Jordan, a country in the Middle East, is a treasure trove of historical and natural wonders. It offers a diverse range of landscapes, from the stunning red desert of Wadi Rum to the ancient city of Petra. Exploring Jordan on weekends is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and rejuvenate your mind and body. In this article, we will guide you through twelve short getaways in Jordan, each offering a unique experience and a chance to immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of the region.
Section 1: Amman – The Capital City
Amman, the capital city of Jordan, is a vibrant and bustling metropolis that blends modernity with ancient traditions. Start your weekend getaway by exploring the historical sites in the downtown area, such as the Roman Theater and the Citadel. Take a stroll along Rainbow Street, known for its trendy cafes, restaurants, and shops. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste authentic Jordanian cuisine at local restaurants.
- Visit the Roman Theater: Marvel at the well-preserved ancient amphitheater, which dates back to the 2nd century AD. Take in the panoramic views of the city from the top of the theater.
- Explore the Citadel: Discover the ruins of the ancient citadel, including the Temple of Hercules and the Umayyad Palace. Visit the Jordan Archaeological Museum to learn more about Jordan’s history and culture.
- Indulge in Jordanian Cuisine: Sample traditional dishes like mansaf (a lamb dish with rice and yogurt sauce) and falafel at local restaurants. Don’t forget to try Jordan’s famous sweet treat, knafeh.
Section 2: Petra – The Rose City
Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most iconic destinations in Jordan. Known as the Rose City due to its pink-hued sandstone cliffs, Petra is an archaeological wonder that will leave you in awe.
- Visit the Treasury: Begin your exploration of Petra by walking through the Siq, a narrow gorge, and marvel at the magnificent Treasury (Al-Khazneh) carved into the rock face.
- Explore the Royal Tombs: Discover the intricately carved Royal Tombs, including the Urn Tomb and the Palace Tomb. Climb up to the High Place of Sacrifice for breathtaking views of the city.
- Hike to the Monastery: Embark on a challenging hike to the Monastery (Ad-Deir), located at the top of a mountain. The journey is rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
Section 3: Dead Sea – The Lowest Point on Earth
The Dead Sea, located at the lowest point on Earth, is famous for its high salt content and unique buoyancy. A visit to the Dead Sea is not only a relaxing experience but also offers numerous health benefits.
- Float in the Dead Sea: Experience the sensation of floating effortlessly on the salty waters of the Dead Sea. The high salt content and mineral-rich mud are believed to have therapeutic properties.
- Enjoy a Mud Bath: Cover yourself in the mineral-rich mud found along the shores of the Dead Sea. Allow it to dry before rinsing off, leaving your skin feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
- Visit the Dead Sea Panoramic Complex: Learn about the history and geology of the Dead Sea at the interactive museum. Enjoy panoramic views of the sea from the observation deck.
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Section 4: Wadi Rum – The Martian Desert
Wadi Rum, also known as the Martian Desert, is a breathtaking landscape of towering sandstone cliffs and vast red desert. It has served as a backdrop for numerous movies, including “Lawrence of Arabia.”
- Take a Jeep Tour: Explore the desert in a 4×4 jeep and marvel at the unique rock formations, ancient petroglyphs, and stunning sand dunes.
- Experience Bedouin Hospitality: Stay overnight in a traditional Bedouin camp and immerse yourself in the Bedouin way of life. Enjoy a traditional dinner and gaze at the star-filled sky.
- Go Camel Trekking: Embark on a camel trek through the desert and experience the tranquility of the vast landscape. Watch the sunset paint the desert in shades of gold and orange.
Section 5: Jerash – The Ancient Roman City
Jerash is home to one of the best-preserved Roman cities in the world. It offers a fascinating glimpse into the grandeur of ancient civilizations.
- Explore the Ruins: Wander through the well-preserved ruins of Jerash, including the Oval Plaza, the Temple of Artemis, and the South Theater. Admire the intricate architecture and the impressive Roman columns.
- Watch a Roman Chariot Race: Experience the thrill of a Roman chariot race at the Hippodrome. Witness skilled charioteers compete in a reenactment of this ancient sport.
- Visit the Jerash Archaeological Museum: Learn more about the history of Jerash and its ancient civilizations at the onsite museum. Admire the collection of artifacts and statues.
Section 6: Aqaba – The Red Sea Riviera
Aqaba, located on the shores of the Red Sea, is a paradise for beach lovers and diving enthusiasts. With its crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life, Aqaba offers a unique underwater experience.
- Go Snorkeling or Diving: Explore the colorful coral reefs and swim alongside tropical fish in the Red Sea. Aqaba is home to numerous dive sites suitable for both beginners and experienced divers.
- Relax on the Beach: Unwind on the pristine beaches of Aqaba and soak up the sun. Enjoy water sports such as jet skiing, paddleboarding, or simply take a leisurely swim in the clear waters.
- Visit the Aqaba Archaeological Museum: Discover artifacts from the ancient city of Ayla at the Aqaba Archaeological Museum. Learn about the rich history of the region and its maritime heritage.
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Section 7: Dana Biosphere Reserve – Nature’s Sanctuary
The Dana Biosphere Reserve is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. It is home to diverse plant and animal species, as well as breathtaking landscapes.
- Hike the Dana Trail: Embark on a multi-day hike along the Dana Trail and experience the stunning scenery of the reserve. Pass through canyons, mountains, and traditional Bedouin villages.
- Spot Wildlife: Keep an eye out for wildlife such as ibex, gazelles, and various bird species. The reserve is a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts, with over 200 bird species recorded.
- Visit the Dana Village: Explore the traditional village of Dana and learn about the local Bedouin culture. Visit the craft workshops and support the community by purchasing handmade souvenirs.
Section 8: Madaba – The City of Mosaics
Madaba is known as the City of Mosaics, with its rich collection of Byzantine and Umayyad mosaic art. It is a fascinating destination for history and art enthusiasts.
- Visit the Madaba Archaeological Park: Explore the archaeological park, which showcases ancient ruins and mosaics. Don’t miss the famous Madaba Map, a mosaic map of the Holy Land.
- Discover the St. George Church: Admire the stunning mosaic floor of the St. George Church, featuring the oldest surviving map of Jerusalem.
- Explore the Madaba Museum: Learn more about the history of Madaba and its mosaic art at the Madaba Museum. Marvel at the intricate craftsmanship of the mosaics on display.
Section 9: Ajloun – The Castle on the Hill
Ajloun is a small town in northern Jordan known for its impressive medieval castle and beautiful natural surroundings. It offers a peaceful escape from the city.
- Visit Ajloun Castle: Explore the imposing Ajloun Castle, perched on a hilltop. Take in panoramic views of the surrounding countryside from the castle’s towers.
- Take a Hike in Ajloun Forest Reserve: Discover the lush greenery of the Ajloun Forest Reserve and hike along its scenic trails. Keep an eye out for wildlife, including deer and foxes.
- Experience Local Hospitality: Visit a local guesthouse and experience the warm hospitality of the Ajloun community. Enjoy traditional meals and learn about the local culture and traditions.
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Section 10: Ma’in Hot Springs – Nature’s Spa
Ma’in Hot Springs is a natural spa located in a picturesque valley. The hot springs are known for their therapeutic properties and provide a relaxing and rejuvenating experience.
- Relax in the Hot Springs: Soak in the mineral-rich hot springs and let the warm waters melt away your stress. The natural hot waterfalls provide a soothing massage for tired muscles.
- Indulge in Spa Treatments: Pamper yourself with a range of spa treatments, including massages and mud wraps, using the mineral-rich mud from the hot springs.
- Explore the Surrounding Nature: Take a leisurely walk in the surrounding area and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The valley is dotted with palm trees and offers breathtaking views of the mountains.
Section 11: Umm Qais – Roman Ruins with a View
Umm Qais, located in the north of Jordan, is home to impressive Roman ruins overlooking the Sea of Galilee. It offers a unique combination of history and stunning panoramic views.
- Explore the Roman Ruins: Wander through the well-preserved Roman ruins of Umm Qais, including the theater, the basilica, and the ancient streets. Admire the intricate mosaics that have survived the test of time.
- Enjoy a View of the Sea of Galilee: Take in the breathtaking views of the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights from the hilltop where the ruins are located.
- Visit the Umm Qais Museum: Learn about the history of Umm Qais and the Roman civilization at the onsite museum. Discover artifacts and archaeological finds from the area.
Section 12: Karak – The Crusader Castle
Karak is home to one of the largest and most well-preserved Crusader castles in the region. It offers a glimpse into the medieval history of Jordan.
- Explore Karak Castle: Step back in time as you explore the impressive Karak Castle, with its underground passages, halls, and fortified walls. Climb to the top for panoramic views of the surrounding area.
- Visit the Karak Archaeological Museum: Learn about the history of Karak and its significance during the Crusader period at the onsite museum. Admire the collection of artifacts and historical displays.
- Discover the Karak Souk: Explore the bustling market in the old town of Karak. Browse through shops selling traditional crafts, spices, and souvenirs.
Jordan offers a wealth of opportunities for short getaways and rejuvenation. From the historical sites of Amman and Petra to the natural wonders of Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea, each destination provides a unique experience. Whether you’re exploring ancient ruins, floating in the Dead Sea, or hiking through scenic landscapes, Jordan will captivate you with its rich history, warm hospitality, and stunning natural beauty.
– Visit Jordan: www.visitjordan.com
– UNESCO World Heritage Center: whc.unesco.org
– Jordan Tourism Board: www.jordan.jo