The Ultimate Jordan Itinerary 2023

Discover Jordan, a beautiful country in the Middle East full of breathtaking landscapes, historic and cultural sites, and captivating cities. Here are the best things to do if you have one week to spend in Jordan.
Jordan is a true gem of a country to visit. Photo: Juli Kosolapova | Unsplash

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Jordan may be a small country, but it’s packed with attractions for the adventurous traveler. Explore this incredible destination in the Middle East in a week with the ultimate Jordan itinerary. You can see the stunning ruins at Petra, spend a night under the stars in Wadi Rum, and enjoy Jordan’s vibrant city life. 

Amman, Jordan. Photo: Hisham Zayadnh |Unsplash

Travel preferences are different for everyone, but we’ve included the best of Jordan in the ultimate Jordan itinerary for you to follow as closely (or loosely) as you’d like. 

We’ve broken our Earth Curious guide into the morning, afternoon, and evening activities. You can follow each day completely or pick and choose. No matter what, you’re sure to have a delightful time exploring Jordan.

To make your trip easier, we suggest getting the Jordan Explorer Pass (to waive your tourist visa and gain free entry to many attractions) and renting a car to get around the country. Both of these can be done online in advance.

Day 1: Fly Into Amman

Begin your visit to Jordan in Amman. Photo: Mohammad Almashni | Unsplash

Morning – Afternoon: Start off your trip to Jordan in Amman, the capital city. You’ll fly into Queen Alia International Airport about 18 miles south of Amman.

On the first day of your trip, you’ll probably want to take it easy to give yourself time to adjust, especially if you’re dealing with jetlag. Plan to spend the afternoon and evening exploring Rainbow Street. It’s one of Amman’s most famous streets filled with restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops. 

For a Jordanian coffee culture experience, stop by Turtle Green, a two-story cafe serving coffee and tea in a cozy atmosphere. Try out Al Quds, one of the best falafel spots in Amman, for a cheap bite to eat. Al Quds has been a local staple since the 1960s. While you’re on Rainbow Street, check out Souk Jara (open May-September). This pop-up market, located on Fawzi Al Maalouf St right off Rainbow, is one of the best places to find locally-crafted goods.

Dinner in Amman

Rainbow Street. Photo: Danil Ahmetşah | Unsplash

Evening: You can grab dinner while out on Rainbow Street, but if you’re looking to splurge a little bit, have dinner at Fakhr El-Din. It’s considered one of the best restaurants in the city. Try out several of the fresh mezze and be sure to get a cup of cardamom coffee to end your meal.

Stay at the Nomads Hotel Amman overnight. It’s near Rainbow Street as well as many other attractions in Amman. Plus, the hotel’s rooftop has a view of the Amman Citadel.

Day 2: Explore Amman

Amman Citadel Hill. Photo: Daniel Qura | Unsplash

Spend the first full day of your trip exploring Amman. Jordan’s capital city has plenty to keep you busy as you visit historical sites and sample some of the local cuisine.

Morning: Start off the morning by visiting the Amman Citadel. It’s free with the Jordan pass. The Citadel is on the highest hill in Amman, so expect to spend a little extra effort walking to it from your hotel. If you’d rather save your energy, consider taking a taxi up and walking down instead. 

The area has been occupied since the Bronze Age. The two most impressive attractions at the site are the Temple of Hercules and the Ummayad Palace. The archeological museum at the Citadel is small, but it is worth visiting for background information on the area.

Near the Citadel, you’ll find the Roman Theater. Spend some time exploring the theatre which was built in the 2nd century AD. This impressive historic site is also free to visit with the Jordan Pass.

Mosaic at the Roman Theater Museum. Photo: Laura Seaman | Unsplash

Lunch and museums

Have lunch at Hashem in Downtown to try some of Amman’s legendary street food. Be prepared to wait some as this restaurant is incredibly popular. You can’t go wrong with anything there, but be sure to try the incredible hummus. 

Afternoon: In the afternoon visit the Jordan Museum. This well-designed museum is one of the best in the Middle East and provides a great overview of the history of Jordan from its beginnings to the present day. The Dead Sea Scrolls are one of the highlights housed in the collection.

If you have time, stop by the Royal Automobile Museum. Here you’ll see the late King Hussein’s private collection of cars and motorcycles. Even if you aren’t a huge car fanatic, you’ll learn a lot about the more modern history of Jordan as you follow the display in chronological order.

Enjoy a traditional meal

Overhead view of Amman. Photo: Daniel Qura | Unsplash

Evening: Enjoy your last dinner in Amman at Sufra. The menu allows you to sample traditional home cooking in a cozy atmosphere. End the evening on the terrace at Cantaloupe, a trendy gastropub with views overlooking the city before heading back to the hotel for a good night’s rest.

Day 3: Jordan River/Dead Sea

Morning: Have a quick breakfast at the hotel, and get ready to visit the Jordan River. It’s about a 2-hour drive from Amman to the River Jordan Baptism Site. You’ll have to book a guided tour in order to visit this biblical site. Modest dress is strongly encouraged.

Relax and indulge at the Dead Sea

Floating in the Dead Sea. Photo: Avi Naim | Unsplash

Afternoon-Evening: After you finish your tour, take a 30-minute drive to the Dead Sea. For the best access, stay at a resort with private access to the Dead Sea. Kempinski Ishtar is one of the best 5-star resorts in the area and has a luxury spa with treatments including Dead Sea minerals. The minerals found in mud from the Dead Sea are supposed to be good for your skin as well as cure a variety of skin conditions.

There are not too many restaurants nearby, but the resort has several great options on-site including the Ashur Italian Restaurant, the Obelisk, and the Akkad Pool & Grill Restaurant. Spend the rest of the day floating in the Dead Sea and enjoying the amenities at the resort.

Day 4: Petra

Petra is considered one of the new seven wonders of the world. Photo: Alex Vasey | Unsplash

Morning: Wake up early and have breakfast before heading to Wadi Musa. It’s about a 3.5-hour drive from the Dead Sea to Wadi Musa. Plan to stay at the Petra Guest House in Wadi Musa. The hotel is only a short distance from Petra’s entrance gates, so you’ll have as much time as possible to explore. 

You can park in the parking lot near the visitors center just past the entrance. You’ll have to do a good amount of walking within Petra, so it’s best to drive rather than walk from the hotel to save energy if you can.

Entrance to Petra is free with the Jordan Pass. Otherwise, you’ll have to buy a two-day ticket at the visitor’s center when you arrive. The incredible city of Petra dates back to the 3rd century BC when the Nabataeans carved the city from the sandstone cliffs. You’ll definitely need two days to explore this impressive ancient city.

Try shawarma

You can’t go to Jordan without eating shawarma, so have lunch in Wadi Musa at the Rainbow Restaurant before exploring. Rainbow Restaurant is located right off the city center, and you can enjoy the city atmosphere in the outdoor seating area. 

Explore the ancient city

The Treasury. Photo: Jorick Roels | Unsplash

Afternoon: After lunch, get ready to visit Petra. Once you get past the visitors center, you’ll walk through the Siq, the 1.2 km long gorge with stunning sandstone walls is the main way into the ancient city. Your first stop will be the Treasury. This tomb has beautiful Greek-style masonry work to admire. 

Next, stop to look at the Royal Tombs. This is an entire row of tombs carved into the sandstone. You’re able to walk around and go inside. Make sure to look at the walls and ceilings to see all the carvings.

Nearby the Royal Tombs are the Theatre, which was a huge amphitheater, and the Colonnaded Street, which was one of the main streets in ancient Petra. After this, walk down to the Great Temple, one of the largest archeological sites in the city.

Unwind at the Cave Bar

Evening: After exploring the Great Temple, you’ll probably need to head back to your hotel. Have dinner at the Cave Bar. It’s the perfect way to relax after a long day of travel and exploring. 

Petra at Night. Photo: Sylvain Gllm | Unsplash

On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you can experience Petra at Night. From 8:30 pm to 10:30 pm, the Siq is lit up by 1,500 candles. Head back to the visitors center at 8:30 to see this beautiful view of Petra. It’s worth timing your trip around seeing Petra at Night.

Day 5: Petra

You’ll spend a lot of time walking in Petra. Photo: Alex Vasey | Unsplash

Morning: Wake up early to make the most of your second day in Petra. Today, you’ll be visiting the Monastery in Petra. 

Follow the same pathway through the Siq as on the previous day. Then, take the winding pathway toward the Monastery. Be prepared to spend 45-60 minutes climbing the 800 stairs. You can find food and drinks at the top, but no bathroom, so plan accordingly. Explore the area and spend time at the viewpoints overlooking the rest of Petra and the surrounding area.

Head back down for lunch at either the Nabataean Tent Restaurant or the Basin restaurant. Take the path behind the Nabataean Restaurant up the hill of Al Habis and go see the Crusader fort ruins dating back to 1116 AD. If you have the energy afterward, hike to the High Place of Sacrifice. It will take 45 minutes to get there, but you’ll have the best views of the ancient city.

Leave for Wadi Rum

Transportation in Wadi Rum. Photo: Andrea Leopardi | Unsplash

Afternoon-Evening: Leave with enough time to get to Wadi Rum in the afternoon. It’s a 1.5-hour drive from Petra to Wadi Rum. You’ll have to stop at the Wadi Rum Visitor Center before entering the wilderness area. Private vehicles aren’t encouraged, so you’ll need a guide to get to your campsite for the evening. Use the Jordan Pass for free entrance into Wadi Rum. You’ll still have to pay for your accommodations and any tours you book.

Stay at Wadi Rum Candles Camp located right in the heart of the wilderness area. Candles Camp has modern facilities and includes both dinner and breakfast. A guide from the camp can come to pick you up and take you on a tour before you reach the camp in the evening.

Scenery in Wadi Rum. Photo: Salim Benaadjou | Unsplash

 A few days before your trip, you can communicate with your guide to talk about what kind of tour you’d like and the pricing. The most popular type of tour is a Jeep tour to see Wadi Rum’s biggest attractions. You’ll want to see Lawrence’s Spring, Khazali Canyon, and the Burdah Rock Bridge for sure. 

You may not have time to see everything on the first night, so you might want to talk with your guide about taking a longer Jeep tour the following morning instead. You’ll get to enjoy the sunset and have dinner at the camp.

Day 6: Wadi Rum

Camel tour. Photo: Juli Kosolapova | Unsplash

Morning: After waking up, you’ll have breakfast prepared at your campsite. Spend the rest of the morning exploring Wadi Rum with a guide. 

You’ll have to talk with your camp about the options available. Taking a camel ride is a popular choice, but there may be other options that you’d enjoy. The miles of red sand, sandstone, and unique rock formations are impressive no matter how you see them. You may recognize some of the locations from the movie The Martian with Matt Damon. 

Your guide will likely be a local Bedouin who will be able to tell you about their culture and lifestyle. They’ll also know which highlights in Wadi Rum are worth visiting in the amount of time you book a tour for. 

Aqaba on the Red Sea

The coastal city of Aqaba. Photo: Mohammad Naser | Unsplash

Afternoon: After you finish your tour, make the 1.5-hour drive from Wadi Rum to Aqaba. Located on the shores of the Red Sea, Aqaba is a dramatic shift from the harsh, but beautiful, scenery at Wadi Rum. There aren’t many attractions on the drive, but there’s plenty to do and see in Aqaba once you get there. Aqaba is Jordan’s beach resort town and is a popular destination for its pristine coral reefs and bustling nightlife.

Start off your time in Aqaba by strolling through Aqaba’s old town. You can stroll through the market looking at the hand-crafted goods for sale. Then, head to Mamluk Castle, also known as Aqaba Fort. The impressive building was built by the Crusaders in the 1100s and was rebuilt by the Mamelukes around 400 years later.

Dinner and nightlife in Aqaba

Aqaba doesn’t slow down in the evening. Photo: Polina F | Flickr

Evening: For dinner, eat at the Ocean Restaurant. It’s one of the best places to try Sayadieh, a regional plate made of grouper in a sauce with caramelized onions and peanuts. 

Aqaba has a vibrant nightlife, so there’s plenty to do in the evenings. Depending on your energy level and what you enjoy doing, you have a lot of options. 

To enjoy nightlife like a local, try out Romero Restobar. For a pub-like experience, check out the Rover’s Return. If you’re looking for the best dance floor, go to the Crazy Elephant, the most famous nightclub in Aqaba. For a more intimate, upscale experience, head to the Bop Bar, one of the fancier bars in Aqaba.

Spend the night at the City Tower Hotel. It’s a mid-range hotel right across from a public beach and not far from Aqaba Fort. If you decide to visit Al-Ghandour Beach, the nearby public beach, be aware that women tend to dress conservatively at the beach, so pack swimwear and cover-ups accordingly.

Day 7: Aqaba

Go snorkeling or diving. Photo: Antoine Demare | Unsplash

Morning-Afternoon: Today, spend the morning and probably part of the afternoon on (and in) the water. Aqaba is well-known for its diving and snorkeling sites, and spending time underwater is a must-do when visiting Jordan. King Abdullah II is a master diver and has pushed for the creation of many artificial reefs in Aqaba.

Some of the most popular sites include:

  • The Tank is one of the most iconic dive sites. It’s only 6 meters below the surface and a great spot for all divers from beginners to advanced. 
  • The Wreck is a sunken Lebanese freighter from 1985. It’s 28 meters below the surface and a good spot to see different marine life.
  • The Sunken Plane is another artificial reef near the Tank. It’s only 18 meters below the surface and a good place for divers of all levels.
  • The Rainbow Reef is home to lots of marine life including lobsters, feathered starfish, moray eels, and lionfish. It starts at a depth of 6 meters and goes down to 18 meters.

For diving or snorkeling, book with Deep Blue Dive Center. It’s a PADI 5-star dive center. Taking a boat dive over a shore dive lets you enjoy a day on the water while also getting to experience really cool dive sites. Lunch is included on the dive, making the entire excursion easy. 

Berenice Beach Club

Relax by the beach. Photo: zeynep elif ozdemir | Unsplash

Afternoon-Evening: Once you’ve returned from your underwater adventure, spend the rest of the afternoon and evening at the Berenice Beach Club. While there are public beaches in Aqaba, the private beaches are calmer and less crowded. Since your time is limited, it’s worth paying a small entrance fee to enjoy a private beach. Outside food is not allowed, but you can get food from the beach bar while you’re there. Also, you’ll have to worry less about how modest your swimwear is while at a private beach.

Stay through happy hour and watch the sunset. Depending on how long you want to linger, you can either continue to enjoy the Berenice Beach Club or head back to try out some of the nightlife spots you weren’t able to make it to the night before.

Day 8: Fly out

Morning: On your last day in Jordan, you have two options for flying out. You can either fly out of Aqaba on a connecting flight to Amman or you can spend 5-6 hours driving back to Amman and fly out directly from there.

Useful travel information

Here are a few important things that will help you plan your Jordan itinerary.

Getting around Jordan

Wadi Rum desert. Photo: Konstantinos Kaskanis | Unsplash

While there are multiple options for getting around Jordan including public transportation and private tours, the best way for most travelers to go from city to city in Jordan is by renting a car. It saves time compared to the limited public transportation options and is cheaper than hiring drivers. The roads are mostly in good condition and are easy to navigate. You will still need a guide to drive you around in Wadi Rum, but you should be able to drive most other places.

Go ahead and book a car rental online rather than waiting to book in person. It’s easier to compare prices online, and you’ll know that there will be a car ready for you when you land at the airport in Jordan.

Using the Jordan Pass

The Jordan Pass allows you to enter Petra. Photo: Alex Vasey | Unsplash

To enter Jordan, most visitors will need a tourist visa. If you’re going to spend more than 3 nights in Jordan, you will save money by getting the Jordan Pass. The Jordan Pass combines the tourist visa with free admission to around 40 tourist attractions around Jordan. Get the Jordan Explorer Pass ($106) to have 2 consecutive visit days to Petra included. 

Even if you only use the Jordan Pass to waive the entry visa fees ($60) and two-day entrance fees to Petra ($55), the Jordan Pass is worth the time saved. But, since you’ll also use the Jordan Pass for free entrance to other attractions, you’ll save additional money as well.

Packing for Jordan

Pack for all the different activities you plan to do in Jordan, like swimming in the Dead Sea. Photo: Ricardo Frantz | Unsplash
  • Bring comfortable shoes. You’ll be walking a lot, especially in Petra.
  • Pack clothes that layer well. While it will probably be hot during the day (depending on when you visit), nights can be cooler. Have at least one or two pieces you can layer if needed.
  • Make sure to bring sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen to stay protected from the sun.
  • Bring clothes that are relatively modest. Jordan is a progressive Muslim country, but showing less skin draws less attention. Keep a scarf in your bag with you so you can use it if you notice you are too exposed compared to those around you.

Final thoughts

Jordan is a unique place to visit. Eight days might seem like enough time to visit a country that’s roughly the size of Maine in the United States, but you’ll quickly fall in love with this remarkable tiny country.

Enjoy your time in Jordan, and remember that it’s never too early to begin planning your next visit there.


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