Discover Jordan from north to south on this eventful, 11-day itinerary. Start in Amman to tour ancient cities and desert fortresses, then head south into the Golden Triangle, where cultural antiquities and breathtaking landscapes abound. Stroll through the hidden wonders of Petra and take an off-road adventure into the Wadi Rum, then switch gears for some relaxing downtime on the shores of the Red and Dead Seas.

Highlights

  • Explore desert citadels & Greco-Roman ruins near Amman
  • Take in panoramic views across Jordan from the fabled Mount Nebo
  • Travel down the historic King's Highway to Petra
  • Ride a camel across the red sands of Wadi Rum
  • Try your hand at watersports in the Red Sea resort of Aqaba
  • Soak in the salty waters & healing mud of the Dead Sea

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Amman Amman
Day 2 Archaeological Wonders of Jerash, Aljoun & Amman Amman
Day 3 Day Trip to the Desert Castles & Iraq al-Amir Amman
Day 4 Transfer to Petra via Madaba, Mount Nebo & Kerak Petra
Day 5 Explore the Sandstone City of Petra Petra
Day 6 Free Morning in Petra, Transfer to Wadi Rum Wadi Rum
Day 7 Wadi Rum Jeep Excursion & Camel Ride, Transfer to Aqaba Aqaba
Day 8 Free Day in Aqaba Aqaba
Day 9 Transfer to the Dead Sea The Dead Sea
Day 10 Free Day on the Dead Sea The Dead Sea
Day 11 Transfer to Amman & Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Amman

The ancient Jordanian capital of Amman

Welcome to Jordan! Upon arrival at the Queen Alia International Airport, you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel in the capital of Amman. The nation's largest city, Amman has been inhabited since the Bronze Age and is full of cultural and historic highlights.

Depending on your arrival time, feel free to explore Amman at your own pace. In the evening, head to dinner at a local restaurant to sample Jordanian specialties like mansaf (rice topped with lamb and pine nuts), Arabic sweets, and mint tea. 

Day 2: Archaeological Wonders of Jerash, Aljoun & Amman

Roman ruins in Jerash

Start today's tour with a transfer north to Jerash, one of the best-preserved Greco-Roman cities in the Middle East. Spend time wandering the extensive site and be sure to check out the well-preserved remains of two amphitheaters, the north-south Colonnaded Street, and the Hippodrome (the site of ancient chariot races).
 
Continue to Ajloun, in the highlands, where you can explore the 12th-century Ajloun Castle, a fortress built to ward off the Crusader armies at the vital trade and pilgrimage intersection between Jerusalem, Cairo, Damascus, and Mecca. Roam the ramparts and enjoy the sweeping views over the Levant

In the afternoon, your driver will take you back to Amman for an afternoon tour of the historic Old City. Discover the magnificent Amman Citadel (Jabal al Qal'a) and the 2nd-century Roman Theater, two of the most famous archaeological sites in the capital, and stroll amid colorful wares and aromatic spices in Amman's old souks (markets). 

Day 3: Day Trip to the Desert Castles & Iraq al-Amir

The dramatic desert castle of Harrana

Today you'll strike out into the black basalt desert east of Amman to explore the Desert Castles—isolated pavilions, caravan stations, and hunting lodges built under the reign of the Umayyads (661-750 BCE). Today these evocative ruins and fortresses stand as a testament to the flourishing beginnings of Islamic-Arab civilization. Start with a visit to the spectacularly well-preserved Harrana Castle (Qasr Kharana), then explore the domes, arches, and frescoes of Amra Palace (Quseir Amra) and the imposing basalt fortifications of Azraq Castle (Qsar al-Azraq).

In the afternoon, you'll continue west of Amman into a lush valley to find the ruins of one of the most important Hellenistic monuments in the Middle East. Iraq al-Amir (meaning "the caves of the prince”) is an antiquity site dating back to the 2nd century BCE, where you can find a carefully restored Hellenistic villa that predates the Romans and mysterious cave dwellings first inhabited 10,000 years ago.

After a full day of fascinating history and discovery, your driver will take you back to Amman for the evening.

Day 4: Transfer to Petra via Madaba, Mount Nebo & Kerak

Ancient mosaics at Madaba

After breakfast at your hotel, you'll check out and meet your driver for today's journey south. Stop in Madaba to check out its intricate Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, including the spectacular Madaba Map, the oldest preserved mosaic map of the Holy Land. Nearby, the Madaba Archaeological Park preserves the mosaic-rich Church of the Virgin Mary and artifacts from the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic eras.

Continue your journey to Mount Nebo, an elevated ridge of the Abarim range said to be where Moses took in the view of the Promised Land. Follow in his footsteps and look out at the Dead Sea and beyond, before eventually making your way to the Memorial Church of Moses, a modern structure that now houses excavated relics from the region.

Carry on south along the ancient King's Highway to Kerak to visit the impressive Crusader castle of the same name. Exploring the fortress-like structure provides an opportunity to experience the vaulted halls and passageways typical of the era, a remarkable insight into the architectural and military prowess of the Crusaders. When you're ready, continue to Petra where you'll check in to your hotel for the night.  

Day 5: Explore the Sandstone City of Petra

Marvel at the Nabataean stonework of Petra

Today you'll explore Jordan's beloved archeological treasure: the lost city of Petra. Known as the "Rose City" for the area's distinctive red sandstone, it's easy to see why Petra was named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Its intricate architectural design is hundreds of years old, and remarkably well maintained. 

Enter through the Siq, a dramatically narrow gorge flanked by towering cliffs, and spend your day wandering at your leisure through Petra's seemingly endless temples, tombs, and colonnaded streets. Navigate the impressive water conduit system of the historic Nabataean city, paying a visit to Qasr al-Bint, a grand temple that was once the population's primary place of worship. After a two-hour guided tour, you'll have free time to explore the canyons and temples at your own pace. 

If you're feeling adventurous, climb your way up the 800 steps to the Monastery, Petra's largest and lesser-visited monument. For a stunning view overlooking the Treasury and jagged mountains beyond, hike the steep stone-carved staircase to the top of Jabal al-Khubtha.

After a full day of exploring, return to your hotel to rest up and cool down before dinner. If your visit falls on a Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday, you can head out again after dark to experience an unforgettable Petra by Night tour. Stroll through canyons lined with thousands of candles to reach the illuminated Treasury, where live Arabic music sets the scene and a welcoming cup of tea awaits. 

Day 6: Free Morning in Petra, Transfer to Wadi Rum

Camp under desert skies in the Wadi Rum

After breakfast, your morning is free to discover more of Petra at your own pace, visiting any hidden corners and highlights that you may have missed. You can opt for another tour or even arrange for a guided hike along the back trail to Petra, starting from Beida and ending with dramatic views over the Monastery.

In the afternoon, your driver will take you south into the wilderness of Wadi Rum, an expanse of desert dubbed the "Valley of the Moon" by Lawrence of Arabia. Along the two-hour drive, you'll pass through red valleys, rock canyons, and dunes to reach a Bedouin-style camp, where you'll enjoy a traditional meal and spend the night sleeping under the stars.

Day 7: Wadi Rum Jeep Excursion & Camel Ride, Transfer to Aqaba

Head deeper into the desert for an off-road adventure

Early risers can start this morning with a breathtaking hot air balloon ride over the desert. After breakfast, you'll set out in a sturdy Jeep for an off-road excursion that takes you deeper into the UNESCO-protected Wadi Rum. Travel through valleys, rock canyons, dunes, and deserts, stopping to check out rock inscriptions and petroglyphs as well as majestic views. Spend a little time at each stop to hike and scramble and explore at your own pace. Along the way, you'll visit desert oases, see 2,000-year-old Kufic rock art, and learn about the history of the area and the local Bedouin culture. 

After lunch back at the camp, your "ship of the desert" awaits, as you mount up for a two-hour camel ride through the sands with your Bedouin guide.

In the afternoon, you'll say your goodbyes to the desert as your driver picks you up for a transfer to nearby Aqaba on the Red Sea. Inhabited since 4,000 BCE, Aqaba is Jordan's only coastal city and is home to colorful market stalls, delicious food, and, of course, access to the water. Go for a stroll and explore the bustling port, head to the beach for a swim, or enjoy platters of delicious local fish and expertly prepared meats in town before checking into your hotel for the evening.

Day 8: Free Day in Aqaba

Sweeping beaches and crystal clear waters on the Red Sea

Today is free for you to relax and unwind on the shores of the Red Sea. Spend some more time exploring the port, or embark on one of the many watersport excursions on offer. Hop aboard a glass-bottom boat to enjoy views of abundant marine life, try your hand at parasailing or diving, or go for a leisurely snorkel through the clear waters. 

Day 9: Transfer to the Dead Sea

Transfer north to the lowest point on earth

Spend another morning at the beach, then bid the Red Sea farewell as your driver picks you up for the drive north to reach the shores of the Dead Sea, one of the most spectacular natural and spiritual landscapes in the world. This landlocked lake is the lowest point on earth and the world's richest source of natural salts, hiding wonderful treasures that accumulated throughout thousands of years. After a scenic drive through a landscape of otherworldly, arid hills, you'll reach your hotel, where you can get settled in and relax after the long drive.

Day 10: Free Day on the Dead Sea

Unwind on the shores of the Dead Sea
Today is free for you to enjoy the wonders of the Dead Sea at your leisure—floating in the salty waters, enjoying a full-body mud treatment, or relaxing in the sun. 

Day 11: Transfer to Amman & Departure

Sunset over Amman

Take advantage of your last morning in Jordan with one more dip in the Dead Sea. When the time comes, your driver will be waiting to transfer you to the Queen Alia International Airport for your departing flight. Safe travels!

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