Join UNSTOPPABLE Stacey as she embarks on her epic Jordan journey and then discover the ultimate Jordan itinerary following her tale. The narrative will help you plan your own Jordan journey.
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Trying Traditional Food Must Be On Your Jordan Itinerary
I sit in Sufra, Amman’s trendy restaurant, sipping refreshing mint lemonade, a beverage I would soon come to understand was a typical drink in Jordan. Our evening walk to the restaurant passed colorful shops and eateries on Rainbow Street—the city’s hip strip—a veritable foodie’s heaven lit up for the night.
I’ve heard of Jordanians’ love of food and fabulous spreads of mezze (shared small plates,) but I’m eager to sample the array of bites for myself. With the intoxicating aromas of wood fire and warm bread in the air, I settle at an impeccably set table, looking forward to a fun evening of savoring traditional Jordan food and the promising Jordan itinerary ahead.
Vegetables So Fresh You Can Taste the Jordanian Soil
“The taste of the soil is in our vegetables,” explains my new friend Mohammad Qamhiya as the mezze begin arriving. The numerous bowls and plates are to be shared with the whole table. It takes three waiters to load the tabletop with the plethora of mezze, served all at once instead of one or two at a time like tapas in Spain.
What to Eat in Jordan
Many small plates are based on local vegetables such as green beans in olive oil, pickled purple cauliflower and Baba Ganuj, smoked eggplant, almonds and sesame paste. Other mezze, like chicken livers cooked with garlic and coriander, spicy lamb stew or lamb spleen stuffed with celery and chile sauce and then roasted, celebrate local meats.
“Never had lamb spleen before,” I grin at Mohammad, “So pile it on!” From our table, we observe the bread maker slapping dough to the side walls of his olla-shaped oven, trying to keep up with our consumption of the delicious rustic flatbread.
Sufra was named on the 50 Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 list, so put it on your Jordan itinerary! Expect to pay about $25 per person.
Your Itinerary for Jordan Should Include Time in Amman
If I could taste the soil in the vegetables, it would be the taste of limestone. Amman is located in the highlands of Jordan—which means it’s cooler than other parts of this desert country—and is built on seven limestone hills.
Jordan’s capital rolls up and over the hillsides, giving spectacular views of city lights by night and limestone-clad buildings by day. The creamy color of the local rock makes a stunning mono-tone of Middle Eastern architecture that stretches out into the suburbs.
I recommend scheduling two nights in Amman for a 10-day itinerary for Jordan. There’s lots to see in the capital city, which also makes a good hub for visiting nearby sites.
Mohammad wants to show me the massive ruin site of Jerash, built of the same creamy limestone, so we plan to leave the next day for the UNESCO site fifty minutes away.
For details, see ‘Your Jordan Itinerary 10 Days’ at the end of this story.
Add the Ancient Roman City of Jerash to Your Itinerary Jordan
“The largest Greco-Roman ruin site that you’ve never heard of,” I laugh to my friend as we walk through the sprawling archaeological site of columns, colonnades and colossal temples.
I’m awed by the layers of time as Mohammed points to a wall with the base stratum made of straight-edged Greek blockwork. The Romans laid upon it tooled, round-edged masonry. The Roman stones are now capped with smaller limestone blocks of the Islamic era.
An age-old olive oil press sits near the wall.
I hate leaving Jerash, one of six Jordanian UNESCO World Heritage sites. A half-day on your itinerary Jordan is undoubtedly insufficient time to experience the open-air museum.
I’m tempted to spend more time dreaming in the 3000-seat theatre, wandering the ancient Hippodrome or exploring what was left of the early Christian churches (400-600 AD.)
Save Time on Your Jordan Itinerary for Winetasting
But a wine tasting and dinner at The Winemaker in Amman are calling. The tasting room and restaurant are run by Zumot vintners, which harvest grapes at three vineyards around Jordan.
Each vineyard has a specific terroir for the structure of the 20-plus wines they produce. During the wine tasting, I imagine that I taste–wait for it–limestone–in the dusty cab-merlot blend on their Saint George label. The Cabernet Sauvignon won a gold medal at the 2011 Mundus Vini International. All the more reason to include winetasting on your Jordan itinerary.
Although The Winemaker seems to be closed now, you can book a winetasting at another venue. Make sure to pre-book your winetasting in advance of your trip.
4x4 Ride to Wadi Rum Campsite: Essential for Any Itinerary Jordan
From upscale Amman, we don our keftiyeh—the native, nomadic headgear—and head out to the backcountry of Wadi Rum. It was here where Lawrence of Arabia roused Bedouin tribes in the Arab Revolt of 1916-18.
Today, the majestic desert is a national preserve full of sandy gorges, petroglyphs and archaeological sites. It is typically found on every itinerary Jordan has to offer.
We experience the famous Bedouin hospitality with song and dance around a fire at our campsite. Under a field of stars, we enjoy zarb, a traditional meal of lamb, vegetables and spices cooked underground in the sand.
Then, I retire to my private goat-hair tent. Watching the morning break from atop my Bedouin camel and the contemplative 45-minute ride back to civilization was the high point of my Jordan journey.
Petra: A Must-Visit Stop on Your Jordan Itinerary
No Jordan journey would be complete without a visit to Petra, the ancient city carved into rose-colored sandstone cliffs. I wander the massive UNESCO World Heritage site alone—the Indiana Jones theme song is stuck in my head.
“How would this look when it was a tax station for the 800-plus camel caravans that carried spices from the Saudi peninsula towards Rome, Greece and Egypt? As a crossroads of civilization at the time of Christ, this place must have been bustling,” I imagine.
At the end of the day, I walk out of the sandstone ruins, a little sad knowing I’ll leave Jordan soon. Until I look down at the ancient Roman pavers at my feet and realize they’re made of – you guessed it—limestone, which makes me smile.
This story was first published in Lake Erie Lifestyle Magazine.
Now that we’ve discovered a bit about Jordan’s food, history and culture, it’s time to formulate your Jordan itinerary. Here’s a 10 days Jordan itinerary you can modify to suit your time constraints and interests.
Your Jordan Itinerary 10 Days
This itinerary for Jordan is easy to customize to fit your schedule. The ‘Jordan Itinerary 10 Days’ is a good starting point for planning your ultimate Jordan journey.
Day One: Arrival and Culinary Experience
Arrive at Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA), 18 miles / 30 km south of Amman, typically in the afternoon. (See the ‘If You Go’ section below.) Transfer to your hotel in Amman.
Experience the local culture by taking dinner at a traditional yet contemporary restaurant like Sufra.
Behind every dish is a long tradition passed along through the generations. Discover Jordanian culture through this tactile culinary experience.
Day Two: Roam Roman Ruins and Winetasting
After breakfast at your hotel, travel north to the ancient city of “Jerash, the Crossroads of Civilization,” which is remarkable as one of the best-preserved Roman cities. See a live performance of the Roman Army and Chariot Experience at the Hippodrome (if available).
Your tour guide will return you to your hotel, where you can freshen up before the next item on your 10 days Jordan itinerary: winetasting.
Make sure to pre-book your winetasting in advance of your trip.
Overnight at your hotel in Amman.
Day Three: Souk and Byzantine Byways
In the morning, visit one of Amman’s vibrant markets called souks. After lunch, pick up your rental car or book a private tour in advance with a knowledgeable driver like Joyful Roads Private Car Service.
The first stop on today’s Jordan road trip is Mount Nebo, where Moses saw the Holy Land. You’ll see what Moses saw from high atop the mountain: the Jordan River Valley and the Dead Sea.
You’ll also be able to view the rooftops of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Explore the remains of a Byzantine Church constructed in the second half of the fourth century to commemorate the place where Moses died. The mosaic floors are some of the most magnificent in the world. Read about the death of Moses in Deuteronomy 34: 1-10.
Next, go to Madaba, famed for its mosaics and visit the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George.
The last destination on today’s Jordan itinerary is the tranquil Feynan Eco Lodge in the stunning Wadi Feynan. Recognized as one of the top 50 eco-lodges globally by National Geographic Adventure Magazine, this solar-powered haven stands as a beacon of sustainable lodging in Jordan, providing guests with a premier eco-friendly experience through its candle-lit ambiance.
Overnight at the Feynan Eco Lodge.
Day Four: Bedoin Experience and Petra by Night
This morning presents a chance to delve into the local landscape and partake in a Bedouin Experience. This is among the few places in Jordan where the authentic Bedouin way of life continues undisturbed. Dive deep into the Bedouin culture and its age-old traditions.
After your exploration, lunch awaits you at the lodge. Following that, you drive or have the eco-lodge arrange transport to the mesmerizing rose-red city of Petra.
Upon reaching Petra, settle into your hotel. The afternoon is yours to discover the charming town of Wadi Musa at your leisure.
Tonight, after dinner, you can witness the magic of Petra by night. Rest assured, a comforting night’s sleep awaits you at your Petra hotel.
Day Five: Explore Petra
Explore the ancient city of Petra, carved into rose-red rock cliffs. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
Overnight at your hotel in Petra.
Day Six: Wadi Rum Outdoor Adventure
“Following breakfast, you’ll check out and set off for Wadi Rum, the captivating desert expanse where Lawrence of Arabia roamed in 1917. And where the movie The Martian with Matt Damon was filmed. You can drive your rental car or book a transfer from Petra/Wadi Musa to Wadi Rum.
Embark on an off-road adventure in a 4×4 to traverse the desert, getting an intimate view of the “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” that Lawrence documented. Wadi Rum feels like an entirely different realm, and your evening will be spent under the stars, snuggled in Bedouin tents.
I enjoyed my camel ride during my Wadi Rum camp outing so much that I found this host who provides camel rides as an add-on service (hard to find, BTW.)
Day Seven: Lunch Cruise on the Red Sea
After breakfast and tracing Lawrence’s desert trail, you’ll head to Aqaba, a perennial resort town on the Red Sea.
Once in Aqaba, you’ll settle into your hotel and then embark on a lunch cruise on the Red Sea. While anchored, seize the chance to snorkel and relax under the sun.
Post-cruise, roam around Aqaba, shopping or taking a leisurely stroll. Your night will be spent at the Aqaba hotel.
Day Eight of Your Jordan Itinerary 10 Days: Dead Sea Mud Bath
After breakfast, you’ll depart from your hotel and journey to the Dead Sea, Earth’s lowest point. Experience the unique sensation of floating effortlessly in its waters.
The Dead Sea resort area is known for hosting some of the region’s top spas. Upon checking into your hotel, you have a leisurely afternoon ahead. Perhaps indulge in a relaxing massage or experience the therapeutic benefits of the sea’s natural mud.
Enjoy dinner and a restful night at your Dead Sea hotel.
Day Nine: Visit the Place Where John the Baptist Baptized Christ
After breakfast, prepare yourself for a journey to the mystical Bethany Beyond the Jordan. Sitting on the east bank of the Jordan River, it is whispered to be the very place where John baptized Jesus Christ. Read about the baptism in Matthew 3: 13-17.
More than just a pilgrimage spot, Bethany Beyond the Jordan captivates global travelers and tourists alike, promising an experience that resonates across cultures and beliefs.
Later, float in the Dead Sea or slather on mud at the beach at your Dead Sea hotel.
Day 10: Depart your Dead Sea resort for your flight out of QAIA.
Depart your Dead Sea resort for your flight out of QAIA. Next stop, home!
If You Go: Jordan Travel Tips
- Royal Jordanian offers direct flights from Montreal, Detroit and Chicago (11.5 hours from Chicago.) USA Reservations: 212-949-0050
- Pack for hot days and cool nights, but remember to dress modestly in respect of the Muslim culture. Avoid bare shoulders and legs. Save the shorts and low-cut shirts for another vacation.
- Alcohol is not readily available everywhere. “It is dry all over Jordan, but alcohol-wise, up north is wet,” Mohammed warned me to buy alcohol at the duty-free store in Amman before our journey turned southward.
- From this article, you should be able to ascertain that I always felt safe in Jordan. I walked Rainbow Street at night with friends, hiked Petra solo, and ate all the local food. Jordanians claim their country is the safest in the Middle East, and from my own experience, I can say that I felt more secure there than in many places in the US.
- Jordan Tourist Board sponsored this trip, but my opinions are mine.
Conclusion for Your Customized Jordan Itinerary
I like this 10 Days Jordan itinerary because you’re not in and out of hotels every night. You have:
- 2 nights in Amman
- 2 nights at Petra/ Wadi Musa
- 2 nights at the Dead Sea resort
I also like it because adding or subtracting a day or two to fit your needs is easy.
Please comment below for any suggestions or modifications you made to create your ultimate Jordan itinerary.
Hi, I’m Stacey
UNSTOPPABLE Stacey Travel is a travel blog focused on immersive travel that highlights food, wine and the spirituality of place. I also occasionally write about life as a Camino de Santiago pilgrim. I hope you enjoy what I post here. Feel free to leave comments! Read more…
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As is common in the travel industry, UNSTOPPABLE Stacey was provided with accommodations, meals, and other compensation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the author believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.
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