Jordan has been romancing its visitors for centuries, with its compelling blend of ancient sites, desert vistas, mouth-watering cuisine and effusive hospitality.
With so much history to explore, you’d never know that the country was just a little over 70 years old – but its long traditions of welcoming visitors date back to the days of camel caravans and trading frankincense and spices. We’ve put together our top five unique experiences that you can only experience in this fascinating country.
Follow in the footsteps of history
Jordan’s lengthy history follows the route of the Spice Trail, when Roman legionnaires, Arab soldiers and zealous Crusaders passed along the Kings Highway beside tradesmen peddling spices and frankincense. Go in search of Lawrence of Arabia’s vivid descriptions of the weathered desert on your own adventure through the red dunes of Wadi Rum and sleep under the stars in Bedouin-style tents. On our Spice Trails of Petra (TP) trip you’ll follow the route that the ancient Nabataeans once took, walking from Petra to the Mediterranean coast, and visiting ancient settlements like the Roman city of Jerash and the Crusader castle of Shobak.
Visit the Rose City
Jordan’s jewel in the crown is undoubtedly the blush-pink hidden city of Petra, the ancient Nabataean settlement hewn out of sandstone and undiscovered by the West until the 19th century. The most staggering views of the Treasury can be seen whilst walking the narrow gorge known as the siq; passing through the snaking passage you’ll catch glimpses of the detailed frontage before emerging in front of the chiselled cliffs. Travel on one of our Jordan trips and you can also visit Petra for free after dark. The Petra By Night experience will lead you through the candle-lit siq to the ancient citadel, where you’ll be treated to a performance of Bedouin music and storytelling.
Sample fresh mezze
As one of the world’s largest producers of olive oil, the Mediterranean staple features prominently in Jordanian cuisine, and despite its desert environment, an abundance of fresh produce is readily available. Mezze is one of the best examples of Jordan’s gastronomy: think small plates of sizzling falafel balls, ripe vegetables stuffed with tabbouleh and spices and the freshest hummus you’ll ever taste. While all of our trips include plenty of opportunities to try traditional cuisine, choose our Treasures of Jordan (DJD) trip and you’ll have the option to join a family dinner to sample delicious Jordanian home cooking.
Take in the waters
The Dead Sea is a highlight of any trip to Jordan. At 400 metres below sea level, its extreme salinity means it’s almost impossible to swim. Most itineraries to Jordan include the Dead Sea, but for an alternative way to visit the landmark why not try cycling there? Freewheeling through a series of switchback corners you’ll descend to the Dead Sea via bicycle on our Cycle Jordan (CJP) trip, with the chance to cool off (somewhat!) in the buoyant waters once you reach the shores.
Experience the desert –your way
Jordan’s desert plateaux have remained virtually unchanged since the days of TE Lawrence, from its craggy wadis to its red-tinged dunes. To see the wild side of Jordan in all its natural glory, try our Tailormade Jordan Nature Trek (TMJO5), exploring its nature reserves and rugged landscapes on foot. Even the sleeping arrangements on this trip are designed to highlight Jordan’s best bits, from camping under the stars, Bedouin-style, to staying in an ecolodge illuminated by hundreds of flickering candles. And because this trip is tailormade, you can choose to personalise it however you wish.