A one-week Jordan itinerary

A 7-day Jordan itinerary

World-class archaeological sites, spectacular desert scenery, friendly people, delicious food and guaranteed sunshine – there are plenty of reasons to visit Jordan. Though who am I kidding, it was famous view of the Treasury at Petra seen through the rock corridor of the Siq in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade that sold it to me. Whatever your reasons for wanting to visit, Jordan is a great place for a road trip, with decent roads (though keep an eye out for the speed bumps) and cheap fuel. So if you want to see the best of Jordan in a week, here’s my perfect one-week Jordan itinerary – with what to see, do and where to stay along the way.

Read more: A first-timer’s guide to visiting Petra

Jordan itinerary map

Day 1: Arrive into Amman

Arrive into Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport and pick up a hire car (it’s a really good idea to hire a GPS or download a map app as Amman is confusing to navigate – there are a lot of roundabouts!). If you arrive early enough then spend the afternoon exploring some of the things to do in Amman. Visit the Roman theatre and climb up to the citadel just before sunset for a stunning view over the city rooftops. Then head to Rainbow Street for dinner – this area’s a hub for cafés, boutique shop and restaurants with some great people-watching.

Amman in Jordan

Amman cityscape

Where to stay in Amman: Amman’s got a lot of big chain hotels with fairly similar style and facilities, and the competition means you can often get a good deal if you shop around. We stayed at the Le Meridien for around £110 which had indoor and outdoor pools, a couple of restaurants and free car parking. Also similar in size and price are the Kempinski, the Intercontinental and the Grand Millennium Amman hotels.

Amman citadel at sunset, Jordan

Sunset at the citadel

Day 2: Jerash

Head out of Amman in the morning and drive around 30 miles north to the city to the Roman site of Jerash. It was originally known as Gerasha and is one of the best preserved Roman sites outside of Italy. Though it covers a huge area so pack decent shoes, a hat, water and sunscreen. There’s a mix of temples, ruined buildings, rows of columns, plazas and amphitheatres to explore. Some of the highlights are Hadrian’s Arch at the entrance, the giant hippodrome, the Southern Theatre and the Forum, which is lined with 100 stone columns.

Total driving: 66 miles/2 hours

The forum in Jerash, Jordan

Jerash’s Forum

Day 3: The King’s Highway

Leave Amman behind and head south towards Petra. The quickest way to get there is via the modern Desert Highway (3 hours), but the King’s Highway is much more scenic (4 hours 45 mins). This route – now called Route 35 – was a trade and pilgrimage route through the Middle East for over 5000 years. About 20 miles south of Amman is Madaba, home to some of the world’s largest and best-preserved Byzantine mosaics. You can see them on display at the Church of St George and in the town’s archaeological museum.

The King's Highway, Jordan

Driving the King’s Highway

Further south, the road twists its way down into Wadi Mujib – a 1300-metre-deep gorge that’s been nicknamed Jordan’s Grand Canyon. The views from the top are fantastic, looking down onto the reservoir with patches of green irrigated farmland among all those miles of sand. Then carry on south to Karak, a town dominated by its huge 12th-century Crusader Castle. You can stop off to explore the castle ruins before carrying on though Shawbak and finally arriving into Wadi Musa – the town which has grown up around the ancient city of Petra.

Wadi Mujib in Jordan

Wadi Mujib

Stay in Wadi Musa for two nights – if possible try to make sure you’re there for either a Monday, Wednesday or Thursday night. That’s when the spectacular Petra by Night take place, with the Siq and the Treasury lit up with over 1800 candles. It gets pretty busy but is a magical sight, with Bedouin music played outside the Treasury at the end. The tour starts at 8.30pm and lasts two hours – if you want somewhere to stop before or after, the Petra Guest House’s Cave Bar is a unique chance to have a drink in a 2000-year-old Nabataean tomb.

Petra by night, Jordan

Petra by night

Where to stay in Wadi Mesa: There are lots of hotels around Petra – one of the closest is the five-star Mövenpick, located a couple of minutes from the main entrance to Petra. It has a pool, bar, roof gardens and a restaurant, which is worth a visit even if you’re not staying there. Or if you don’t mind a bit of a drive, the hotels on the hill above Wadi Musa have amazing views. We stayed in the Rocky Mountain Hotel for a bargain £25 a night, with simple en-suite rooms and a big balcony and roof terrace where they offer traditional dinners.

Total driving: 170 miles/4 hours 45 mins

Camels at Petra, Jordan

Petra camels

Day 4: Petra

There’s not a lot of shade around the ruins at Petra, so it’s a good idea to get there as early in the morning as possible, then stop for lunch (and maybe a siesta) in the hottest part of the day before going back in the late afternoon – that should miss some of the worst crowds too. The entrance to the site is along the Siq, a mile-long gorge which is carved from curving pink and orange rocks. At the end is the Treasury, the most famous of Petra’s temples. That first glimpse of it through the gap is a real jaw-dropping sight you’ll never forget. It’s only a fraction of Petra’s 60 square kilometre area though, so choose the bits you want to focus on.

The Treasury, Petra, Jordan

The Siq and the Treasury

The walk along the main pathway towards the centre of Petra takes you past the Street of Facades, with over 40 merchants’ tombs stacked on top of each other in the rock face. Then there’s an ancient amphitheatre and the grand Royal Tombs, the biggest and most impressive tombs in Petra. A paved Roman road runs through the Colonnaded Street and the centre of old Petra. Here you’ll find the Qasr al-Bint temple and the old Nabatean baths. There’s also a museum and a restaurant if you want to stop and cool off.

The Colonnaded Street in Petra, Jordan

The Colonnaded Street

One of the best walks in Petra is the hike up to the Monastery – an even bigger version of the Treasury, that’s a lot less busy as it’s a bit harder to reach. The path leaves from near the museum and takes you up 800 steps to the top (there are donkeys at the bottom for hire, but there are reports of them being badly treated so I’d avoid them if possible). Also recommended are the hikes up to the High Place of Sacrifice and the Al Khubtha trail which starts near the Royal Tombs and gives you that famous view of the Treasury from high above.

The Monastery in Petra, Jordan

The Monastery

Day 5: Wadi Rum

Leave Wadi Musa and head south to the desert landscape of Wadi Rum, a UNESCO World Heritage site with miles of stunning golden rock and sand stretching for miles in every direction. To get around you can hire a 4×4 from the visitors’ centre and head out on your own. Or you can hire a driver and guide (or a camel if you prefer) to take you around some of the most famous landmarks including the Jebel Burdah Rock Bridge and T.E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Then head to a traditional Bedouin camp to spend the night.

Wadi Rum in Jordan

Wadi Rum landscapes

Where to stay in Wadi Rum: The Arabian Nights camp is the best-rated of the camps in Wadi Rum, and is run by a Bedouin family out in a remote area surrounded by mountains. They have a mix of private rooms and dorm beds if you’re on a budget, with a communal shower and toilet block, and a central tent where everyone gathers to eat together. It’s got a real sociable feel – with some of the most star-filled night skies you’ll find anywhere.

Total driving: 64 miles/1.5 hours

Sunset at Wadi Rum in Jordan

Desert sunset

Day 6: Dead Sea

It’s worth getting up early to watch the sun rise over the desert before a Bedouin breakfast. Then start your journey northwards towards the Dead Sea. After following the Desert Highway through Ma’an, the route takes you down a winding mountain road with some great views until you reach the banks of the Dead Sea. Most of the hotels are concentrated at the north end so follow the coast road – taking a couple of diversions along the way. Firstly to the Ma’in Hot Springs where you can soak in hot mineral springs and waterfalls, and then at the Dead Sea Panoramic Complex where you can see right over to Israel on a clear day.

Views from the Dead Sea Panoramic Complex in Jordan

Dead Sea Panoramic Complex views

Where to stay at the Dead Sea: The Dead Sea coast is a bit lacking in budget options, so if you want to splash out this is a good place to do it. We stayed at the five-star Mövenpick Resort & Spa which had a few different pools as well as a spa and private sea access. Like Amman there’s a lot of competition from similar hotels so you could also try the Crowne Plaza or Kempinski. Though beware that food and drink prices are more expensive than elsewhere in Jordan.

Total driving: 206 miles/5 hours

Mövenpick Dead Sea Resort & Spa in Jordan

Pool at the Dead Sea Mövenpick

Day 7: Depart Amman

You’ve reached the end of your one-week Jordan itinerary, so have a last soak in the Dead Sea or a laze by the pool before heading back to Amman to catch your flight back home.

Total driving: 42 miles/1 hour 20 mins

Read more Jordan posts

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A 7-day Jordan itinerary, including Amman, Petra, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea, with tips on what to see and where to stay, and map included #Jordan #Jordanitinerary #Petra #roadtrip #itinerary #VisitJordanA one-week Jordan itinerary, including Amman, Petra, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea, with tips on what to see and where to stay, and map included #Jordan #Jordanitinerary #Petra #roadtrip #itinerary #VisitJordan

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  • Reply
    November 12, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    I think Jordan has made it on to my own wishlist now!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      November 12, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      Excellent, there should be lots of posts and pictures to come to sell it to you even more!

  • Reply
    November 12, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Wow! Jordan’s been on my bucketlist for a very very long time… and I wish I’ll have the time to visit it some time soon! Enjoy it a lot… and I’ll look forward to reading you once you’re back! 😉

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      November 12, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      Thanks, it’s such a fascinating country, I shall no doubt be taking hundred of photos out there!

  • Reply
    November 12, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    This is such a coincidence as ony this weekend my husband and I discussed a trip to Jordan! I will watch your experiences unfold with great interest. Your itinerary sounds very exciting, just the right amount o f time everywhere. We’re you tempted at all to include Aqaba and the Red Sea?

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      November 12, 2012 at 1:43 pm

      How strange! We did think about including the Red Sea but with only 8 days it would’ve meant squeezing the time in other places and a load more driving, so we’re giving it a miss this time (a good excuse to go back!). Should have lots of tips to share by the time I get back.

  • Reply
    November 12, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Sounds good. Wadi Rum and the desert is great. Avoid Aqaba, Petra good too.
    We also stayed at Wadi Dana, quite isolated but very relaxing.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      November 12, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      Thanks, Wadi Dana looks amazing and relaxing is always good!

  • Reply
    Anita Mac
    November 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Sounds like a brilliant week! Have yet to make it to Jordon but I am sure it will be crowding my list for top interests for 2013! Have a great time. Can’t wait to see your photos.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      November 12, 2012 at 3:05 pm

      So many places to go, so little time! Jordan’s been on my list for years so I’m excited to finally make it out there.

  • Reply
    Browsing the Atlas
    November 12, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I envy you. The Middle East isn’t on my radar yet as a travel destination, but maybe after reading of your adventures I’ll think otherwise. Have fun!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      November 12, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      This will be my first Middle East trip so it’ll be interesting to see a new part of the world.

  • Reply
    Ship's Cook
    November 12, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Don’t miss the High Place of scrifice at Petra for knockout views and the building known as the Monastery, it’s like the treasury only on a mountain top!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      November 12, 2012 at 3:07 pm

      Thanks for the tip, mountain top views sound just my thing!

  • Reply
    November 12, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I’ve been longing to go here to for ages. Have a wonderful time and I’m looking forward to the photos.
    P.S. lovely to finally meet you in person last week at WTM.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      November 12, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      Thanks Kat, I suspect there will be a lot of photos to see! Lovely to meet you last week too and will definitely have to sort out a mini blogger meet up.

  • Reply
    November 12, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Havent been to Jordan yet but we recently did Israel. Looking forward to your trip as well

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      November 12, 2012 at 11:12 pm

      You have some great photos from Israel. Looking forward to my first experiences of the Middle East.

  • Reply
    Bashar A.
    November 12, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    I’ve been to Jarash & the dead sea… unfortunately I was sick on the day we went to Petra so I never made it there! Have fun, you’ll enjoy it 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      November 12, 2012 at 11:14 pm

      What a shame to get so close and miss Petra! Hope you make it out there sometime. Looking forward to seeing Jerash after doing Pompeii earlier this year.

  • Reply
    November 12, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    This has been on my wish-list for a few years too. Have a fabulous time and I can’t wait to see your photos and posts when you get back – they’ll definitely fuel the wanderlust 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      November 12, 2012 at 11:16 pm

      Thanks, I’ve seen so many fabulous photos from Petra I hope I can do it justice!

  • Reply
    Ardun Ward
    November 13, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Great itinerary Lucy. I’m looking forward hearing more about it. I have a tour booked for next April. Can’t wait to get trigger happy in Petra 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      November 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      Hopefully I should have some tips to pass your way before your trip. I’ll be stocking up on the spare memory cards before I go!

  • Reply
    November 13, 2012 at 1:54 am

    This sounds amazing! I can’t wait to travel Jordan and the Middle East. I look forward to reading about your adventures there!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      November 13, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      Thanks, it’s such an interesting region I suspect that this taster might start me off on another huge list of places I want to visit!

  • Reply
    To Paris with My Love
    November 13, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I have not really researched Jordan much. But like everyone, I am so excited to hear about it and see TONS of pictures!

  • Reply
    Journeys and Travels
    November 17, 2012 at 2:53 am

    OMG, Petra is just impressively great and I love to visit on day. You also captured Petra the best it should and I am inspired.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      November 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      Thanks, I should have lots of Petra posts and photos to come in the next few weeks.

  • Reply
    November 21, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    What can I say? You’re there already!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      November 26, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      Just back now! The week flew by but had a great time – though coming back to the English cold and wet weather is a bit of a shock!

  • Reply
    November 21, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Have a great time Lucy!
    We followed a near identical itinerary in reverse – went to the Dead sea straight from the airport and then did Jerash and Ajloun from Amman at the end. Jordan was amazing. Look forward to reading your personal take on it 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      November 26, 2012 at 1:56 pm

      Thanks Madhu, just back and had a fantastic trip, lots of photos and posts to come!

  • Reply
    November 28, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I have been to all of these places 🙂
    Wadi Rum, Petra and the dead sea are an absolute must!! Out of all the places Ive been to (which is quite a lot), Jordan has got it’s own unique beauty! One of the best places I’ve ever seen!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      November 30, 2012 at 2:56 pm

      You’re right, it was such a great country and so much to see, I only had a week to scratch the surface but really enjoyed my time there.

  • Reply
    April 9, 2014 at 7:03 am

    Hey Lucy! Are you done with your future itinerary of Jordan? We are just back from a 9 day trip..Petra, Wadi Rum, Dead Sea and diving in the Red Sea.
    Working on a blog to share the trip….glad to share.

  • Reply
    Nishant Jha
    June 25, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Dear Lucy,

    I am planning a 5-days trip to Jordan from Kuwait with my wife and our “then” 8 months-old Infant son with the following tentative itinerary from 3 Oct to 7 Oct (Eid Break):

    D1: Land at 10 AM and direct from airport to Wadi Rum and overnight in camp

    D2: Petra full day, overnight in Petra

    D3: Dana, Dead Sea, Mount Nebo, Madaba, overnight in Madaba

    D4: Jerash, Ajlun and/or Umm Qais), overnight in Amman

    D5: Amman and departure at 10 PM

    Would Early October be a good time to travel to Jordan and more importantly with all the internal travel involved, would it be a huge trouble/inconvenience with our Infant son?

    And Should I plan a self-drive trip following the above itinerary or a tour-operator trip which would cost me somewhere in the range of USD 1500 to USD 2000? I was doing my research and this seems a bit too high considering it is just a 3-star accommodation cost.

    I am absolutely fine with self-driving and it would also provide a bit og flexibility to us and also the fun of self-exploration.

    How safe would be a self-drive across Jordan and how convenient considering we can’t speak Arabic.

    Look forward to your response.

    Thanks a ton in advance!



    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      June 27, 2014 at 4:31 pm

      Hi Nishant, sounds like you have a great trip planned. Early October should be a good time weather wise. We visited in early November and the days were warm (hot in the sun) and the nights were cool, so you should avoid the hottest times, though I’d try and factor in visiting Petra early morning and late afternoon and having a break over midday (when it’s busy anyway).

      We found self-driving very easy, though if you can hire a GPS with your car I would recommend it as the road maps and signposting aren’t great. Petrol costs are very reasonable and the roads are all good (though there are a lot of speed humps and sometimes they’re not marked so watch out). Your itinerary sounds reasonable in terms of distance and the car means you can be flexible if you want want to stop off more with your son.

      Hope you have a fantastic time!

  • Reply
    April 23, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    I’ve heard some great things about the Wadi Rum trip so one for next time for sure!

  • Reply
    Ellie Cleary
    October 4, 2018 at 1:37 am

    Hi Lucy, love your itinerary (and pictures) and it has brought back loads of great memories of our trip to Jordan! We’re sad we had to miss out on Wadi Mujib (we’ll just have to go back!). We found Jordan to be a beautiful country full of kind and hospitable too. If people are looking to go off the beaten track we loved our time visiting Iraq al Amir (it’s not in Iraq!!) it’s 45 minutes outside of Amman and is a womens’ cooperative offering different community tourism activities. It was such a great experience meeting the women there and understanding how tourists can help make equality a reality for them! Happy travelling!

    • Reply
      October 5, 2018 at 9:42 am

      Ooh thanks for the tip – that sounds really interesting! Glad to bring back some good memories, Jordan is such a lovely place.

  • Reply
    January 3, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    Jordan is amazing, thanks for sharing about your experience! Great one week itinerary you’ve put together.

    All the best on your travels!

    • Reply
      January 7, 2019 at 9:17 pm

      Thanks Daniel, so glad it was useful!

  • Reply
    Dr shylesh
    May 26, 2019 at 5:19 am

    Thanks for your clear write up Jordan
    We are planning to visit soon

    • Reply
      May 26, 2019 at 10:21 pm

      Hope you have a great trip!

  • Reply
    September 10, 2019 at 11:03 pm

    Hi Lucy – would you recommend renting a car from the Amman airport?

  • Reply
    December 27, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    Loved the blog… Helped me tonnes in planning my upcoming trip. Will post my updated comment after the trip

  • Reply
    February 12, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    Hi Lucy, Thanks for sharing your Jordan experience. I am planning to travel solo to Jordan end-March and would be following your itinerary, don’t want to drive. Taking private taxis is expensive, which I assume can be arranged at the hotel. Are there any shared group day tours like to Jerash, Petra etc? Any public transport that I can use to get to places? Thanks

    • Reply
      February 25, 2020 at 4:57 pm

      Hi, there are a lot of tours available – I usually use Get Your Guide or Viator so you might want to take a look there. You can also get the JETT buses between the main destinations too.

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