Jordan is one of the most diverse place I’ve ever visited. You can see lush green mountains, visit archeological sites, float in the sea and explore the desert, all within the same country! Are you excited yet? If yes, keep reading for my perfect one-week Jordan itinerary!
Jordan is not a huge country, so one week is perfect for discovering all the main sites. If you are short on time you can squeeze everything into 4 days by skipping Aqaba and shortening some of the programs. However if you don’t wanna rush through the whole country, I would recommend having a full week.
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Day 1 : Driving from Amman to Petra
If you arrive by plane you will land in the Queen Alia National Airport, located 25km outside of Amman. Pick up your luggage and let’s head down straight to Petra!
Wadi Musa is the nearest town to the archeological site of Petra, therefore I recommend staying there for two nights. The Mövenpick Hotel is the most popular place to stay, as it is the closest restort to the entrance of Petra. If you prefer a more budget friendly option, check out the La Maison Hotel, where we stayed. It is right behind the Mövenpick Hotel but for fraction of the price.
We decided to rent a car at the airport but you can hop on a bus or hire a private driver as well. If you also plan to rent a car, you have two options regarding the direction. Either you can take the Desert Highway (Route 15) which is the quickest road or you can take the more scenic, but definitely longer King’s Highway (Route 35).
The Desert Highway (as the name suggests) cuts through the desert without any interesting stops and it takes around 3 hours to get to Petra.
If you are not in a rush and you are obsessed with dramatic landscapes, I’d suggest taking the famous King’s Highway. This is slightly longer in distance but because of the winding roads and steep climbs, the tour takes much longer in time. There are numerous stops along the road so it can easily take up a full day if you want to stop at every interesting site.
Route: from Queen Alia Airport to Wadi Musa
Total driving: 215km / 3hours (Desert Highway) or 250km / 5hours (King’s Highway, without stops)
Day 2 : Exploring the ancient of Petra
The rose-colored city of Petra is one of the New Seven Wonders of the Modern World. No Jordan itinerary is complete without visiting this magical place! The most famous spot is the Treasury, which you most likely know from the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade movie. But there are many more interesting sites in Petra, so be prepared for a full day of exploring!
Petra is huge. I mean really, really huge. Just look at the map above! You have to walk 2km to reach the Treasury from the Visitors’ centre. First, you will enter through the Siq – a dim, narrow gorge created by natural rock formations. In the end of the trail the gorge suddenly opens up and you will be rewarded with the most magnificent view: the Treasury!
Many people just want to visit the Treasury but I encourage you to explore more of Petra! It takes another 2,5km to the end of the main trail and you will see many Nabatean ruins along the way. The path to the Monastery begins when the main trail ends. You have to climb up 800 stairs to reach the Monastery but it’s totally worth it!
The Treasury Viewpoint
There are two amazing viewpoints where you can climb up if you want to see the Treasury from above. And believe me, you don’t wanna miss out on that! The first viewpoint is only accessible with a local guide. Many beduins will offer to take you up there, for money of course. But there is another one, it’s a bit longer to get up there but it’s free and the view is incredible during the climb! We choose the second way and we didn’t regret it.
Petra by Night
If you visit Petra on a Monday, Wednesday or Thursday, you can attend the Petra by Night event. The whole path through the Siq and the area in front of the Treasury is lit up by 1,500 candles, it’s really magical! The show itself is not so special, but the view is one of a kind! Please note, that this event is not included in the standard tickets. If you wish to attend, you should purchase another ticket for 17 JD per person.
Day 3 : Snorkeling or scuba diving in Aqaba
Yesterday was a really intense day, so you totally deserve a beach day today! Aqaba is the only coastal city in Jordan. It’s a 2 hours drive from Petra so I suggest having an early breakfast and hitting the road again!
To be honest there are not so much sightseeing to do, but there are a lot of beach resorts where you can relax and take a dip in the Red Sea. And there is one thing Aqaba is really famous for: the underwater life! The water is always warm and crystal clear which makes it the perfect place for snorkeling or scuba diving.
I’ve never tried any of that before but both of them were on my bucket list for so long! I booked a tour with Deep Blue Dive Center and it was wonderful! I decided to try snorkeling first, but they are organizing diving tours as well.
The tour included a 4 hour long boat trip with 3 different snorkeling spots, a delicious lunch and soft drinks. We’ve seen many beautiful coral reefs with cute fishes, and there were even an airplane wreck and a tank down in the water! And while you are out on the sea you can see 4 countries at once: Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Saudi-Arabia. How cool is that?
Route: from Wadi Musa to Aqaba
Total driving: 125km / 2hours
Day 4 : Jeep tour and overnight stay in the Wadi Rum
The Wadi Rum (also known as the Valley of the Moon) is an UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the southern part of Jordan. This is a huge desert area with the most amazing landscapes you’ll ever see! It was used as a filming location for many famous movies, like The Martian or the Lawrence of Arabia. Definitely a must visit place in Jordan!
First you will arrive in the Wadi Rum Village, where you can hire a 4×4 and explore the area on your own. However I strongly suggest booking a tour with a local guide! We choose the Wadi Rum Nomads company as according to Tripadvisor they are one of the best. And they really lived up to the expectations!
The tour begins at 9am in wintertime or 10am in summertime. During daytime you will visit many famous sites like the Lawrence spring, the Khazali canyon and the Burdah rock bridge. There is a lot of time at each location to explore the area, take a million photographs and enjoy the view. Trust me, you will never forget all the beauty you’re gonna see this day! Riding in a back of a jeep through these incredible sites is really a unique experience.
The last stop is in Um Sabatah where you can see the sun set behind the amazing rock formations. You can choose to spend the night in their Base Camp which I highly recommend! After the sunset they will drive you to the campsite where you can enjoy a traditional Bedouin dinner and learn about their culture. The next day they will take you back to the Wadi Rum Village after a delicious breakfast and you can continue your journey towards your next destination: the Dead Sea!
Route: from Aqaba to Wadi Rum Village
Total driving: 70km / 1hour
Day 5 : Floating in the Dead Sea
I bet you’ve seen a ton of pictures of people reading a newspaper while floating in the Dead Sea. This is a true bucket list experience! The Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth and it is the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. It’s almost 10 times saltier than the ocean, therefore you will rather float than swim in the water.
If you are coming from the Wadi Rum Village you will reach the southern side first. Park the car at the Coral reefs (2km south from the Mujib Chalets) and have a walk on the shore! You will find many amazing salt formations along the way and the sparkling blue water is crystal clear. It kinda makes you feel that you are walking on a Caribbean island, except the white beach is made of salt, not sand.
The Hotel Area is located in the northern side of the Dead Sea so you have to follow the coast road until you reach them. Bad news for the budget travelers: there are only 5 star hotels in this area, so you will not find any budget options. If you would like to have a bit of luxury in your trip, this is the perfect place to do it. We stayed at the Hilton Dead Sea Resort and enjoyed every minute!
Route: from Wadi Rum Village to the Dead Sea Hotel Area
Total driving: 310km / 4hour 15min
Day 6 : Visiting Jerash
The ancient city of Jerash is the largest and most interesting Roman site in Jordan. The area is huge, and it is packed with many temples, amphitheatres, columns and ruined buildings. Depending on how much you are into archeology, you can spend there a few hours or an entire day.
Be aware that this is not a public site, hence you have to buy a ticket to get in and there is an opening time. Actually I didn’t know that and we arrived just around closing time so we didn’t have time to explore the area. I was really upset about this, so make sure you check the opening times before visiting! If you already bought the Jordan Pass, you can enter for free.
After you finished with the sightseeing in Jerash, it’s time to head down to Amman. Depending on when your flight leaves, I would recommend staying there for 1 or 2 nights.
Route: from the Dead Sea Hotel Area to Jerash and then to Amman
Total driving: 150km / 2hour 30min
Day 7 : Exploring Amman
Amman is often overlooked by tourists, but since it’s the capital city of Jordan, it’s worth spending at least a day there.
The most popular place is the historical site of the Citadel, located on top of a pretty steep hill. The major buildings at the site are the Temple of Hercules, the Byzantine church and the Umayyad Palace. The Rainbow street is another must visit place in Amman. The street is packed with shops, restaurants and cafes, so it’s the perfect place to grab a bite and relax a bit.
Unfortunately it was raining all the time while we were in Amman so we couldn’t explore the city properly. We stayed at The House Boutique Suits, which was the perfect place to be in the moody weather. Their suits are really amazing, and there are many restaurants nearby if you want to try the local food, which I would highly recommend!
Route: from Amman to Queen Alia Airport
Total driving: 25km / 30min