Travel · Travel Writing

Jordan: More than just the ancient city of Petra

With the impressive ruins of Petra being on our bucket list, I couldn’t help but want to research it a little bit more and what I found was a welcoming surprise. Petra is always portrayed as the must see site in the dry country of Jordan but what surprised me most was that Jordan holds 5 UNESCO Heritage Sites within its small self and has many more ancient secret relics than just the ones of Petra.

Ad Deir monastery in Petra – From Flickr: Federico Macaggni

If Petra in Jordan is on your list then you must definitely make sure that these few are too!

First and foremost, as I couldn’t start with anything else –

The Lost City of Petra

The reason for why it is called the Lost City of Petra is due to the fact that it was undiscovered and most certainly lost for many years until Jean Louis Burckhardt, a Swiss explorer, found the breathtaking beauty in 1784. Hand-carved by the Nabataeans in the 3rd century B.C., there’s absolutely nothing else  like it.To avoid the maddening crowds and the stifling heat, get there by 3pm, when the rocks light up like red rubies, to enjoy the marvelous carvings and tombs of the site. One way to go about seeing  the Lost City of Petra is to marvel at it by candle light. Go 2 Jordan offers night excursions in small parties of ten, giving you that more private and special experience.

From Flickr: Silvain L

Wadi Rum

If  you can only make time for one other Jordanian site then taking a trip to Wadi Rum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, would have to be it. Taking a ride on a camel, camping in Bedouin Tents, drinking traditional sweet tea every day and watching stunning sunsets every night is definitely the best way to enjoy your time in the South of Jordan. One of the best Bedouin Tented Camps that I have found is Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp with the host Mohammed, a member of the Zalabeh tribe who have inhabited the land for generations. The stay is not only made the most enjoyable by the welcoming family that runs the camp but also by the unbeatable views that can be seen across the arid desert landscape.

Dinner with a view at the Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp

Dana Biosphere Reserve

Being the largest nature reserve in the country, the Dana Biosphere Reserve spans nearly 200 kilometres and features stunning limestone, granite and sandstone cliffs that plunge into valleys – some even below sea level. The reserve is a wondrous place for hiking enthusiasts and budding photographers that want to explore the beautiful natural surroundings of this rocky mountain paradise. To really make the most of your trip to the reserve, book into Feynan Ecolodge – an award-winning resort that is completely self-sufficient and offers you the opportunity to feel how it is to live in this rocky world.

From Flickr: jcookfisher

Dead Sea

Never been really good at floating? Well this is one of the places where you can float like an absolute champion. The Dead Sea has been a major tourist hot spot for quite some time and it is no wonder why – with its beautiful lakeside views, mineral-laden mud and the fact that it is shrinking every year – are more than enough reasons to visit this desert oasis.

From Flickr: Pieter van Marion


Being Jordan’s capital is just one reason to visit this lively city. But there are more reasons as to why Amman must be on your travel list to Jordan. Amman is considered to be one of the most Westernised city in the Middle East while at the same time preserving everything about its ancient past. In the heart of the city you can find the Citadel which includes the well-conserved Temple of Hercules with its massive columns and beautiful views, built by the Romans and a Byzantine Church. Amman is a bustling city in all its right with the added of charm of abounding history.


Temple of Hercules – From Flickr: Andrew Moore


Just about an hour north of the capital city Amman you can find one of the world’s best-preserved Roman provincial cities. Alexander the Great founded the city of Jerash around 331 B.C. but it got more pronounced notoriety when the Romans acquired it some hundred years later. Only a quarter of the site has been unearthed but the excavated ruins sprawl over a massive area with sites that include an oval forum, hippodrome, a colonnaded main street that was used during those times and most notably the impressive Arch of Hadrian.

The magnificent Arch of Hadrian- From Flickr: Merlijn Hoek


Aqaba is known as the place for Jordanians to go swim and relax. This seaside holiday destination has an interesting history where 50 years ago Jordan made a deal with Saudi Arabia to swap a big piece of their arid desert landscape in exchange for 12 kilometres of beautiful coastline just south of Aqaba’s port. You can stay and get pampered in one of the many five-star resorts dotted along the coast and even go snorkeling along the clear Yamanieh coral reef.

The Read Sea at Aqaba – From Flickr: Colin Tsoi

We have always had Egypt on our bucket list for the same reasons as everyone else’s – to see the Sphinx, the Pyramids and learn about the fascinating ancient Egyptian history and mythology. We had planned to do a combined trip of Egypt and Jordan with them being so near to one another but now that I know all about Jordan’s hidden gems and must see attractions, we are going to have to add a few more days to that Egypt/ Jordan combined trip!

Have you been to Jordan, what other special hidden gems did you get to see and experience? Tell us in the comments.




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