You are probably here because you are wondering what is the best time to visit Petra Jordan. The answer, however, is going to depend a bit on you, your availability, and how much you like hot or cold. There is definitely a high season for visitors, and that occurs from about the middle of March when the weather starts to warm up, until the middle of June when it starts to get really hot. The other high season is the middle of September when the weather cools off a bit to the end of November before it gets quite wet and cold. However, there are reasons to also visit Jordan in the summer or over the Christmas holidays. It really depends on your schedule.
Why Visit Petra and Jordan in the Spring
Mid-March, April, May and Early-June are the best time to visit Jordan overall. The days are warm, but not too hot, the sun is warm and bright and the nights are not fridged. The weather is usually good, but do keep in mind that the end of winter / early spring is when you can see rain / snow or sandstorms. These are rare, but do check the weather during your time in Jordan.
Petra is over 1000m above sea level. Its mountainous climate means that spring days can be cool in the shade and warm in the sun. If you are visiting Petra in March and even April in the spring, the wind can still be cool, you should pack a warm jacket and prepare for a chance of rain.
Spring is the most popular time of the year for hiking in Jordan. The weather is cool, and good for hiking. It can be very wet, so plan some flexibility into your itinerary. There are chances of heavy rain and flash floods in the spring months. Over the last few years, flash floods have caused the closure of the site on a regular basis. If heavy rain is forecasted, I suggest not visiting Petra on that day. Check with your hotel front desk on the weather, they will be able to let you know.
Why Visit Petra Jordan in Fall
Mid-September, October, to Mid-November is also the best time to visit Petra and Jordan. It is considered high season due to its favorable weather. The hot summer days are gone (although it is still very warm in the sun) and the evenings are still warm. If you are visiting in November, bring a warm jacket, Petra is very mountainous, it can be cold as soon as the sun goes down and in the early mornings.
Fall is also high season for visitors, although it is not like other places in the world. Jordan sees just a million visitors a year to Petra, so even on busy days, it is nothing like other tourist sites in the world that see tens of thousands of visitors a day. Do not be put off by traveling in the high season in Jordan.
Visiting Jordan in the Summer and Winter
As I mentioned, you can visit Jordan any time of the year. It is just that spring and fall are best, temperature-wise. I was recently there in July, and I was surprised that it was not as hot as I was expecting. Petra was also busy with tourists. Those who are tied to summer break holidays choose July to visit Jordan. Residents of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries also escape the unbearable heat and choose to visit Jordan, where the temperature is much more comfortable than their home country.
I did not find it too hot to hike in Jordan in the summer. Ensure you stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, and cover your head with a hat or scarf.
If you are visiting in the winter, the sun is warm, but it is often cloudy with a cool breeze. You need warm clothes between November and April. Pack a winter jacket, gloves, and a hat. Dress in layers as the sun can be warm in certain areas of the country, but high elevations such as Amman and Petra are quite cool. I have an entire post about winter in Jordan. I suggest you read it if you are planning a winter visit.
If weather is a big conseration on when you travel, you can see the average temperatures for Petra specifically in the chart below. Petra weather is comparable to Amman wather, but in Aqaba to the south on the Red Sea, it is quite a bit warmer all year round.
Petra Average Temps
|Month||Average High||Average Low|
|January||59°F / 15°C||37°F / 3°C|
|February||62°F / 17°C||39°F / 4°C|
|March||69°F / 21°C||44°F / 7°C|
|April||79°F / 26°C||52°F / 11°C|
|May||87°F / 30°C||58°F / 15°C|
|June||93°F / 34°C||63°F / 17°C|
|July||96°F / 35°C||67°F / 19°C|
|August||96°F / 36°C||67°F / 19°C|
|September||92°F / 34°C||63°F / 17°C|
|October||84°F / 29°C||56°F / 13°C|
|November||71°F / 22°C||46°F / 8°C|
|December||62°F / 17°C||39°F / 4°C|
When should I go to Petra Jordan
Overall, the decision needs to take into account your own availability. If you like warm weather travel, visit in May and June, September or October. These are the best weather months.
If you do not want to be hot, visit in April or November.
If you need to travel over the school holidays, Christmas is a good time to visit Jordan, but it will be cold. Prepare for it. Spring break is also a great time, but again, plan for spring weather. There are plenty of people who visit over the summer, just be sure to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen and a hat, and know how you handle the heat.
What to Pack for Petra
It depends what time of year you are taking a tour to Petra from Amman. But generally, you are going to need these items any time of the year:
- Comfortable shoes (unless you are on a multi-day trek, I do not suggest hiking boots, comfortable shoes or even comfortable sandals that you can walk in all day)
- Water (I highly suggest a Grayl Water Bottle to everyone, not just those going to the Middle East. Some people say the water is safe to drink from the tap, others say it is not; it is not something I am going to chance. And Jordan has a HUGE garbage problem. The streets, the forests, and even the desert are littered with plastic bottles.
If you consider drinking at least 1-2 big water bottles a day while you are there, think of how much plastic that creates when every visitor and the population’s 9 million people do the same. With a Grayl, you can filter any tap water (or actually any water source) and have clean drinking water in seconds. Since most people travel with water bottles already, consider one like this with a filter so that you are not just pouring from big water bottles to small. It might sound expensive, but when you compare it to spending a few dollars per day on water while you travel (and do not forget how expensive the water is inside airports), you will pay for this very quickly.
- Hat or Scarf (will keep the sun off your head in the summer and will keep you warm in the winter)
- Snacks (you can buy tea and snacks inside the site, and there is a restaurant also)
- Camera and or Phone
- Selfie Stick
- Kleenex and Hand Sanitiser (there are washrooms in the site, but not few, and sometimes they are not well stocked)
Can I Wear Shorts in Petra? and other What to Wear Tips
Regardless of the season, pants are your best option in Petra. I often get asked if you can wear shorts in Petra, and while you technically can, it is not respectful to the locals. Whether it is climbing stairs, dusty paths or sitting to enjoy the sites, pants are the best option all year round for both men and women. You will see fancy dresses and uncomfortable footwear, and if you are planning on a great instagram photo, I suggest you carry those items in your backpack and put them on as needed. It is very impractical to wear a short dress in a dusty archaeological site.
What to Wear in Petra in Summer
While you will see other tourists wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts in Jordan and in Petra, I do not suggest you wear them. You might feel as if you fit in with other tourists, but it can be seen as disrespectful to Jordanians, who’s culture leans towards modest dress.
Unwanted male attention also comes from showing too much skin and if you are not interested in being flirted with as a woman, wear long pants and t-shirts or long sleeves. Even then, you will likely encounter “friendliness,” but just take that at face value. Jordanians are friendly and welcoming people.
With that being said, I DO NOT suggest you accept invitations from the local tribe in Petra to either see the stars or have dinner in a cave. While it may seem friendly and innocent, you might find yourself in a situation that you are not able to leave. If it is not an invitation you would take at home, you probably should not take it abroad. But, I do personally find Jordanians to be among some of the most friendly people in the world and many are genuine and give without expecting anything in return.
What to Wear in Petra in Winter
You are going to want to dress in layers in Jordan in the winter. The same goes for Petra. The sun can be warm, but the wind is cold and Petra is quite elevated. If you are visiting from Tel Aviv or another place in Israel, you will likely find Jordan to be cooler, due to its elevation. You will want a winter coat and hat, as well as warm layers that you can easily take off. Jordan does experience wet weather and even snow in higher elevations. Do not expect temperate weather in the winter unless you are sticking to Aqaba.
Where to Stay Near Petra?
I have a whole post on a range of hotels near the Petra site entrance. You can find it here: Where to Stay in Petra. For a quick snapshot these are three popular options that are right outside the entrance to the archaeological site.
Mövenpick Resort Petra
Mövenpick Resort Petra is the most opulent of all the 5-star hotels near Petra. It is also located on the other side of the street from Petra’s entrance, making it a perfectly convenient place to stay. Arguably the best hotel in Petra, the rooms at Mövenpick are exquisite; large and airy, and elegantly decorated. Thanks to the large windows, the rooms stay bright and filled with natural lights. The beds in each room are soft and comfortable, making residents want to spend their days sleeping in them. Even the pull out couches have comfortable mattresses and are perfect for families! The hotel also has a pool, it can be quite cold in fall, winter and spring.
Petra Palace Hotel
The Petra Palace Hotel is located just a few minutes walk from the Petra Visitors Center and the best three/four star option near the site entrance. Its rooms are warmly but simply decorated and some have walkouts to the pool. Every room has a seating area. The rooms also have a well-stocked minibar, a mini-fridge, a television set with cable, and a spacious bathroom that comes with all the necessary toiletries. Breakfast is complimentary and served in the restaurant of the hotel, which is on the first floor.
Petra Moon Hotel
Located just above the parking lot for the Petra Visitors Center, Petra Moon Hotel is one of the best hotels in Petra for travelers with a midrange budget who want to be close to the site. Petra Moon hotel is reasonably priced and is definitely worth the money spent to be very close to the site entrance. The rooms of this 3-star hotel are roomy, excellently cleaned, and simply decorated. The beds are simple and comfortable. Breakfast is served buffet-style in the restaurant and afterward. When you return in the evening, feel free to head up to the rooftop pool, where you can rest and think fondly about your full day of Petra exploration.
More Petra Resources:
Travel Insurance for Jordan
There are a few other things to think about when it comes to travel. The first thing is travel insurance. Whether it is an emergency room visit for something as simple as strep throat, or an emergency appendix surgery, or an unfortunate moped incident, things do go wrong when people travel every day.
I highly suggest travel insurance and a good policy. I personally never travel without it, and I even checked into my policy about care for my children if I am ever in an accident or hospitalized. There are just too many things to think about.
You can find out more information and buy your travel insurance here.