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Trip Location: Amman
Jordan's top attractions Petra, the Dead Sea and Wadi Rum are all amazing in their own right. The fact that these world-class sites are located just a few hundred miles from each other makes Jordan a must-see travel destination. The country's excellent infrastructure and friendly people add to its attractiveness. You can experience Jordan in just few days.
When is the best time to visit?
Jordan is a year-round destination, but peak-time for touring Jordan is spring (March-May), when temperatures are still warming up and wildlife is at its finest. Autumn (September - November) is also popular. Both seasons see milder temperatures, making hiking and sightseeing alike more comfortable.
Top places to explore
In addition to visiting Jordan's top 3 (Petra, the Dead Sea and Wadi Rum), we highly recommend taking the time to experience Jordan more deeply, through activities such as sharing a meal with a local family, staying at a bedouin camp, and trekking through a wadi (desert canyon).
Day 1 Welcome to Jordan
Day 2 Exploring Amman and Jerash
Day 3 Driving along the king's highway to Petra
Day 4 Exploring Petra, Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp
Day 5 Wadi Rum Jeep Safari, Dead Sea Swim
Day 6 Desert Castles and Nature Reserves
Day 7 Departure
Once you've landed at the airport, we'll be there to meet you and transfer you to your hotel in Jordan's bustling capital city of Amman. After helping you check in and pointing you to any local shops, cafes or restaurants, you're free to explore Amman independently before our sightseeing starts tomorrow.
Your Jordan tour continues today with a city tour of Amman first on the agenda. Amman is rich in history, dating back many millennia. Archaeological discoveries have uncovered remains from the Neolithic period as well as the Hellenistic and late Roman to Arab Islamic Ages. We'll start by making our way to the Citadel - the former home of the ancient Temple of Hercules, The Umayyad Palace, the Byzantine Church before we make our way to the 6000-seater Roman theatre, which was built during the Roman Period. The ancient theatre is still in use today, playing host to numerous cultural events. From Amman, we travel to Jerash - one of the world's most well-preserved Roman architecture sites outside of Italy. Hidden away from the world underneath sand for centuries, archaeological work over the past 70 years have revealed that Jerash was a fine example of Roman urbanism, with its paved and collonaded streets, hilltop temples, impressive theatres, public squares and plazas.
We say goodbye to Amman as we head down the King's Highway on a scenic journey to Petra. The drive will be a slow one, but we will take in the beauty of it as we make our way through deep wadis, olive groves, rural villages and farmlands. On our way to Petra, we'll stop at Madaba to visit the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, made famous by its 6th century old Byzantine mosaic map of the Holy Land and other biblical sites. On the agenda as well is a visit to Mount Nebo, the known burial place of Moses, taking in the spectacular views of the holy land. We'll continue south, crossing deep wadis and over a deep canyon, before stopping at the Kerak Castle, which forms part of a few Crusader Fortresses spread across Jordan in the 12th century and provides us with spectacular views of the surrounding hills and plains. The Crusaders called it Crac des Moabites or Karak in Moab. Once we arrive in Petra, you'll have some time to settle in before spending the night here. An option is available this evening to get a first taste of Petra itself with the atmospheric Petra by Candlelight tour through the Siq to the Treasury.
Today is all about exploring the renowned Nabatean site of Petra, which served as the capital of the ancient Nabataean commercial empire until the Romans took over in 106AD.
Petra is located on the edge of Wadi Aruba and one of the best ways to get there is through the Siq, which is a narrow winding gorge through its towering canyon walls and surrounding hills. Once we arrive in Petra, you'll notice that there are very few free standing buildings, as the Nabateans preferred to carve their homes into the pink sandstone cliffs. We'll be guided through the city, before you have some free time to browse around yourself. The guided tour takes you through the Siq, before reaching the Khazneh, one of the most elaborate temples in Petra. We'll find out how the Nabateans carved their homesteads into the rock faces and we'll also learn about its spiritual significance of it. We'll also visit the ancient ruined Roman Amphitheatre and the colonnaded street and during your free time, explore the steep and winding gorge until you reach the towering monastery, the largest of Petra's carved monuments. It's a tiring walk, but the views are rewarding, looking over Wadi Aruba and the Jordan Valley. If you still have enough energy, you can also hike up to the High Place of Sacrifice and the Lion Fountain. Later today, we leave Petra and drive into the spectacular desert scenery of Wadi Rum where friendly Bedouin hosts are ready to greet us at a comfortable camp beneath the towering rocks and cliffs. We spend the evening and night relaxing at the camp, watching the stars and enjoying a delicious traditional Jordanian meal.
We start the day exploring the beautiful desert and mountain scenery of Wadi Rum. Keep an eye out for the copper- coloured rocky 'jebels', which mesmerised TE Lawrence during his visits to the desert during the Arab Revolt and was later famed in the movie Lawrence of Arabia. We'll take a jeep safari through the beautiful desert scenery, seeing more of the sheer cliffs and bizarre rock formations. We say goodbye to Wadi Rum later today and head north towards the Dead Sea, one of the planet's most spectacular destinations. Not only is it the lowest point on earth, coming in at 400 metres below sea level, it's also considered to be one of the world's most spiritual landscapes, filled with dramatic, natural wonders. The Dead Sea is fed by numerous rivers, including the River Jordan. Once the waters reach the Dead Sea they are land-locked and have nowhere to go, so they evaporate, leaving behind a dense, rich, cocktail of salts and minerals that supply industry, agriculture and medicine with some of its finest products. The Dead Sea is flanked by mountains to the east and the rolling hills of Jerusalem to the west, giving it an almost otherworldly beauty. Although sparsely populated and serenely quiet now, the area is believed to have been home to five Biblical cities: Sodom, Gomorrah, Adman, Zebouin and Zoar (Bela). We'll stop along the way to enjoy a 'swim', though the intensely salty waters lead to a very strange swimming experience. In fact, normal swimming is not possible, and it is easier (and more photogenic!) just to float, sitting or lying in the water. Be careful not to get any water in your eyes, as it will sting. We finish the day back at our hotel in Amman.
After breakfast we leave Amman and head east to visit several of Jordan's Desert Castles - a fantastic reminder of its early Islamic art and architecture. These 'castles' were located on the old trade routes created during the Umayyad era and are more a combination of forts, bath houses and palaces than true castles. You can still see some mosaics, frescoes, carvings and illustrations on show, moulded by Persian and Graeco-Roman traditions, giving an insight into life during the 8th century. We'll explore the desert castles of Qasr al-Kharrana, Qal'at al-Azraq and Qseirr Amra and also visit two important nature reserves run by the Jordanian Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN). The Aqraq Wetland Reserve is a uniquely precious oasis located in the heart of Jordan’s eastern desert, between a limestone desert in the west and a basalt desert in the east. The reserve features lush marshland, and glittering pools and streams that are a haven for migratory birds on the AfricanEurasian flyway. The Shaumari Wildlife Reserve was initially created as a breeding and reintroduction centre for globally threatened and locally extinct wildlife, particularly the Arabian Oryx. These efforts continue and now a wide variety of rare animals make their home in the reserve, including Ostriches Struthio camelus, Goitered Gazelles, and Persian Onagers. Also found in the area are red foxes, wolves, striped hyenas, Caracals and wild cats, while bird sightings can include Imperial Eagles, Pallid Harriers and Egyptian vultures. There is a good visitor centre on site and guided safaris may be available into the reserve before we return to Amman depending on the time we have available and the reserve's current arrangements. For your last evening, why not head into Downtown Amman for a final taste of Jordanian food, perhaps giving Jordan's national dish of Mansaf a go, or the classic falafel and hummus, with a taste of Knafeh, a popular sweet desert to finish.
We have the day free to explore Amman before being transferred to the airport to board your departing flight back home. You can also choose to try some optional day trips such as a visit to Aljoun Castle.
If you wish to extend the tour, we can arrange a transfer to Tel Aviv either by by flight or overland for people wanting to connect this tour with our Biblical Israel tour departure which starts on Sunday. Extensions to spend time at a resort in the Red Sea town or Aqaba are also available.
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