I decided to create a breathtaking 10 Day Jordan Itinerary to help you guys with your travels in The Hashemite Kingdom. To be completely frank, although I had always dreamed of travelling to Jordan, the main reason for that was because I wanted to visit the lost city of Petra.
I had marvelled at pictures of its ornate rose rock structures since I was a child, and spent my entire life fantasising about finally walking through its grounds. Everything else in Jordan was just an “added extra” in my mind – that is, until I arrived and fell completely and utterly head over heels in love with the entire country – from the sprawling capital of Amman, to the crumbling crusader castle of Karak, all the way down to the Red Sea. I left Jordan having discovered a new favourite place, of which Petra was simply the icing on the fabulous, exotic cake.
(Read more about what made me fall in love with Jordan here)
You should note that this is an independent travel itinerary. To get around Jordan, I would strongly recommend that you hire a driver or if you’re brave enough, hire a car. Public buses run infrequently and although they run between major cities, they do not service all areas and tourist sites that are outside city limits. There are no trains in Jordan.
Here’s My Breathtaking 10 Day Jordan Itinerary:
Days 1-2: Explore Amman
After your plane touches down on the dusty runways of Queen Alia airport, make your way into the Jordanian capital of Amman. The city has plenty of history, since it existed under Nabataean, Roman, and Persian rule before becoming the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Be sure to check out the citadel, and the Amphitheatre – both excellently preserved Roman ruins which are over 2,000 years old and located conveniently side by side. Though it’s become something of a hang out spot for local youths during the day, the Amphitheatre does still hold evening and weekend performances. From the hilltop citadel, right in the centre, you have a perfect Giant’s-eye (that’s a phrase, right?) view of Amman from all angles. To be sitting up here looking out at the Jordanian flags waving in the distance as the Islamic call to prayer echoes through the city is an almost magical feeling.
The stunningly beautiful King Abdullah Mosque is one of the few Islamic places of worship that allow non Muslims to enter (outside of prayer time). Built as a memorial by King Hussein to his grandfather, the dazzling blue dome is a sight to behold whatever your religion.
As you wander the streets of Amman, there really is a sensation that you have stumbled across one of the Middle East’s best kept secrets. Head over to Jabbal Amman, downtown Amman to fulfil your Arabian nights fantasies – explore a labyrinth of souks selling Palestinian pastries, fragrant Arabian spices, and vibrant Middle Eastern fabrics. Souk Jara, open during the summer months is almost European in its atmosphere and features local vendors selling handmade arts and crafts in a pleasant open setting.
Rainbow Street and Upper Jabbal Amman is a community that you may not expect to find in this part of the world – this is Jordan’s creative district, home to quirky coffee bars, picturesque antique stores, art galleries, and bars.
Day 3: Jerash and Aljoun
One of the most well-preserved Greco-Roman ruins in Jordan, Jerash is a highlight of any Jordan itinerary. You can reach Jerash from Amman in less than an hour, and the expansive ruins feature many monuments, and temple structures. The town is so brilliantly preserved that it’s easy to envisage what life was like in ancient Jerash under the rule of a Roman emperor
Heading North from Jerash, you can reach Aljoun within around 45 minutes and the beauty of this nature park, with its lush greenery and peaceful plains seems almost out of place in arid Jordan.
Hiking up to the Qala’At Ar-Rabad castle can be challenging in the heat, but the views provided from this former Crusader defence castle are certainly nothing short of spectacular.
From Aljoun, you can opt to head further North to Um Qais which although it may seem like a bit of a trek, is well worth the journey. Another ancient Greco Roman ruin, though smaller in size than Jerash, Um Qais is well preserved and its hilltop location enables you to look out to neighbouring Syria and Israel’s Sea of Galilee below.
Find Hotels in Aljoun Here.
Day 4: Desert Castles and the Dead Sea
Headed south this morning, we will move past Amman to the castles of the Jordanian desert.
Though they are commonly referred to as “castles”, the ruins of Qasr Kharana, Qasr Amra and Qasr Azraq are actually early Islamic structures which, despite their elaborate facades, had somewhat humble purposes serving as hunting lodges, or trade centres.
In the middle of the harsh Jordanian desert, the structures are impressive sights to behold and the ancient Islamic graffiti and frescoes are fascinating. The three can easily be seen on a whistle stop half-day drive before enjoying lunch, and continuing on to the Dead Sea.
Make a brief stop at Mount Nebo on your journey to the Dead Sea. No doubt you will be blown away by the general scenery of Jordan as you travel through the country anyway, but this lookout point is the place where Moses saw the Holy Land and where he is apparently buried. The nearby Byzantine church features a collection of ancient mosaics, and the views over the Dead Sea from up here are to die for. (I’m sure there’s a pun in there somewhere?)
When you finally arrive at the Dead Sea, you can relax and enjoy a little R&R in the midst of your busy Jordan itinerary. The Dead Sea is shared by Jordan and Israel and is the lowest point on Earth. The sea is so salty that you will float – something which almost feels like voodoo. Dead Sea mud is famed across the globe for its skin restoration and beauty properties, however now unfortunately you are prohibited to take any (without paying a fee) since beauty companies scooping it all up have left the sea in extremely short supply.
Have fun here but respect the local rules. The Dead Sea is a beautiful place.
Day 5: Karak & Petra
Built in 1142, the crusader castle of Karak is one of the largest of its kind in Jordan. It has an interesting history through which it has witnessed numerous battles involving medieval crusaders fighting the armies of Salah Adid, and have seen Karak pass hands in ownership several times. The site is seldom crowded, and wandering its empty stone walkways can have an almost spooky sensation.
After this brief stop, we progress to the ancient city of Petra – UNESCO protected, and listed as one of the seven wonders of the world, surely Petra needs no introduction.
It is worth organising your trip so that it falls upon one of the twice weekly “Petra by night” celebrations which sees the entire site illuminated by candlelight. It’s worth spending two days at Petra (the site is incredibly large) so that you can take a relaxed pace on one of the days, and then spend a day completing some of the more ambitious and challenging hiking routes. (For information on the best Petra hikes, click here)
Stay overnight in nearby Wadi Musa to allow easy access to Petra. I recommend the Movenpick hotel (affordable five star luxury right on Petra’s doorstep).
Find alternative hotels in Wadi Musa (Petra) Here
Day 6: Petra
Wake up early to avoid the crowds and start hiking in Petra before the intense midday heat starts to kick in. “The Monastery” and “Place of High Sacrifice” hikes are challenging, but certainly worth it for those postcard perfect views.
Day 7: Wadi Rum
Exploring the desert at Wadi Rum makes one feel like a modern day Lawrence of Arabia. Pass through the towering granite siqs on camel back as Bedouin desert traders have done before you for hundreds of years, or kick up dust in an adrenaline pumping off-road 4×4 ride.
Nomadic Bedouins still inhabit this land, and several campsites dotted throughout this vast gorge provide the traveller with a perfect opportunity to learn about a completely new way of life as they sip Arabic mint tea and share meze with the desert dwellers.
Find accommodation in Wadi Rum here
Day 8: Aqaba
After a week of hiking, climbing, camel riding, and just generally partaking in activities which are completely exhausting in nature, Aqaba is a welcome opportunity to relax and unwind. The Red Sea resort town doesn’t boast a lot of history or archaeological sites to see, but it certainly makes up for it with its translucent turquoise waters, white sandy beaches and luxury resorts.
Certified divers will find plenty of opportunities to scuba here, and discover shipwrecks and ruins beneath the water’s surface.
Find hotels in Aqaba here
Day 9: Dana Biosphere Reserve
Dana Biosphere Reserve is a melting pot of various landscapes and animal species. The reserve is the largest of its kind in Jordan and is home to both scorching sand dunes, and sprawling mountain ranges. Dana is the perfect place to enjoy hiking, observing the many rare species of wildlife that inhabit the park, or simply relaxing.
Recommended Hotel: The Dana Guesthouse hotel is perched on a cliff’s edge within the park (literally!) and as such offers incredible views that extend for miles. The guesthouse was originally built to house researchers working in the park and has a rustic, homely vibe.
Find alternative hotels in Dana here
Day 10: Amman & Home
The return journey from Dana Nature reserve back up to Amman will take approximately 2 and a half hours. As with any international flight, you should aim to arrive at Queen Alia International at least 2 hours before your departure time (3 is recommended!).
If you’re travelling long term, or you’re hungry for more Middle Eastern adventures, consider crossing the border to Israel. I visited Israel and Jordan on the same trip and it made a nice travel pairing.
10 Day Jordan Itinerary – Possible Schedule Variations
Based on your personal preferences and the things that make you “tick” when you travel, you may want to make some amendments to this 10 Day Jordan Itinerary and that’s okay – there is never a “one size fits all” approach to travelling. Whether you are interested in history, hiking, or simply taking more time to relax, I’ve provided some additional suggestions below:
- The Aljoun nature reserve is vast and offers plenty of scenic hiking trails. If you are the outdoorsy type, you may want to spend an additional day here.
- In between the Dead Sea and Petra is also the small town of Madaba which is well known for its 6th century mosaics depicting Jerusalem and The Holy Land. Madaba is certainly worth a short stop over.
- If you want more time to relax, consider adding an extra day on to The Dead Sea portion of your trip. Nearby Ma’In hot springs is a lovely natural spa. There are also many high quality luxury spas in the area offering pampering treatments that utilise Dead Sea mud.
- As with Aljoun, there are plenty of possible hiking routes in Dana Nature Reserve so if that’s your cup of tea, you could add an extra day at Dana in place of visiting Aqaba.
I will soon be adding a “Jordan Travel Guide” article which I will share here and will provide more practical advice for your 10 day Jordan itinerary along with other relevant content as and when it is produced.
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Have you been to Jordan? What were your highlights? If you have any questions about my 10 day Jordan itinerary, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me in the comments below.