Jordan may be a small country in size and population, but it boasts a plethora of things to do. From religious sites, adventure activities, ancient wonders, and delicious foods, there are too many things to do in Jordan to possibly check off in just one visit. This list has all of the must-dos, top 10 and most important sites. But it also has off the beaten track things to do in Jordan and unique things that a visitor might enjoy, but does not even know exists!
101 Remarkable Things to do in Jordan
Top 10 Things to do in Jordan
When listing all of the things to do in Jordan, these are the top 10 most popular, most spectacular and should be on the top of any visitor’s list! While Jordan is likely most famous for the red-rose city of Petra, there are so many more things that each visitor should do when they visit. If you only have time for these top 10, that is ok, but if you want to take a deep dive into the country, read on as there are so many more things to do!
Cover yourself in Mud and Float the Dead Sea
The lowest point on Earth, the Dead Sea, is located on Jordan’s Western border with Israel. It lies 400m below Sea Level (did you know that Sea Level is based on the Mediterranean Sea). Its position at the lowest point on Earth offers more than a salty dip attraction for curious tourists. The air has a higher oxygen concentration in this area and its mineral-rich properties bring people from all over the world who are suffering from various types of skin diseases and rheumatism.
The Dead Sea is vanishing at an alarming rate. This is mostly due to the added pressure put on the Jordan River and neighboring streams for a water source for Israel and Jordan. Some estimates state that it will be dried up in 30 years without some type of intervention. It used to be 57 kilometres in length and it is currently around 47 kilometres and its shores are shrinking about a meter each year. There are calls for bringing water from the Red Sea, but there are no projects underway to make this happen. If slathering yourself with mineral-rich mud is on your bucketlist, get to Jordan and tick this one off before it is gone!
Top Tip for Mudding at the Dead Sea: When slathering your body, avoid the area around your eyes (and your forhead), when you rinse off in the salty waters, the water stings when it gets in your eyes! If you keep the mud to your cheeks, chin and below, you can avoid this discomfort!
READ MORE: Dead Sea Tips
WANT TO BOOK A TOUR TO THE DEAD SEA? Check out a popular tour here.
Camp in a Bedouin Tent in Wadi Rum
Visit the Amman Citadel Jebel Al Qala to see Hercules Temple Remains.
This is the most popular photo spot in Amman and for good reason!
Atop Jabal al-Qala sits the remains of the Citadel, and important historical location in Amman. It has evidence of being occupied since 1550 BC and its advantageous spot atop a “jabal” (Jabal is the arabic word for hill) meant that it was occupied for hundreds of years and it is known as one of the world’s longest continually inhabited places.
Atop Jebel al-Qala lies the massive remains of the Hercules temple, built during the reign of Marcus Aurelius in the second century AD, and the fist of Hercules, the only remaining piece of the estimated 13 meter statue erected at the site, its shattered pieces long since pillaged. There is evidence that the Jebel al-Qala has been occupied since about 1800 BC due to its strategic location. From the top of the hill, you can see the Roman Theatre in downtown Amman and enjoy panoramic views of the city.
Hours: Winter 9am-4pm Summer 8am-6:30pm Fridays & Holidays 9am-4pm Ramadan 9:30am-3:30pm *Hours may change
More information on getting to the Amman Citadel can be found here
Climb the Steps of the Roman Theatre in Amman
After seeing it from above at the Citadel, the Roman amphitheater should be explored from the inside. You can walk down a series of steps (past some beautiful graffiti) from the Citadel and cross the street to find the entrance of the theatre. The toughest part about the route from the Citadel to the Roman Theatre is actually getting across the street.
Once holding thousands, you will likely have the place mostly to yourself where you can climb to the top, or preach from the bottom and hear the centuries-old acoustics fill the room as you can be heard in every seat in the house.
The theatre was cut into the side of a rock cliff, likely to protect many of the 6000 spectators it could hold, from the sun. Built in the 2nd century AD it is an impressive remnant and one of the most popular attractions in Amman for tourists.
About 30 minutes is enough time to have a quick look around. Do not miss the Audium, a smaller theatre, once used for city meetings, to the right of the stage
Roman Theatre Hours: Winter 9am-4pm Summer 8am-6:30pm Fridays & Holidays 9am-4pm Ramadan 9:30am-3:30pm *Hours may change
Have a Meal at Hashem
Hashem Restaurant is the most well-known restaurant in Jordan and has been doing business for over 80 years. Despite its appearance, it will seat King Abdullah II, celebrities in town, locals and tourists alike. It is a must for any foodie!
Dining on plastic chairs, this 24 hour vegetarian restaurant serves up excellent falafel and hummus and I guarantee you will leave with a full stomach! It does have indoor seating, but literally wedged between two buildings, most of the patrons spill into the patio and enjoy their meal outdoors.
If you arrive right at dinner time, expect it to be busy. Try and pick a non-peak hour to visit if possible. Visiting for breakfast is always quieter. At peak times you can see lineups down the street on account of its excellent food, cheap prices, and strategic location downtown.
A meal at Hashem for two people will cost about 4 JD – 10 JD
See the Promised Land on the Madaba Map at the Church of St George
The Madaba Map was found under the tiles of St George Orthodox Church and contains the oldest cartographic map of the Holy Land. It was part of the early Byzantine church of Saint George. It dates to the 6th century AD.
WANT TO VISIT MADABA AND MOUNT NEBO ON A DAY TOUR? Check out this tour from Amman
Walk the Roman Road in Jerash
Enjoy the Shade under Hadrian’s Arch
Explore Umm Qais Basalt Stone
Canyon in Wadi Mujib
Snorkel in the Gulf of Aqaba
Enjoy the Beach at a Tala Bay Resort
Witness the Zarb Cooking in Wadi Rum
Check out Amman’s Rainbow Street any time day or night
Enjoy City Views from Wild Jordan
View the Promised Land where Moses once stood on Mount Nebo
Hike the Jordan Trail, or a section of it
Enter Petra from the Backdoor via Little Petra
Climb to the Monastery
View the Treasury from Above
Walk the Siq at Petra
Enjoy Mansaf a Jordanian Traditional Dish – Mansaf is an important dish in Jordan. Similar to a turkey dinner for an American or Canadian. It is something you should enjoy while you visit Jordan. To read more about it and where to try it, check out this post all about Jordanian mansaf.
Ride a Camel into the Sunset in Wadi Rum and then caption your instagram photos with these camel puns
Camp in a Bedouin tent in Wadi Rum
Gaze at the Milky Way from Feynan EcoLodge
See Dana Reserve from the Ancient Village of Dana
Qasr Amra and Desert Castles
Visit the Jordan Museum in Amman to see the Dead Sea Scrolls
Hike from Dana to Petra
Visit Main Hot Springs
Baptism Site of Jesus Christ
Temple of Artemis in Jerash
Shop Downtown Amman on Fridays at the traditional markets – Whether you visit the spice market, the vegetable market or are looking for some Jordanian souvenirs, there is plenty to look at and explore!
Shop in modern neighbourhoods
Neolithic Village outside Little Petra
See traditional neighbourhoods on Jebel Amman
Smoke flavoured Shisha at an outdoor coffeeshop in Amman
Try freshly roasted turkish coffee – Coffee culture is an important part of Arab traditions. You can learn more by reading this post about coffee traditions in Jordan
Enjoy sweet bedouin tea on the fire
See Wadi Rum on a 4×4. There are lots of opportunities for great photos here!
Walk through the vegetable market in Amman, known as Souq al-Sukkar
Take the Kids to Prince Hashem Bird Garden
Try Arabic Sweets
Take a cooking Class
Try Mixed Grille Kabobs
Try the aromatic Maquluba
In English, makloubeh is often called “upsidedown” as the method of serving the dish is by turning a massive pot upsidedown and the layered contents of seasoned potatoes, eggplant, onions and rice spilling onto a massive plate on the table. It is often accompanied with a loud banging performance before the pot is liften and the contents are spilled into a massive dish in the middle of the table
take the kids to the Children’s Museum
Enjoy the Automobile Collection at the Royal Car Museum
Ajlouin Nature Reserve
A cheese-based dessert, kunafa’s sweet flavor is balanced with a warm melted cheese to make the perfect after-dinner snack! You can find kunafa in many bakeries in Jordan.
The most popular Kunafa in Amman will be found at Habibah in downtown Amman. Kunafa is a must for you to try while you explore Amman and you can watch it being freshly made at Habibah. Situated in a tiny alley, you will likely dine with over 20 others, enjoying their dessert with a foam plate and plastic fork. There are two types of kunafeh, most easily explained in English as “soft” or “rough.” One is topped with shredded wheat (kheshna) and the other is topped with semolina (na’ma). Try both and see which one you like better.
A small portion is around 1-2 JD
Watch an Amman Sunset from one of the cities many hills
Shop for souvenirs downtown or at one of the handicraft shops
Try a Hammam
Visit the Jordan Archeological Museum on Jebel Al Qala
Visit Iraq Al-Amir
Explore Amman’s Gold Market
Al Husseini Mosque in Downtown Amman
Visit a grocery store and see how it differs from your at home
Enjoy an arabic meal with a local family
Spend the night in an eco hotel under candlelight at Feynan Ecolodge
Hike the Dana to Petra Trail
Cycle through Jordan
Try Arak, an arabic alcohol
Explore Jordan’s Wine Scene
Walk the beach in Aqaba at sunset
Mukawir where John the Baptist was beheaded
Enjoy a hot drink (or cool one) from a Roadside stand
Drive the Kings Highway
Climb Jordan’s tallest mountain in Wadi Rum
Attend Petra by Night
buy and wear a traditional scarf
Indulge in the many Dead Sea products
Visit Kind Abdallah Mosque – largest dome in Jordan
Visit Little Petra fresco on the ceiling inside some caves
Take the kids to the Water Park at the Dead Sea – La Cueva Water Park
Church of the Beheading of John the Baptist for views of Madaba
Walk the Tourist Street in Madaba
Visit the newly opened Petra Museum
Try pomegranate or sugar cane juice from a local shop
Visit Lots Cave – lowest museum in the world
Bring home your favorite spices from a local spice shop
Stop for Shwarma
Hot Air Balloon in Wadi Rum
Aqaba Heritage Museum
Indulge in Harisa and Dates
Feeling Overwhelmed? Consider A Tour Operator
If this list has your head spinning, you are not alone. Narrowing down exactly what you want to do is often difficult. And that is where an experienced tour operator can come in with a tour that has exactly what you are looking for! I have taken tours in Jordan and I have also traveled independently throughout the country.
I have personally realized that the expertise of a local tour guide gives you so much more insight into the country that you could never get from a blog or guidebook. They are in the country, traveling day-in and day-out and they know what works for visitors and what does not.
I have put together some information on choosing the perfect tour in Jordan for your needs and also how to arrange a private tour if you want a completely customizable itinerary! You can check out my Guide to the Best Jordan Tours You Should Take.
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.