"Holidays to Jordan guarantee a unique and memorable experience. Filled with ancient sites and culture, it's a fascinating country to discover."
Home to one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, an ancient land situated on the Red Sea and encompassing some truly spectacular desert landscapes, Jordan is a place quite unlike anywhere else in the world. The people are welcoming, the food is delicious, and it has a plethora of amazing places that all visitors are bound to appreciate. From the magic of its desert landscapes to majestic Roman remains, from cosmopolitan Amman to mystical Petra, Jordan offers a unique cultural experience that is simply not to be missed. It’s also attractive to the more laid-back traveller; Aqaba is an unspoilt yet thriving Red Sea resort, while the Dead Sea offers the ultimate pampering beach holiday as well as historical interest.
But Jordan has so much more than just that: it has vast deserts, where you can gaze up at an unpolluted night sky; the sapphire waters of the Red Sea, which lap against Aqaba; the lowest land point on earth, which rests on Jordan’s spectacular Dead Sea shore and much, much more. If you want a once in a lifetime trip to an ancient and beautiful land then Jordan may just be the place for you
Jordan Travel Guide
At A Glance:
Situated in the heart of the Middle East, it is bordered by Israel, Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Its official language is Arabic, and it lies on the east bank of the famous River Jordan. It played a crucial role in many Biblical stories due to its proximity to Israel and is most famous for the city of Petra: the lost Nabatean capital that has since been rated as one of the seven wonders of the world. Its capital Amman is located in the centre of the country being a crucial landmark on the journey between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Jordan is medium-sized with a population of around 10 million.
Being in the heart of the Middle East and with 90% of the country covered by desert, the weather in Jordan can hit high and low extremities. During the summer months of June, July and August - in desert areas specifically - temperatures can soar as high as 40 degrees during the day, and fall as low as 4 degrees when the sun sets. Many people tend to prefer travelling during spring and autumn months when temperatures are a little less intense, and it is therefore advised to plan your trip accordingly.
The modern state of Jordan is relatively young, with it officially being recognized as the “Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan” in 1946. However the history of the region that we today call Jordan is quite simply staggering. Having been inhabited for at least 500,000 years, it is one of the oldest in the world. It was occupied by the Canaanites for much of the Bronze age, whose desert knowledge and ability to smelt copper made them a rich civilization. This was enhanced by the location of Amman the capital, which was placed along a vital trading route between the sea and the rest of the Middle East. It is also the supposed location of the walk across the desert in the Bible, with Moses guiding his people through Jordan, before dying in the country and not reaching the promised land. Jordan fell to the Babylonians when Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem and the surrounding area, becoming part of a series of the most powerful empires in the world including the Romans, Persians and Byzantines. It was conquered by the Arabs during the 8th century and was then the scene of many crusader battles, before becoming a part of the Ottoman empire for the majority of the next 500 years. This changed when Lawrence of Arabia visited the area and launched his famous ride across the desert, with the state of Trans-Jordan and then Jordan formed following the First World War Settlement.
The best way to anyone's heart is through their stomach. Jordan has a huge range of food and mezes to try and sample. Whether it be passing by a food stall or having a traditional sit down Jordanian meal, you'll be sure to indulge yourself in the unique flavours and aromas. As Jordan is one of the largest producers of olives in the world, Jordanians always find a way to integrate this delicious, and some believe medicinal ingredient, into their authentic cooking. Along with the two main herbs Sumac and Za'atar which are grown wild in Jordan, yoghurt is also a very popular ingredient and is included in their national dish Mansaf, which Jordanians believe is a dish symbolising generosity in their culture.
Considered a great place for kids to have fun and try new things, it provides access to two stunning bodies of water, with Aqaba excellent for watersports and the Dead Sea, offering the chance for children to float and have fun in a completely safe environment. The capital Amman has a dedicated children’s museum, while kids who are interested in history are sure to enjoy all the wonders available in the lost city of Petra. Older children may also appreciate the Bedouin experience at Wadi Rum, which allows you to sleep under the stunning desert night sky.
Tours and Attractions
No visit to Jordan would be complete without a trip to Petra, an ancient and abandoned city that is carved into the mountainside and is nicknamed the ‘rose city’ due to the pinkish hue of its walls. The Dead Sea is a fascinating place, being the lowest land point on the world and containing water so salty that you can float on it. Aqaba is excellent for those who like active holidays with a series of great watersports opportunities on offer. While the opportunity to see the celestially lit sky while staying in a traditional desert village at Wadi Rum should not be missed.
Its nightlife varies, depending on where you go, with the more rural areas like Petra being pretty quiet and the large cities like Amman and Aqaba being very good. The best place to have a party is the capital, Amman, where visitors can find a multitude of different clubs and pubs offering drinks and dancing throughout the evening. This is slightly less concentrated than in some other cities, but the best place to head is Rainbow Street and the surrounding area. Aqaba also has a large number of nightclubs and bars in the port area, providing visitors with the opportunity to enjoy a drink overlooking the Red Sea.
When visiting be sure to seek handcrafted goods, such as jewellery, traditional Arabic knitting and various other trinkets. They can be found throughout the country and the royal family funds a foundation to ensure that local people benefit from tourism, meaning that you can be confident that your money is helping those who made it. Amman in particular is very good for shoppers with the famous Rainbow Street especially good. Jordan is also home to several free zones meaning that visitors don’t have to pay tax on what they purchase, ensuring that there are excellent deals to be had in the country.
The focal point of any Jordanian village is the coffee house, where specially brewed teas and strong Arabic coffees are part of the Jordanian staple diet. When the weather is not too hot, coffee houses and street stalls will serve “sahleb”, a thick milky drink made with cinnamon and coconuts and sprinkled with nuts. Whilst drinking alcohol is forbidden under Islam, you will find alcohol being served in hotels and upmarket restaurants, especially those catering for tourists.
Things To See & Do
If you are looking for culture and history, then Jordan will more than satisfy your appetite. To start with, the ancient city of Petra is one of the most iconic images of Jordan, with the Treasury being carved out of the red rocks and standing over 40 meters tall. Other historical/ religious sites that must be seen include the Desert Castles, Jerash which is one of the best preserved ancient Roman cities outside of Rome and the site at the River Jordan where Jesus was said to be baptised.