Visiting Petra in February, you find yourself in the heart of winter in Jordan. Daytime temperatures here average a cool 12°C (53°F), and it’s not uncommon for the mercury to dip even lower in the evenings. Nights are frosty, and I always remind fellow travelers to expect cold conditions after dark. This month is also one of the wettest, averaging four rainy days. While most days boast clear skies, it’s critical to prepare some flexibility in your itinerary as Petra is often closed when heavy rain is expected. Despite the less than perfect weather, Petra is always one of the top things to do while in Jordan.
Precipitation in this archaeological site can vary at this time of year, but it is best to dress in layers and wear comfortable footwear! Despite the potential cold and wet conditions in this part of the Middle East, February’s serene beauty and tranquility make it an appealing time for explorers seeking the solace of this historic treasure without the crowds of peak tourist seasons.
Embracing the Chill: Petra’s February Weather
It is hard to imagine that it is cold in Jordan in February. But let me tell you (from a Canadian), it is cold! Jordan is quite elevated and the temperature is a lot different than the Gulf countries to the south. Expect cool to cold weather in Petra, with average daytime temperatures around 12°C (53°F) and frosty nights. Prepare for occasional showers with a waterproof coat and good shoes. February’s weather contributes to a less crowded and more tranquil visit to the ancient city of Petra.
Packing for Petra in February: 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 daytime temperatures and freezing nights in the month of February, I pack thermals to maintain body warmth while exploring.
- Waterproof jacket: With February being one of the wettest months, a good raincoat keeps me dry during unexpected showers.
- Sturdy hiking boots: 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. This is the best time for hiking without crowds.
- Warm hat and gloves: If you tend to get cold, pack a warm hat and gloves
- Sunscreen: Even in winter, I never forget sunscreen to shield my skin from the strong Middle Eastern sun.
- Backpack: A comfortable, lightweight pack allows me to keep essentials on hand without burdening my trek.
Petra Open and Closing Hours in February
In the cooler days of February, Petra reveals a more tranquil aspect, casting off the bustling atmosphere common during warmer months. A visit at this time means I can stroll through the ancient city’s rose-colored passages without jostling through crowds or waiting in long queues to see iconic structures like the Treasury or the Monastery.
But it is important to keep in mind that the days are shorter in the winter months. The average length of the daylight in Petra is roughly 11 hours in February. During the winter, the Petra site is only open from 6am to 4pm – two fewer hours during the winter than during the summer season.
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. This is a good time for photo ops as crowds are often small.
Savory Warmth: Indulging in Local Cuisine
In the chilly embrace of Petra’s February weather, warming up with traditional Jordanian comfort foods becomes more than a meal—it’s an experience. 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; a perfect dish to combat the cold. You can usually find Mansaf at local family-run restaurants within Wadi Musa, the town adjacent to Petra.
For something warming that fits in your hand, seek out maqluba, an upside-down dish layered with rice, vegetables, and chicken or lamb. Those with a preference for something spicier can dive into galayet bandora, a simmered tomato stew with a kick, found sizzling in the kitchens of Petra’s smaller eateries.
When the cold bites and the stars twinkle above the desert expanse, wrap your fingers around a cup of sweet sage tea or cardamom 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.
Visitors venturing into the small markets of Petra will encounter 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 for its comforting textures and flavors, providing a sweet finale to your day of exploring.
Read more about where to eat in Wadi Musa.
The February Verdict: Is Petra the Winter Gem?
I find February a special time to visit Petra. The coldest month brings an authentic charm to this ancient city, removed from the oppressive heat of the summer months. With the mercury dipping low, I appreciate the stark contrasts—from sunlit afternoons to crisp evenings. Less rainfall compared to January means more sunny days to explore the rose-red facades.
Petra’s grandeur seems amplified in the tranquility of February. The siqs and tombs resonate with a quieter beauty, uncluttered by the peak season throngs. Visitor numbers dwindle, and you have space to connect deeply with the history etched into every stone. Discovering Petra in a more personal, meditative way becomes possible in this shoulder season.
Prices often dip just as the temperatures do, making it a great time for budget-conscious travelers. You save on accommodations, tours, and possibly snag better flight deals than in high season.
Consider February the hidden gem of travel dates for this UNESCO world heritage site — not despite winter’s chill, but precisely because of it.
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.