Jordan was truly the trip of a lifetime! There are multiple places in Jordan that are on your bucket list. This Jordan itinerary could be done in 7-15 days but I put 10 just for ease of the title – as it’s really up to you how you want to travel. As you can see on the map below, all the ducks are in a row, so to speak. The airport is in Amman in the middle so you need to cover the North than the South or vice versa. I’ll help with that in the Jordan itinerary below.
Also below for most places I have a link to my blog post on tips for each place, so I won’t go into detail here.
Views from the road:
the countries’ flower, black iris
You may even choose to skip the North entirely, as most major sites are in the South and it would save a lot of time in the car. For reference, you can drive from the most Northern star on this map, Um Qais, to the most Southern, Aqaba, in 5-6 hours with no traffic if you take the main Highway. I suggest the Kings Highway for parts which are slower but shows the “Grand Canyon of Jordan” with fantastic views through winding hilly roads, in the photos just above.
Jordan Itinerary Sample: 10 Days
Amman International airport is where you will fly in therefore you have to be in Amman. It is worth seeing. The citadel and Roman theater and amazing ruins and I enjoyed seeing trendy Rainbow street. I stayed at one of the most famous luxury hotels, the Intercontinental.
Check out my blog post on things to do in Amman and see the best tour options as well.
From here if you want to take the time to go North, the spots to visit are Um Qais, Ajloun, and Jerash. You can read about these places and decide and if not skip ahead to the South starting at Amman to Karak Castle.
So what’s worth visiting here? More ruins! There are some amazing Greek ruins to explore. At the top, there is a delicious (seriously) restaurant Um Qais Resthouse, a Romero restaurant, which while we were there we saw the King’s Uncle eating at. Very cool. From the top when you look out you interestingly see both Isreal and Syria. Even cooler, you can see the “Sea of Galilee” where Jesus walked on water! I thought that was just amazing. It was my first time seeing biblical references (that I can remember).
Ajloun is a great place for nature lovers and is where you could stay the night after seeing Um Qais. We stayed at the Aljoun Eco Lodge which was peaceful, clean, and quiet. We heard animals all through the night. Food is served in the lodge buffet style. Here you can take hikes and although we only stayed the night you could spend time here bird-watching. There is a castle here as well.
Jerash is one of the two places on this list I did not visit due to time. These are also famous ruins and if I could go back I would see them. In my opinion, if you’ve been to Athens and Rome, then you don’t need to see all the ruins in Jordan you can pick and choose. These are quite famous, though. The ruins had been covered because of an earthquake and were only found in 1806. In photos, the hippodrome and theater look impressive!
Now drive back down past Amman to the South.
Karak Castle (Kerak)
If you fancy seeing this castle, now would be a great time to do it. This is a larger crusader castle that was built in 1140. From wiki: Because of its position east of the Dead Sea, Karak was able to control Bedouin herders as well as the trade routes from Damascus to Egypt and Mecca. It is quite impressive, but unless you have a guide to tell stories (which is what makes it special) you may find it underwhelming. We ate lunch here and it was delicious!
Dana Nature Reserve
Dana is another nature-lovers’ place and we stayed at the Dana Rummana campsite. I’m in two minds about the place because the tents are not waterproof, nor is the dining area and we were there in a thunderstorm. I think on a sunny day if you like camping, then this is a beautiful option for you. I think if you are a hotel-type traveler you might want to just see Dana passing through – or if you’ve been to Ajloun, give it a skip. The views were stunning. We ended up asking to leave and go to their nearby guesthouse which was a good option, as that evening the remaining group of Italians there came in drenched around midnight- they had to leave their luggage behind and wait for someone to bring it separately as they woke up with flooded tents. Great idea of a place, but not perfectly executed. The staff was so nice though and the campfire and tea were lovely. The guesthouse, unfortunately, I don’t know the name was the same company and was very cozy! It has some reviews from people saying it was their favorite part of Jordan and others that had not so great experiences. Check them out in the link above and keep in mind tents are a little less than $100.
More photos from Dana:
Petra, one of the new wonders of the world and the #1 reason people visit Jordan. Obviously, you CANNOT miss Petra while you are here. I have written an extensive amount of tips which you can read here. We stayed at the awesome Movenpick which I highly suggest. It is literally at the doorsteps of the entrance to Petra and it has a pool. 5 stars in Jordan are relatively affordable.
Again, I have written all about Wadi Rum (the most popular desert destination). I did hot air ballooning here, stayed at a campsite I don’t recommend, and rode a camel! There’s a lot to do here but many people choose to stay just for the day. Please read up on my article on Wadi Rum for full advice on this.
The second and last town on this list that I did not get to visit while in Jordan was Aqaba which is the popular coastal vacation spot and where you can scuba dive in the famous Red Sea. Ben was really looking forward to going here but it just didn’t work out this time. I definitely would go here if I was given a second chance! I would actually skip seeing the North of Amman in exchange for going here. Wadi Rum, Petra, and Aqaba are sometimes called the tourists “Golden triangle”. Read all about it here.
Ma’in is the home of amazing hot springs (and I mean, HOT!) and huge waterfalls that drop the hot water on your back for a massage! We stayed at the fantastic Ma’in Resort. I wrote all about the resort and spa in a blog post of it’s own which you should check out – but definitely don’t skip Ma’in. It was Ben’s favorite other than Petra and he doesn’t even like spas.
The Dead Sea is, after Petra, the next biggest tourist attraction for outsiders! I loved seeing it; it’s been on my bucket list since I can remember. I wrote all about it with SO many tips and a look at our hotel, the Kempinski, which was amazing.
Head back to Amman to fly home!
Some tips for booking your Jordan trip:
- I search kiwi.com first for flights.
- Make sure to get travel insurance. I use World Nomads.
- You can rent a car, hire a driver, or take a tour. I use rentalcars.com when I rent. Roads are great here.
- You will get your visa on arrival.
- You’ll want to pre-book hotels here. I have info on all the places I stayed in my articles on each city I went in Jordan.
The Top Tour Options to Cover a Similar Jordan Itinerary
It can seem like a lot to plan a trip like this from scratch and I had the help of the tourism board, who gave me a driver. You can rent a car and do the trip yourself (the roads are very good) or you can book a tour with a driver. I use Get Your Guide and Viator when I book day tours and tend to look at G Adventures for longer tours like this, but I compared them all. Keep in mind, G Adventures tours are run by them while the others are outsourced to anyone who wants to add a tour there – so that is why G Adventures is so mugh higher in price. I am going to link the highest rated tours here with the price and where to read more information and book it.
- 8-Day Highlight of Jordan tour from G Adventures. Book it here for $999. This tour covers all the big highlights (for real) and also goes down to Aqaba. You go by private car and hotels are included. It’s actually a really good price. You can look at their other tours as they have one focused on adventure in the same price range.
- 3-Night Jordan tour to Amman, Petra, Wadi Rum, and the Dead Sea from Viator. Book it here for $456. This tour has the same inclusions for the most part but open them up and compare. It comes down to how much time you have and if you want to see everything or just these key places in the 3-day tour.
I hope that this Jordan itinerary can help you plan out your trip. Jordan was an incredible experience. Thank you to the Visit Jordan for facilitating the trip.
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