Also known as the “Lost City,” Petra, Jordan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World that dates back to prehistoric times. It used to be a major caravan center for world trade and is most recognized for its Hellenistic architecture carved out of rock.
Petra is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world, which makes for a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience. If visiting Petra, here are the basics to know.
How to get to Petra from Amman
When traveling to Petra, it is most likely that you will be flying into the Queen Alia International Airport in the capital city of Amman. The best way to get from Amman to Petra is by car or bus.
Taking a public bus is the most economical. From the airport in Amman, take the JETT Bus, which offers direct services to Petra. Petra is about 200 kilometers from the airport, and takes about three hours. One-way tickets for JETT start at about $14 USD.
There are also private taxi and shuttle services at the airport, but this will be a bit more expensive. The average cost of a taxi from the airport to Petra is over $100 USD.
Lastly, if you are more adventurous and don’t mind driving in a foreign country, you can also rent a car from the airport and drive yourself to Petra. This gives you the maximum amount of freedom in your travels in Jordan, and may be more convenient if you plan on hitting other sites after Petra. Standard car rentals in Jordan usually start around $20-30 USD per day.
Best things to do in Petra
Go hiking on one of Petra’s trails
The best thing to do when visiting Petra is to explore the ruins though the endless hiking trails. Different trails range in difficulty from easy to strenuous. If you are short on time, hit the most popular trail in Petra, the Main Trail. It spans about five miles in length and takes about four hours to complete. The trail starts at the visitor’s center at the start of the site, and passes all key sites of Petra, such as Siq, the Royal Tombs, the Great Temple, and the Roman Theater. The end of the trail branches into other trails, such as the Wadi Farasa Trail, which is perfect for avid hikers who want to keep going.
Ride a camel
A trip to Jordan would not be complete without camels. If hiking or walking is not your thing, explore the ancient city by camelback. There are a multitide of camel ride tours available in Petra, which give you a thorough overview of the history and significance of the city all on the back of a camel. A typical ride without a tour is more economical, and will cost you about 15 JD or $20 USD an hour.
Explore Petra at night
Although beautiful during the day, Petra is even more spectacular at night. Staying overnight in the ancient city is worthwhile, as you will be able to see the maginficant temples and ruins surrounded by candlelight. Three nights a week, the Petra visitor’s center lights up with over 1,500 candles, making for an incredible display. Called “Petra by Night,” this spectacle is a must-see if spending more than a day in Petra. They offer a guided tour of two hours between the Siq and the Treasury gives you an overview of the ancient city’s history and significance. Tickets for adults start at 17 JD, which is about $24 USD.
Best places to stay near Petra
What to eat in Petra
Mansaf: A traditional dish of Jordan which consists of lamb cooked in fermented yogurt sauce and typically served on flatbread or aromatic rice. It is Jordan’s national dish and is served widely throughout the country.
Falafel: The best food option in Jordan for vegetarians. Falafel is ground chickpea fritter. It is typically served with fresh flatbread, tomato, onion, and mint.
Kunafa: A traditional Middle-Eastern dessert made with a spun pastry called kataifi. It is typically soaked in a sweet syrup and layered with cheese, cream, and nuts.
Fattet Hummus: Another hallmark chickpea dish in Jordan, fattet hummus is a staple served in most restaurants and households. It is typically served at breakfast or brunch. It consists of pureed chickpeas, mixed with garlic, fresh herbs, and pine nuts and served with pita or flatbread.
Shwarma: A popular dish originating from the Ottoman Empire, shwarma consists of meat sliced from a slow roasted vertical rotisserie. The meat is typically of lamb, turkey, or chicken, and is served with spices, fresh yogurt sauce and flatbread.
Where to eat in Petra?
For the best authentic Jordanian food:
For quick bites:
If you plan on visiting all Seven Wonders of the World, then Petra is most definitely on your travel bucket list. Petra, Jordan is a city of incredible human history, delicious cuisine, and unforgettable experiences. When will you ever ride a camel again in your life? If you are even remotely considering visiting Petra, don’t hesitate, as it will surely offer you a once-in-a-lifetime experience.