Culture and history meet beach vacation on this nine-day journey through Jordan. Start in Amman and make your way south along the King's Highway toward Petra—visiting museums, mountains, and castles en route. After touring the temples and canyons of the "Rose City," venture into the desert of Wadi Rum for off-road explorations and Bedouin-style camping. Transfer to Aqaba to soak up some sun on the Red Sea, then head north to the Dead Sea to end your trip floating in its blissful waters.

Highlights

  • Climb to the Amman Citadel for ancient ruins and city views
  • Wander through the imposing halls of Kerak Castle
  • Experience the atmosphere of Petra at night with a candlelit tour
  • Travel deep into the Wadi Rum for a desert camping adventure
  • Try a therapeutic mud wrap at the Dead Sea

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Amman, Explore the Capital Amman
Day 2 Archaeological Wonders of Jerash, Aljoun & Amman Amman
Day 3 Transfer to Petra via Madaba, Mount Nebo & Kerak Petra
Day 4 Explore the Sandstone City of Petra Petra
Day 5 Free Morning in Petra, Transfer to Wadi Rum Wadi Rum
Day 6 Wadi Rum Jeep Excursion, Transfer to Aqaba Aqaba
Day 7 Transfer to the Dead Sea The Dead Sea
Day 8 Free Day at the Dead Sea The Dead Sea
Day 9 Transfer to Amman, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Amman, Explore the Capital

Head to a local restaurant for dinner to indulge in Jordanian classics like mansaf

Welcome to Jordan! Upon arrival at the Queen Alia International Airport, you'll 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 the city at your own pace. A good place to start is the Jordan Museum, home to an extensive collection of artifacts spanning from prehistoric times to the present day. Step inside and peruse the exhibits showcasing treasures like the Dead Sea Scrolls and Neolithic statues.

Continue to Rainbow Street, nestled in the heart of the Jabal Amman district, to admire the beautifully restored historic buildings housing galleries, boutiques, and cafés. Spend the afternoon shopping for souvenirs, sipping an Arabic coffee, and watching the lively street performers in action. In the evening, head to a local restaurant to sample Jordanian specialties like mansaf, rice topped with lamb in a yogurt sauce, and pine nuts. Then, end the night with a sweet treat of knafeh, a rich dessert made from shredded phyllo dough layered with cheese and soaked in a sweet syrup.

Day 2: Archaeological Wonders of Jerash, Aljoun & Amman

Visit the second-century Roman Theatre of Amman on your city tour

Start today's tour with a 45-minute transfer north to Jerash, one of the best-preserved Greco-Roman cities in the Middle East. Spend time wandering the extensive site with a private guide, 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). Then, transfer 30 minutes 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 a private afternoon tour of the historic Old City. Discover the magnificent Jabal al-Qal'a (Amman Citadel) and the second-century Roman Theatre of Amman, two of the most famous archaeological sites in the capital. Then, stroll amid colorful wares and aromatic spices in some of Amman's old souks (markets). End your tour with a drive through modern Amman before returning to your hotel or sitting down for a traditional Jordanian dinner at a local restaurant. 

Day 3: Transfer to Petra via Madaba, Mount Nebo & Kerak

Stop at St. George's Greek Orthodox Church to see the iconic Madaba Map

After breakfast at your hotel, you'll check out and meet your driver for today's journey south. Stop 45 minutes away in Madaba to check out the city's 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 15 minutes 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 two hours south along the ancient King's Highway to Kerak to visit the impressive Kerak Castle. 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.

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Day 4: Explore the Sandstone City of Petra

Marvel at Petra's rock-cut architecture, starting at the towering treasury

Today, you'll explore Jordan's beloved archaeological 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 dramatic narrow gorge flanked by towering cliffs, and start the day with a two-hour private tour 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 the tour, you'll have free time to explore more of 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 the memorable Petra by Night experience. 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. Don't forget to look up as Petra's remote location makes it a great place to stargaze. 

Day 5: Free Morning in Petra, Transfer to Wadi Rum

Traverse the lunar-like landscape of Wadi Rum to get to your Bedouin-style camp

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 a backdoor trail to Petra, starting in Beida and ending with dramatic views over the Monastery.

In the afternoon, your driver will take you 1.5 hours south into the wilderness of Wadi Rum, an expanse of desert dubbed the "Valley of the Moon" by T.E. Lawrence (more commonly known as 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 6: Wadi Rum Jeep Excursion, Transfer to Aqaba

Trade the desert for crystal-clear waters and sweeping beaches on the Red Sea

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 a private 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 sweeping views. Spend a little time at each stop to hike 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, say your goodbyes to the desert as your driver picks you up for a transfer to nearby Aqaba on the Red Sea. Inhabited since 4000 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 7: Transfer to the Dead Sea

Transfer north to the lowest point on Earth: the Dead Sea
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 have accumulated over 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 8: Free Day at the Dead Sea

Float in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea
Today is free for you to enjoy the wonders of the Dead Sea at your leisure—floating in the buoyant, salty waters, enjoying a full-body mud treatment, or relaxing in the sun. The water and mud are also rich in minerals like magnesium, calcium, and potassium, which are known for their therapeutic properties. Apply your own mud mask to soak up the minerals, or book a treatment at your hotel's on-site spa. When you're ready, wash off all the salt and mud, then sit down for dinner overlooking the water.

Day 9: Transfer to Amman, Depart

Catch a final 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 back to the Queen Alia International Airport for your departing flight. Safe travels!

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Map

Map of Ancient Jordan & the Golden Triangle - 9 Days
Map of Ancient Jordan & the Golden Triangle - 9 Days