The hot, dry summer is at its peak, with July being the hottest (and very hot!) month. The spring wildflowers long ago faded, and colors get bleached out of the landscape by the hazy light. But don’t let this put you off. Choose your destinations wisely and July can still be enjoyable. Plus, you’ll be able to explore the most popular sights in relative solitude. And July hosts the country’s most vibrant festival—the Jerash Festival for Culture and Art.

Weather

July is, with August, the hottest month of the year, with temperatures exceeding 105°F (40°C) in places, especially when the khamseen blows. This dry and sometimes gale force desert wind can whirl in from the Arabian Peninsula, causing sandstorms that can last for days. Although it darkens the skies, the hot wind rapidly raises the temperature by as much as 20°F (10°C).

The higher elevations will be cooler than lowland areas. Amman averages an agreeable 81°F (27°C), and Petra is a few degrees warmer, but with some days reaching into the nineties. In the south, Aqaba bakes at an average 100°F (38°C), with some days topping 115°F (45°C), accompanied by an intolerable hot summer wind, and humidity is high. The eastern desert areas and the Dead Sea have similar temperatures to Aqaba, but without the humidity.

Fortunately, the summer air is dry and can still be comfortable. Pack a lightweight wardrobe, bring your shade hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, and be sure to drink lots of water. And do as the locals do: regard the noon-3pm as siesta time indoors.

Crowds & Costs

Most international visitors skip Jordan and the Middle East in mid-summer. Hence, the most popular tourist sites, such as Petra and Wadi Rum, can now be enjoyed in relative solitude without the tour-bus hordes.

As this is the low season, airfares come down and hotels decrease their rates. Although prices are now at their best, note that many restaurants and other places that rely on the tourist trade close for the low season. (If you’re planning on combining Jordan with Saudi Arabia, note that the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca takes place in July until 2023; entire planes get sold out for pilgrims for two weeks before and after the pilgrimage, and airfares to and from Saudi Arabia rise.)

Where to Go

The sizzling heat of mid-summer is a good time to focus on air-conditioned cultural sites. Gear heads are in for a treat, but you don’t have to be a car nut to enjoy Amman’s Royal Automobile Museum, showcasing the late King Hussein’s personal collection of cars and motorbikes. The remarkable collection ranges from a WWI armored car used by Lawrence of Arabia to and even the futuristic Martian rover driven by Matt Damon in The Martian. Dusty rally cars attest to the King Hussein’s passion for racing (and that of his son, King Abdullah). The rev-head king’s love of speed is also attested by a 1952 Aston Martin DB2, Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari F50, and an uber-rare Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss, one of the fastest cars ever produced. The more than 50 motorbikes range from a Harley-Davidson Road King on which King Hussein buzzed about the desert (with Queen Noor on the back) to a futuristic Tron Legacy-inspired electric stunner.

July is a great time to visit Jerash, as this is the month of Jordan’s most important cultural event—the Jerash Festival of Culture and Arts, offering a colorful celebration of Jordanian arts, dance, food, literature, and music. Best yet, the spectacular Roman ruins for which the city is famous play host to many of the events. Combine your daytime sightseeing of Hadrian’s Arch, the Temple of Zeus, and the remarkable paved Forum (with its arc of 56 Ionic columns) with memorable performances—from ballet to local folkloric dances—in the floodlit (and appropriately dramatic) surroundings of the Jerash ruins.

What to Do

If you love the desert heat of summer and want to feel like Lawrence by riding a camel, head to Wadi Rum to experience the desert as the Bedouin have for thousands of years. You’ll never feel so close to nature from inside a 4WD (although you’ll no doubt feel somewhat sorer at the end of your ride). This is summer, so dress appropriately against the sun and heat. You can opt for short hour-long rides. But a multi-day excursion is far more rewarding. “To Aqaba!”  

There's also no better time to travel into the eastern desert of Wadi Rum for stargazing by night. The crystal-clear 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. In July and August you can see the prolific Perseids Meteor Shower streak across the sky. Unless there’s a bright moon, expect to see dozens of fireballs per hour as space debris ejected by the comet Swift-Tuttle fall to earth and burn up in the atmosphere.

To escape the heat, cool off by canyoning at Wadi Mujib. In the hills east of the Dead Sea, Wadi Mujib features cascades tumbling now a narrow defile. You can thrill to a rappel down the waterfalls and plunge down natural waterslides like a log down a flume to swim in the pools. Then trek the canyon, which stretches 40 miles (70 km) to the Dead Sea. The area is enshrined in the Mujib Biosphere Reserve—home to many rare wildlife species.

July Events

Jerash Festival of Culture and Arts. Jordan’s top cultural festival offers a celebration of Jordanian arts, culture, dance, food, literature, and music. Venues include the spectacular Roman ruins.

Eid al-Adha. The “Festival of Sacrifice” holiday commemorates the sacrifice that Ibrahim made to demonstrate obedience to God and is celebrated with feasts and acts of charity.

Traveling to Jordan in July? Check out these great itineraries

3 Days in Northern Jordan. Immerse yourself in Amman, Jerash, Ajloun Castle and other top sites of the relatively cool northern highlands.

Jordan: Petra & the Dead Sea - 3 Days. Curated for travelers with limited time, this short-but-sweet itinerary highlights two of Jordan’s most iconic sites: the Dead Sea and the rock-carved metropolis of Petra. You'll also immerse yourself in local culture with an authentic cooking class.

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