One Week in Jordan:
Has it ever happened to you that once you start considering travelling to a country, suddenly everything and everyone around you starts telling great things about it?
We couldn’t wait and, spoiler alert, it didn’t disappoint! It even exceeded our expectations!
Of course, everyone’s heard about Petra and seen thousands of pictures of its Treasury; and most of us know about Wadi Rum, the famous red desert… but there is a lot more to Jordan than just that, and we wanted to know if the hype was real, or just a couple of really instgrammable locations! (Note: by the time we were in Jordan we didn’t even have our instagram account).
DECISION MAKING. What to visit? In which order? When?
As we know now, Jordan is the perfect country to visit if you have between 7 and 10 days to spare, but of course, it took a lot of planning and a lot of diving into different travel blogs to decide what our itinerary would look like and how would we fit all the spots that we wanted to visit in it. Sadly, some were left out, but as we often say, that gives us a great excuse to go back at some point!
Regarding the dates, March turned out to be a great time of the year to be in Jordan: warm but not too hot, not as crowded and expensive as in the summer months, plenty of accommodation options available, and reasonably priced flights (although we couldn’t book them as early as we wanted to, and ended up paying more than expected).
The shape, geography and distribution of the points of interest make travelling to Jordan very straight forward. Want a quick tip? Stay close to River Jordan! The fertile riverbed has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic, and has been home to great empires and cradle to religions and civilizations. Follow its course from north to south or vice versa, and you’ll find roman cities, red deserts, deep canyons or colourful coral reefs! And amongst them, some of the Wonders of the World.
Given there is so much to see, we had to leave some of it out of our itinerary, so we decided to not visit the Castles in the desert, to the East of Amman. These may be the most notorious points of interest that are not lined up close to the River, and you’ll need another day (or half of it if you only visit a couple of the castles). We’d love to visit them at some point, but we don’t regret this decision after all the breathtaking places we got to see!
«Quick tip for a succesful trip? Stay close to River Jordan! Follow its course from north to south or vice versa, and you’ll find some of the Wonders of the World.«
Summing up, we decided we’d start our trip by driving south: Madaba as our first stop, and then all the way down to Petra, where you should spend at least a couple days (and you’ll only see a small fraction of it!). Wadi Rum desert after it, with an unforgettable camp night in the heart of the protected area, and then all the way down to Aqaba (we considered leaving it out instead of the Castles in the desert, but we figured we’d enjoy a day of diving and chilling by the Red Sea after the hot Petra and the dusty Wadi Rum. We nailed it!).
The only setback of this itinerary is that you have to drive all the way up north again, but it’s a small country, so you’ll make it from Aqaba to Jerash and still have plenty of time to visit the Roman ruins and get back to Amman in the same day. We left one of the coolest experiences for the last day: floating on the Dead Sea, with mud bath and massage included. Read our day by day itinerary at the end of this post!.
It’s important to note that Jordan was our first trip after our African nightmare (read all about it here). That was the only trip we’ve ever done using a travel agency and not organizing everything ourselves, and given the results, it’s fair to say that we felt more comfortable going back to our usual process and planning/booking the trip without any other help than travel guides and blogs (our favourite Spanish travel bloggers are Juntos Viajando).
Skyscanner is our go-to site for flights, and there is a direct connection Madrid-Amman with Royal Air Jordanian. Prices are reasonable if you don’t leave it to the last minute like us L…
Once there, and after our great experience in Iceland, we decided to drive around ourselves and rented a car. We found a good rate with Dollar through RentalCars.com A very common way to move around in Jordan is to negotiate a rate with a driver that will take you anywhere you need, and even act as a guide. Your hotel will probably suggest a few of them. But we love our freedom, and above all, the experience of finding our way to these magical places.
We picked up the car at Queen Alia International Airport on arrival, and left it there on our way back. If you are skilled enough as a driver, we totally recommend this option. Roads are very good and pretty safe, and traffic is not too bad in 90% of the country. However, if you plan to drive in or through Amman, you’ll find what you would expect from a huge capital of a Middle Eastern country. Heavy traffic, some reckless driving… We didn’t have a problem at all, but if you don’t feel comfortable in these circumstances, you may want to move around the city using taxis. Jordanians, as most Arabic cultures, love to bargain, but unlike other North African countries, they are always friendly and you’ll reach a satisfactory middle point with most of them. Just be aware that some drivers may not speak a single word of English, and you’ll end up having to step up your sign language skills!
Boy do we love our Booking.com! For this trip, it’s mostly what we used. As we like to do, we left some nights open, just in case we wanted to improvise along the way. And we did. We booked only 1 night in Petra, and ended up spending 3. On our way from Petra to Wadi Rum, we contacted a Bedouin crew who organised our tour and night in the desert… Our general impression is that (outside the high season), there is a lot of good accommodation at reasonable prices available. Jordanians are super friendly and will help you out as much as they can. Read all about our hotels and accommodation here!
If you’ve read this far, we really hope this itinerary helps you out when planning your trip to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It worked wonders for us, and left us wanting to go back with more time to really dive into the culture and wonders of this amazing country and its people:
Day 1. Flight Madrid – Amman (direct with Royal Air Jordanian) – Car rental @ airport – Madaba (Night in Madaba)
Day 2. Madaba – Mt. Nebo – Al Karak – Little Petra – Wadi Musa (Night in Wadi Musa)
Day 3. First day in Petra. (Night in Wadi Musa)
Day 4. Second day in Petra. (Night in Wadi Musa)
Day 5. Petra – Wadi Rum (Bedouin camp night inside the protected area of Wadi Rum)
Day 6. Wadi Rum – Red Sea – Aqaba (Night in Aqaba)
Day 7. Aqaba – Wadi Mujib – Jerash – Amman (Night in Amman)
Day 8. Amman – Dead Sea – Airport
Day 9. Flight Amman – Madrid (with Tarom, stopover in Bucharest)