Like so many other antique lands in this part of the world, Jordan's history and character have largely been shaped by trade. Through their domination of trade in classical antiquity, the Nabateans left us Jordan's most stunning treasure, the rock-hewn city of Petra. While a visit to Petra is worth a trip to Jordan alone, there's so much more to do and see in this amazing country. For example, the impressive Roman ruins at Jerash are also worth a trip. Add to these a number of incredible Byzantine, Islamic, and Biblical-era sites, and Jordan goes from being merely a "destination of interest" to a "must see." What also makes this stunning land a "must see" is its beautiful natural scenery: dramatic desert canyons, lush oases, and, of course, the one and only Dead Sea. Last but never least, Jordan's hospitable people are the real stars. Warm, affable, and welcoming, Jordanians will be delighted that you're a visitor in their land, and chances are you'll be quite delighted, too.
The following sample itinerary is for a 9-day excursion along Jordan's historic trade routes from Amman to Aqaba and practically everywhere in between.
❊ - indicates a UNESCO World Heritage Site
DAY 1 - Arrive at Amman's Queen Alia International Airport
-Our representative will welcome you and transfer you to your hotel.
-Rest of the day free to rest and acclimate.
-Travel a short distance to the Roman ruins at Jerash. Inhabited since at least 7,500 BCE, Jerash reached its zenith in the 1st century CE. Today it's considered to be one of the best-preserved Roman cities outside of Italy.
-Return to Amman, stopping en route to visit the huge King Hussein Mosque (completed in 2005).
-Next, head downtown to visit two Roman theaters before experiencing the Jordan Museum which holds some of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
-End your day wandering Amman's old souq (market).
DAY 3 - Amman - Petra
-This morning you'll explore Amman's
ancient Citadel with its Roman, Byzantine, and Umayyad ruins before touring the nearby Amman Archeological Museum.
-Depart Amman and stop at Mt. Nebo, the place where God granted Moses a view of the Promised Land.
-Continue on to Madaba and view the 6th-century mosaic map of the Holy Land in the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George. It's the oldest intact map of the Holy Land ever discovered.
-Visit the sprawling hilltop fortress at Kerak. Built in the 1140s CE, it is one of the finest examples of an extant Crusader castle in the Middle East.
-That afternoon you'll arrive in Wadi Musa, location of the hidden Nabatean city of Petra, which you'll visit tomorrow.
DAY 4 - Petra
-Rise early and explore the fascinating ruins of Petra*. Carved into steep cliff sides by the Nabateans in the 4th century BCE, Petra was a thriving trading hub for centuries. The wealth they amassed is still evidenced by the sheer size of their city as well as by its numerous artistic masterpieces. It is truly a wonder to behold.
-You'll also visit nearby Little Petra, a small suburb of ancient Petra that you're likely to have all to yourself.
-That evening experience Petra by Night, where the site is illuminated with thousands of candles, and you'll enjoy a concert of traditional Bedouin music.
DAY 5 - Petra - Wadi Rum
-There's the desert, and then there's Wadi Rum*, one of the most majestic landscapes you'll ever experience. That's where your journey will take you today. After you've settled into your luxury tented campsite, you'll hop into a 4x4 with your Bedouin guide who'll take you on a thrilling safari through the canyon. You'll admire Wadi Rum's ever-changing shades of red and orange, its soaring sandstone arches, ancient petroglyphs, and titanic rock formations. You can also opt for a more leisurely horseback or camel ride during your stay if you'd like.
Enjoy a traditional Bedouin feast at your camp, and make new friends with your hosts who are happy to share their culture with you. That evening you'll lie back and savor a magical, dazzling night sky, the perfect end to an idyllic desert day.
Incidentally, Wadi Rum may be immediately familiar to you if you've seen some of the recent Star Wars films, The Martian, or Lawrence of Arabia.
DAY 6 - Wadi Rum - Aqaba
-The Red Sea port city of Aqaba is a short drive from Wadi Rum, and there you'll visit the city's 16th-century Mamluk Fortress, which was famously attacked by forces of the Arab Revolt (including T.E. Lawrence) in 1916.
-After lunch you'll visit the ruins of the Ancient Islamic city of Ayla, the first city built by Muslims for Muslims. Near the site are the ruins of what is believed to be the oldest purposely built church in the world.
-This afternoon enjoy swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving in the Red Sea.
DAY 7 - Aqaba - The Dead Sea
-Depart Aqaba after breakfast for the Dead Sea, stopping first en route at Lot's Cave. It's an old pilgrimage site with ruins of a 6th-century Byzantine church built near the cave where Lot is believed to have stayed after the destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah.
-Visit another Biblically important site at Mukawir. The Roman-era Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, tells us that this mountaintop fortress is where John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded.
-Arrive at your resort on the Dead Sea. Take a dip in the sea's famously buoyant salt water and make liberal use of its rejuvenating mineral clay. You'll feel on top of the world in the lowest place on earth.
DAY 8 - The Dead Sea - Amman
-Today you'll travel to Bethany Beyond the Jordan*, a holy pilgrimage site where John the Baptist is said to have baptized Jesus in the River Jordan.
-Nearby you'll also visit Elijah's Hill, where tradition says that Elijah was swept up to heaven in a chariot of fire.
-Next, tour the charming, ancient city of Salt*. Cited by UNESCO as "the city of tolerance and civilized hospitality," Salt is famous for its multi-confessional communities who have produced harmonious cultural and architectural traditions.
-Arrive in Amman that afternoon and later enjoy a farewell dinner on the last night of your trip.
DAY 9 - Depart for Home
-We will transfer you to Queen Alia International Airport for your flight home.
INCLUDED WITH ANTIQUE LANDS' CUSTOM JOURNEYS: