Petra is the top visited tourist attraction in Jordan, and rightly so because the city is absolutely breathtaking to visit. However, there’s more to Jordan than just the ancient city of Petra. Here are the top three must sees in Jordan, not including Petra.
Wadi Rum is 60km from the southern city of Aqaba and it’s 700km2 of red sand and mountains. The area has been featured in a number of films including Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and The Martian. You can see just why it would be used as an imaginary Mars. It’s also going to be used as the set for live action feature film Aladdin, due to be released in 2019. If you’ve seen any clips or trailers from these films you can get a quick impression of what it’s like. It’s definitely one of the must sees in Jordan.
You do have to pay to get in with the cost standing at 5 JOD (£5 / €6 / $7) for international visitors. If you’re on a tour then this is normally included within the price. We entered the Wadi Rum desert on 4×4 jeeps as we travelled for around 30 minutes through some spectacular views but seeing no-one else during that time. When we got to a base, there were many different walks and activities available to enjoy in the desert. The highlight was the rock arch walk which was a moderate walk but not great for those with a fear of heights. The views (and the pictures) at the top of the arch were amazing though!
The accommodation aspect of a trip to Wadi Rum is definitely the highlight. There are no hotels within the Wadi Rum desert, the only real option is camping. You can find campsites that suit everyone: from campsites where the facilities are very basic or more luxurious campsites more akin to clamping.
There is another option though – camping outside under the stars.
I would recommend this 100%! We camped for one evening under the stars and the sky was so clear you could see everything. It was an amazing experience which really made the visit to Wadi Rum so much more special. We visited at the start of April and the weather was perfect for camping outside. Unfortunately an iPhone doesn’t take a picture that does the night sky justice!
The Roman Ruins of Jerash
Petra is one of many ancient sites that you can visit in Jordan, Jerash is another. The city is home to Roman ruins that are said to be the best preserved outside Italy. The city is located around 55km away from the Jordanian capital, Amman. This site is actually the second most visited tourist attraction in Jordan, after Petra.
There’s a cost of 10 JOD (£10 / €12 / $14) to enter which includes access to the museum at the site too. You can also hire a local guide at the site for an additional cost of 20 JOD (£20 / €24 / $28) which is a great way to learn more about the ancient city. There is actually a 45 minute reenactment show twice a day (once a day on Fridays) that highlights legionnaires, gladiators and finishes with a roman chariot race! There is an additional cost for this but it’s definitely worth thinking about going along to watch.
The city was actually rediscovered by the western world after excavation started at the site in 1925. The ruins show just what life was like back 2,000 years ago when this city would’ve been in full flow. It can take around three to four hours to see the whole of the site with very limited signage so pick up a map and start your walk
As you enter and go through the first arch (featured picture above), there’s a hippodrome that once hosted sporting activities and could hold up to 15,000 spectators. There’s also multiple temples, churches, amphitheatres and theatres that surround the fountain and the 800m colonnaded street where the chariots would go up and down 2,000 years ago.
The Dead Sea
When you read of tourists visiting the Dead Sea, it’s more likely they’re entering from the Israeli side. There’s plenty of opportunities to visit the Dead Sea from Jordan though. The Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth and the salinity of the water is 33% which means you can get those cool floating pictures you see on Instagram!
Due to the salinity, absolutely nothing can live in it (hence the name!) meaning you won’t have any seaweed or fish to contend with whilst floating around. We learnt that the Dead Sea is actually shrinking at an alarming rate of 1m every year. Experts have predicted that the body of water could actually be next to nothing by 2050 which is scary.
We were lucky enough to stay at the Crowne Plaza Dead Sea hotel which was extremely nice but it also had a private beach down to the Dead Sea. There are other hotels and resorts on the side of the Dead Sea but there are also many public areas where you can take a dip. Jordan is quite a conservative country so if you’re in a hotel it’s generally accepted that you can wear bikinis, bathing suits etc. but if you’re entering at a public place you should be conscious of your clothing choices.
The Dead Sea is reported to have great therapeutic qualities so you can often find spa facilities nearby or even some mud masks found next to the Dead Sea. You can also buy many products nearby that are produced using the mud or water at the sea. The Dead Sea is high up on the must sees in Jordan, even to float around in for a few minutes and to try some of the products.
Top tip: Make sure you don’t drink any or get it in your eyes though! Also be careful getting out as I ended up with some pretty bad cuts on my feet but that’s might just’ve been me being clumsy!
Where else would you add to the list? What other must sees in Jordan would you recommend? Have you managed to visit Jordan and tick off all of these activities?
These are three top places to visit here, I agree! What I will surely like will be the Roman ruins since I have a passion for history and roman empire! Of course the dead sea deserves a visit too 🙂
I wish I visited the Dead Sea when I was in Israel; it looks so relaxing, and very unique too. It’s great to read about other attractions I can see if I ever visit Jordan. Thanks for sharing this!
I am so jealous. I always wanted to visit Jordan – Of course Petra is on my list. I would definitely would to visit the ruins and the Dead Sea.
Thanks for sharing this. Lovely experiences
I would love to see the Dead Sea and Wadi Rum! I am fascinated with deserts (probably as I come from wonderfully rainy England) and would love the chance to sleep under the stars in one <3
Jordan has been eluding us 🙂 but we hope to get there soon. We camped under the stars in the deserts of Rajasthan many years back and it was a fabulous experience. I think I would love to do it (sleeping under the stars) in Jordan as well. Must be magical.
I’ve heard that Jordan is beautiful and your pictures just prove that! I had a course mate in university who was from Jordan and she has been inviting me to visit this place.. thanks to your post I am super motivated 🙂
I have heard about Jordan but never thought about going. But these places are beautiful! Now I hope I can visit these places and Petra one day 🙂
Jordan is at the top of my bucket list right now. It’s great to see a few of the options other than Petra, which I am sure is as amazing as it sounds. I would love to float in the Dead Sea, were there options for homestay type accomodation? We like to get to know some local people when we travel and find this easier when not staying in hotels.
We didn’t have the opportunity of staying with locals but there are plenty of options on Airbnb and places like that. That’s a good way of travelling and learning more about the local way of life/area though!
I have never thought about going to Jordan!!! But these stunning pics are making me think…that I need to plan a visit!! Interesting architecture and of course the dead sea
You got me at the Dead Sea and the mud baths. This is the number one reason why I want to visit Jordan. Thanks for highlighting other less traveled spots worth discovering!
I haven’t visited Jordan yet but it’s on the top of my bucket list as a must visit place, David. These are some exceptional ideas to see there. How many days would be enough to see all the highlights in Jordan?
We were there for around 2 weeks but that included around 4/5 days of hiking. I think you’d be able to see the big sights pretty comfortably in a week. That way you could include some time in Amman too
Looks beautiful. Camping under the starts sounds wonderful (I can’t get my I-phone to capture those moments either) and I love love exploring ruins. Thank you for the pics and travel ideas.
This looks amazing! Jerash looks so interesting to visit and i would have to agree, sleeping under the night sky would be amazing in that part of the world! The sky would get so dark!
I have experienced the Dead Sea and it is something else and so worth seeing in person. Would love to camp under the stars like you did in the desert. Must have been an incredible experience.
Gosh I’d love to visit Jordan and experience all the locations you mentioned. Such epic sights!
Wow! These three places look incredibly beautiful and extremely fascinating. Being a history buff, the Roman Ruins of Jerash would be my favourite, although I would love to visit all three of them. Thanks for sharing.
Oh these photos make me want to pack up my bag and go explore Jordan. Looks like a totally epic adventure.
I am still looking forward to taking this trip! I have always wanted to float in the Dead Sea. Is there a recommended length of time that someone should spend in there? Great info! Thanks.
It was pretty cool to float around in the Dead Sea but you’ll struggle to stay in for longer than 10 minutes! The salt really gets to you, especially if you have any cuts
I never knew that Jordan has many things to offer other than Petra. Wadi Rum looks unique spot with those rugged rocky mountains. Thanks for sharing!
Can’t wait to go Jordan myself. will bookmark it for later. Places look lively and fun to explore
Camping under the stars seems lovely!!! So glad I found this- we want to plan a trip to JORDAN and I want to see more than just Petra!!
Such a great post! So excited to be going to all of these places. Can’t wait to camp under the stars!!
Thanks Charlie! Camping under the stars was amazing and I know you’re visiting even more of Jordan, I can’t wait to see what you think of the country!
Ooh, camping out under the stars sounds so wonderful and in such a great part of the world. I’m a city girl, but just love being able to get out and see all the stars I never did growing up!
Well I had no idea about the terrible issue we face in regards to the Dead Sea! That is an alarming rate that it is decreasing by. 1 metre every year is drastic. I would love to experience this one day before it’s too late. Thank you for teaching me something new today David. 🙂
Ohh, I would love to visit Jordan once. Thanks for this awesome tips!
Jordan is absolutely fascinating. Petra is great but these other places are also mind blowing. We particularly enjoyed Wadi Rum a lot. Jerash was a nice surprise, too! I would like to go back one day and visit for a week instead of the 3 days we had there on our last visit!
I’ve heard of Wadi Rum a lot lately and it has fueled my wanderlust! There’s nothing more romantic than being able to camp under the stars in the desert. I can’t wait to get there and check it out for myself!
These are definitely some bucket list worthy sights. So cool!
I have been to Jordan twice. And the geography is so exotic. I even saw the race in Jerash
I haven’t been to Jordan, but it’s on my bucket list. I camped in the desert when I was in Egypt, and I would do that again in a flash. The Dead Sea has always intrigued me. I’d need a few days just to spend at the spas. It’s sad that it’s disappearing at such an alarming rate.
The Wadi Rum is something that we see in the movies. OMG it looks absolutely dramatic. I remember a friend mentioning about this part of the desert when she was heading to Amman from Egypt by road. Even the Roman Ruins look great. I am planning to visit Egypt soon, I believe I am going to add Jordan also to it.
I love Jordan but never made it to Wadi Rum or the Dead Sea. I have those two destinations still on my travel list. Thanks for the tips, helps make my plans a lot easier.
I havent been to Jordan yet but to be honest I am one of those who really just heard about the Petra. That Wadi Rum looks incredible! Such a perfect place! I bet swimming in Dead Sea was a great experience as well! I can’t wait to visit this place one day
I visited Jordan and Petra is without any doubt the major tourist attraction. You’re right there are a lot more other places to visit in Jordan except for Petra and these 3 are a great choice even though they are a famous tourist attraction too. The Roman ruins are my personal favorite- I was fascinated since the moment I first saw them!
Great recommendations. So good to know that there are so many other things to do in Jordan apart from Petra. Very cool facts about Wadi Rum and how its been in so many movies. I guess its such a natural backdrop you can’t re-create anywhere else. Loved that you camped out there. What a great way to experience the desert for what it is. And I have always wanted to visit the Dead Sea and float my day away.
Jordan is a place that seems to belong to a different time altogether. Images of Petra haunt with a thousand stories. But there is so much more to Jordan than just Petra. Wadi Rum looks so intriguing with a wild kind of beauty.
I love tours to historical sites. the roman ruins of Jordan are just spectacular. I wish to go on a roadtrip through those mystic roads that take you into the past!
This looks like a fab place, and I can totally see the nods from Star Wars!! It reminds me a tiny bit of Arizona’s color, but it truly does resemble what we think of as Mars. The price to get in doesn’t seem to bad, either. I’ve been to the Dead Sea, but you’re right – most go from the Israeli side. I did!
I only know of Petra and the capital when it comes to Jordan tourism but I hope to get out here soon. I didnt know about the Roman Ruins here (which I have a keen interest in) so would love to check them out. And I didnt do the Dead Sea when I was in Israel so maybe I will get the chance to see it here. Of course I got to do Petra and wear an Indiana Jones hat. 😀 But these are all great ideas which I am going to consider.
Hi David, thanks for the lovely blog. Wadi Rum is the best for adventurers and I love the place most because I love adventure too. Camping under the stars is such a great idea in Wadi Rum. When I will be visiting Jordan, I will surely be spending a night there.
I knew about Petra and the Dead Sea, but I didn’t know about the other places. Jordan has been on my list to travel to for awhile now, but I haven’t been able to go. Thank you for sharing the other places- it gives me more things to do and see. I suppose I will need more time to visit, but that is ok!
Jordan is on my bucket list. I would love to see the Wadi Rum desert and the Dead Sea. I dream of staying overnight in the desert under the stars, and I like this idea. You had such a beautiful experience with this camping outside. I also want to see Petra, too. I plan to spend about two weeks in Jordan. I hope this is enough to visit this country.
I have been wanting to see more of Jordan for a long time already. I have visited Petra (which was amazing) from Israel, and seen the Dead Sea from that side too. It was interesting to read about the other things to see in Jordan. Camping under the stars sounds so much fun, and I would love to visit Wadi Rum too.
Jordan has been on my mind. Petra is beautiful but you have got me curious about Jerash, the Roman ruins. Wadi Rum looks exciting and Dead Sea is unique. I dint know its shrinking at an alarming rate.
Jordan has been in my wishlist for sometime just for Petra. Now with these 3 places, I guess I should plan a longer holiday in Jordan. Shooting location of Martian? Whoa! That’s something, that’s a crazy landscape! I really hope to visit there.