The ancient city of Petra is undoubtedly Jordan's most visited point of interest, a meticulously preserved archeological wonder. Getting to the expansive, UNESCO-listed site is straightforward via road—Jordan is a small country is connected by well-maintained highways with English signage, and Wadi Musa (the gateway village bordering Petra) is a 3-hour drive or less from the major hubs.
A dedicated private driver is your most comfortable bet for getting around Jordan in general, and Petra is no exception. You can also take taxis or rideshares from Amman and Aqaba, and buses do run from all points described below (though this is the least convenient option).
Duration: 3 hours by private transfer; 5 hours by bus
The ancient city of Petra is approximately 143 miles (230 km) from Amman, Jordan's capital. Heading south, you'll take the Desert Highway to reach Wadi Musa, the gateway town to Petra. If you book a private transfer, the ride will take about three hours. Taxis are another viable option, and they are easy to find anywhere in Amman.
Traveling by bus is a budget option, but it will take more time than a car or taxi. The private company JETT offers air-conditioned tourist buses that run on fixed schedules with direct routes from Amman to Petra.
From Wadi Rum
Duration: 1.5 hours by private transfer; 2.5 hours by bus
To travel the 65 miles (104 km) between Petra and Wadi Rum, and hiring a private transfer is the most popular option. The drive north from Wadi Rum is a mix of the scenic but windy Kings Highway and the modern Desert Highway.
Renting a car offers flexibility, and driving in southern Jordan is pretty straightforward for travelers—most signs have English translations. If you’re not on a fixed schedule, there is plenty to see. Public mini-buses are the least convenient option—they're frequent, but you’ll have to contend with crowds, timetables, and waiting around.
Duration: 2 hours by private transfer; 4 hours by bus
The ideal way to travel the 78 miles (125 km) between Petra and Aqaba is by car. The fastest route, via Kings Highway and Desert Highway, takes two hours.
It's possible to rent a car in Jordan and its major highways are safe and navigable. That said, most travelers choose to hire a local driver and possibly a guide as well. Public transportation is the cheapest option but be prepared for a longer (and possibly crowded) ride. You'll pass by Wadi Rum, so consider breaking up your trip with an overnight in this amazing ancient desert.