly on the beach. Ayla is closest to the city center, with its B12 beach club. Here you will find soft sand, hammocks, sun loungers, cabanas, and a track for wake-boarding or water skiing. On weekends, Ayla organizes regular events – check out their Facebook page for more info. The second option is to head south to Tala Bay, which is nice but has less in the way of facilities. The third option is the Berenice Beach Club. Here there is a private beach, swimming pools, and a jetty from which various boat-trips depart. They also have a dive center and offer fun water sports. At the reception of your hotel in Aqaba, you can arrange for the shuttle and entry ticket to Berenice.
6. Lose yourself downtown.
Opposite from the public beach area are many souvenir shops. Here you can buy shisha for at home, eat baklava or the local favorite, knafa’a from one of the bakeries, and pick up some spices that you can find in only the Middle East such as the purple sumac and the delicious Za’tar. See how the Turkish coffee is brewed!
7. Golf at Ayla Oasis.
This beautiful 18-hole golf course, designed by the legendary Greg Norman, is the largest in the Levant and one of the finest in the Middle East! There is a par-72 championship course as well as a 9-hole par-three practice course and it runs on waste water from the city of Aqaba. If you are not already a golfer, you can even take lessons at their Golf Academy.
8. Visit the doggies at the local shelter.
The small team at the shelter is completely dependent volunteers and donations. They currently have over one hundred dogs to feed and care for. Without out enough people to get the job done, they are desperately in need of volunteers to help and show some love to the dogs. Another great “thing do in Aqaba”!
9. Check out the marine life at the Aqaba Aquarium
Perhaps you’re not so keen on going underwater, so if you want to see the beautiful fish, coral and other marine life in the Gulf you can head over to the Aquarium. Just behind the harbor in the direction of Tala Bay you’ll find this renovated aquarium which also has numerous projects for regrowing coral. For those with small children this is an especially nice excursion.
10. Go for a boat outing
Travel like a local by catching a glass-bottom boat from the public beach. You can use it as a water taxi and be dropped off at the south beach. One popular attraction is the Neptune boat. If you want to party, experience an all-out disco and delicious food on the Sun and Fun boat. The Aladdin Yacht is perfect for a sunset dinner cruise. A unique tourist boat called the Alissar (via C-guard) is one of only two ships built in the ancient Phoenician style. We can even arrange for you to go fishing with a local fisherman!
11. Try diving or snorkeling.
Last but not least, heading out to explore the underwater world in the Gulf is one of the most relaxing and exiting of all the things to do when visiting Aqaba. You can access most of the snorkeling and dive sites via the shallow waters of the beach. But dive sites are concentrated around the area of South beach, about a 20-30 minute drive from town. The local dive centers take you by boat or by car down to the area of these sides. Although Jordan remains relatively unknown among dive destinations, it has so much to offer when it comes to underwater life and dive possibilities. Find out more dive trips in this separate blogpost here.
To discover all that Aqaba’s crystal clear water and marine life have to offer, you can download the free app Dive in Aqaba, a comprehensive guide to recreational diving in Aqaba. The app helps you plan your Aqaba dives ahead of time and immerse yourself in the full experience even before getting there. It has state of the art interactive maps, photos, videos and 360 VR simulations.
Things to do in Aqaba?
Now you have some great ideas to get started. Do you have any tips and recommendations for Aqaba activities to try? Share in the comments below!
If you would like us to arrange your beach vacation contact us to start planning.