The Kingdom of Jordan is currently one of the lesser-known travel destinations for Germans, but the country has a history that goes back thousands of years, very hospitable locals and beautiful beaches.
The varied landscape and the world-famous archaeological sites make Jordan an extremely interesting holiday region for both cultural travelers and bathers.
Below we present you the most exciting tours, most beautiful attractions and best sights in Jordan.
1. The ruined city of Petra
The ruined city of Petra is one of the most important sights in the Middle East. Petra is a cultural and natural wonder at the same time and is located in the desert of the Edom mountains, halfway between the Gulf of Aqaba and the Dead Sea. This favorable position allowed the place to flourish between the 5th century before and the 3rd century after Christ into an important trading center.
Access is through a narrow gorge. Petra owes its excellent state of preservation to this hidden location between rugged cliffs. The elaborate facades of the tombs carved into the rock have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. The most famous buildings of the excavation site are the so-called treasure house in the Hellenistic style and the Roman theater.
2. Jordan’s capital, Amman
Most travelers will land at the airport of Jordan’s capital, Amman. Today the metropolis is a modern city with numerous sights that are testimony to its eventful history. The Roman amphitheater is the highlight during a city tour. It dates from the 2nd century and fits into a flank of the Jaufa hill.
It is one of the best-preserved theaters from that time and is particularly impressive because of the 95-meter-wide stage building and the excellent acoustics. A whisper on the stage can be heard from each of the 6,000 seats. Since its restoration in the 1950s and 60s, it has been used regularly for events during the summer months. Other highlights for visitors to Amman are the citadel, the ruins of the Hercules Theater and the Ahl al Kahf necropolis.
3. Kerak Crusader Castle
The place Kerak in the west of Jordan is already mentioned in the Bible as “Kir” or “Kir-Moab”. The imposing crusader castle was built in a strategically favorable location and served as a stopover for the crusaders in the 12th century. It is enthroned on a ledge and shows a mixture of Crusader architecture, Byzantine and Arabic elements.
All entrances are underground for defense reasons and there are no gates. Today the fortress also houses an archaeological museum. From its highest point, the visitor is offered a magnificent view that extends as far as Jerusalem on a clear day.
4. Wadi Rum
The Mars-like desert landscape of Wadi Rum is located east of Aqaba and is one of the most important tourist attractions in Jordan. As 4000 year old rock carvings prove, the landscape was already settled in prehistoric times – today several Bedouin tribes live here, whose main source of income is now tourists from all over the world.
It is advisable to visit the visitor center at the entrance to Wadi Rum and carefully inform yourself about this labyrinth of bizarre rock formations up to 1750 m high. There are opportunities for camel rides, jeep safaris or overnight stays in tents. A trip to this UNESCO World Heritage Site is certainly an experience that you will not forget for a lifetime.
5. Madaba, the mosaic city
The city of Madaba, inconspicuous at first glance, reveals several spectacular attractions in the form of detailed floor mosaics during a visit. The most important of these works of art is in the Church of St. George and represents a map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land in the 6th century. The mosaic, composed of more than two million stones, is of inestimable value because it also contains descriptions of the landscapes and cities in Greek language.
Since various biblical stories have also been described, it is in all likelihood a card for pilgrims. In the archaeological museum of the city and its garden, further mosaics can be viewed, which show scenes from everyday life, mythology or the animal and plant world in a fascinating way. For travelers interested in art, a detour to Madaba is definitely recommended.
6. Mount Nebo
Only about 30 km southwest of the city center of Amann, in the midst of an extremely barren landscape, rises the 808 m high mountain Nebo, which plays an important role in the Old Testament when God lets Moses look into the promised land from there. At the top there are fragments of one of the oldest churches in the world and a newer church and monastery belonging to the Catholic Franciscan Order.
The view as far as Israel and the Dead Sea is unique and a visit can be wonderfully combined with a tour of Madaba. So you have combined two important sights in Jordan in a pleasant way and will collect unforgettable impressions.
7. Jerash Historic Site
In the green valley of Gilead in northern Jordan is the huge ruined city of Jerash, which, together with Petra, is one of the country’s most popular sights. Its heyday is dated to the first centuries AD, when Jerash was also called the “Pompeii of the East”. The archaeologists excavated numerous temples, colonnaded streets, paths and houses within the city walls, which give a good impression of how a Roman city was built back then. Anyone interested in culture and history should plan a trip to Jerash, which is around 40 km north of Amman.
8. Mujib Nature Reserve
Adventure holidaymakers also get their money’s worth in Jordan. The Mujib Nature Reserve on the east coast of the Dead Sea is considered the deepest protected area on earth. It is located in a gorge where, due to rivers and differences in altitude, a biodiversity developed that year after year attracts nature lovers from all over the world. Flora and fauna can be discovered with experienced local guides.
At least 10 species of predators (including jackals, wolves and wildcats) and rare birds live in the areas, which are sometimes very difficult to access, and they find a safe habitat here. Numerous hiking routes run through the reserve and allow breathtaking impressions, especially in the early morning hours when the sun makes the rocks shine orange and red.
9. Dead Sea
Who hasn’t seen photos of bathers in the Dead Sea? The high salt content of up to 30%, the year-round sunny weather and the low humidity are reasons that people with skin problems and joint diseases find relief here.
There are numerous hotels in the Jordanian holiday resort of Sweimeh that are geared towards this type of holiday. An unforgettable experience is a swim in the Dead Sea, where going under is impossible even for non-swimmers, for every tourist and should not be missing on any excursion program.
10. Akaba (Aquaba)
As a beach holiday destination, Jordan is still, wrongly, relatively unknown to us. The southernmost place in the kingdom on the Red Sea is a true paradise for swimmers, divers and snorkelers. Due to the excellent infrastructure in Jordan, a combination of cultural and beach holidays is easily possible.
Akaba offers wonderful sandy beaches and the offshore coral reefs are an area that is ideal for observing the colorful underwater world. Parrot fish, manta rays and reef sharks are found in large numbers here in the Gulf of Aqaba.