Aqaba - Wadi Rum - Petra (Wadi Musa) - Dead Sea - Amman - Aqaba
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN AQABA
When flying into Jordan, there are two possible airports: Aqaba or Amman. We flew into Aqaba; therefore, this travel route is starting with Aqaba. If you are coming from Germany, then we can recommend you flying with Ryanair directly from Cologne (to Aqaba) or Memmingen (to Amman). The route we suggest here can also be done the other way around when you're flying into Amman. Depending on when your flight arrives, you have some time to explore the city of Aqaba and the red sea. We arrived very late in Aqaba. Therefore we did not have that much time to explore it.
DAY 2-4: WADI RUM
How to get there?
If you arrived in Aqaba, then the drive is around 1 hour to the Wadi Rum visitor center. The roads are very easy to drive, and you'll be surprised by an incredible landscape already during the drive! If you are coming from Amman, then you'll be a bit longer on the road (around 3-4 hours). The entry point of Wadi Rum is the Wadi Rum visitor center, where you have to buy an entry ticket (5 JOD) or get a stamp on your Jordan pass. From there you can further drive to the Wadi Rum village, home of the Beduin people, from where you will be picked up for you camp. Hint: Before driving to Wadi Rum, get yourself some snacks and water in a local supermarket (Carrefour) as water and food is expensive in most of the lodges in Wadi Rum. About Wadi Rum: Wadi Rum feels like being on another planet! It is also known as the "Valley of the Moon." During the first world war, Prince Faisal Bin Hussein and T. E. Lawrence set up their headquarters in Wadi Rum. Their exploits are deeply intertwined with the history of this fantastic area. Furthermore, Wadi Rum is quite famous for many film production such as Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars, and the Marsianer.
Where to stay?
To visit Wadi Rum, we can recommend you to book a traditional Beduin camp there. The area of Wadi Rum is enormous and has many accommodations to offer. Mainly there are two options, to either stay in a traditional (cheap) Beduin camp within the protected area or to book one of the high price luxury tents outside of the protected area (most of them are outside the protected area). Generally, we would recommend you to spend 2-3 nights (3 full days) in Wadi Rum as it is an unforgettable experience to sleep in the desert. If you do want more action, then it's also possible to sleep under the stars or go camping.
To find the best accommodation, you can either have a look at booking.com or airbnb.com. We stayed at Wadi Rum Quiet Village, and we only can highly recommend it! It's super basic, cheap but still has everything you need for a perfect stay at Wadi Rum.
What to see/what to do?
Generally, there are two options to explore Wadi Rum - either via hiking or with a jeep! We did both (2 days hiking and one day a jeep tour). Here is a list of our hikes and the sights we discovered each day:
DAY 1 - Small hike:
On the first day at Wadi Rum, we only did a small hike (starting at our camp, 3-4 hours) with visiting the following sights below. For exact information about the route always ask in your camp, they can show you the detailed route!
1. Lawrence Spring & Lawrence House
2. Khazali Canyon (first photo)
3. Little bridge (close to Khazali canyon)
DAY 2 - Big hike:
On day 2 we did a longer hike (starting from our camp, 7-8 hours) with visiting the following sights below. For exact information about the route always ask in your camp, they can show you the detailed route!
1. Barrah Canyon
2. Anfishiyyeh Inscriptions
3. Al Hasany Dunes
DAY 3 - Jeep tour:
On day 3 we decided to do a Jeep tour and hire a guide, as we wanted to walk up to the big bridge (2 hours walk and not easy to find). We started in the morning at 7 AM with Um Fruth Rock Bridge (small bridge, first photo) and continued with the Burdah Rock Bridge (big bridge, second photo). Driving around Wadi Rum with a Jeep really is a unique experience and something we can recommend everyone!
Hint: Start your tour as early als possible to avoid the crowds, and do it individually. This way you can explore exactly the sights you'd like to see (we paid 80 JOD for a private tour with guide).
Another famous sight is the Seven Pillars of Wisdom. They are located right at the Wadi Rum visitor center, so you can visit them by yourself in the beginning or at the end of your Wadi Rum visit.
DAY 4-7: PETRA
After enjoying the beauty of Wadi Rum, it is time to head north to Wadi Musa, the city where the ancient city of Petra is located. It is about a 1,5 hours drive with easy streets and again, an incredible landscape! We bought the Jordan pass with three consecutive days at Petra, so we spend a total of three days here, if you are running out of time, two days are also excellent.
Often known as the eighth wonder of the ancient world, Petra is, without doubt, the most valuable treasure and the largest tourist attraction in Jordan. The ancient city was established 312 BC and rediscovered in 1812 by a Swiss explorer. Petra was a big city and the capital of the Nabateans. The prosperity came due to its geographical location making it a key hub for the most important trade routes of that time. It is said that only 15% of the city is discovered, and many parts still are covered by stones and sand. Many people only think of the famous treasury when having Petra in mind, but this place has so much more to offer!
Where to stay?
As Petra is the most famous tourist attraction in Jordan, the prices are quite high, and cheap backpacking lodges are very rare. We stayed in a hostel called Petra Cabin Hostel & Restaurant in Wadi Musa right next to the Petra visitor center (entrance to the ancient city). Overall we have been really happy with this accommodation and if you are looking for something cheap we can recommend this place (we paid 10€ per night per person).
Petra has many hikes to offer. The two we would recommend you are the hike up to the monastery (1 hour) and a hike up to Petra's most beautiful viewpoint (called the Al Kubtha Trail). Another hike we can recommend you for sunset is the trail to the high place. It is also an easy walk up and not difficult to find!
Hint: You DO NOT need a guide for the walks (they will tell you, you need one, and will try to make you pay huge amounts for that)! The hikes are not dangerous, very easy to walk and not difficult to find! Just follow the signs up to the monastery or the al Kubtha trail. At the entrance of the Petra visitor center you will also find maps with hikes in it.
DAY 7-8: DEAD SEA
After enjoying three days at Petra, it's time to even head more north to the famous Dead Sea. The drive is about 3 hours and is going directly through the mountains all the way down.
About Dead Sea:
Dead sea is a place that simply has to be on your travel list for Jordan! On average, the lowest point on earth (400m below sea level) contains 33% of salt, which makes it possible to float in it. It really is a once in a lifetime experience to once swim in the dead sea! Furthermore: Did you know that you will not get sunburned at the Dead Sea? Because of the location below the sea level, there are less harmful UV rays.
Where to stay?
Finding accommodations at the dead Sea is not easy! Most parts are not built-up areas, and all hotels are located in the northern part of the Dead Sea. Because of that, we had to spend a lot of money for a big resort as the rest has been sold out (Hint: BOOK EARLY!!). Our resort was the Ramada Hotel, it has been all right and a beautiful place to relax but we usually do not stay in Hotels like that. One place where we would have loved to stay are the Mujib Chalets, but as far as we know, they are already sold out weeks or months in advance! Another possibility is to only drive by the Dead Sea in case you are running out of time.
What to explore?
Dead sea has many things to explore, but the best is for sure the floating itself in the Dead Sea. Below we listed our highlights to explore around the Dead Sea:
1. Famous salt formations - find the GPS coordinates here
2. Wadi Mujib (have in mind here that all canyons are closed in winter, they open again on 1.April until October/November)
3. Hot spring pool (free)
4. Herodus spring
DAY 8-9: AMMAN
On your last 1-2 days it makes the most sense to explore Amman. Unfortunately, we did not manage to see Amman, but we received some very nice recommendations from a local in Wadi Musa, that we would like to share with you. Amman really is a place that is a visit worth!
1. Roman Theater
2. Amman citadel
3. Hashem Restaurant down town
4. Habibah sweets
5. King Abdullah I Mosque
6. The Boulevard
DAY 10: DEPARTURE FROM AQABA
The last day in Jordan has arrived. Now it's time to drive back to the airport in Aqaba. You'll be on the road for around 4 hours so plan enough time for that! The streets back from Amman/Dead Sea are super easy to drive.
Well, that's it! This is our perfect 10-day route for Jordan! If you do have some more questions feel free to contact us at any time! If you do need more information about things you need to know before traveling to Jordan, then also check out our blogpost here.
Maja & Chris