The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is possibly one of the fascinating countries in the Middle East. This exotic destination mixes a rich history with landscapes that seem taken from another planet, from the shores of the Dead Sea to the red sands of the Wadi Rum desert. And today, we are going to tell you which are the ten most spectacular places that you should include on your route through Jordan.
No sensation can be compared to crossing the narrow Siq gorge, with its pinkish stone, at dawn and then watching the spectacle of El Tesoro unfold before your eyes. Famous for being the place where Indiana Jones finds the Holy Grail in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, it is only the entrance to the ancient Nabataean kingdom’s ancient capital and one of the most awe-inspiring archaeological sites. We recommend that you dedicate at least one day to see all the monuments in the area well and that you do not miss out on anything.
- Wadi Rum
If you have seen the movie “The Martian” with Matt Damon, you will recognize the red landscapes of the Wadi Rum desert as the place chosen by Ridley Scott to represent the planet Mars. As soon as you look at its rock formations, its stone arches and that blood-coloured sand that gets everywhere, you will understand why the legendary Lawrence of Arabia fell under its spell. By the way, one of the best experiences to live in Wadi Rum is to spend a night in a Bedouin camp, watch a postcard sunset and sunrise and enjoy one of the purest and least polluted starry skies on the planet.
The Jordanian capital is a modern city, full of life at all hours, and that stands out because every one of its buildings is built or painted in an off-white tone that makes the city appear entirely white. It may not have a grand bazaar or an old historic centre, but every one of its hills (or “jebel,” as the locals call them) has something new to offer. So what can’t you miss in Amman? Start walking through Downtown, go up to the Roman ruins of the Citadel, face the top of the theatre and order a portion of the sweet kunafa in Habibah.
- Wadi Mujib
Perfect for adventure lovers, the Wadi Mujib gorge fills with water in the rainy season and is so beautiful that you will not be able to resist canyoning in it. So bring sports shoes that can get wet, clothes that you don’t care about and get ready to enjoy waterfalls, rocks, and lots of fun just a stone’s throw from the Dead Sea.
- Templar castles
Although you may not remember it, during the Crusades, the Knights of the Order of the Temple built quite a few castles throughout the Middle East. There are quite a few in a better or worse state of conservation in Jordan, and visiting them is quite an experience. The most famous is Karak, which is one of the largest in the region. But there is also the one in Shobak, where there is hardly anyone, and they say it has secret tunnels.
- The Dead Sea
And since you’re here, you can’t leave without getting soaked and floating in the Dead Sea, a classic thing to do in Jordan. This vast salt lake at 430 meters below sea level forms the border between Israel, Palestine and Jordan and is the lowest point on Earth. It is so salty that it is impossible to sink into its waters naturally, so be prepared to feel a bit like a buoy. Another essential thing to do in the Dead Sea is smearing yourself with its famous mud. They will leave your skin very fine!
Very close to Amman, the city of Madaba is famous for its Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, including a huge one representing the Holy Land. Strolling through its streets is to discover another facet of Jordan, one where history is read on the ground. As a trick, if you climb to the top of the tower of the Catholic Church of San Juan Bautista, you will enjoy the best views of the city, without any doubt.
- The ruins of Jerash
The ruins of the Roman city of Jerash are the most important in the entire country and one of the most visited and essential places to see in Jordan for more than obvious reasons. The complex is vast and full of ceremonial gates, colonnaded avenues, temples and theatres that give you an idea of how important this place must have been in its day. Spend at least half a day on it, but if you have more, don’t be shy. And take sunscreen and a cap because the shade is conspicuous by its absence—nothing to recharge your batteries at the end like eating at Um Khalil, an excellent Lebanese restaurant.
- Dana Nature Reserve
The Dana Biosphere Reserve is one of Jordan’s best-kept secrets. This natural space of incredible beauty and more incredible biodiversity is the only place in the country where the country’s four biogeographic zones are concentrated: the Mediterranean, the Saharo-Arabian, the Iranian-Turanian and the Sudanese. There are more than 800 species of plants and almost 500 different species of animals, and the best way to discover it is by spending at least one night in camps like Rummana or the very exclusive Feynan Ecolodge if your pocket allows it.
- The Red Sea and Aqaba
The southernmost point of Jordan is also a mecca for lovers of snorkeling, diving and marine life. The city of Aqaba is on the shores of the Red Sea. It is the only Jordanian port and has a first-class seabed. But even if you don’t like to immerse yourself, this 5,000-year-old city has a more than exciting downtown and ideal beaches to catch a little color.