Top Things to Do in Jordan: Your Ultimate Jerash Travel Guide
Introduction to Jordan and Jerash Jordan
Jerash Jordan, a small yet vibrant country in the Middle East, is known for its rich history, captivating landscapes, and warm hospitality. The ancient city of Jerash holds a special place among its numerous attractions. As one of the best-preserved Roman cities in the world, Jerash offers a unique glimpse into the past, making it an unmissable stop on any Jordan itinerary.
This comprehensive guide will explore the top things to do in Jordan, focusing on Jerash. We'll also offer valuable tips for planning your Jordan itinerary, including suggested itineraries for various trip lengths, essential travel tips, and the best time to visit this fascinating country.
So, let's embark on an unforgettable journey through the land of ancient wonders, mesmerizing landscapes, and delectable cuisine – welcome to Jordan!
Planning your Jordan itinerary
How many days to spend in Jordan
One of the first questions travelers often ask when planning a trip to Jordan is, "How many days do I need?" The answer largely depends on your interests and the pace at which you prefer to travel. Generally, a trip of 5 to 7 days will allow you to experience the country's highlights, while a more extended stay will provide more opportunities for in-depth exploration.
Suggested itineraries for 5, 6, and 7 days
To help you plan your Jordan itinerary, we've put together three suggested itineraries for 5, 6, and 7 days.
- Amman – Explore the bustling capital and its historical sites, such as the Amman Citadel and the Roman Theater.
- Jerash and Ajloun – Discover the ancient Roman city of Jerash and the impressive Ajloun Castle.
- Petra – Visit the iconic Rose City, one of the world's most famous archaeological sites.
- Wadi Rum – Experience the breathtaking desert landscapes and Bedouin culture of Wadi Rum.
- Dead Sea – Float in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea and enjoy a rejuvenating mud treatment.
- Amman – Begin your journey in the lively capital city, exploring its rich history and vibrant culture.
- Jerash and Ajloun – Travel to Jerash, one of the best-preserved Roman cities in the world, and visit the nearby Ajloun Castle.
- Madaba and Mount Nebo – Discover the biblical sites of Madaba, home to the famous Madaba Map, and Mount Nebo, where Moses viewed the Promised Land.
- Petra – Spend a full day exploring the ancient city of Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Wadi Rum – Experience the stunning desert landscapes and Bedouin culture of Wadi Rum on a 4x4 tour or camel ride.
- Dead Sea – End your trip with a relaxing day at the lowest point on Earth, floating in the therapeutic waters of the Dead Sea.
- Amman – Arrive in the capital city and spend the day acclimating and exploring its historical sites.
- Jerash and Ajloun – Visit the ancient city of Jerash and the impressive Ajloun Castle.
- Madaba, Mount Nebo, and Karak – Travel to the biblical sites of Madaba and Mount Nebo before visiting the historic Karak Castle.
- Petra – Dedicate a whole day to exploring the awe-inspiring ancient city of Petra.
- Wadi Rum – Immerse yourself in the striking desert landscapes and Bedouin culture of Wadi Rum.
- Aqaba – Enjoy a day of relaxation or water sports at the Red Sea resort town of Aqaba.
- Dead Sea – Conclude your trip with a rejuvenating visit to the Dead Sea, known for its therapeutic waters and mud treatments.
Top attractions and things to do in Jerash
Jerash, an ancient Roman city located just 50 kilometers north of Amman, is a must-see destination for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts alike. As you stroll through its well-preserved ruins, you'll feel transported back to the days of gladiators and chariot races.
Begin your visit at the stunning Hadrian's Arch, built to commemorate Emperor Hadrian's visit in 129 AD. Continue to the Hippodrome, where you can imagine the excitement of ancient spectators watching chariot races. Next, explore the impressive Temple of Artemis, dedicated to the city's patron goddess.
Take advantage of the Oval Plaza, an architectural masterpiece with its unique elliptical shape and surrounding arcades. From there, walk along the Cardo Maximus, a 600-meter-long colonnaded street that once served as the city's main thoroughfare. Be sure to visit the well-preserved Nymphaeum, an ornate public fountain adorned with statues and intricate carvings.
As you explore Jerash, take the time to appreciate its rich history and marvel at its ancient inhabitants' craftsmanship and engineering prowess. While it may not be as famous as Petra, Jerash is undoubtedly one of Jordan's top things to do.
Exploring Amman and its surroundings
As the capital city of Jordan, Amman offers a blend of modernity and history, with ancient ruins sitting side by side with bustling markets and contemporary art galleries. Start your Amman itinerary at the Amman Citadel, a hilltop archaeological site featuring the ruins of the Temple of Hercules, the Umayyad Palace, and the Byzantine Church.
Next, head to the Roman Theater, a well-preserved ancient amphitheater that once held up to 6,000 spectators. Be sure to visit the Jordan Museum, which houses a fascinating collection of artifacts spanning the country's history, including the famous Ain Ghazal statues.
Outside Amman, you'll find several noteworthy sites worth adding to your Jordan itinerary. Visit the ancient city of Pella, one of the ten cities of the Decapolis, and explore its impressive ruins, including a Roman theater, temples, and baths. Travel to Salt, known for its beautiful Ottoman architecture and vibrant local markets. Finally, venture to the Dead Sea, where you can float in the buoyant, mineral-rich waters and enjoy rejuvenating mud treatments.
Must-visit historical sites in Jordan
In addition to Jerash and Amman, Jordan is home to an array of captivating historical sites that should be noticed.
Perhaps the most famous of Jordan's attractions, the ancient city of Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Carved into the rose-colored sandstone cliffs, this archaeological marvel dates back to the 4th century BC and is best known for the iconic Treasury (Al-Khazneh). Spend at least a full day exploring Petra's vast network of tombs, temples, and rock-cut facades, and consider joining a guided tour to gain a deeper understanding of the site's history and significance.
Madaba and Mount Nebo
Located just a short drive from Amman, Madaba is famous for its Byzantine-era mosaics, most notably the Madaba Map – a 6th-century mosaic map of the Holy Land. Just 10 kilometers from Madaba, Mount Nebo offers breathtaking views of the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea and a chance to visit the site where Moses is said to have viewed the Promised Land.
Karak and Shobak Castles
These two impressive Crusader castles, located along the King's Highway, offer a fascinating glimpse into the region's tumultuous past. Karak Castle, one of the largest and best-preserved castles in the region, boasts a labyrinth of tunnels and chambers to explore. Further south, Shobak Castle, also known as Montreal, features impressive walls, a chapel, and stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
Experiencing Jordan's natural wonders
While Jordan's historical sites are undoubtedly a major draw, the country also offers a wealth of natural beauty to explore. From the otherworldly landscapes of Wadi Rum to the lush greenery of the Dana Biosphere Reserve, there's no shortage of breathtaking scenery to discover.
Often described as the "Valley of the Moon," Wadi Rum is a vast desert landscape with towering sandstone cliffs, natural arches, and expansive dunes. Join a guided 4x4 tour or camel trek to explore this awe-inspiring region, and consider spending a night in a Bedouin camp to fully immerse yourself in the local culture and experience the unforgettable desert night sky.
Dana Biosphere Reserve
As Jordan's largest nature reserve, the Dana Biosphere Reserve is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna and a stunning array of landscapes ranging from sandstone cliffs to verdant valleys. Hike the numerous trails that wind through the reserve, and keep your eyes peeled for the more than 800 plant species and 200 bird species that call the area home.
Mujib Nature Reserve
Located along the shores of the Dead Sea, the Mujib Nature Reserve is known for its dramatic sandstone cliffs and the Wadi Mujib – a spectacular canyon carved by the Mujib River. The reserve offers a variety of adventure activities, including hiking, canyoning, and birdwatching, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
Jordanian cuisine and food experiences
Every trip to Jordan would be complete with indulging in its mouthwatering cuisine. From sumptuous mezze platters to succulent grilled meats, Jordanian food is a delightful blend of flavors influenced by the country's diverse cultural heritage.
Start your culinary journey with a visit to a local bakery to sample freshly baked pita bread and indulge in sweet treats like baklava and knafeh. Enjoy a traditional Arabic breakfast of hummus, labneh, and foul, accompanied by olives and Jordanian tea. For lunch or dinner, savor the national dish, mansaf – a hearty meal of rice, lamb, and yogurt sauce.
During your travels, sample local street food, such as falafel, shawarma, and za'atar-filled pastries. And don't miss the opportunity to attend a traditional Bedouin feast, where you'll dine on zarb – meat and vegetables slow-cooked in an underground pit – while enjoying local music and storytelling.
Tips for first-time travelers to Jordan
- Visiting a new country can be exciting and overwhelming, especially for your first time. Here are some tips to keep in mind when planning your Jordan itinerary:
- Dress appropriately: Jordan is a conservative country, and it's essential to respect local customs and dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. Women should cover their shoulders and knees, and men should avoid wearing shorts.
- Learn some Arabic phrases: While many people in Jordan speak English, learning some basic Arabic phrases can go a long way in making connections and showing respect for the local culture. Practice saying "hello" (Marhaba), "thank you" (shukran), and "please" (min flak).
- Be prepared for the weather: Jordan experiences hot summers and cool winters, so it's important to pack accordingly. Bring lightweight, breathable clothing for the summer months and layers for the cooler winter nights.
- Respect local customs: Jordan is a Muslim country, and it's essential to respect local customs and traditions. For example, during Ramadan, it's polite to refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking in public during daylight hours.
- Stay hydrated: Jordan is a dry country, and it's essential to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially during the hot summer months. Carry a reusable water bottle and refill it frequently.
- Negotiate prices: Bargaining is expected in Jordan, especially in markets and souks. Don't be afraid to negotiate prices, but be polite and respectful.
- Be aware of cultural differences: Jordan has its unique customs and traditions, and it's essential to be mindful of these differences to avoid cultural misunderstandings. For example, it's considered impolite to point the soles of your feet at someone or touch someone with your left hand.
Best time to visit Jordan
Jordan can be visited year-round, but the best time to go depends on your preferences and travel plans. The peak tourist season is from March to May and September to November when the weather is mild and pleasant. However, this is also when the highest prices and crowds are the largest.
If you want to avoid crowds and save money, consider traveling in the winter months from December to February. While it can be cold and rainy, this is also the best time for trekking and hiking in the nature reserves.
Summer (June to August) is the hottest time of year in Jordan, with temperatures often soaring above 40°C. However, this is also a great time to enjoy water activities at the Red Sea resorts or float in the calm waters of the Dead Sea.
Conclusion and final thoughts on Jordan travel
Jordan is a country that truly has something for everyone, from history buffs to outdoor enthusiasts to foodies. With its rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality, Jordan is a destination that should not be missed.
Whether you're planning a short or extended stay, include Jerash on your Jordan itinerary, and take the time to explore the capital city of Amman and the country's many historical and natural sites. And remember to indulge in the delicious cuisine and immerse yourself in the local culture for a truly unforgettable experience.
So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your Jordan adventure today!
Ready to book your Jordan adventure? Contact us today to start planning your trip and experience the best of this mesmerizing country.