The Ultimate Jordan Travel Guide for First Time Visitors

Jordan was my first trip to the Middle East and it quickly became one of my all-time favorite destinations!

This country really has it all: if you are looking for dramatic landscapes, amazing red sand dunes, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the lowest point on Earth, amazing local food, and friendly people then you have come to the right place!

In this Jordan travel guide, you can find all the information you need to know before visiting Jordan. Let’s get into it!

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How Much Time Do You Need to Spend in Jordan?

Well, this totally depends on you. Many people just want to visit Petra so they are border crossing from Israel for only one day. But Jordan deserves so much more than that! I would suggest planning at least 3-4 full days to have enough time to cover the most famous spots.

Originally I wanted to do the same and while it’s totally doable, I realized I don’t want to rush over the whole country in just a few days. I’ve decided to spend one week in Jordan instead and after having done that I would say this is definitely the best option!

You will have a decent amount of time for the must-see places plus you can include some fun activities and some relaxing time as well.

If you want to spend more than one day in Petra or the Wadi Rum desert, or you want to see some more off-the-beaten places, spending 10 days in Jordan is ideal.

To be honest, even if you would spend 2 weeks there you wouldn’t get bored so it really depends on your own preferences!

Incredible salt formations at the Dead Sea

Best Time to Visit Jordan

Jordan is a year-round destination, the best time highly depends on what type of activities you’re looking for. It’s important to know that the country may be small, but due to its topography, you can expect different weather conditions across the land.

That means you can experience some rainy and chilly days in Amman but you can work on your tan at the same time in the sunny Aqaba.

Spring (March-May) is one of the best options to visit Jordan. The weather is already pleasant in the mid-20 degrees with lots of sunshine, which is perfect for hiking and sightseeing. Springtime is really magical as the whole country is carpeted with wildflowers, even the desert!

Spring in the Wadi Rum, Jordan
Spring in the Wadi Rum desert

The summer months (June-August) in Jordan are insanely hot and dry, the temperature can easily rise up to 40 degrees. Unless you are planning to chill all day long by the pool, I wouldn’t recommend this time for traveling.

Autumn (September-November) can be another great time for visiting as the temperature begins to drop in mid-September. This time is especially great if you are interested in diving in Aqaba.

The winter in Jordan (December-February) is generally short and cold. The temperature usually drops below freezing in the North and snow is not uncommon either.

All the popular sites will be quite empty so if you want to explore without the crowds and you can bear the cold, winter can still be a good choice for you, especially if you would like to experience Christmas in Jordan.

Visa in Jordan

Every visitor should obtain a visa. It can be purchased at the international airports and most the land borders for 40 JD ($56 US).

However, if you decide to buy the Jordan Pass it already covers the visa and it gives you free access to many sites, including the famous Petra.

The visa fee is waived on the condition that you stay at least 3 nights in Jordan (bad news for border hoppers).

If you are planning to visit Petra I recommend choosing the Jordan Pass. If you would choose to buy the one-day Petra ticket separately, it would cost you 50 JD ($70 US).

You would pay another 40 JD ($56 US) for the visa, so your total cost would be 90 JD ($126 US). The cheapest option of the Jordan Pass is 70 JD ($100 US) and it already includes the visa and a one-day pass to Petra.

You can choose a multiple-day Pass as well if you plan to stay longer in Petra.

Girl in a white dress and a white-red keffiyeh standing in front of the Ad Deir Monastery in Petra, Jordan
Ad Deir Monastery in Petra

Money in Jordan

When I first heard about Jordan I thought it would be a budget destination. I couldn’t have been more wrong about that! Jordan is quite an expensive country, even comparing it to European or American standards.

The official currency is the Jordanian dinar (JD). You can change money at banks, exchange offices or even at some hotels. Most of the major currencies are accepted but it’s easier to change US dollars, Euros, or UK pounds.

The US dollar rates are fixed ($1 US = 0.7 JD) while the other currencies are subject to the current economical conditions.

I would recommend bringing US dollars to Jordan and then changing it to dinars once you’re there. It’s possible to change dinars back to any foreign currency if you don’t need them anymore.

ATMs are available throughout the country and credit cards are widely accepted. However, there are no ATMs in places like the Wadi Rum desert or Petra and you can only pay with cash in these areas.

We brought $350 US in cash with us and it was enough for the whole week (on top of the credit card payments, of course). We used it mostly in markets, smaller restaurants, and in the desert area.

If you’re interested to know more about the travel costs in Jordan, read my post about how much does it cost to spend one week in Jordan!

Girl in a white dress looking at the view in the Wadi Rum, Jordan
Desert tour in the Wadi rum

How to Get Around in Jordan

Public transportation only exists in bigger cities like Amman. Be aware that the public buses don’t follow a timetable, the bus will only depart once it’s fully loaded with passengers.

They have specific routes but there are no official bus stops. They will stop anywhere once you press the button and you can wave them down anywhere along the road if you want to get on. You can buy your tickets on the bus.

The other option is taking a tourist bus. The Jordan Express Tourist Transportation Company (JETT) operates many tourist buses across the country. They have a fixed schedule and they don’t stop en route.

If you want to travel with them, you have to purchase your ticket in advance. In case you prefer to travel privately, you can also opt for an organized tour or hire a private driver to take care of the transportation issue.

After checking many options we decided to rent a car. To be honest we were a bit afraid of driving in Jordan but as long as you can avoid the bigger cities you’ll be fine.

Most of the time you will be driving through empty highways and mountain roads. There are lots of tricky road bumps and some of the roads could be in better condition.

Oh and don’t be surprised if you find a horde of sheep (or goats) in the middle of the road! It’s just the normal traffic in the Jordan countryside.

Girl in a white T-shirt and jeans looking at the winding roads of the King's Highway in Jordan
King’s Highway – The most scenic road I’ve ever seen

Best Places to Visit in Jordan

1. Petra

The rose-colored city of Petra is one of the New Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Since Petra is the most interesting site in Jordan you absolutely need to put it on your itinerary!

You can see the vast majority of the ruins in only one day but if you have more time you can easily spend 2-3 days in Petra as well.

The most famous spot is the Treasury, but there are many more interesting sites like the Street of Facades, the Roman Theatre, or the Monastery.

If you’re looking for the best viewpoints in Petra, read my article about how to find the best view of the Treasury!

Where to stay in Petra

Mövenpick Resort Petra
Photo credit: Mövenpick Resort Petra via

LUXURY – Mövenpick Resort Petra

Featuring free Wi-Fi, the 5-star Mövenpick Resort Petra is located directly at the entrance to the ancient city of Petra. The hotel’s rooftop garden terrace offers views of the hills. The spacious rooms feature white linen and bright windows.

Infinity Lodge
Photo credit: Infinity Lodge via

MID-RANGE – Infinity Lodge

Set in Wadi Musa, Infinity Lodge offers 3-star accommodation with private balconies. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, room service, and a shared lounge, along with free WiFi. The property offers car hire and features a garden and terrace.

Bedroom at the La Maison Hotel in Petra, Jordan

BUDGET – La Maison Hotel

La Maison Hotel is uniquely located in Wadi Musa, a 5-minute walk from the Jordanian world wonder, the Red Rose City of Petra. The hotel offers air-conditioned guest rooms with satellite TVs.

2. Wadi Rum

The Wadi Rum is a 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!

If you’re into photography you will absolutely love it. Oh, and it’s definitely one of the most Instagrammable places in Jordan as well!

Try to plan at least a half-day for visiting the desert but if you have more time I would rather recommend spending one full day and a night in the Wadi Rum.

If you want to go all-in, you can even stay at one of the best luxury camps in Wadi Rum.

Girl in a white dress looking at the view in the Wadi Rum, Jordan
Amazing desert landscape in the Wadi Rum

Where to stay in the Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum Bubble Luxotel
Photo credit: Wadi Rum Bubble Luxotel via

LUXURY – Wadi Rum Bubble Luxotel

With mountain views, Wadi Rum Bubble Luxotel is located in Wadi Rum and has a restaurant and a 24-hour front desk. Complimentary WiFi is provided. There is a private bathroom with a bidet in all units, along with a hairdryer and free toiletries.

Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp
Photo credit: Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp via

MID-RANGE – Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp

Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp is situated in the heart of the Wadi Rum Protected Area. Guests at the campsite can enjoy a continental breakfast. Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp also offers a children’s playground, Jeep tours, camel rides, and hiking.

Bedouin Night Camp
Photo credit: Bedouin Nights Camp via

BUDGET – Bedouin Nights Camp

Featuring a terrace, Bedouin Nights Camp features accommodations in Wadi Rum. Guests at the camping can enjoy a buffet breakfast. Barbecue facilities are provided and guests can also relax in the garden or in the shared lounge area.

3. Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth and 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.

Trust me, floating in the Dead Sea is a true bucket list experience! Although it’s really fun, there are some things you need to pay attention to. Read my best tips for visiting the Dead Sea for more information!

Floating in the Dead Sea

Where to stay at the Dead Sea

LUXURY – Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa

Located in Sowayma, this 5-star hotel features a fitness center and a private beach area. All guest rooms are equipped with air-conditioning units, WiFi, satellite TV, a safe, and a minibar. If you want to read more about this hotel, check out my complete review of the Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa.

Dead Sea Spa Hotel
Photo credit: Dead Sea Spa Hotel via

MID-RANGE – Dead Sea Spa Hotel

This 4-star resort in Jordan is situated at the lowest spot on earth. The family-oriented resort has outdoor pools with water slides and a terrace overlooking the Dead Sea. The hotel offers free WiFi.

4. Amman

Amman is the capital city of Jordan. It’s a very modern city with many ancient ruins so it’s definitely an interesting place to visit. Unfortunately, it is often overlooked by tourists but it’s worth spending at least a day there!

Visiting the Citadel and the Temple of Hercules is definitely one of the best things to do in Amman, such as shopping in the bazaars and tasting the local food.

If you’re looking for something off-the-beaten-path and you love cars, you can also pay a visit to the Royal Automobile Museum.

Roman ruins in Amman, Jordan
The Citadel in Amman

Where to stay in Amman

Amman Rotana
Photo credit: Amman Rotana via

LUXURY – Amman Rotana

Located in the central business, social and residential destination, Amman’s new downtown, Al Abdali, Amman Rotana is the first tower hotel in Jordan offering 412 lavish rooms and suites, housed across 50 floors at 189 m high.

Amman International Hotel
Photo credit: Amman International Hotel via

MID-RANGE – Amman International Hotel

Situated next to the University of Jordan, this 4-star hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with a flat-screen TV. All rooms at the Amman International Hotel are spacious and come equipped with free Wi-Fi and a private bathroom with a bathtub.

The Cabin
Photo credit: The Cabin via

BUDGET – The Cabin

Located in Amman, The Cabin provides air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. Providing a shared lounge, the property is located within 7 km of the US Embassy.

5. Jerash

If you’re looking for the largest and most interesting Roman site in Jordan, you need to put Jerash on your itinerary.

This ancient city is packed with many temples, amphitheaters, columns, and ruined buildings. You can easily visit Jerash from Amman on a day trip so there is no need to stay there.

Girl in a purple floral dress standing in front of the ruins of Jerash in Jordan
The ruins in Jerash

6. Aqaba

Aqaba is the only coastal city in Jordan, packed with beautiful beach resorts. The water is always warm and crystal clear which makes it the perfect place for snorkeling or scuba diving.

Unfortunately, if you’re only planning to spend a few days in Jordan you will not have time to enjoy the warm weather in Aqaba.

However, if you’re spending one week in Jordan as I suggested, you can easily plan a full-day snorkeling trip in Aqaba!

Girl in a white bikini sitting on a snorkeling boat in Aqaba, Jordan
Snorkeling trip in Aqaba

Where to stay in Aqaba

Mövenpick Resort & Residences Aqaba
Photo credit: Mövenpick Resort & Residences Aqaba via

LUXURY – Mövenpick Resort & Residences Aqaba

This 5-star resort in the center of Aqaba is 500 m from the Red Sea. It features a private beach, several outdoor pools, and 5 food outlets. The rooms at the Mövenpick Resort & Residences Aqaba are bright and furnished with modern décor.

Marina Plaza Tala Bay
Photo credit: Marina Plaza Tala Bay via

MID-RANGE – Marina Plaza Tala Bay

Situated along the Red Sea shore, this 4-star hotel offers modern rooms with air conditioning and satellite TV. Facilities include Tala Bay Beach Club and outdoor pools and each room is equipped with a private balcony.

Hotel Prestige
Photo credit: Hotel Prestige via

BUDGET – Hotel Prestige

550 m from Al-Ghandour Beach, Hotel Prestige is set in Aqaba and features free WiFi, express check-in and check-out, and a ticket service. Boasting family rooms, this property also provides guests with a terrace.

Planning a trip to Jordan?

Then you might want to take a look at all our other travel guides about Jordan. I promise, they are just as awesome as this article was!

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25 thoughts on “The Ultimate Jordan Travel Guide for First Time Visitors”

  1. So much good info here Kristi! I am bookmarking it for when I get to visit Jordan in the future- it looks so beautiful.

  2. Jordan is on my list, and I’m so happy to see more than just about Petra. I have obviously always wanted to visit Petra, I mean look at it. But there seems to be so much more to Jordan that if I were to visit I would not want to just border hop, but spend some actual time there. Good to know about some of the costs though, that’s definitely helpful information

    • Totally agree with you, Jordan is so much more than Petra! I’ve never understood why many people only do a day trip there from Israel when the whole country is so beautiful. I have a full blog post about our Jordan expenses if you’re interested 🙂

  3. The desert has such beauty, with the earth tones and sand dunes. I smiled at your comment that the buses don’t follow a timetable. It’s a different culture than my city life in the US, and that’s one reason it would be so interesting to visit Jordan!

    • Haha yeah it’s so interesting! It’s really different from Hungary as well and it was such an amazing travel experience!

  4. My parents went here last year but I still haven’t had a chance to visit Jordan yet! I’d love to go someday! Your photos are gorgeous! :]

  5. I would love to visit Jordan! It looks like an amazing country and there are so many beautiful spots! I will definitely use your tips for when I go! Your photos are stunning btw!

  6. I have traveled to the Middle East many times, but never made it to Jordan. This is a very informative and useful guide so I’m going to save it for when we can travel again. Thanks so much for the inspiration and for the STUNNING images!

    • Thank you so much Michelle, I’m so happy you liked it! Jordan is really great country, it’s still one of my favourite travel destinations ever 🙂

  7. I would love to go back to Jordan! I only got to see the Dead Sea, so it looks like there are so many other places I should explore there!!

  8. I have had Jordan on my top places to visit for a while now and this post just adds to the desire to go. I think I need to spend the full week here. Snorkelling, history and amazing views all in one place – YES PLEASE!!!!

    • I think one week is the perfect amount of time! We also did a one week trip (I shared our itinerary in another blog post as well) and it was so incredible! 🙂

  9. I never thought about Jerash and Aqaba. Jordan is high on my list. It’s a very useful guide. It will definitely come handy for when I visit.

  10. I was supposed to visit Jordan back in 2017 and my friend got really sick and we had to cancel the trip literally the day we were supposed to leave. Ever since, I’ve been absolutely DYING to visit Jordan! I pinned this for when I can finally make that trip 🙂

    • Omg I’m so sorry to hear about it! Jordan is really amazing, one of my favourite trips ever! I hope you will be able to visit Jordan when we can finally travel again 🙂

  11. Jordan is perhaps my all-time favorite country! I spent almost three weeks there years ago, taking shared taxis everywhere, hitchhiking through the desert, and camping on the beach. I found all the locals to be so friendly and helpful! The one thing I need to go back for is Wadi Rum — didn’t make it there the first time around.

    • Oh gosh 3 weeks in Jordan – that sounds like a dream! I absolutely loved this country as well and it’s also one of my favourite travel destinations ever 🙂


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