Off the beaten track: Jordan
From the fertile lands of the Jordan Valley to the red dunes of Wadi Rum desert, Jordan is an intriguing country with an immense array of geographical contrasts. The remains of the fallen Roman empire are apparent throughout the cities. The rich history of Nomadic tribes are present through the petroglyphs and inscriptions on ancient desert rock formations. Read our top destinations to visit in Jordan for the curious traveller.
One of the new seven wonders of the world, it’s no wonder that Petra is Jordan’s main attraction. Nicknamed “The Lost City of Stone”, it was rediscovered in 1812 after centuries of lying undisturbed. It quickly became popular with Europeans, as the interest in exploring ruined civilisations peaked. It is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world and its history is mysterious and romantic, as many questions about the site are left unanswered.
Travel through the peaceful desert sands of Wadi Rum by camel, Arabian horse, jeep or walking. Famous to filmmakers as the best representation of the planet Mars, the views are spectacular. To get the full experience its recommended to stay in luxurious overnight camps kept by desert dwellers. Relax by the open fire and watch the sunset or star gaze on the desert dunes.
Dana Biosphere Reserve
This is Jordan’s largest nature reserve, home to over 20 endangered species including the Sand Cat, Nubian Ibex and Caracal. There are numerous ways to explore the reserve, such as hiking through the canyons, accompanying local Bedouin guides and mountain biking. The people of Al Atata are native inhabitants and it is full of archaeological treasures, such as the still occupied 15th century stone village and a Roman aqueduct.
Jerash is the best place to delve into the history of the fallen Roman Empire. It is one of the best preserved Roman provincial towns in the world. Hidden for centuries under masses of sand, it was only recently excavated and restored. Here you can visit many Roman gathering sites such as the Hippodrome where chariot races were hosted, Roman theatres and baths, and the remains of the Temple of Zeus.
The Dead Sea
A salt-lake on Jordan’s border, the Dead Sea is Earth’s lowest elevation on land. It is undeniably a must see especially as the surface level is falling by more than a metre each year. Take advantage of nature’s health spa and relish in the history attached, such as the fact that the Egyptians used the dead sea for collecting asphalt used in the embalming process for creating mummies.
Honey Harvest Experience, Umm Qais
Do something out of the ordinary by visiting the quaint village on Umm Qais, where you will see the idyllic views of the Sea of Galilee and Golan Heights. Share your evening with Shephard and Beekeeper Yousef, while you learn how to extract honey from the hive and the process of the final product. Afterwards, enjoy a masterclass from local chef Galsoum on Arabian cuisine and taste traditional Jordanian delicacies before heading home.
If you long for the sea, then visit the only coastal city; Aqaba. Scuba dive in the calm waters of the Gulf of Aqaba which is home to some of the finest coral reefs in the world. Relax on the private beach at one of the many luxury hotels in the area, such as the Kempinski Hotel Aqaba. Visit the Turkish baths which are run closely to the traditions held by the ancient Greeks and Romans.
A visit to the Jordan Museum is a must. There you will see the Dead Sea Scrolls dated from between 3rd BC – 1st AD. According to experts, they are copies of the Old Testament which are mostly written in Hebrew. You will also see an array of remains from the old city of Petra. Afterwards, climb to the top of the citadel to see the Ummayad Palace, and the impressively restored Roman Theatre just before sunset to get the best views of the city!