Road tripping through Jordan was absolutely one of my favorite travel experiences to date. When my brother gave me the dates of his college Spring break, we set out planning an epic adventure in the country. With only 7 days to spare, our goal was to visit the top sites and see as much as possible.
By no means does this itinerary cover everything there is to see in Jordan … far from. If we had more time, I would have visited Jerash, Aqaba and more of the North.
After a lot of research, we decided that the best way to see the country and have the most freedom would be by renting a car and driving from location to location. We landed in Amman’s international airport (Queen Alia) around 2:30 pm and grabbed our car from Hertz that we had pre-booked. Though I would recommend pre-booking, it’s super easy to rent a car once you’ve arrived – after coming out of customs, there are numerous rental places (Hertz, Avis, etc.) when you head to the right.
Day 1 – 3: Dead Sea
From Amman, we drove East about 1.5 hours to the Dead Sea.
We stayed at the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea and I would highly recommend it for your trip to Jordan. It’s known to be one of Jordan’s most luxurious hotel properties, though it certainly doesn’t have the prices to match. Our room was one of their more basic ones, but was spacious and had a beautiful outdoor patio, and we paid only 175 JOD ($246 USD) per night. This is insanely affordable for a 5-star accommodation with wonderful service, multiple restaurants and pools.
The Kempinski also has access to the Dead Sea via a small private beach, which I would highly recommend doing! They have a few private chairs on the beach, a pot filled with mud from the Dead Sea that you can coat your body with and a shower to rinse the salt off after you come out of the water.
However, an even better way to see the Dead Sea is to take half a day and drive South to Wadi Mujib.
Before heading into Wadi Mujib, drive about 2 km. South to the area where the coast starts to look like this:
These are the exact coordinates so you can plug it into Google Maps: 31.4526110, 35.5665043.
Park on the side of the highway and climb down to the shore. It’ll take about 10 minutes of walking and you’ll need sneakers or other sturdy shoes to do it. Once you reach the shore, you’ll be blown away by how beautiful the sea is here. There are layers and layers of salt that make the waters look so turquoise and beautiful. Just walk in, relax and float!
Then, head to Wadi Mujib. Unfortunately, when we were in Jordan, Wadi Mujib was closed due to excessive rains that made it unsafe for tourists to go inside. But as you can see from the below photos, it is absolutely beautiful and shouldn’t be missed. You can also use the fresh waters of Wadi Mujib to wash off from the salt water of the Sea. 🙂
Day 3 – 5: Petra
We checked out of the Kempinski and drove South about three hours to Petra! Petra was a definite highlight of our Jordan trip – this ancient city is so beautiful and full of so much interesting history. We unfortunately only had one full day at Petra, though in an ideal world I would recommend spending 2 – 3 full days soaking it all up.
While in Petra, we stayed at Petra Bubble Luxotel – a super unique and luxurious hotel that is made up of 20 bubble suites. Each suite is comprised of three bubbles – a living room, a bathroom and a bedroom – and also has its own private outdoor jacuzzi, perfect for relaxing your muscles after a long day of exploring Petra.
The bubble was SUPER comfy for sleeping in. The stars at night are so clear and so beautiful, and the beds were surprisingly comfortable. The bathroom also comes with a fully functioning, normal shower and toilet. The only downside to the bubble is that it can get a bit hot during the day, but the assumption is that you’ll be out exploring during the day and will return when the sun isn’t so high. We LOVED our stay at the Petra Bubble Luxotel and could have easily spent more than two nights.
Day 5 – 6: Wadi Rum
From Petra, we drove two more hours South to Wadi Rum, a protected desert area.
We stayed at Memories Aicha Luxury Camp there for one night. When we arrived to Wadi Rum Village, the staff picked us up and drove us in a 4×4 Jeep through the sand to the camp. You have the option of staying in a tent or in a bubble – we chose the tent option. The tent was beautifully appointed with traditional Bedouin decor and a fully functioning shower and toilet. The camp also has a large dining area with delicious food, and behind it is a lounge area built into the rocks, where you can do shisha and drink tea around a fire after dinner.
Wadi Rum is such a unique and beautiful place, unlike anything I’ve seen in my life. The landscapes are unreal, the sand is a beautiful deep red and the surroundings have a way of making you question whether you’re still on Earth. Hollywood seems to agree with me also – most of the popular films set in outer space (The Martian, Star Wars, etc.) were filmed in Wadi Rum!
We spent only one night in Wadi Rum and were satisfied with that length of time. 2 nights would be fine, but I personally would cap it at that. There isn’t much to do out in the desert, so boredom would likely set in quickly. While you’re there, the top activities are riding camels, Jeep tours, hiking/walking.
Day 7+: Amman
To end our trip, we drove three hours on the highway back up to Amman, Jordan’s capital city. We dropped our car at the airport and took an Uber into the city, where we spent a couple nights at Grand Hyatt Amman. Both the Four Seasons Amman and the Fairmont Amman were unfortunately booked, but the Grand Hyatt was a great option for the time we were there.
Amman is an absolutely enormous, bustling city and to be completely honest, I didn’t love it. I felt safe the entire time and nothing negative happened; I just wasn’t really impressed by the city. I suspect I would need to come back and spend more time in Amman to truly get a good feel for it.
While in Amman though, we did a couple of things that I could absolutely recommend:
- Eat at Fatatri. Fatatri is a restaurant that serves fateer (pastry filled with meats, cheeses, etc.). I’d never had fateer before, but OMG – it’s amazing. When you’re here, try the spicy chorizo fateer.
- Visit the Roman Ampitheatre.
- Visit the Amman Citadel.
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