ULTIMATE JORDAN TRAVEL GUIDE

Jordan is a country located in the Middle East. Amman is the capital and it is a country known for its vibrant culture, stunning natural scenery and historic wonders.

Albeit a small country, it is jam-packed from top to bottom with exciting sites and activities to get the most seasoned traveler excited.

Lose yourself in the Lost City of Petra, camp in the desert, explore ancient Roman cities, float in the Dead Sea and everything in between.

Most travelers spend an average of 1 week in the country.

JORDAN TRAVEL: QUICK TIPS

Jordan
  • Do you need a visa? US Citizens get a 30day Visa on Arrival. Visa cost is 55JOD

  • Currency: Jordanian Dinar (JOD)

  • Climate: Hot, dry desert climate with colder winter months

  • Primary Religion: Muslim

  • Local Languages: Arabic, English is widely spoken

  • Etiquette Tips: Dress modestly, women should wear long pants and shirts with long sleeves to avoid unwanted attention, tight-fitting clothing should be avoided out of respect for the culture

  • WIFI: Available in most, if not all, accommodation throughout the country. Many restaurants and tourist offices offer free WIFI too.

  • SIM Cards: If you have an unlocked phone, it is possible to pick up a local SIM card at any Jordan airport on arrival. This will enable you to have data like you would at home. Another alternative is a universal SIM card that works in multiple countries.

  • Travel Insurance: With all travel, we highly recommend you take out a travel insurance policy when you book your trip. This will cover your trip in case of any unforeseen events happen.

DON'T VISIT JORDAN WITHOUT:

UNIVERSAL TRAVEL ADAPTER

GET A GUIDEBOOK

REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE

JORDAN BUCKET LIST

Lost City of Petra Jordan

DISCOVER PETRA

Most people make the journey to Jordan for this site alone, with everything else being a consolation. Having been, we can't argue with that, the site is spectacular.

Be sure to give yourself a full day to explore Petra, as it's a massive site. You'll need time to walk the Siq, marvel at the treasury, walk the major roads, shop the souk stalls and see the other treasures on the site.

Be sure to also plan time to visit both Little Petra, which is nearby and the Petra by Night show.

VISIT CRUSADER CASTLES

Much of Jordan was Crusader territory during the wars for the Holy Land that shook the Medieval world.

The European Crusader Kingdoms set up fortified castles to defend their new lands, and many of these seemingly impregnable structures still stand today.

One of the best ruins to visit is the impressive Kerak Castle, a huge structure which stands imposingly in the desert. Another is Shobak.

SEE THE MOSIACS IN MADABA

Umm Ar Rasas is a UNESCO World Heritage Site close to the city of Madaba which is prized by archaeologists for the wealth of finds excavated here.

The finds date back to the Roman, Byzantine and then Muslim eras, demonstrating the huge diversity of people and religions that made use of this old trading post and army garrison through the ages.

MORE THINGS TO TRY IN JORDAN

There is no shortage of great things to do in Jordan during your visit and the biggest problem you'll face is fitting them all into your itinerary.

Each city has it's own offering and unique things to check out during a visit, so be sure to look at our city guides once you decide where you're itinerary will take you.

We've also highlighted the best places to visit in Jordan, too, so have a look there when you're planning your trip around the country.

FOODIE BUCKET LIST

One of the best things about backpacking in Jordan is the food. The local cuisine is delicious, and representative of the much-wider Middle Eastern region, with influences from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and more.

The first thing to try will be falafel or shawarma. Both are classic Middle Eastern staples, but Jordan seems to have mastered these two culinary delights better than anyone else. Both are cheap but filling.

Mansaf is a traditional dish that’s designed to be shared, particularly in the desert camps. You’ll dig into a huge communal plate of spiced rice, served with layers of tender, slow-cooked meat and vegetables.

Kunafa, a delightful, cheesy dessert is popular everywhere in Jordan, and you can’t leave the country without trying it.

In the more touristy areas, such as Aqaba and Amman, you can find a much more international array of food if you somehow become bored with the hummus and falafel.

JORDAN FESTIVALS

When you're backpacking in Jordan, there are plenty of great festivals and events that you can attend.

The biggest event of the year celebrates the end of Ramadan when locals end their fasts across the country. It’s a unique time to be in Jordan, but be respectful of the religious traditions.

In April, Amman holds an annual film festival, while in July, the ancient Roman City of Jerash holds a fantastic festival celebrating local history and culture.

One of Jordan’s best events though happens several times per week. This is the famous Petra by Night event, which is held in the evenings, as the temples of the ancient city are lit up by candlelight.

Start planning your trip with our best advice!

POPULAR REGIONS IN JORDAN

Places to visit in Jordan

AMMAN

The Jordanian capital is the gateway to the rest of the country, and it makes for a great place to explore by itself too.

If you’re backpacking in Jordan then this is where you’re going to start your journey, and you’ll be enthralled by the history and culture of this ancient city. Visit the imposing Citadel, which has stood over Amman for thousands of years.

Explore the Roman-era theatres, fountains and temples that lie in ruins in Downtown Amman, marvel at the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Jordan Museum, and enjoy a cosmopolitan walk down Rainbow Street, where you’ll find bars, coffee, falafel and shops.

Treasury Petra Is Jordan Safe

PETRA

When you’re planning your Jordan travel itinerary, there’s one place that you can’t miss off, and that’s Petra. This includes Little Petra too.

This stunning archaeological site dates back to 2000 years and has become the most popular and well-known places to visit in Jordan.

Temples, houses and buildings were carved from the red rock of the Jordan Valley by a civilization that has long since been lost. It’s an incredible place, and reason enough on its own to start backpacking in Jordan.

Be sure to plan a whole day to see the best of the site and don't miss Petra by night either. 

Wadi Rum Camp Jordan

WADI RUM

After Petra, Wadi Rum is the most well-known place to go backpacking in Jordan. This dried up river bed is a spectacular place to visit, because the valley is fringed by tall, red, sandstone rocks.

Here you can have outdoor adventures, including off-road driving, camel riding and rock climbing. You can also spend your nights under the stars, learning about the local Bedouin culture which still flourishes here.

It's also very popular to stay in one of the Wadi Rum desert camps and take camel safaris into the desert. There is a wide variety of camps based on your budget too, so don't think it's out of reach if you're backpacking.

Dead Sea Jordan Divergent Travelers

DEAD SEA

The Dead Sea is an enormous Salt Lake that separates Jordan from Palestine, and it’s also one of the lowest places on the planet.

This unusual water feature actually sits over 400 meters below sea level, and the salts and minerals present in the lake have been used in spa treatments for thousands of years.

It’s a great place to relax and unwind, as you float across the salty water and enjoy views over the lake and across the border.

Things to do in Aqaba Jordan

AQABA

The Red Sea port of Aqaba is the best place to include on your Jordan travel itinerary if you’re looking for sun, sea and sand. This is the country’s only stretch of coastline, but it’s absolutely beautiful.

You can find hotels and resorts looking out over sandy beaches, but the best part about Aqaba is the underwater world.

Beneath the waves is a huge protected marine park, where you can find colorful coral and sunken shipwrecks teeming with marine life. It’s the perfect place for snorkeling and diving.  

JORDAN TRAVEL BUDGET

Setting a budget for backpacking in Jordan is highly dependent on your travel style. It is possible to visit just about anywhere in Jordan on any budget and still have a great trip. That said, you can make your trip as basic or as luxurious as you desire.

To help you set your budget, we've included some base range price estimations for travel within Jordan. Of course, keep in mind that prices can fluctuate based on seasons, availability and festivals.

ACCOMMODATION: Budget guesthouses cost between 10 and 40 USD per night, as do hostels. A mid-range hotel room can be found for between 40 and 100 USD, and luxury hotels or glamping tents will be upwards of USD 100 per night 

FOOD: Street food, such as kebabs and falafel cost up to 5 USD, while restaurant meals will cost upwards of 10 USD, and more in touristy destinations.

TRANSPORTATION: Public transport between cities is cheap but not that efficient. A four-hour bus from Amman to Petra will cost around 15 USD. Car Hire will be around 50 USD a day, while the four-wheel-drive hire will be 100 USD and upwards.

ACTIVITIES: This will be the biggest expense when you are backpacking in Jordan. The entrance fee to Petra alone is 70 USD. A day of diving in Aqaba will cost from 75 USD upwards, while a tour of Wadi Rum will set you back upwards of 50 USD.

BUDGET

50 USD PER DAY

Backpacking in Jordan doesn’t need to be expensive, but you will need to limit the number of activities you take part in if you’re on a budget. While you can live off 20 -30 USD a day, to enjoy yourself and see sights such as Petra, you will need to budget for at least 50 USD per day.

MID-RANGE

100 USD PER DAY

If you’re planning a midrange budget for your Jordan travel itinerary, then you’ll need to prepare to spend at least 50 USD per day, up to 100 USD. This will get you a private room and restaurant meals, and you’ll need to spend more on activities and entrance fees.

LUXURY

200+ USD PER DAY

For a luxury Jordan travel itinerary, you will be spending upwards of USD 200 per day. This won’t limit your activities and tours and will give you the chance to enjoy restaurant meals every day, private transport and great accommodation.

WHERE TO STAY IN JORDAN

Below you will find some of the places we have stayed during our travels in Jordan. These are individual properties that we enjoyed and would recommend to other travelers.

HOW TO GET AROUND IN JORDAN

Jordan is a relatively small country and distances between each city are not enormous. The country offers an excellent road network making it easy to travel around and to get from one destination to the next quickly and efficiently.

If you can hire a four-wheel drive, or four-wheel drive and a driver, then you can have some real off-road adventures through the wadis and deserts. If this isn’t in your budget though, then you’ll need to make use of the public buses, organized tours and shared taxis during your Jordan travel trip.

BUS: Public buses cover the main destinations, Amman, Petra, Aqaba and more, however many of the smaller destinations, such as Crusader Castles for instance, won’t have public transport options that are readily available. On the plus side, public transport is cheap.

CAR RENTAL: The best way to get around Jordan is to hire a car, giving you the option to travel at your own leisure and to stop off at lesser-known spots that aren’t covered by public transport. If you’re backpacking in Jordan though, this might not be an option, as car hire costs add up. Check out Discover Rental Cars for great deals.

FLIGHTS: While it is possible to take flights from Amman to Aqaba, flying is really pointless within Jordan. It is much better to utilize the ground transportation options.

ORGANIZED TOURS: This is the most popular way to see the highlights of Jordan and surprisingly, offers some substantial value. By taking a tour, you're able to pay largely discounted prices when compared to booking travel individually. This allows people to see more of Jordan for the same budget of far fewer places than if you planned the trip on your own. When we were backpacking in Jordan, this is how we maximized both our time and budget. This is the tour we took: 8 Day Jordan Explorer

SHARED TAXIS: You can also find shared taxis, which wait for all their seats to fill up before they leave. These often go to the touristy destinations or pilgrimage sights such as Mount Nebo and can be a cost-effective way of getting around.

TOP JORDAN TOURS

Jerash Is Jordan Safe

Explore Jordan

8 Days from Amman, Jordan

Visits: Madaba, Petra, Wadi Rum, Dead Sea & Jerash

Dead Sea Is Jordan Safe

Jordan & Egypt Adventure

15 Days Cairo to Amman

Visits: Luxor, Aswan, Dead Sea, Petra, Wadi Rum, Aqaba, Karak & Jerash

Siq Rose City of Petra

Jordan & Israel Adventure

15 Days Amman to Jerusalem

Visits: Dead Sea, Aqaba, Petra, Wadi Rum, Nazareth, Bethlehem & Tel Aviv

WHEN TO VISIT JORDAN

The country’s location in the Middle East means that you can expect warm weather all year round, but for many, the scorching heat of summer is too much to handle.

Jordan has two high seasons, in spring and fall, when the weather isn’t quite so hot as summer but is perfect for exploring. March, April and May are busy times, and if you’re backpacking in Jordan and want to avoid the crowds, then you might want to travel earlier in the year.

September, October and November have excellent weather too, and things can be a little quieter. Summer is hot, while winter can be surprisingly chilly, especially if you’re at high altitude, as you will be in Amman.

If you’re diving at Aqaba, then try to plan your Jordan travel adventure between March and May, when the water is warm and visibility is at its best.

For more information, check out the Best Time to Visit Jordan: Month by Month Breakdown

Your ticket to the wonders of Jordan!

SAFETY IN JORDAN

Jordan is a wonderfully safe country to visit, and the local people are incredibly welcoming and hospitable towards tourists. We were surprised at how misrepresented the country is in the media. Read our opinions about safety in Jordan.

Despite its location in a geopolitical hotspot (Jordan’s neighbors include Syria and Israel), Jordan has seen very few terror-related incidents. Less so than western countries far from the Middle East.

Crime is low and if it does happen, it’s only really going to be petty opportunistic theft, so just keep an eye on any valuables during your Jordan travel adventure.

Jordan is a majority Muslim nation, so do be respectful of the laws, as there are harsh punishments for crimes. Be respectful and dress appropriately in public and when you’re visiting mosques and holy sites.

As with any destination, we recommend learning and adhering to certain safety practices when you travel. Be sure to read our personal travel safety tips, compiled from our travels across 7 continents.

JORDAN BACKPACKING: BOOKING RESOURCES

  • Skyscanner - A fantastic flight search engine that searches a lot of different airlines, including many of the budget carriers that larger sites miss. Every single flight search we do starts here.

  • Airbnb - A great accommodation alternative for renting out apartments, condos, townhouses and rooms while traveling. (If you’re new to Airbnb, get $35 off your first stay!)

  • Hotel Seach Engine – Our custom-built hotel search engine allows you to search hotels all over the world and compare prices before booking. It pulls the best prices from all the major online travel agents, such as Expedia, Priceline, Booking, etc. to one place.

  • Discover Car Hire - Allows you to search car rentals across multiple rental agencies worldwide. 

  • Viator - The best trips are made up of multiple smaller tours to really dig in and get to know the places you are visiting. Our preferred place to book day tours, day trips and shorter multi-day tours is Viator. 

  • G Adventures – If you want to do a group tour around Jordan, go with G Adventures. They offer great small group tours that use local operators and leave a small environmental footprint. If you go on a tour with anyone, go with them. 

  • World Nomads – We don't travel without insurance and you shouldn't either!