Petra is every bit worth its bucket list status. In December in Petra, cool weather dominates. Crowds are minimal until Christmas holidays. Temperatures are varied, so layers are essential. With these pro tips, you will be able to make the most of your visit.
As you plan your time in Jordan, you ideally want to plan at least one full day (and a night) to explore. I personally suggest a few days to explore Petra because it is a lot to take in all in one day.
Below you will find everything you need to know about visiting Petra in September including the typical weather, what to pack and how to plan for your visit.
Winter in Petra: December’s Weather
December in Petra sees typical winter weather with mornings in the single digits. Expect average daytime temperatures of 10°C (50°F) with cooler evening and morning lows around 3°C and highs reaching 15°C.
Rain is a minor consideration in Petra in December On average Petra receive 3 days of rain in December. When it does rain, it can be torrential. Keep in mind that Petra can be closed suddenly by authorities in order to keep visitors safe from the flash flooding that occurs in the Siq.
Packing for Petra in December Essentials List
I have an entire post about what to wear in Jordan, but these are the essentials. After you read this post I suggest you click on the link and see what else you are going to want while you are in Jordan.
- Thermal layers: Given the chilly morning temperatures and cool nights in the month of April, I pack a thermal layer to stay warm that can be removed as the day heats up. For those who enjoy spring weather, you may be able to leave this at home and just pack a warm sweater. For others who feel the cold, bring a warm layer.
- Waterproof jacket: With the chance of rain a good raincoat keeps me dry during unexpected showers and can help block the cool wind in the mornings..
- Sturdy hiking boots or comfortable shoes: I choose boots with a solid grip for navigating Petra’s rocky terrain. However, if you do not love hiking boots, comfortable shoes are fine. May is a very popular time for hiking.
- Sunscreen: Start every morning with sunscreen. I also find it helps with the dry climate.
- Backpack: A comfortable, lightweight pack works for the day whether trekking from Little Petra or exploring from the Siq. Ensure you have water and snacks as well. There is a restaurant in the site and places to buy drinks.
Petra Open and Closing Hours in December
In December Petra is open from 6am to 4pm.
What to Do in Petra in December
Take your time wandering the Siq, or better yet, hire a guide to show you its hidden secrets. Take a selfie or two at the Treasury and enjoy a cup of tea as you watch others in awe as they emerge from the Siq.
Continue down and explore the Colonnaded Street, the Great Temple, and consider Al Khubta trail for the best views of the treasury above. For those who have multiple days in Petra, consider the backdoor trail from Little Petra to Petra which offers a backdoor trip to the Monastery avoiding having to climb the 800 stairs required to visit it.
Candlelit Wonders: Petra By Night
Imagine walking through the narrow Siq to the Treasury, illuminated only by the soft glow of candlelight. This is Petra By Night, an event that captivates visitors every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings. As you meander along the candlelit path, the shadows and light create a mystical atmosphere, enhancing the spellbinding features of the ancient city. The star-studded winter sky adds an extra layer of magic to the experience, while the cold night air makes the warm tea served by local vendors taste even more comforting.
There are plenty of other sites beyond Petra, including Wadi Rum, Jordan’s famed desert. Shobak Castle lies to the South and Kerak Castle to the North. The Gulf of Aqaba is less than 2 hours by car and offers stunning coral views just off shore. There is also a resort vibe in Aqaba with Tala Bay and Ayla competing for visitors looking for some relaxing vibes.
Flavourful Meals in Petra: Indulging in Local Cuisine
After spending the day exploring this world wonder, finish your day with a traditional Jordanian meal. Mansaf, the national dish of Jordan, is a hearty invitation to savor tender lamb cooked in a fermented dried yogurt sauce, served over a bed of aromatic rice. You can usually find Mansaf at local family-run restaurants within Wadi Musa, the town adjacent to Petra.
For another warm and flavourful treat, seek out maqluba, an upside-down dish layered with rice, vegetables, and chicken or lamb.
When the stars twinkle above the desert expanse, wrap your fingers around a cup of sweet tea or Turkish coffee. These hot beverages, steeped in tradition, are ubiquitous in cafés throughout Petra and offer warmth from within. Each sip feels like a moment of connection to the ancient city and its culture.
For the sweet tooth, enjoy knafeh, a warm dessert layered with cheese and soaked in a sweet syrup, often sprinkled with pistachios. This sticky treat is a favorite among locals and visitors for its comforting textures and flavors, providing a sweet finale to your day of exploring.
Read more about where to eat in Wadi Musa.
December in Petra: Other Considerations
December sees minimal crowds except over Christmas holidays.
When planning your trip to Petra in December you will likely find accommodation and tour prices are at their lowest (except over Christmas). It is a good time of year for the budget traveller.
More Helpful Information
Lindsay fell in love with Jordan when she first visited in 2016. She now goes back every year to explore more of this special place. Lindsay is also the owner of Amman Food Tours, a social enterprise that is women-owned and hires local female guides. This project provides meaningful employment for women in Amman.