Jordan is a small territory forming a bridge between the East and the Mediterranean basin, which has seen a succession of many civilizations. These have bequeathed precious vestiges to the country, whose deserts have long been inhabited only by Bedouin nomads. Great Roman cities, Nabataean temples, Umayyad castles, Byzantine art and ancestral Arab culture: this is the diversity of Jordan! Not to mention the beauty of its desert and wild landscapes, which will mark your mind with their flamboyant colors: pink, ocher, purple, gold…
What are the most beautiful places in Jordan? Here are 10 places to visit to capture all the richness of this incredible country!
How not to start with Petra? Considered the eighth wonder of the world, this site is undoubtedly Jordan’s treasure. Petra, or Raqmu la Barriolée, was founded at the end of the 8th century BC by the Edomites, then occupied by the Nabataeans, an Arab trading people of Antiquity. They will make it prosper, building huge temples and tombs.
To access the city, visitors take the gorge of the Siq, admiring at the same time the sculptural beauty of the rocks and their flamboyant colors. Finally, they arrive at the Al Khaznel Gate ! This 30 meter high façade is carved directly into the pink sandstone of the canyon. A breathtaking view. You can also walk the path at night: the site is then lit with thousands of candles and a concert of Bedouin music accompanies the show.
But Petra is not just at its door: plan several days to explore the remains of this mythical city, which has seen the splendor of several ancient civilizations.
Amann is one of the oldest cities in the world to be still inhabited: it is mentioned in the Bible under the name of Rhabbat Ammon . It is today, and has been since 1921, the capital of Jordan.
Amman is a very lively city, punctuated by the noise of cars and the call to prayer. This soft contrast between the modernity of the capital and the strong presence of vestiges and traditions gives a unique atmosphere to the city. Go to the Downtown , historic district, to discover many points of interest, such as the Abu Darwish mosque, and browse the maze of the souks.
Amann’s citadel, jabal Al-Qala’a , dominates the city. This ancient Roman acropolis is a striking witness to the past of the city, which then bore the name of Philadelphia . Also visit the Roman theater and finally, take the opportunity to taste the delicious Jordanian cuisine.
3. The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is a must during your stay in Jordan. Live the unusual experience of floating on its waters which are particularly laden with salt (nearly ten times more than in other seas!).
On its banks, many wellness centers allow you to take advantage of its therapeutic virtues, together with other treatments such as mud baths. Free beaches also allow you to enjoy the experience, but be careful: do not stay too long in the water, it is aggressive for the skin!
Beyond the unique properties of its water, the Dead Sea offers visitors a gentle landscape. Its opal waters are surrounded by ocher and purple rocks, a fragile sight that is doomed to disappear due to human activity…
Jerash is the second tourist site in Jordan, after Petra. And it’s not for nothing: this ancient Greco-Roman city is perhaps the best preserved in the entire Middle East!
The ancient Gerasa is an opulent city, which took off from the 2nd century BC. Supposedly founded by Alexander the Great, it is more likely of Greek origin. It was indeed part of the Decapolis, a group of ten Greek colonies mentioned in biblical writings. In the first century AD, Gerasa was attached to the Roman province of Syria. As in the other cities of the Decapolis, the Greeks welcome the Pax Romana with relief, exhausted by the conflicts with the Jews and the Nabataeans.
Today, visitors can admire the ruins of the city: Hadrian’s Arch, the Temple of Zeus, the theatre, the hippodrome…
5. Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum is a vast desert valley which conceals landscapes with shapes and colors unique in the world. Its wild lands, swept with red sand, are home to many rock formations: arches, pillars, canyons… A veritable open-air cathedral, sculpted by the gradual erosion of time. Bright green oases sometimes cover the grounds of this arid desert, providing visitors with a stark contrast.
To travel through Wadi Rum, you can count on the hospitality and legendary generosity of the Bedouins, who provide travelers with tourist programs organized by them: guide, accommodation, food… A great authentic experience to live in Jordan. Be careful, however, not to choose just any circuit: some tourist practices unfortunately distort the region.
Madaba is a very pretty Jordanian city located thirty kilometers south of Amman , the capital. It is known for its mosaics of Byzantine and Umayyad origins, which often illustrate the Tree of Life, one of the symbols of the country.
The city is deeply marked by its history which, like many holy places in Jordan, is mentioned in the Bible. The richness of its influences (Roman, Persian, Byzantine, Umayyad) is expressed through numerous vestiges and monuments. In particular, St. George’s Church contains a real masterpiece: an ancient mosaic map of the Holy Land of Jerusalem.
7. Wadi Mujib
The Wadi Mujib reserve is a canyon overlooking a wide plateau, which offers spectacular panoramas. It culminates at 900 meters before plunging to the lowest point on earth: the Dead Sea Valley. Here, experienced hikers will find what they are looking for! Many treks allow you to discover the rugged landscape of Wadi Mujib, providing real thrills.
Two choices are available to you to enjoy it: hikes on the heights or canyoning in the gorges and waterfalls of Wadi Mujib. In any case, wild landscapes await you and they are home to unique flora and fauna!
Aqaba offers the country’s only access to the Red Sea. Although this coastal town has been inhabited since 4000 BC, it was only very recently that it developed, at high speed, to become the seaside resort that we know today. It’s not the prettiest city in Jordan, but it offers travelers a pleasant space to relax.
However, Aqaba’s main attraction for tourists is the sumptuous coral gardens that line the coast. A golden opportunity to go diving or snorkeling and discover the incredible richness of the Red Sea seabed!
9. Desert Castles
The Desert Castles refer to several Umayyad constructions from the early Middle Ages. Located mostly east of the capital, they dot the desert plains. Their functions were diverse: residences of caliphs, caravanserais (stopover for merchant caravans), baths, hunting lodges, etc. Stop in particular at the Qusair Amra castle which houses remarkable Umayyad frescoes.
You can discover them for a day, from Amann.
10. Mount Nebo
It is on this mountain, culminating at 800 meters in height in the West of Jordan, that Moses would have observed the Promised Land for the first time, and it is also here that he would have died at the age of 120. year. In any case according to the Christian tradition, because the Moslems fix the tomb of Moses at the sanctuary of Nabi Moussa, on the other side of the Jordan.
Mount Nebo attracts many pilgrims, who come to visit the Memorial Church of Moses and its sumptuous mosaics, as well as the incredible view of the Dead Sea and, on a clear day, of Jerusalem.
A word of advice: visit the site early enough in the morning to avoid the crowds and take full advantage of the atmosphere, whether it is spiritual for you or simply colored by the mythology that rocks the place.
11. The Road of Kings
The Road of Kings is not so much a place, but it allows travelers to travel Jordan from North to South and discover the main treasures of the country over more than 400 kilometers. Whether you want to discover the historical or natural wonders of Jordan, this is an ideal route that will allow you to soak up its great richness.
Following the mythical Route of the Kings means passing through the most beautiful places to visit in Jordan.