What do you know about Jordan
1 week road trip in Jordan - sights & highlights
Travel report for 1 week Jordan from / to Amman
Ahlan Wa Sahlan - Welcome to Jordan - our guide greets us in a friendly manner upon arrival at the airport in Amman! This hospitality should accompany us through the country for a week. Jordan with the legendary rock city of Petra and the Dead Sea has fascinated me for a long time and was on my bucket list. The time had finally come to pay a visit to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Further Jordan travel destinations & travel reports at a glance
Why Jordan as a travel destination?
The kingdom Jordan is often underestimated as a travel destination and classified as an unsafe destination. But the country is safe, even if the neighboring countries Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Israel keep making negative headlines.
Jordan also offers numerous magnificent natural wonders: The Desert landscape in Wadi Rum, the fascinating Dead sea, the landscape of Dana Nature Reserve, the largest nature reserve in Jordan, or a visit to the country's greatest attraction, the Rock city of Petra. Not to forget the culinary delights that Jordanian cuisine has to offer! However, these are just a few of the highlights that Jordan has to offer.
After exploring the neighboring country of Israel 2 years ago, I finally visited Jordan as well. I spent a week with other bloggers in the Kingdom at the invitation of Jordan Tourism.
Lively capital full of contrasts
The capital Amman is the ideal starting point for a tour of Jordan. The lively capital of Jordan is full of contrasts. This is where tradition and modernity meet, old meets new.
On one side the desert, on the other the fertile Jordan Valley. Almost half of the Jordanian population lives in and around Amman. No wonder there is traffic chaos in the city in the early morning and evening in which we only advance at a snail's pace.
In the west, where our hotel is also located, new high-rise buildings with glass facades are springing up from the ground. For around 1.3 billion, these were built on a huge area without further ado, says Nasr, our guide for the week of the tour.
Citadel hill - good starting point for exploring
To the east is the old town with its sandstone-colored houses, which we dated the next day Citadel Hill with a 360-degree view. You can't see the end of the city. Incidentally, the Citadel Hill with Hercules Temple and Museum is generally a good starting point to explore Amman and to get a first overview.
Then it goes down to the old town: the lively one Vegetable market, a few meters further the well-known snack bar "Hashem" with its famous fall tables and numerous Juice stalls line the street. We test a sugar cane juice that advertises how healthy it is (sexual supporter, lowering cholesterol, cleaning chest, and much more).
My best tip for Amman: take a cooking class at Beit Sitti
In the afternoon we explore as part of a Cooking course at Beit Sitti (Translated from grandmother's house) Jordanian cuisine. Maria shows us ouzi (dumplings filled with rice, vegetables and meat or the vegetarian version without meat), salads, fattoush and the desert osmaliyeh, which we then eat hungrily. There is also a refreshing lemon and mint lemonade that I keep pouring into my glass.
The cooking school is a hot tip if you are also interested in Arabic cuisine! We will then receive the recipes home by email to cook at home.
On the way back to the hotel at the 3rd circle, we stop at the popular Ice cream factory "Bikdash" The traditional Syrian ice cream is coated by hand with fresh pistachios and peanuts and tastes delicious! Even if I'm still very full from the cooking class, there is still a little space for ice cream.
In the evening it's hip Levant restaurant near our hotel. Both Jordanian and Arabic dishes are served here that the table almost begins to bend. Hummus, Aurak Einab (Stuffed Grape Leaves), Shish Kebab, Knafeh, Tabuleh, ... far too much for our hungry stomachs! If you want, you can smoke shisha and review the evening.
By the way: If you land during the day, you should take a close look at Queen Alia Airport (also known as the Scorpion of the Desert), designed by the star architect. Unfortunately it is deepest night when we arrive and we only see the silhouette of it. But we can take a closer look at it when we leave in the afternoon.
- Tip for accommodation in Amman: Le Royal Hotel Amman
- Tips for activities and tours: Cooking class at Beit Sitti followed by a meal
- Travel time from the airport: Depending on the time and traffic situation, approx. 20 minutes. If you don't feel like taking a taxi, you can book a private shuttle with Get Your Guide.
Olives, the green gold
In the morning we drive through the daily traffic chaos into the green and particularly fertile north to Ajloun (pronounced Aschluhn). Mainly olive trees and more and more vines are planted here (yes, you read that correctly, there is also wine in largely non-alcoholic Jordan), because the soil is very fertile.
The "green gold" of Jordan are the olives. These come mainly from the region around Ajloun. Therefore we go to an olive farm and harvest the olives from the trees with the help of the locals.
From the olive to the olive oil
After a short break with sage tea, we continue to a small factory that presses olives and uses them to make olive oil. Farmers from all over the region deliver their olives here in order to be rewarded or to take their own oil with them.
We get a cup of olive oil to drink it up with our pita bread bought fresh from a street snack bar and gobble it up greedily. It's delicious! I would love to take a large canister with me to Germany.
Lunch at olive farmers
After a short drive through the mountainous region we come to the house of the olive farmers. At the family of the olive groves we are served a delicious lunch consisting of humus, maklube, kofte, galaya bandura, potatoes, yoghurt and salad. Once again there is more than enough for everyone. A very delicious meal that is rounded off with oregano tea and coffee!
With full stomachs our journey continues into the Jordan Valley to the Dead Sea!
Link to the website of the Tourism Board for booking accommodation for a meal with locals in Ajloun: website Wild Jordan
Directions to the Dead Sea in Jordan
Our journey continues south in the early afternoon. Our goal: the Jordan Valley on the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. We reach the Kempinski Ishtar Dead Sea 400 meters below sea level just before sunset. There is hardly a more exclusive place to stay on the Jordanian side than this wonderful hotel!
First of all, the joy is great: We are getting an upgrade to a suite! Nevertheless, I only stay in the room for a short time, because the bath in the Dead Sea is calling.
I briefly test the water temperature in one of the nine pools (!!) that the hotel offers. Most are infinity pools. Brilliant!
Nevertheless, for the time being I leave the beautiful pools on the left and go straight down to the Dead Sea to take a bath at the lowest point on earth.
Always an insane feeling to float so weightlessly on the water!
Thanks to the many minerals and salts contained in the water, bathing in the sea is said to have healing properties. Relaxed, I float on the water and watch the sun go down in the warmest shades of yellow and red behind the mountains of Israel.
In the early morning I struggle out of bed to photograph the sunrise. Unfortunately, the sun remains hidden behind the mountains for a very long time and the hazy atmosphere does not allow for beautiful pictures.
Just before I have to leave for breakfast, the Dead Sea and the sky shimmer in all pastel colors:
Wadi Mujib - Grand Canyon of Jordan
Unfortunately we have to leave the Dead Sea after one night, because we only have one week for the round trip. The drive south on Königstraße along the Dead Sea is barren and yet wonderful, because the water shines in the color spectrum of blue and turquoise tones.
After passing check points, we reach the entrance to the canyon of Wadi Mujib, the "Grand Canyon of Jordan".
Here, at the deepest national park in the world, we only make a short stop. According to our guide, you can go on great hikes here. But today's goal, the Dana nature reserve, is much higher.
Dana nature reserve
Spectacular canyon landscape
You have to plan a visit to the Dana nature reserve on your trip to Jordan. Especially nature lovers like me will love this great nature reserve. The Dana Biosphere Reserve extends over 308 km² from the peaks of the "Jordan Rift Valley" to the desert of Wadi Araba. It is thus the largest nature reserve in Jordan.
When we arrived at Rummana Camp, I was thrilled when the mountains and valleys open up in front of me! The sandstone cliffs glow in bright red, white and yellow tones depending on the sunlight. It shows that many valuable mineral resources are deposited in the rock and soil. Even if the mining of minerals such as phosphate is an important source of income for Jordan, this is no longer allowed here in the national park.
For around four hours we follow our guide through the loneliness, climb up and down again and stop again and again to enjoy the magnificent view - or to inspect our strange companions.
Hike the White Domes Trail
We explore the impressive rock formations and valleys in the next 3.5 hours on the hike on the "White Domes Trail" from Rummana Camp. We keep climbing up or down in narrow gorges, stopping again and again to enjoy the breathtaking view.
We go down deep and narrow gorges - the diversity in the nature reserve of Dana is unbelievable!
The diverse landscape overwhelms me and becomes a highlight of this Jordan trip.
Happy and satisfied we make our way to Wadi Musa. The gateway to the legendary rock city of Petra, which we will explore the next day. We catch a first glimpse of Wadi Musi and the area around Petra that begins directly behind it when we arrive - as always - just in time for sunset.
Rock city of Petra
On the trail of Indiana Jones at the World Heritage Site
Absolute highlight and rightly a top attraction in Jordan
As is so often the case in Petra: You have pictures in your head of what it really looks like there. On site everything is completely different and much more impressive than you could have imagined. You really have to see it to really grasp the incredible beauty. Without a doubt, the rock city is the largest and most famous sight in Jordan and also my highlight of the Jordan trip. The UNESCO World Heritage is justifiably referred to as the eighth wonder of the world.
Only a fraction of Petra has been excavated so far. It was not until the spring of 2016 that new monuments of the ancient rock city in southern Jordan were discovered on satellite images by archaeologists from the USA. When I visited (November 2016) work was still in progress.
On the trail of Indiana Jones we discover Petra
In the morning at 7.30 a.m. we enter the area, which is so much bigger than I had imagined it to be. We go to the entrance and walk along the Siq gorge until we suddenly stand in front of the Pharaoh's treasure house, which was actually a burial temple. We pause in amazement. Known to many from the film "Indinana Jones and the Last Crusade", when the facade of the treasure house can be seen in the last sequence of the film.
But this sight shouldn't be the only one that should impress me that day: After the treasure house, we turn right into a smaller gorge and explore the rest of the area. Great hiking trails, numerous steps and a multitude of temples, burial chambers, caves and the most beautiful viewpoints await us.
The Ad Deir Monastery
Another highlight or even Petra's highlight for me is the monastery “Monastry” (English). After climbing almost 800 steps (alternatively you can rent a donkey - I only recommend it for people with disabilities - the stairs are slippery for the animals). On the way up we catch glimpses of rock formations and valleys that are fantastic.
You can explore over a hundred rock tombs and temple facades, rock reliefs and burial halls here on foot (or on donkeys).
Since I was so impressed by Petra's visit, a detailed report on the visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site will follow soon.
Detailed report on the visit to the rock city of Petra
Lonely desert landscapes
"Spacious, lonely and godlike" - with these words T. E. Lawrence once described Wadi Rum. It couldn't be described more aptly. A huge, almost untouched area where time seems to stand still.
We discover Wadi Rum on a jeep safari
On a tour by jeep we explore Wadi Rum and get a little bit of the feeling with which the Bedouin have been wandering the wadi for thousands of years.
We pass the place where the Hollywood film "The Martian" with Matt Damon or many scenes from the epic "Lawrence of Arabia" was filmed.
Next we pass stone drawings that are over 4000 years old.
The monolithic rock formations rise in some places over 1750 meters from the desert floor. The landscape is breathtaking, as in so many places in Jordan.
A ride on the camel
After lunch at the Captains Camp, we switch to camels - the desert ships. Admittedly, I not only feel uncomfortable with it, but also don't find the short tour from camp particularly nice. It's not really fun over gravel instead of sand.
We spend the night in the Bedouin camp Sun City Camp with a traditional Zarb dinner in the desert with a view of the three-quarter moon and the stars that shine impressively here. So Carina (Travel Run Play) and I play a little with the camera and make light games.
- Tip for accommodation in Wadi Rum: Sun City Camp
- Jeep Safari: The jeep safari must be booked at the visitor center. At this point you book a tour and get a Bedouin guide.
- Alternative tours: Balloon rides (www.rascj.com) or climbing
Dead Sea Panorama Complex
We stop for lunch on the way to Ma'in Hot Springs on the edge of the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea Panorama Complex is recommended here, as we have a wonderful panoramic view over the Dead Sea to Israel. Unfortunately, the air is hazy and visibility is poor.
The food is first class and very plentiful (in plain language: way too much). Jordan means well with us when it comes to culinary delights. Simply delicious!
Ma’in Hot Springs in Hammamat
The Ma’in Hot Springs are just an hour from Amman International Airport. Ideal to end a trip to Jordan that involved a lot of walking.
After the almost 5-hour transfer from Wadi Rum to the hot springs, relax for the last day with a spa treatment and a bath in the 60 degree hot springs. The water rises from the mountain and flows over the rocks into the hotel's natural thermal pools.
The springs have been said to have healing properties since the times of the Romans. No wonder, because the water has a high mineral content and therefore has a therapeutic effect. It is therefore not surprising that the hotel and the nearby public springs attract many local tourists.
Tip for accommodation in Hammamat: Ma'in Hot Springs Resort
Travel route in Jordan
On my 7 day Road trip I have visited Amman, Ajloun, the Dead Sea, Dana Biosphere Reserve, Wadi Musa, Petra, Wadi Rum and the Ma’in Hot Springs.
Conclusion on the Jordan tour
I bathed in the Dead Sea and felt weightless. Was allowed to visit the legendary rock city of Petra and couldn't stop being amazed all day. I was introduced to Jordanian cuisine and attended a cooking school in Amman.
We had lunch at a Jordanian family's after picking olives from the tree on their olive farm and visiting the olive oil production press. I hiked through the largest nature reserve in Jordan and stayed with Bedouins in the desert camp.
Not to forget the jeep safari and the ride on the taxi of the desert - a camel - in Wadi Rum. I would also like to take a bath in hot springs and a spa treatment at the Dead Sea. After that I felt like I was reborn.
Sounds like a lot more than a week, doesn't it? Jordan has so much to offer! Whether nature, culture, exquisite cuisine, outdoor activities or history. An exciting country that I would like to recommend to you for your next trip to discover it!
Maybe I'll come back soon too. There is so much more to discover in Petra and I would especially like to go diving to the Red Sea ...
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