Jordan is one of the most underrated countries in my opinion. With a cultural and geographical diversity that puts most of its neighbors to shame, Jordan will surprise you with its tremendous landscapes, natural marvels and a history that dates as far back as the early Stone Age. Jordan has something to offer to everyone.
Here are 6 places in Jordan that you absolutely must visit!
#1 The capital city - Amman
The capital of Jordan is an interesting blend of the ancient ruins surrounded by the not-so-ancient yet not too modern houses. It is a concrete jungle that hides archaeological and historical artifacts, which must be searched for in between the crowded and chaotic life. The downtown area features Roman ruins like the amphitheater on one hand and numerous cafes, restaurants, shops, mosques, and souks on the other. However, it lacks the character which you will find in other cities, once you move out of the capital.
The Citadel stands on top of the highest hill in Amman, overlooking the downtown area and the rest of the city. The amphitheater and the citadel are the only two ancient relics remaining in the capital itself.
#2 Historical city of Jerash
Less than an hour by road is this ancient city, which is one of the few surviving Roman ruins preserved so beautifully. The structures are intact in a more wholesome manner than you would find in many other places. A walk around this area will take you more than 2000 years back, and the good condition of the ruins help you piece together a lot of aspects of the ancient lifestyle.
Read here about the best places to go Stargazing in Jordan.
#3 Lowest point on Earth - Dead Sea
Another 1-hour drive away from Amman is the lowest point on the earth - Dead Sea. However, this is not the most awe-inspiring fact about this place. The Dead Sea is known to be so salty, that even non-swimmers can float in the water without drowning. The area has some excellent hotels and spas that have made the most of the health and wellness tourism. The minerals in Dead Dea's mud are considered to be extremely healing and good for the skin. The hills surrounding the sea make for some very dramatic landscape and many hotels are located at the edge of the cliffs, offering some amazing views of the highly saline deep blue lake.
Recommended hotel: Kempinski Hotel Ishtar, Dead Sea (mostly because it is a brilliant hotel with an amazing infinity pool and spa).
#4 The ancient abandoned city of Petra
These beautiful archaeological ruins of an entire city are a must visit! This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates as far back as 300 BC. As you enter the unique city, you will walk between massive rock pillars, called the Siq, before approaching the most photographed part of the ruins - Treasury. You will be in awe of the elaborate architecture of the tombs and temples, of which many have been preserved to a great extent. The red sandstone cliffs and gorges amidst an arid desert, flanked by the local Bedouins and their camels, the city is known to have been abandoned ages ago for reasons which are unknown.
Check this link for packages (1-2-3 days). If possible, I would recommend you to spend a night here, as this will mean you can enjoy an elaborate tour of Petra's wonders, both during the day and night.
Recommended stay: Mövenpick Resort Petra, located right at the entrance and with a restaurant/lounge that overlooks the beautiful ancient city.
#5 The expansive protected site Wadi Rum
Less than 2 hours away from Petra is this vast expansive desert amidst canyons which can be experienced in two ways - a jeep tour on these thick orange-red sand dunes which will last a couple of hours or an overnight stay in one of the Bedouin campsites, where you can treat yourself to Arabic hospitality while getting back to the basics with minimal but required facilities at the camps. Sheltered in between the cliffs and in the quietness of the desert, you can enjoy unobstructed views of the clear starry night skies, build a bonfire, smoke a shisha (water pipe) and indulge in some amazing Arabic fare.
Recommended jeep tour & overnight camping company: Wadi Rum Jeep Tours
#6 Serene & beautiful coastal city Aqaba
Aqaba is a very laid back town, perfect for vacationers, with its numerous resorts, some of which are located right on the beach. Popular for water sports, there isn't much else to do here than relax by the gorgeous beaches or enjoy some exciting activities such as snorkeling or windsurfing. The city is less than 4 hours by road from Amman and is a refreshing contrast in the landscape to the rest of the country.
Recommended stay: Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba
Traveling with kids? Here's what you need to know to plan a road trip to Jordan with kids.
Know of more exciting places in Jordan worth visiting? Please leave comments below.