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10 Unique Things to Do in Jordan
Jordan is a relatively small country in the Middle East with a wealth of sights, adventures and a rich culture. Below are 10 things to do in Jordan for every season and every taste. Whether you’re avid hiker, outdoor enthusiast, foodie or interested in getting to know a new culture – there’s something to do for everyone.
#1 Explore Ancient Petra
World Wonder Petra is on the top of the list of almost anyone traveling to Jordan. It’s safe to say that anyone preparing a trip to Jordan has heart about the legendary Treasury, the symbol of Petra, and maybe even the country.
In addition to the famous Treasury, Petra is unique for its countless treasures hidden deep inside the rose city. Petra is best explored by foot. There’re numerous hiking trails in Petra that lead you through the ancient city. Hike to the Monastery, the Al Khubtha Viewpoint or the High Place of Sacrifice. If you’re looking for an even more original experience, explore the surrounding valley on a horseback before continuing on foot.
#2 Float in the Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth and world famous for its high salinity, which makes it possible to float on the water surface. Dead Sea floating is an absolute must when in Jordan. Even if you’re not into wellness and relaxation, make sure to plan a short stopover at Dead Sea for the floating experience and a natural mud mask. If you’re traveling with kids or want to add a bathing day to your itinerary, you can sleep over in one of the luxury Dead Sea resorts.
#3 Experience Desert Life
In the south of Jordan is located Wadi Rum, which you’ll probably already know from famous Hollywood movies such as The Martian. Wadi Rum is a truly unique desert with reddish sand, large sand dunes, rocks and more. It was once home to the Lawrence of Arabia (whose traces you’ll still see today), and is now home to hundreds of Bedouins.
Wadi Rum is where you’ll experience authentic and unique desert experience. You can go on a camel ride (ranging from short rides to multi-day-rides), sandboarding on the sand dunes, jeep safaris or climbing one of the desert’s rocks, rock bridges or mountains.
Make sure to complete your desert experience by staying the night in one of the Wadi Rum desert camps: you’ll experience Bedouin hospitality and a truly impressive night sky.
#4 Visit a Souk
The lively capital of Jordan, Amman, is the perfect place to experience Jordanian culture. One of the typical things of any Arabic country are colorful markets, so called “souks”. There’re various souks in Amman. The most interesting ones for foreign visitors are the Souk Mango (located in ancient downtown), the Gold Souk (also in downtown) and Souk Jara, an open-air souk which takes place during summer (near Rainbow street).
#5 Try Arabic Food
Food is an important part of traveling for many. Good food can truly enrich a vacation and the memories you’ll preserve from it. Jordanian food is a true delight. Most dishes originate from the Levantine cuisine, which are therefore similar to the food you’ll find in Lebanon, Palestine and Syria. You don’t want to miss the famous falafel with houmous and pita bread (which is actually much better in Jordan than outside the Arabic world). If you’re looking for some more alternatives, try Maqloubeh (rice dish), Manakeesh (Arabic pizza), Za’arb (Bedouin BBQ) or Jordan’s national dish: Mansaf.
#6 Experience Biodiversity
You wouldn’t expect lush greenery in Jordan, would you? Well, the truth is that Jordan isn’t all desert and sandstone! Throughout the country, you’ll see green valleys, forest, rivers, countless animal species – all combined with breathtaking views!
The best example for Jordan’s rich biodiversity is the Dana Biosphere Reserve. This reserve is characterized by impressive differences in altitude, over 500 plant species, and hundreds of animal species. Dana is a dream for hikers and nature lovers!
Looking for a hidden gem? Head to the Dibeen Forest Reserve in the north of Jordan. This forest is characterized by its beautiful trees, ranging from pine trees, maple trees to oak trees. Furthermore, Dibeen is the perfect place if you’re looking for an authentic farm experience.
#7 Go Canyoning
Another surprising feature of Jordan are its canyons and waterfalls. Located near the shore of the Dead Sea is the Wadi Mujib reserve. Similar to Dana, this reserve is characterized by its differences in altitude and landscapes. The highlight of the reserve are its caves which are filled with water during spring, summer and fall. There’re various trails, most of which are a combination of swimming, canyoning and climbing. The highlight is a waterfall of about 20 meters (66 feet) high that awaits you at the end of the trails. Canyoning in Wadi Mujib is an unexpected highlight in Jordan for any adventure lover.
#8 Run a Marathon
Are you a talented runner for a truly unforgettable and unique experience? Check out the Dead Sea marathon which takes place in spring every year. The marathon attracts thousands of participants and viewers, both local and international. The unique feature of this marathon is the enormous difference in altitude: you’ll start in Amman (about 900 m / 2,953 ft above sea level) and finish at Dead Sea (400 m / 1,312 ft below sea level). Have you always dreamt about participating in a (half) marathon? Then this is your chance!
#9 Go on a Journey Back to Roman Times
About 2,000 years ago, the region of modern Jordan was part of the Roman Empire. The Romans had built various important settlements in the region. Four of the ten cities of the former “Decapolis” (an ancient Roman group of cities) are located in present-day Jordan. Jerash, a city located in the north of Jordan, is considered a prime example of Roman architecture. Walking through the ancient streets, surrounded by columns and temples, you’ll almost feel like you’re back to the Roman Empire! Round off your experience by attending the RACE show of Jerash, which brings gladiators and chariot races back to life.
#10 Dive into a Colorful Underwater World
One of the best things to see in Jordan is actually underwater. As the only coastal city, Aqaba offers impressive coral reefs, countless colorful fish and various unique diving sites. Diving in Aqaba is suitable for both beginners as well as advanced divers. Some coral reefs are located as little as 10 meters (33 feet) from the coast. If you’re not into diving, try out snorkeling or relax at one of Aqaba’s luxury resorts with direct beach access.
Planning a Trip to Jordan?
Are you planning on visiting Jordan, don’t miss out on the Welcome2Jordan travel guide. In addition to the best sights, experiences and adventures, this guide includes practical tips for you to make the most from your vacation. From getting around, answers to the most frequently asked questions, detailed sample itineraries, useful maps to inspiration on food and cultural activities – this guide is a must-have for anyone self-organizing a roundtrip across the country.