9 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Jordan

Jul 22, 2021

A shimmering jewel set on the Fertile Crescent between Europe and Asia, Jordan is a small country with great potential to inspire. Shaped much like a sunflower, with vast, undulating desert plains on the interior, the country is a strategic player in the Middle East and a new frontier of religious and historical significance.

With its ethereal capital, Amman, honey-colored stone buildings, and beautiful, fertile mountains, Jordan offers plenty to see and do. But aside from the famous sights in Amman, you'll also discover vast nature preserves, the lush Ardeh Sea with coral reefs and unspoiled beaches, some of the best kite surfing in the Middle East, and sites of timeless cultural significance.

Many Jordanians make their living as shepherds and farmers, and their livelihoods depend on the seasons. They welcome visitors out of season, but most of all they love foreigners who join them to dance on Friday nights at the annual Sidon Music Festival. In the cool mountain air, locals and foreigners alike belt out songs and raise their plastic water bottles in celebration, while Jordanian kids hold hands and chase each other through the crowds. If you visit this kind of party, you'll be singing your own songs in no time.

Breathe deep. Traveling is good for you. The more you see, the more you travel, the more you experience the world, the more you will find your place in it.

Plan your trip with the list of the best places to visit in Jordan.

Dead Sea

Photo of Dead Sea
Dead Sea: en.wikipedia.org

The largest body of water in the Middle East, the Sea of El Hammar in Jordan is also the lowest place on earth at 400 meters below sea level. Its hot springs and naturally rich salt content also make it an interesting place to visit. Unsurprisingly, salt mining is an important industry in the region, which produces some 95% of the world's salt. But the tourist appeal is much greater, with the Dead Sea used for swimming and other water sports, and for its numerous therapeutic qualities. A number of areas have been constructed on the banks, and visitors can book a relaxing massage at several resorts and health clubs. The sea is one of the least polluted in the world, although it's said that even when bathing in it people wash away a few of their problems, as the Sea of El Hammar's porous, salt-laden soil takes in pollutants from the surrounding land.

Wadi Rum

Photo of Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum: en.wikipedia.org

Wadi Rum (or Wadi al-Rum), the red landscape of Jordan's southwest, extends for 36 miles along the border of Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom of Jordan. Set on the edge of the Sahabi Mountain range, this breathtaking desert landscape is enclosed by six sandstone monoliths, created by a million-year-old process called sand-rock doming. The stretch of the road leading to the desert area of Wadi Rum is called the 'Corridor of Monoliths' and takes visitors from the surreal city of Petra, with its jagged rock formations, to the valley, where towering giants of jagged rocks, with names such as the 'Lions', 'Horses', and 'Hawks', loom over the sand like beasts of mythology. Visitors are mesmerized by the site and its panoramic view. The rocks can be visited on a desert drive, but the actual 'Corridor' or Wadi Rum proper can only be visited with a licensed tour operator or by entering into an agreement with a Bedouin guide. While the site is visited by more than 2.5 million tourists every year, in the summer months (October-March) Bedouin guides and camel drivers are often charged for letting people visit the site, which is strictly off-limits to outsiders. There are several recommended operators that offer the ultimate desert experience in Jordan. These include Riad Al Midja, Safari Company, and Yeti Driver.

Jerash

Photo of Jerash
Jerash: en.wikipedia.org

This ancient city dates back to the 5th century BC, but most of the archaeological site still lies beneath the modern city of Jerash, so virtually every wall, arch and column can be visited. The site is divided into three areas: Roman, Byzantine and the Citadel. Jerash is one of the best places to see the archaeological sites of the Eastern Roman Empire, a tribute to the city's close links with Italy and the Vatican during the late Roman period. For many years, an important pilgrimage site, the Saint Dina Church at the centre of Jerash attracted thousands of visitors.

Amman

Jordan is a kingdom that borders Israel, Syria, and Iraq. It's located in the Arabian desert, bordering Israel, and is one of the most highly guarded nations on earth. Although Jordan is a democracy, its landscape is defined by an incredible, historic mix of sun-baked landscapes and harsh desert terrain. The capital of Amman (or 'White City'), is a relatively new city with a modern style, made up of the old souq and Khan as-Sultan bin Abdullah. Almost 100 km (60 miles) west of Amman is Madaba, which was the first Christian city in the Holy Land, dating back to the fourth century. For an up-close and authentic experience of Jordan, get out of Amman and visit the Madaba; it has a medieval look and feel.

Read more 👉  Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Amman

Petra

Petrified red stone quarries and sunken ancient settlements set in a 300-foot-deep valley form the striking backdrop of this ancient city. Built over the course of centuries by successive cultures, Petra was long thought to have been a hideout for smugglers because of its intricate network of paved roads and limestone streets. Today, Petra is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Jordan. Considered a UNESCO World Heritage site, the site is something of a double whammy for those who love this world. It's the Arab world, but it is also an ancient city with a more peaceful, archeological feel than one would expect. At the same time, Petra is a driving wonder. It's one of those places that doesn't look real. Highlights of a visit include a guided walk with a local guide, a visit to the House of the Emerald, the Treasury and the Royal Tombs, a drive through the ancient souq and a stroll on the High Place. You'll enjoy the views at a leisurely pace as you stroll around the tombs, marvel at the works of the first engineers and imagine the Middle East at its ancient glory. Petra is accessible by bus or tour from Amman. Although it's possible to travel by air to Jordan and Petra, it's more convenient to fly into Amman's Queen Alia Airport. The best way to arrive at Petra is by taxi, which will drop you off at the closest checkpoint. In that way, you'll be able to enjoy your walk to Petra through the night.

Mount Nebo

Photo of Mount Nebo
Mount Nebo: en.wikipedia.org

Mount Nebo, a small mountain just 3,214 meters high, stands in the midst of the little-visited West Bank area of Jordan. This mountain is the holy mount of both the Muslim and the Christian Bible, and there are different pictures in the two versions of the same book. Muslims know that Moses is buried here, and the tomb is guarded by a sacred flame.

Aqaba

The Red Sea city of Aqaba is situated at the confluence of the sea and Gulf of Aqaba, located in a large bay between the Mediterranean coast and the Peninsula of Sinai. At the southern end of the Peninsula, Aqaba is only 36 kilometers from the city of Sinai and serves as the gateway to the Arabian desert and the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Valley of the Pharaohs, as well as as the landing point for some of Egypt's famous monuments. With fewer than 50,000 residents, Aqaba is a busy crossroads of cultures and traditions, where Arabic dialects and exotic foods make for a great meal, while Jewish synagogues and Coptic churches are scattered throughout the city.

Ajloun Castle

Photo of Ajloun Castle
Ajloun Castle: en.wikipedia.org

Ajloun Castle, located about 12 km from the Mediterranean city of Ajloun, dates back to the late 7th century AD, although its present form dates from the early 13th century. Built by the al-Muzaffar family who were in control of Ajloun, the castle consisted of an outer wall with an imposing rectangular tower. Inside the castle, a huge hall is of note, while in the northern wing is a museum which has interesting archeological finds dating back to pre-Islamic times. Today the castle is used as a museum which features displays on the region's cultural heritage. Most of its exhibits include some information on Ajloun's own history and tradition.

Amman Citadel

Photo of Amman Citadel
Amman Citadel: en.wikipedia.org

Nestled in the center of Amman and overlooking the main public gardens, the Citadel is Jordan's largest archaeological site, standing as a testament to the strength of the country's cultural heritage. It was built by the Umayyad Caliphate between AD 677 and 717 and its cylindrical structure looks very similar to the wall of the Paris Opera. Along with this protected, UNESCO World Heritage Site are seven churches with ornate mosaics inside and the City Palace, which is where King Hussein and Queen Noor were married. There are nearly 40 mosques to visit within the Citadel, the most important of which are the large Al-Hussein mosque and the Al-Ula mosque. Although the Citadel was mostly built of mud brick in the Byzantine period, the Islamic city was constructed entirely of stone.