Jordan is a relatively small country, but it’s fair to say it has a wide variety of bucket list-ticking experiences to cross off your list. From the awe-inspiring Treasury to the lowest point on Earth, there are many ‘firsts’ to enjoy here on Jordan adventure holidays, not to mention the incredible scenery at every turn. Much of this is due to the country’s location. It’s right in the centre of the Middle East. This means almost every empire or ancient civilisation has inhabited or passed through at some point in history. Each leaving their own mark on the landscape, whether that’s with amazingly well-preserved mosaics or dusty, wind-buffeted castles.
If ticking off bucket-list sights is high on your list of must-dos on holiday, you’ll love the opportunities that Jordan brings. From diving in the crystal-clear waters of the Red Sea to bobbing in the saline waters of the Dead Sea, or staring up at the impressive façade of Petra’s Treasury, you’ll go from ruins to natural beauty spots in the space of a few miles.
Here are our top picks to tick off your bucket list in Jordan.
Slipping through the Siq to the Rose City of Petra
The landmark of Petra is one of Jordan’s most enduring sights. It’s one reason why so many people come to the country. As you enter the site, you’ll pass through the narrow passage – a former watercourse. This is known as the Siq, which rises majestically above you. It’s a jaw-dropping first impression. You’ll follow the twisting canyon into the ancient city. Eventually, you’ll find yourself staring up at the most incredible view: The Treasury. You can explore at your own pace but enlisting the services of a guide is the best way to enjoy the experience.
They can unveil the stories of the Street of Façades, take you to the amphitheatre and the vast Qasr El-Bint temple. It’s much more than a standard tour and is certain to elevate your trip to the next level. For an even more special experience, return at dusk to walk down the Siq canyon, lit by lanterns. Upon reaching The Treasury, illuminated by lanterns, you’ll be serenaded by local musicians.
Bobbing in the waters of the Dead Sea
You won’t find any fish in the Dead Sea. Thanks to its elevated salinity, the milky blue waters of the land-locked lake cannot sustain animal life. But that doesn’t stop visitors from around the world flocking to its crusty, salty shores each year. In fact, the salt and black mud is used in spa therapies throughout the country. You can slather yourself with it during a dip or book a treatment in one of the chic spa resorts that surround the lake, a great ending to all Jordan adventure holidays.
The act of ‘swimming’ in the lake is more like bobbing. The salt levels mean the water is naturally buoyant, so leisurely laps are impossible. Instead, kick back and relax as the minerals work their magic on your skin. At 431 metres below sea level, the lake is the lowest point on Earth – definitely something to tick off your bucket list! Discover the best spa resorts to stay in at the Dead Sea in our blog.
Imagining yourself on Mars in Wadi Rum
Film buffs may feel a sense of déjà vu when looking out over the ethereal landscapes of Wadi Rum as, over the years, many blockbusters have been filmed here. From the award-winning 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia to Red Planet, when it served as the scenery of Mars. When it’s not hosting film crews, the desert landscape offers the perfect place to revel in the silence and serenity of one of the world’s least populated places. The inhospitable climate means Wadi Rum is home to the hardiest of tribes. Simultaneously, it is what lends the landscape its strange beauty.
Wide vistas of sand are unbroken save for towering sandstone mountains sculpted by the buffeting winds. Forget plain yellow sand, the colours of Wadi Rum range from the palest sun-blasted straw to the deepest red. Matched with a beaming sun and clear blue skies, they seem even more vibrant. While you might see camels, modern day transport is dependent on four wheels rather than four legs. You’ll usually explore via a Toyota Land Cruiser which can navigate the shifting dunes with ease. It’s the easiest way to get around. So be sure to snap photos of the fascinating landmarks. View rock inscriptions by indigenous tribes – some dating back thousands of years.
The desert landscapes have fascinated man for many centuries. The Bedouin are often the only people who get to experience the desert at night. On a Jordan holiday though, it’s possible to stay in a traditional tent with the tribe. Enjoy the utter silence and incredible night sky with a desert sleepover.
Diving with marine life in the Red Sea
The Red Sea is famous for its diving, with an incredible variety of marine life inhabiting the waters. While the tip of Sinai in Egypt is home to some of the best reefs, Aqaba in Jordan also has some incredible underwater scenery. Whether you’re an experienced diver or wanting to learn, Aqaba is a great spot for a dip. As well as coral reefs, there are a number of wrecks to explore. If you’ve spent most of your trip exploring dusty desert ruins, you’ll enjoy the contrast of the attractive beach resort – all Jordan adventure holidays should include some downtime, and Aqaba is the ideal spot.
Following in the footsteps of the Crusaders
Road tripping through Jordan is an incredible way to see the country, and the King’s Highway is the perfect route. Linking Amman with Petra, there’s no better way to travel north or south. Given that both places are high on any Jordan itinerary, it’s a cinch to weave into any Jordan adventure.
The road twists and turns through some impressive scenery, following a route that was once used by the Crusaders as they made their way across Jordan. Along the way, you’ll get to spot some of the country’s most stunning scenery and sweeping views. Take in the majesty at the top of Mount Nebo, where Moses is said to have died and been buried. You’ll also get to see the Crusader castles of Karak and Shobak along the way. As well as the older fortresses of Mukawir, and the magnificent mosaics of Madaba.
For a once in a lifetime holiday, Jordan adventure holidays offer plenty of incredible sights to behold and amazing experiences to tick off your bucket list. Contact our resident expert Catherine who will be more than happy to share her top bucket list experiences in Jordan, and help you build the perfect holiday.