What you need to see and do on your adventure holiday in Jordan



As you walk through the Siq to the Treasury at Petra, you cannot help but be in awe. Hand-hewn red sandstone buildings rise up into the clear desert sky, remembering ancient caravans of spice traders travelling far and wide to sell their wares. In the Roman ruins at Jerash and in the crusader castles and Byzantine mosaics along the King’s Highway, history is everywhere in this beautiful land. Travel through canyons and oases, stay with locals among the rock formations of Wadi Rum, and begin to understand why T.E. Lawrence loved this land.


Amman, the young capital of Jordan has a busy core with spectacular Roman ruins, a good museum and the buzz of mosques, souqs and coffeehouses, all watched over by a citadel. The city is often used as a base to explore Jerash, one of the cities of the Roman Decapolis, known for its luxurious and lavish lifestyle. The ruins have an outstanding forum, colonnaded main streets, two theatres and an impressive temple of Zeus.




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Linking the capital with the south, the historical King's Highway meanders its way along lonely hilltops and through spectacular gorges. En-route, visit Madaba, best known for its spectacular Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics and home to a famous 6th century two million piece mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. At nearby Mount Nebo is where tradition has it that Moses was shown the Promised Land before his death. The site has some beautiful mosaics too.


Further south, Kerak Castle was built on a rocky outcrop near the King's Highway. It is the best preserved and most famous Crusader castle in Jordan. Roam its bulwarks, tunnels and halls and think about what life would have been like here, in the middle of the desert, constantly vigilant against hostile armies.



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Around here you will see numerous canyons and trekking through these ravines and ancient wadis, along the sandstone escarpmenst of the high deserts, you may stumble upon forgotten archaeological sites, or count the millions of stars at night. This is trekking at its finest.


Eventually you will reach Petra, the Rose-Red city of old. As you walk through the Siq to the Treasury, you cannot help but be in awe. Hand-hewn red sandstone buildings rise up into the clear desert sky, remembering ancient caravans of spice traders travelling far and wide to sell their wares. Walk on and discover tombs; climb up and find magnificent views and vistas over a surreal red desert landscape. Walking the desert floor at Petra is a must to see all the different sites. But spend a little longer and wander up and down half-forgotten staircases to the High Place of Sacrifice. Sit down and watch a magical sunset over the red-sandstone cliffs and canyons. And if seeing the Treasury at Petra is not spectacular enough, seeing it lit by the flickering flames of more than 2000 candles, their warm glow seeming to make the red-rose rock light up from within, is an unforgettable experience.



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Described by T.E. Lawrence as "vast, echoing and God-like...", it is at Wadi Rum that red sandstone rocks reach up from the desert floor to the high desert sky. When the shadows lengthen and the sun begins to set, the desert sands at Wadi Rum take on a coppery hue while the red rocks seem to be ablaze. Stay overnight at Wadi Rum and enjoy traditional Bedouin hospitality and a splendid meal of mansaf. Dates and olives are staples in Jordan, but it is mansaf, a rich melange of rice, lamb and rehydrated yoghurt, which is considered Jordan's national dish. Another dish rooted in Bedouin culture is zarb, lamb or chicken, sometimes with herbs and vegetables, which has been buried with hot coals in the desert sand. After dinner, the adventurous may even have the chance to sleep out under the stars.


Turning north again, Dana Nature Reserve is a hidden gem and home to sandstone escarpments sheltering numerous plants, animals and archaeological sites dating back 6000 years. A village by the same name commands spectacular views of the valley below.



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For those looking for some R & R, Aqaba is a small town on the Red Sea and Jordan's only resort town. It is here you can snorkel and dive the corals and fish just beneath the surface. And of course there is the Dead Sea which has such a high salt content that almost no life survives in it. It is however impossible to sink and to float on its salty waters is a unique experience. Lay back and float in the Dead Sea, drink or newspaper in hand. Let your muscles relax - did you know you had that many?


Above all, it is the people of Jordan that make this country such a joy to travel in. Hospitality in Jordan is legendary and whether you are passing through a city, stopping at a viewpoint or walking in the desert, you are bound to be invited for tea, a meal, or even to stay the night. The best time to visit Jordan is spring (February - May) and fall (September - November). If you visit in January and December, be prepared for cool weather, although snow is rare.



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