Jordan is a small country absolutely packed with incredible history, natural beauty and untouched cultural experiences. You can start your morning exploring Petra, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and easily end your day at the Dead Sea, Wadi Rum or the Red Sea. In fact, one of the problems with creating a Jordan itinerary is that there is so much to see within a reasonable drive that you are tempted to try and see…well…EVERYTHING! In this blog, I am going to set out our adventures on our seven day Jordan itinerary. Our epic road trip took us from Amman to Petra, from Petra to Wadi Rum, and finally, to the Red Sea, Dana Biosphere Reserve and the Dead Sea. Our four kids (14, 15, 17, and 21 years old) loved our adventures and uncovering all that Jordan had to offer.
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Overview of Our 7 Day Jordan Itinerary
In this blog, I am going to set out our day to day itinerary. I have written a few other blogs reviewing our individual experiences in more detail than what I am going to provide today. For each experience, I have also included my recommendations and tips to help you make the excursion better. Accordingly, if you are interested in learning more about one adventure or another, I will refer you to those. In addition, I am going to discuss whether I felt that we needed more or less time in one place or another and why, in case you are trying to create a longer or shorter itinerary.
Jordan Direct Tours
I collaborated with a local tour operator called Jordan Direct Tours to create my Jordan itinerary. Before contacting them, I researched the key sites that I wanted to see. Then, through multiple email discussions we created a seven day Jordan itinerary that somehow enabled us to do everything that I wanted. It wasn’t easy!! I wanted to see a lot in the time that we had. However, with endless patience, they helped me create a jam-packed Jordan itinerary that took us on adventures all over Jordan. In the end, I was absolutely thrilled with our experiences.
How we travelled during our seven day Jordan Itinerary
Through Jordan Direct Tours, we booked a car and driver for our whole Jordan itinerary. Our driver was also our guide for most of our trip. He was an endless source of information about Jordan’s history and culture. At certain sites (like Jerash and Petra), we had to hire a guide specific to the site and Jordan Direct Tours also took care of that.
I researched and separately booked our own accommodation, something that I normally do for our trips. I like to make sure that we get the right accommodation that works best for our large family. Happily, we stayed in some amazing places which I will also set out below.
Self Driving in Jordan
Although we hired a car and driver to take us on our one week Jordan itinerary, you could easily self drive and do our same Jordan itinerary. Apart from Amman and the town of Wadi Musa (where Petra is located), driving was quite relaxed in Jordan. We did not face a lot of traffic and the roads were, for the most part, well paved.
I would avoid driving in Amman. It was chaotic and crazy busy. But apart from that, you should not feel stressed or nervous about driving in Jordan. In addition, I never felt unsafe anywhere.
The only catch is that I don’t think that you would be able to repeat our Jordan itinerary in seven days while self driving. In order to see and do what we did, we had to be very organized and keep to a tight schedule. There wasn’t any time to get lost or figure out how best to explore an important site. In addition, because we were being driven and guided by a local, I was able to relax and take in our surroundings knowing that our driver knew where to go, park, eat, and so on.
Days One And Two On Our One Week Jordan Itinerary
Day One -Amman
We arrived in Amman in the early evening and spent two nights at the luxurious Le Grand Amman. This is a stunning hotel with large rooms and beautiful lounges. It offered a delicious breakfast each morning that I would highly recommend.
Both nights we ate at our hotel. The first night, we had Japanese food at the 282 Restaurant. The second night, we went to Salt, a steakhouse. Both restaurants were exceptional. We do not normally eat at hotel restaurants on our travels. We much prefer to branch out and find local restaurants that we can enjoy. Unfortunately, there weren’t any within walking distance of our hotel.
Day Two – Jerash and Amman
Morning – Jerash
We drove to Jerash, a city located 48 km (30 miles) north of Amman. In ancient times, Jerash was one of the wealthiest and most cosmopolitan cities in the world. It was settled as early as 7500-5500 BC and founded as a Hellenistic city in the 2 BC. Jerash is recognized today for its Roman and Byzantine ruins which are considered among the largest and best preserved in the world.
We went on a private two hour tour of Jerash and it was astounding. It is a massive site and many of the ruins were in excellent condition. In most areas, we were free to explore as we wished, and we really enjoyed being able to climb and touch most anything of interest.
Afternoon – Amman
We returned to Amman for lunch and a city tour. We ate at Hashem, a popular falafel restaurant packed with tourists and locals. It was delicious, We toured the Roman Citadel, a 6,000-seat, 2nd-century Roman theatre, and the Amman Citadel with ruins from the Roman, Byzantine, and Umayyad periods. Both sites were within 35 minutes walking distance from the restaurant.
Was this enough time In Amman and Jerash on our seven day Jordan itinerary?
We had one full day to explore Amman and Jerash and this was enough. Amman was not a particularly pretty city and we did not come across areas that made me want to walk and explore further. Our two hour private tour in Jerash was also sufficient. We spent another 30 minutes exploring on our own and felt happy with what we saw and experienced.
For more information about our time in Amman and Jerash, please take a look at my earlier article Amman to Petra: A Breathtaking Road Trip. I also include many recommendations and tips to help you plan your time there.
Day Three On Our 7 Day Jordan Itinerary
Amman to Madaba to Mount Nebo to Petra By Night
Today we drove along the Kings Highway approximately 326 km (200 miles) from Amman to Petra. We stopped and explored breathtaking mosaics in Madaba and Mount Nebo that are hundreds of years old. Then, we visited a workshop where we watched craftsmen create their own modern day mosaics using skills and techniques passed on from generation to generation.
At Mount Nebo, we saw awe-inspiring views of the Jordan Valley that included where God showed Moses the Promised Land. We drove through tiny mountain villages and ate fresh pita and falafel from village stores. Before we arrived in Wadi Musa (the town where Petra is located), we also visited the area surrounding Al Karak Castle, where people have lived in caves for generations.
This was a fascinating day.
Was this enough time exploring the Kings Highway on our one week Jordan itinerary?
If you have the time, I would recommend giving yourself another day to explore small towns and other historical and religious sites along the Kings Highway. I felt that we had enough time in Madaba and Mount Nebo, but I know that there were other sites that we did not explore on our road trip because of lack of time. However, if you do not have an extra day, I would not give up any other part of our seven day Jordan itinerary for more time on the Kings Highway.
For more information about our time in Madaba, Mount Nebo, Sierra Mosaic Workshop and Al Karak, please take a look at my earlier article Amman to Petra: A Breathtaking Road Trip. This article also includes how much time that I would allot in each of these locations.
Wadi Musa (Petra)
We arrived in Wadi Musa, the town where Petra is located, in the late afternoon. We checked into our beautiful hotel, The Old Village Hotel & Resort. It was perched above Wadi Musa, looking over the Shahara Mountains, and around 1.9 km away from the entrance to Petra Jordan. We ate a delicious dinner just outside the Petra Visitor’s Centre at My Mom’s Recipe Restaurant. Then, we went to Petra by Night which was stunning.
Petra by Night is an opportunity to visit certain parts of Petra in the evening. You walk approximately 5.2 km (3.2 miles) roundtrip along a gravel path surrounded by pink mountains with hundreds of candles lighting the way. Ultimately, you arrive at the Treasury lit up by hundreds more candles. There, you listen to a flutist and drink tea. We were astounded by how beautiful this experience was.
For more information about our hotel and Petra by Night, I’d recommend reading my article Petra By Night: Crucial Tips For A Magical Night. More than any other experience on our one week Jordan itinerary, you should make a note of what you should and should not do to ensure that Petra by Night is as amazing for you as it was for us.
Day Four Of Our One Week Jordan Itinerary
Morning – Petra
We spent a morning exploring Petra. This included a two hour private tour. What a spectacularly beautiful and majestic place.
Petra was the capital of the Nabataean kingdom and a centre for trade from 6th century BC. Today over thousands of acres of pink sand and mountains, are hand carved caves, temples and tombs. So, one moment you are walking admiring the natural beauty of your surroundings and then the next, you glance upwards and see a startling work of art etched into a rock face that is several stories tall. The most famous monument is the Treasury but that is only one of dozens of incredible finds in Petra.
Was a half day enough time in Petra?
The answer to that question is both yes and no. We covered A LOT with our guide on our tour. I feel that we saw most of the key sites in Petra. We also climbed up rock faces to see beautiful views, scampered into caves to see other carvings and walked far enough into Petra to feel the imposing mountains all around it. I can’t say enough about how absolutely breathtaking Petra was.
Having said that, I would have also loved to have had another half day in Petra to walk deeper into it and climb up other areas to see more views and sites. However, I would not have wanted to spend a whole day there. After 11:00 am, it became very hot. In addition, depending on the day, it may become reasonably crowded with cruise passengers (from the port in Aqaba) later in the day.
Accordingly, I felt very satisfied with our half day in Petra with our private tour. If you can add another morning to explore further, that would be fantastic. Nonetheless, I would not give up any of our other experiences on our 7 day Jordan itinerary for more time in Petra.
For more information about Petra and our tour, please refer to my article Petra Jordan: Why A Half Day Is Enough.
Afternoon – Wadi Rum Protected Area
We drove just over 100 km (or 65 miles) to Wadi Rum Protected Area and our Bedouin camp, Space Village Luxury Camp for our one night stay
Wadi Rum Protected Area is 720 square kilometres of desert wilderness in the south of Jordan. Huge mountains of sandstone and granite dramatically emerge from wide sandy valleys, reaching heights of 1700 metres or more. Bedouin tribes still live among the mountains of Wadi Rum. One of the most striking aspects of Wadi Rum is it is filled with red sand and craggy mountains.
We did a three hour sunset Jeep tour with local Bedouins which was amazing. We sat on the flat back of an open jeep while our driver sped through the desert, up enormous dunes, while uncovering ancient petroglyphs. It was a thrilling afternoon. After dinner, we went to a star gazing show which allowed us to use enormous telescopes and find galaxies impossible to see with the naked eye. It was a very interesting experience.
Was a half day enough time in Wadi Rum?
Yes. Having said that, when I was organizing our itinerary, I really grappled with only allotting a half day in Wadi Rum. I thought the camel rides would be fun, maybe even a hike in the desert. However, in the end, a half day was perfect.
It was very hot in Wadi Rum. We stayed in bedouin tents, which was really fun, but there wasn’t any air conditioning. By 9:00 am the next morning, our tents were sweltering. Hiking in the sand would have been brutal and baking under the sun on a camel ride would not have gone over very well with my family.
For more information about our time in Wadi Rum Protected Area, please take a look at my article Wadi Rum: An Epic Guide To Exploring Its Hidden Treasures.
Day Five Of Our Seven Day Jordan Itinerary
Today was very relaxing. We drove 66 km (40 miles) to Aqaba and checked into our lovely hotel, Movenpick Hotel and Residences right across from the beach. Aqaba is on the Red Sea and the only coastal city in Jordan. It lies at Jordan’s southernmost point on the Gulf of Aqaba.
We spent the afternoon on a boat on a half day snorkelling adventure in the Red Sea. It was a wonderful way to see Aqaba.
Would I recommend Aqaba?
We really appreciated having a day that did not involve a few hours in the car, or a tour of an important cultural or historic site. Sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling was the perfect way to unwind after days of busy sightseeing. Quite frankly, once I relaxed I thought about how wonderful it would have been to sit by the pool for another day or so.
However, that is all for which I would recommend Aqaba. There wasn’t anything really to see or explore in Aqaba except for the Red Sea. The town was nice but nothing extraordinary.
If you are really keen to add more time to another part of your Jordan itinerary, then I would suggest giving up your time in Aqaba. My family needed this break, but there was nothing here that would make this beach experience different from other beaches in the world, or more impactful than other places in Jordan.
Day Six Of Our One Week Jordan Itinerary
Morning – Dana Biosphere Reserve
We drove just over 2 hours from Aqaba to Dana Biosphere Reserve. Established in 1989, Dana Biosphere Reserve is Jordan’s largest nature reserve, covering some 320 km² (or 80,000 acres) of rugged landscape along the face of the Great Rift Valley. It is comprised of mountain ridges as high as 1500m (5000 ft) and desert plains below. We did a two hour hike led by a young Bedouin. It was beautiful and fascinating. We loved our time here.
Afternoon – The Dead Sea
From the Dana Biosphere Reserve, we drove another 2 hours to the Dead Sea. We stayed at the Hilton Dead Sea Resort and Spa, a gorgeous luxury hotel right on the Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea is the lowest point in the world at 394.6 m ( or 1269 ft) below sea level. It is considered the second saltiest major body of water in the world. Its name is derived from the fact that it is so salty it is close to impossible for there to be any marine life. For humans, the salt density means that it is almost impossible to sink.
We swam and floated in the Dead Sea until the sunset. It was a fun way to end our day.
Would I recommend Dana Biosphere Reserve and the Dead Sea?
Yes, both were great experiences. I would have loved a lot more time at the Dana Biosphere Reserve. If I could have added more time to our trip, I would have allotted a full day here. It was impossibly beautiful, and very different from Petra and Wadi Rum. It would have been fantastic to have hiked down to the bottom of the Reserve and explore it further.
I’m glad we went to the Dead Sea. My whole family got a kick out of floating in this unique body of water. However, I am also glad that I did not assign more time for this experience. Apart from swimming for awhile, there wasn’t really anything else to do here.
For more information, including recommendations and tips, about our time at Aqaba, Dana Biosphere Reserve and the Dead Sea, please take a look my earlier article Aqaba Jordan, Dana Biopshere Reserve and The Dead Sea: Which Is Worth It?
Day Seven Of Our 7 Day Jordan Itinerary
We woke up early and drove 1 1/2 hours to the airport for our international departure.
Our one week Jordan itinerary had it all. We visited ancient ruins and saw beautiful mosaics and works of art etched into rocky faces. We hiked into beautiful valleys sometimes surrounded by pink mountains, and other times red and then, yellow. After a couple of busy days, we swam in both the Red Sea and the Dead Sea and marvelled at their differences. We hung on tight on a crazy jeep tour that had us deep within red sandy dunes, and watched a beautiful sunset. Before falling asleep in a Bedouin tent, we looked for faraway galaxies. Finally, we saw one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Petra, lit up only by the moon and hundreds of candles, a magical sight that everyone should see at least once in their life. Our seven day Jordan itinerary was everything that I had hoped and more.
Please find below a list of all of my articles about our trip to Jordan.
- Petra By Night: Crucial Tips For A Magical Night
- Petra Jordan: Why A Half Day Is Enough
- Wadi Rum: An Epic Guide To Exploring Its Hidden Treasures
- Aqaba Jordan, Dana Biosphere Reserve And The Dead Sea: Which Is Worth It?
- Amman To Petra: A Breathtaking Road Trip
- Jordan Itinerary With Teens: An Action Packed Adventure
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