Wedged amidst so much upheaval is this friendly, modern, and relatively peaceful oasis with a geographically colorful profile of deserts, mountains, tranquil beaches, and lush forests; of modern high-rise cities, and historical sites attesting to the graceful fancy of ancient civilizations. A bridge for many ancient cultures, Jordan features Nabataean, Greek, Roman, and Islamic places. And in spirituality, the country bears the Biblical name of the river where Jesus himself was baptized. Jordan is also a stone throw from Israel, Palestine, Egypt, and the southeast, the new tourist mecca, Dubai.
All begins here: the capital and Jordan's largest city. It is a Westernized metropolis of high-rise buildings, grand avenues, mega malls, trendy shops, fine restaurants, theatres, museums, and above all, an unmatched warmth and hospitality.
One of the 'New Seven Wonders' is the ancient Nabataean city of Petra, a 2000-year-old town carved from pink sandstone cliffs. The architecture is just an exquisite work of ingenuity that easily captivates visitors.
Aqaba is lining the northern shores of the Red Sea.
The port city of Aqaba, packed with relaxing, high-end resorts, offers some of the best water sports in the Middle East. Watch a bit closer to the west, and you'll be in its sister's turf, Israel's Eilat.
Jerash is one of the few Middle Eastern cities built by the Romans that is still standing…and functioning! Watch its yearly cultural and music festivals that combine liveliness and rhythm against a spectacular backdrop of Roman grandeur. And year-round is when you can see scheduled Roman battles being staged with actors and props appropriately dressed and designed in Roman-era attire. More vivid, and you'll think it's Julius Caesar himself appearing from behind the curtains.
The classic Middle Eastern desert scenery, the most romantic sunsets casting their last rays of gold upon towering cliffs and rocky valleys, Wadi Rum is one of those few places left where natural charm and a yearning for past glories combine to produce an unforgettable landscape.
The Dead Sea
Shared by Israel and Palestine as well, visitors can enjoy a healthy dose of its legendary medicinal mud at any one of the high-end resorts lining its shores or buoy placidly before a relaxing massage at any of the resorts' spas.
Top Things to Do
Visit the Roman ruins in Amman.
Amman is home to various charming ruins. The Amman Citadel, here, you can see the few columns that may have been more than 12 meters tall, that remain of the fantastic Temple of Hercules, a significant Roman structure that was never completed. Another exciting site is the Roman Theater, which seats 6,000 people, dates back to when Amman was a Roman-ruled city known as Philadelphia, nearly 2,000 years ago. The attraction is still full of life, hosting many events and embracing locals and tourists alike.
Go trekking in Petra.
It is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World; this attraction has overcome modern-day visitants since the long-lost city's rediscovery by Swiss adventurer Jean Louis Burckhardt more than 200 years ago. Petra is also well known as the rose-red city due to its prominent rock's color, from which many of the city's structures were carved. You'll need at least two days to catch all the highlights around Petra, including more than 800 registered sites. The most notables are the mysterious Djinn Blocks, the Obelisk Tomb, the famous snaking canyon of the Siq, and Petra's Treasury's facade, made famous by Indiana Jones, which is one of the world's most iconic historical sites.
Float at the Dead Sea
Floating in the Dead Sea is a must thing to do while you are in Jordan. This body of water of 418 meters below sea level practically radiates an intense aquamarine shade — an awe-inspiring sight next to salt-encrusted rock ledges and barren red mountains in the background. Dead Sea trip offers you a blend of relaxation, sightseeing, scenic views, and an excellent way to experience Jordan through its lowest point on earth.
Venture Wadi Rum
It is also recognized as the Moon's Valley; this sandstone and granite rock valley is an abstract adventure, with towering mountains, massive hills, rolling archways, and caverns. It served as the setting for much of the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia and was tagged a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011. Wadi Rum has been transformed into an ecotourism playground. You can ride camels or lively Arabian horses through the area, strap on a harness, and go rock climbing up the sandstone mountains, hike through canyons, and kick up sand on Jeep tours.
Enjoy the ruins of Jerash.
It's one of the world's best-preserved ancient Roman cities and points spectacular spots to visit, from colonnaded avenues and temples to a vast sports arena that once had a seating capacity of 15,000 spectators.
Meander Around Aqaba
Float, swim, snorkel, or dive in Aqaba's warm Red Sea waters. You can also get out on the turquoise water on one of the daily cruises offered by local hotels.
Wander through Wadi Mujib
A river canyon of four kilometers wide and one kilometer deep offers you the chance to explore unique scenery and see wildlife, including Egyptian vultures, Nubian ibex, striped hyena, and the Syrian wolf.
Seek out the Ancient Mosaics of Madaba
Madaba is home to the largest number of mosaics discovered globally—many of which on the floors of churches and buildings around the city. The moderately modest St. George's Church has one of the unique mosaics in Jordan: the Madaba Mosaic Map. The 6th-century map depicts the Holy Land during the Byzantine period, showcasing Biblical-era cartography. While some of the original two million tiles are missing, the map's remnants still give you an excellent glimpse of what the Middle East looked like many centuries ago.