The 12 day road trip in Jordan

The 12 day road trip in Jordan

Jordan camels

Itinerary 10 daysItinerary 15 days

Are you looking for the best travel route in Jordan? Look no further, we have put this together for you. Lose yourself in the enchanting city of Petra, where you’ll walk through the pink rocks and discover the mysteries of a lost civilization. Explore the desert landscapes of Wadi Rum, where time seems to stand still and gaze at a stunning starry sky. Float on the salty water of the Dead Sea and be surprised by the hospitality of the Jordanian people. Whether you are an adventurer, a history buff or just looking for a unique travel experience, Jordan will amaze you with its diversity and beauty.

Do more with the Jordan Pass

Before you go to Jordan, we highly recommend ordering the Jordan Pass. With it, you will get your visa, free access to 40 attractions and you will immediately have entrance tickets for Petra. Order it via the official website. To order the Jordan Pass you need a Visa or MasterCard credit card. The costs are about between 70 and 80 Jordanian Dinar. This depends on the number of days you wish to spend in the city of Petra. With this pass you will save a lot of money than if you bought everything separately. In this article we have listed everything you need to know about this handy Pass.

How to get around in Jordan

The local public transport in Jordan is present but quite limited. We would advice to not be to dependent on it during your trip. For this reason many people (including us) choose to rent a car. The roads in Jordan are well enough and the traffic outside the capital Amman is usually quiet. A road trip through Jordan is also a great way to explore the country. In our article about renting a car in Jordan you can find all the ins and outs about renting and driving a car in Jordan.

Wadi Rum Jordan

How many days do you need for this itinerary

For this itinerary we recommend at least 12 days. If you have a different travel pace, be sure to check out our 10-days or 15-days route. You can, for example, stay a day shorter or longer in Amman, Petra or Wadi Rum. You can also skip Aqaba if you don’t want to swim, dive or snorkel. This way you can play with your wishes and determine how many days you exactly need at each location.

Day 1:  Arrival in Amman

After your flight, you will arrive in the capital Amman. It is a good starting point to get used to the culture, traffic and climate in Jordan. We recommend staying there for one full day before continuing on your journey. Be sure to visit the Roman Theater and the Citadel of Amman. The Citadel is located on the highest hill in Amman and offers a beautiful view of the city, especially at sunset. If you have more time in Amman, in our article you will find the best attractions in this amazing city. Also visit Rainbow Street for something to eat and drink. Locals come here every evening to visit the many cafes and restaurants. We have listed some popular choices below.

  • Sekrab is ideal if you are going for some drinks.
  • Hashem restaurant is very popular with the locals, this the best place to try some local food.
  • If you are in the mood for something more luxurious than Sufra Restaurant is the best place to go.

For your first night(s), we recommend Nomads Hotel Amman. This cozy and affordable hotel is located near Rainbow Street. Here you will find good restaurants and nice shops. We recommend to book in advance, as it is very popular.

Amman Jordan

Day 2:  Jerash and road trip to Dana

Early in the morning, you will leave for Jerash. This ancient city is located about 50 kilometers north of Amman and depending on traffic it is about an hour drive. Be sure to be there by ten o’clock, then it is still nice and quiet here. So you have all the time to explore this historical place in two to three hours. The remains of this ancient city are impressive and one of the best preserved Roman ruins in the world.

Jump in the car and drive on the Kings Highway towards Dana. It is approximately a six hour drive to Dana via this route. You can also opt for the faster Highway 15. This less attractive route will take about four hours. On the way to Dana you drive through small villages and you will see the Grand Canyon, you can stop at a beautiful viewpoint and enjoy the surroundings. After a long drive, you arrive in Dana, a perfect base for beautiful walks. Visiting Dana is extra special because the masses have not yet discovered it.

Make sure you bring enough cash as ATM’s are not available in the small village. There are several Eco Camps around Dana that often have a fantastic view over the Wadi Dana valley. You can arrange everything you need for the walks of the next day at your accommodation that same evening. We recommend booking two nights in Dana. So you don’t have to go to your next destination straight after your walk and you have time to rest. We had a wonderful stay at Wadi Dana Eco Camp, which is located on a beautiful off grid location.

Tip: In our 15 days in Jordan itinerary you will find more locations in the north. Such as Ajloun Castle and Umm Qais.

Jerash Wadi Dana

Day 3:  Hike in the Dana Vallei

Our favourite is undoubtedly the Wadi Ghuweir Trail. This is one of the most beautiful and adventurous hikes you can do in Jordan. You walk through an impressive canyon, where a stream of water shows you the way. The rocks along the route change color and shape all the time, from red to orange to purple. The most special thing is that you come across hanging gardens where palm trees, ferns and mosses grow. You sometimes have to climb and scramble over boulders or wade through the water (bring good hiking boots!). This is a guided trail since it can be quite challenging. In our opinion, the Wadi Ghuweir Trail is an unforgettable experience. Soon we will publish an extensive article where you can read more about all the available hikes in Dana.

Note: The Wadi Ghuweir Trail is often closed between November 1st and March 1st due to the risk of flooding. Check this with the host of your stay.

Wadi Ghuweir Trail - Jordan

Day 4:  Little Petra and Wadi Musa

Today you drive from Dana to Wadi Musa. This is the town from which you will visit Petra. The drive itself is not that long so you have time to stop at Shobak Castle and Little Petra on the way there. Shobak Castle is the ruin of a Crusader castle from 1115 and you can walk on top of the castle walls. After this visit, you will continue on to Little Petra, which is a smaller and free version of Petra with a beautiful viewpoint. Here you can easily walk around for a few hours and get a good impression of what you can expect in Petra itself.

This ancient city is impressive and probably the highlight of your trip to Jordan. We highly recommend to prepare well, especially since to only way to get some background information is from expensive guides. We have collected all the tips and information you need to get the most out of your visit to Petra and put it together in one extensive article.

The number of nights you need in Wadi Musa depends on the number of days you will be in Petra. There are many hotels in Wadi Musa because it is directly next to Petra and pretty much all the tourists stay in this town. We recommend staying at Petra Moon Hotel which is conveniently located in the city center and within walking distance to the entrance of Petra.

Little Petra - Jordan

Day 5:  The first day in Petra

It is time for your first day in Petra. More than two millennia ago the Nabataeans inhabited this magical city. They made houses, tombs and temples directly from the rocks. So it was that in the middle of the vast desert an ancient city arose. Petra was discovered in 1822 and astonishingly 85% of it is still buried. If your visiting Petra and you want to beat the crowds, it is wise to go as early as possible. The gates open at 06:00 and even then there will be people waiting at the gate. While it is obviously not fun to get up so early, it is more than worth it! Depending on the number of days you will spend here you may also need to prioritize which beautiful locations you really want to see.

Tip: Before you go we highly recommend to install the app and download the offline map of Jordan. This way, you can pin all the locations you want to visit in Petra on the map so you don’t miss anything!

Petra The Treasury - Jordan

Day 6:  Second day in Petra: Backdoor Trail

Today is the time for your second day in Petra. Again, it is wise to go as early as possible. Your starting point is Little Petra, which you visited earlier on this trip. But what makes this place really special is the possibility to take the adventurous backdoor trail (also know as the back entrance) to Petra. This route takes you through breathtaking landscapes, narrow gorges and quiet paths, away from the hustle and bustle of the main entrance. When you arrive in Petra, the imposing Monastery is the first thing you see.

There are several ways you can get to Little Petra. First you can take a bus from the entrance of Petra to Little Petra. Another and the most comfortable option is to take a taxi. We advice you to arrange this in advance with your hotel so the driver is waiting for you in the morning. Read everything you need the know about the Backdoor Trail here.

Tip: You cannot buy an entrance ticket for Petra at Little Petra. Make sure you have already bought it in advance at the main entrance if you do not have the Jordan Pass.

petra the monastery - Jordan

Day 7:  The Wadi Rum desert

It is time to explore the Wadi Rum desert which offers fantastic red/pink colors that will amaze you. In addition to a lot of sand (obviously), you will find impressive rock mountains and formations here. This beautiful desert is best explored by a 4×4 jeep tour. The best way to do this is to book a tour with your host in Wadi Rum Village if you spend the night here. We opted for a two-day tour that started pretty much immediately. During the ride, where you take a seat in the back of the jeep, you will see the most beautiful places. Occasionally, your guide will give a little extra gas and you will drift through the sand. The guide brings you to the best places where you will have all the time to explore the surroundings, take a walk or climb a mountain. Read everything about the possibilities in Wadi Rum.

You will stay in the middle of the desert in one of the traditional Bedouin camps under a beautiful starry sky. The available places are limited and the popular accommodations are quickly booked. We stayed at Wadi Rum Nature Tours And Camp and had very good experiences. Everything was arranged to the smallest detail.

Tip: If you are here for just the day we recommend to book a day-tour in advance so you get the most time in the desert without arranging everything on short notice.

Wadi Rum

Day 8:  Wadi Rum

Today is the second day in Wadi Rum and you get back in the jeep. The guide will drive you through the red desert and bring you to some new highlights, there are plenty of beautiful mountains and rock formations to discover. At some point during the tour you will have the chance to go sandboarding. Take a sandboard and go to the top of a big sand dune, sit on the board and hold on! It might amaze you how fast you can go. Many locals (and often your guide) will join in. This makes a very fun and cheerful spectacle. After a full day and you have seen all the beauty of the desert, the guide will take you back to the Bedouin camp to spend the night.

Wadi Rum - Jordan

Day 9:  Aqaba, the seaside city

From the desert, you are taken back to where you parked your car and you follow the road 47 to Aqaba. This is the only seaside city in Jordan and is located directly on the Red Sea. In Aqaba there are many beautiful places to snorkel and dive. Both activities are easy to book in advance but can also be arranged when you are in the city. Spending a day on the beach is also an option. However, because Jordan is an Islamic country, it may not be so pleasant for women to lie on the beach in a bikini. Snorkeling, diving and swimming are the main attractions of this city but it has much more to offer. Aqaba has a lot of historical building and mosques which you can visit. Soon we will publish an article where you we will list all the historical sights and the main activities.

We recommend staying one night in Aqaba to rest from the busy days up to now. Aqaba offers plenty of fun activities, good restaurants and great hotels. We can highly recommend the Sky Hotel, it is affordable and within walking distance of the city center.

Tip: If snorkeling, diving or swimming is not entirely for you, it may be a good choice to skip Aqaba and drive directly to the Dead Sea. Be sure to consider doing the Wadi Bin Hammad hike instead.


Day 10:  Wadi Mujib and the Dead Sea

From Aqaba you depart towards the Dead Sea. On the way there you come across Wadi Mujib. This is a breathtaking nature reserve in Jordan which offers four different walking trails. Among them you find the well known and easiest, Siq Trail. This is a hike in a spectacular gorge which involves wading through flowing water and climbing waterfalls using rope ladders. Make sure you bring clothes that can get wet. The trail takes you to a very impressive waterfall, from here you walk back the same route. On the way back you can slide down most off the waterfalls you’ve climbed before. The walk, which takes two hours, can be done entirely by yourself and without a guide.

After this it is time to float in the Dead Sea, this is a unique experience and the memories will last a lifetime. The water is so salty that you effortlessly float on the surface. The best way to do this is in one of the resorts that are located directly on the shore of the Dead Sea. We booked at Mövenpick, this five-star resort has a private beach directly on the Dead Sea and offers a mud bath. The salty water and the mud are also good for your skin, because they contain many minerals that have a healing effect. Everything you can expect at the Dead Sea can be read in this article.

Tip: Don’t forget to bring good shoes for Wadi Mujib, you will get wet and there are many slippery stones. The trail is closed between 1 November and 1 April due to flooding risk.

Dead Sea Jordan

Day 11:  Relaxing at the Dead Sea

Today you have time to relax from the past few days. Take advantage of all the options at your accommodation or enjoy the sun on a lounger at the Dead Sea. Of course you can also float in the salt water for the second time, after all it’s a once in a lifetime experience! Would you like to visit even more sights? Then there are several sights within an hour’s drive from the Dead Sea. For example, consider the places below.

  • The natural Ma’in Hot hot springs are located near the Dead Sea and are the perfect place to relax.
  • Located on a hilltop in southern Jordan is Mukawir, This is an archaeological site with the ruins of the ancient Herod’s fortress.
  • Explore the city of Madaba, known for its beautiful mosaics and the historic Mount Nebo, from which you have a spectacular view of the Promised Land.

Dode zee modder

Day 12:  Going home

Unfortunately, today is your last day in Jordan and the flight home is already in sight. Depending on your flight, a late check-out may be very nice. Then you can relax after the past few days or go into the Dead Sea one last time. From the Dead Sea it is about an hour’s drive to the airport and you no longer have to pass through busy Amman. Make sure that you clearly indicate the return points and times when renting the car. If you have extra time in Jordan today, be sure to visit the additional sights from the previous day. Whatever you choose, you already had a fantastic trip that you will often think back on.

Dead Sea

Discover all of our recommended stays in Jordan

When planning our trips, we always strive for the most beautiful and comfortable locations. Although not all hotels in Jordan are equally luxurious, we have focused on where you really get value for money. Fortunately, we have discovered some unique accommodations that offer a special experience, located in breathtaking locations. We have made a selection of tips for each destination on our itinerary. These are places where you will absolutely have a great time! Soon we will publish an overview of all our recommended accommodations in Jordan.

Wadi Dana Eco Camp Jordan

Welcome back from your trip to Jordan! You started your trip in the vibrant capital Amman and you explored the historical north. In Dana, you went on great hikes and enjoyed nature. Exploring Petra was tiring but truly breathtaking. Then it was time to go into the Wadi Rum desert. Here you enjoyed a 4×4 jeep tour through the beautiful red desert. Finally, you ended your trip at the Dead Sea, where you hiked in Wadi Mujib and drifted in the salty water.

We hope you had an unforgettable trip full of adventure, history, nature and relaxation. And that you came home with many beautiful memories! Let us know how it was?

Be sure to check out our 10-day itinerary and 15-day itinerary for Jordan if you are going to explore the country at a different pace.

Read all of our articles about Jordan

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