The rains are virtually over this month as spring sunshine spreads warming rays over the land. Although temperatures differ from place to place, everywhere is agreeable. Always one of the cooler spots, Amman—at an elevation of around 3,300 ft (1,000 m)—averages 63°F (17°C), with a daily range between 57-77°F (14-25°C). Petra is quite a bit warmer, averaging 76°F (24°C) for the month, while on the shores of the Red Sea, Aqaba is distinctly toasty at an average of 84°F (29°C). And after four months of rains, even the desert is carpeted in gorgeous kaleidoscopic displays of wildflowers. The lush green northern regions are particularly attractive in April.
You’ll definitely want to pack light summer clothing, plus a shade hat and sunscreen. But pack a warm jacket if you plan on visiting the mountain areas, including Amman, where temperatures can still be cool (as can the desert at night and in early morning). And sturdy, comfortable walking shoes are a must.
Crowds & Costs
April is one of the most popular months to visit Jordan. Hence, airfare and hotels are at their most expensive, with relatively few bargains. It’s wise to book flights and reserve accommodations well in advance, especially in the main tourist areas.
Ramadan—the holy month of fasting—falls in April in 2020. Many businesses change their hours. For example, many restaurants and shops close between 6:30-8:30 pm so that owners and workers can eat. And pre-sunset rush hour is hectic, especially in Amman, as people (including taxi drivers) rush home to break the fast with family. You’ll need to plan ahead for where to buy food in the event that there are no restaurants open (this usually is the case only in more remote and traditional areas; tourist zones usually aren’t so affected). And as a courtesy to those fasting, avoid eating or drinking in public during daylight hours.
Where to Go
Visit the rose-tinted lost city of Petra, Jordan’s foremost ancient site. In early April the crowds have yet to arrive in earnest at this stunning city of sandstone carved into the mountain in the 3rd century BC by the Nabataeans. Get there as early as possible (start with the 5 am sunrise), and spend an entire day exploring this treasure trove of amazing structures, hidden along hiking trails of various difficulties and distances. Photographers should stick around until sunset, when the rocks glow an incredible ruby.
Petrol heads know to drive a beeline for the Dead Sea in April as the country revs up for the Jordan Rally. This important off-road car race and challenge draws thousands of visitors and as many as two dozen top international drivers to witness 21 drama-filled stages over two days. The ceremonial start takes place in Amman as competing teams kick up the dust en route to the ceremonial finish at the Dead Sea.
If you love history, especially Biblical, hike to Machaerus, the hilltop stronghold palace and fortress of Herod the Great. Built around 90 BC—before Herod’s time—at about 3,300 feet (1,100 m) in the eastern hills overlooking the Dead Sea, the now ruined site was protected on three sides by deep ravines. It was here, according to biblical legend, that John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded by Herod Antipas (son of Herod the Great): appropriately, perhaps, it is known to locals as Qala’at Al Meshneq (Castle of the Gallows). You can also make out the site of Herod Antipas’ palace, where Salome reputedly danced; and, on the western side of the hill, the remains of a siege ramp built by the Romans in AD 72 to capture the fort. A visit can be combined with Ma’in Hot Springs, nearby.
What to Do
Be bedazzled by stars. The massive expanse of desert at Wadi Rum has with good reason been featured in many space movies, including The Martian. Appropriately, it’s one of the best stargazing destinations in the world. Head to Wadi Rum for overnights in a Bedouin camp or, more à propos, Sun City Camp with its geodesic domes Inspired by the film. Away from your camp, the desert sky is so unbelievably dark you’ll gasp at the Milky Way galaxy and its billions of stars, made more humbling by the absolute desert silence.
Hike the Jordan Trail to Petra. Billed as the "Inca Trail of the Middle East," the 400-mile trail from Umm Qais to the Red Sea can be hiked in sections. The Petra section leads you to Jordan’s most iconic World Heritage site in solitude by the back door. The relatively easy path-less-followed rewards you with a tour bus-free entrée.
Soak in Ma’in Hot Springs. The Hammamat Ma'in thermal mineral springs and waterfalls, about 45 miles (75 km) south of Amman, are referenced in the Bible and according to legend once drew Herod to bathe in the medicinal waters. You’ll feel enervated, too, soaking as did the Romans in the mineral-rich pools (each of a different temperature) at the base of the cascades, comprising a lush canyon paradise in the hills above the Dead Sea, at 866 feet (264 m) below sea level.
Amman Dead Sea Ultra Marathon. This annual event draws thousands of runners and enthusiasts from around the world, including the top marathon runners. The route begins in the high elevations of Amman and descends to the lowest point on Earth.
Amman International Theatre Festival. Theater lovers will love this annual festival to promote theatre and the arts, with performances by troupes from Arabian nations in both Arabic and English.
Amman Jazz Festival. Held during four days each April, it draws international jazz and classical talent, who play at venues through the Jordanian capital.
Ramadan. The dates move back by 11 days every year according to the lunar calendar, and in 2020 last from April 24 until sundown on May 23. The entire Muslim community prays, fasts from sunrise to sunset, indulges in charity and self-evaluation, and supposedly resists all temptation. On Uraza Bayram (Eid Al Fitr)—the end of Ramadan and fasting—people celebrate with joyous festivities lasting several days.
Traveling to Jordan in April? Check out these great itineraries
Family Trip to Jordan: Petra, Dead Sea, Wadi Rum, & More – 8 Days. There’s something for the entire family on this itinerary, from overnight in a Bedouin camp at Wadi Rum to hiking at Petra and floating in the Dead Sea.
Holy Land Off the Beaten Path: Israel & Jordan - 10 Days. Combine these two countries, with off-the-beaten-path experiences in Dana Biosphere Reserve the Dead Sea, Petra, and Wadi Rum.