This two-week tour of Jordan covers cultural highlights and lesser-known attractions. Start in Amman and travel the length of the country from the hills of Umm Qais down to Aqaba on the Red Sea. Along the way, you'll discover the ancient city of Petra, camp in Wadi Rum, and float in the Dead Sea. You'll also tour Crusader-era castles, hike in the Dana Biosphere Reserve, and visit the Byzantine mosaics of Madaba.

Highlights

  • Discover the Roman ruins of Jerash, Pella, and Umm Qais
  • Explore the archeological treasures of the ancient city of Petra
  • Experience unique natural sights, from Wadi Rum to the Dead Sea
  • Swim and lounge on the shores of the famously salty Dead Sea
  • Marvel at the holy Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics at Madaba

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Amman Amman
Day 2 Drive to Ajloun; Explore Jerash Ajloun
Day 3 Drive to Pella & Umm Qais; Return to Amman Amman
Day 4 Drive to Petra; Explore Karak & Shoubak  Petra
Day 5 Full day in Petra Petra
Day 6 Drive to Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp
Day 7 Explore Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp
Day 8 Explore Wadi Rum; Drive to Aqaba Aqaba
Day 9 Full day in Aqaba Aqaba
Day 10 Drive to Dana Biosphere Reserve Dana
Day 11 Wadi Mujib hike; Drive to the Dead Sea Dead Sea
Day 12 Full day at the Dead Sea Dead Sea
Day 13 Drive to Madaba; Discover Mount Nebo Madaba
Day 14 Depart Amman  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Amman

Jordan - Amman - Roman Theatre
Marvel at the impressive Roman Theatre in old Amman

Welcome to Jordan! Depending on your arrival details, your driver will collect you from the Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA) or a border and take you into Amman and to your hotel. If you arrive in the morning, spend the day at your leisure touring the capital's main attractions in old Amman, including the L-shaped Jabal al Qal'a (Amman Citadel), the 2nd-century RomanTheater, the historic Temple of Hercules, and the great souks (markets), in particular, the Jara souk.

Day 2: Drive to Ajloun - Explore Jerash 

Jordan - Jerash - Roman ruins of Jerash
Explore the ancient Roman ruins of Jerash

Meet your driver after breakfast and head an hour north to explore the impressive Roman ruins of Jerash. Stroll down the north-south Colonnaded Street (or "cardo maximus" as it is known in Latin) to climb the steps of the remarkable Temple of Artemis, the highlight of Jerash, before you take in the excellent acoustics of the South Theater with a performance of traditional Jordanian bagpipers.

Find your way to the restaurant on site for lunch before continuing the 40 minutes west to the town of Ajloun in the highlands. Here you will discover the 12th-century Ajloun Castle, a fortress built to guard the surrounding three wadis (a valley or dry riverbed). In the late afternoon, you will have time to explore the Ajloun Forest Reserve before checking into your cabins on the reserve for your overnight stay.

Day 3: Drive to Pella & Umm Qais – Return to Amman

Jordan - Umm Qais ruins
Wander the Umm Qais ruins taking in the Sea of Galilee beyond

After breakfast, you'll continue the 40-minute drive north to the Roman ruins of Pella on the Jordan-Israel border to wander the sprawling complex. Next, you'll drive another 40 minutes to Umm Qais in the northwest of the country. Together with Pella, both ancient cities make up two of the 10 Decapolis cities of the Roman Empire. Lose yourself amid the ruins taking in the stunning panoramic vistas of the Yarmouk River gorge and the Sea of Galilee (sometimes referred to as Sea of Tiberius) in the distance.

Return to your hotel in Amman (2.5 hours).

Day 4: Drive to Petra - Explore Karak & Shoubak 

Jordan - Karak - View of the valley from Karak Castle
Enjoy sweeping vistas from atop Karak Castle

Leave early this morning and head south toward Petra. Along the way, you’ll stop at Karak (2 hours) to visit the expansive Crusader castle, one of the largest in the Levant (a sizeable geographical area in the Eastern Mediterranean). From there, you’ll carry on down the ancient trade route commonly referred to as the Kings Highway to your second Crusader castle of the day, Montreal Castle in Shoubak (2 hours). In the late afternoon, you'll drive the short distance to Petra and your accommodation.

Day 5: Full day in Petra

Jordan - Petra - Siq opening up to the Treasury
Follow the narrow passage to The Treasury

Spend the day experiencing this ancient Nabataean city. Walk through the Siq, the three-quarter-mile narrow gorge (1.2 km) that opens up to the famous Khazneh (or Treasury), carved into the sandstone cliff. Then explore the Street of Facades, a row of monumental Nabataean tombs, as you work your way to the steps that lead you to the High Place of Sacrifice, one of the better-preserved altars of its kind. Take in the view of Wadi Musa below and if you have the energy, why not climb up the additional 800 steps to Petra's largest monument, the Monastery.

After a full day of exploration, sit down with a local family, and enjoy a traditional meal while gleaning further insight into Jordanian culture and customs.

Day 6: Drive to Wadi Rum

Jordan - Petra - The Monastery
Visit Petra's Monastery

Meet your local Bedouin guide at your hotel lobby this morning and load into your 4WD to the starting point of a rugged, but scenic route that will bring you to an alternative entrance to the Monastery. After a second look, you'll leave Petra behind and transfer to Wadi Rum, where you will have the peaceful experience of spending the night in a tented Bedouin camp, sleeping under a blanket of stars.

Day 7: Explore Wadi Rum

Jordan - Wadi Rum
Explore Wadi Rum's highlights

After breakfast, you'll have the fun opportunity to go on a three-hour camel ride for a unique way to experience the expansive wadi. Return to camp for lunch and a rest before heading out on a jeep tour of the desert. Drive through valleys and canyons and stop at several sites to hike and scramble. 

You'll spend another night in Wadi Rum, this time in a tentalow at Khaled's Camp.

Day 8: Explore Wadi Rum – Drive to Aqaba

Jordan - Wadi Rum - View from above Lawrence House
Overlook Wadi Rum and the Lawrence House 

Start your morning early with a four-hour jeep tour of Wadi Rum's famous attractions as you follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia. You'll climb over red dunes, through rock bridges, and over rock canyons to discover millennia-old rock inscriptions, petroglyphs, and fantastic photo opportunities. You'll even visit the ruins of a building erected on an old Nabataean cistern believed to be where Lawrence hid out during the Arab Revolt (1917-1918). Meanwhile, enjoy sweeping views of the mountains and gorges in the background.

In the afternoon your driver will bring you to Jordan's only coastal city, Aqaba (1-2 hours) where you can spot the city lights of nearby Israel and Egypt.

Day 9: Full day in Aqaba

Jordan - Aqaba - View of the Gulf of Aqaba and Aqaba from Eilat in Israel
View of the Gulf of Aqaba and Aqaba from Eilat in Israel

Today is yours to spend as you choose. Relax on a beach and go swimming to cool off, or head to Tala Bay to enjoy one of the private beaches available. The more adventurous might enjoy snorkeling, or scuba diving to check out the marine wildlife as well as explore old shipwrecks. If getting wet isn't for you, sign up for a walking tour of downtown Aqaba and do a little gift and souvenir shopping at the same time. 

Day 10: Drive to Dana Biosphere Reserve

View over the Dana Biosphere Reserve

After a relaxed morning, your driver will take you to the Dana Biosphere Reserve (2.5 hours). Jordan's largest nature reserve, you'll visit the 15th-century stone village of Dana where you can take in views of Wadi Dana and Wadi Araba. If there are time and interest, there's the option to go on a short hike through part of the nature reserve before checking into your accommodation for the evening.

Day 11: Wadi Mujib hike - Drive to the Dead Sea

Jordan - Wadi Mujib -
Hike the Siq Trail in Wadi Mujib

Meet your driver this morning for an early start and head north to the mountainous landscape of Wadi Mujib, the "Grand Canyon of Jordan" (2 hours). Together with your guide, you will trek the Siq Trail—a hike through the narrow river gorge where you can expect to get wet (open April to October). After your excursion, you will continue east along a road offering stunning views of the Jordan Valley as you work your way to the lowest point on earth: the Dead Sea.

Day 12: Full day at the Dead Sea

Jordan - Dead Sea
Float in the buoyant, mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea

Today is yours to experience all that the Dead Sea has to offer. Take a dip in the sea's calm, salty waters, or soak up the sun from the sandy expanse of Ein Bokek beach. Alternatively, visit one of the spas for a wellness treatment like a massage or mineral-rich mud wrap. 

Day 13: Drive to Madaba - Discover Mount Nebo 

Jordan - Mount Nebo - Memorial Church of Moses
Stop to visit the Memorial Church of Moses at Mount Nebo

Today you visit the market town of Madaba (one hour away). Along the way, you'll stop at Mount Nebo for breathtaking views over the Dead Sea as well as to check out the site where Moses is reputed to be buried. In the early afternoon, you will reach Madaba, where you will spend some time discovering the beautiful Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics and the well-preserved mosaic-rich churches, like the Church of the Virgin Mary.

Day 14: Depart Madaba

Jordan - Madaba - Preserved mosaics
Marvel at the exquisite detail of the ancient mosaics in Madaba

Time to say farewell to your Jordan holiday. Depending on your departure details you may wish to complete any last minute souvenir shopping in the street markets of Madaba before transferring to the AIAI airport in Amman (or to a border crossing) for your onward journey. 

Map

Map of Highlights of Jordan: Petra, Wadi Rum, Dead Sea, & More - 14 Days
Map of Highlights of Jordan: Petra, Wadi Rum, Dead Sea, & More - 14 Days