Jordan Tourism Board Jordan has been getting its well-deserved moment in the spotlight and this fascinating country is always creating news and novel angles – a storytellers’ dream. Reasons to visit the Near East’s most peaceful destination keep being created and we are excited to share them with you.
A land steeped in history, Jordan is home to some of mankind's earliest settlements and villages. Relics of many of the world's great civilizations can still be seen today. Jordan has served as a strategic nexus connecting Asia, Africa and Europe. Thus, since the dawn of civilization, Jordan's geography has given it an important role to play as a conduit for trade and communications, connecting east and west, north and south. Jordan continues to play this role today.
Hiking the Jordan Trail
The Jordan Trail is the first long-distance hiking trail in Jordan and crosses the entire country, from Um Qais in the north all the way to Aqaba in the south. Offering 650 kilometers and 36-40 days of hiking through diverse landscapes, travelling Jordan by foot is a practice as old as the ancient trails themselves.
The Jordan Trail Association (JTA), a non-governmental organization that manages it, organizes an annual fully supported Thru-Hike as part of its fundraising activities and support to the local communities that the trail passes through (52 towns and villages).
Several licensed tour operators and local hiking companies offer supported group hikes along the trail. In addition, accommodations depending on the region, are also provided. These include guest houses, hotels, eco-lodges, homestays with local families, camps and wild camping.
Cycling the Jordan Bike Trail
The Jordan Bike Trail is a 730km, mixed-surface bike route that crosses the entire length of the beautiful Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Starting from the North in Um Qais and ending in the Southern port of Aqaba, it passes through an impressive variety of historical and natural wonders. The trail begins with rolling hills, olive groves, and farms in the North; continues across the dramatic canyons of the Dead Sea region; meanders through the remarkable landscapes of Dana, Petra, and Wadi Rum – before finally splashing into the Red Sea.
There are a number of ways to experience the Jordan Bike Trail, from a fully supported trip without the need to carry any gear or reserve accommodation, to a minimalist bikepacker adventure, or anything in between. You can join a small group tour, create a tour with the level of support you desire, or ride the trail independently.
Diving in Aqaba
A little-known destination for divers, Aqaba showcases some of the best dive sights in the Red Sea, while Jordan’s coastline represents the northern most outcropping of coral reef in the world. Coral reefs in the Gulf of Aqaba offer 21 diving locations for the exploration of diverse, colorful and unique coral reefs. To meet tourism demand but also protect the area's marine life, some of the coral reefs were relocated. The newly created dive sites (with replanted coral that has steadily grown up to two inches per year), just in front of the Aqaba Marine Park, opened to the public in 2018.
Meaningful Travel Map of Jordan
In 2018, The Jordan Tourism Board launched the Meaningful Travel Map of Jordan in partnership with Tourism Cares. The map highlights 12 social enterprise experiences that are at once powerful and positive for both travelers and communities.
- Al Numeira Environmental Association: Bike, snack, and get dirty in their gardens and other projects, learning with one of the Rift Valley's newest social startups.
- Bani Hamida Women's Weaving Project: Try your hand at traditional weaving, boosting women's rights and livelihoods.
- Iraq al Amir Women's Cooperative: Learn traditional paper making, pottery and more with your family at this renowned centre for local training and knowledge.
- Syrian Jasmine House: Celebrate multicultural Jordan by learning soap-making and crochet, helping their newest residents and women entrepreneurs.
Bethany Beyond the Jordan is like no other place on earth. As the birthplace of Christianity, it is of profound importance to believers. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bethany Beyond the Jordan welcomes pilgrims from around the world. However, it is just one of the many Old and New Testament locations in Jordan easily accessible to pilgrims who make the journey.
Madaba, dubbed “The City of Mosaics”, is part of the biblical land of Moab, just off the storied King’s Highway. Madaba’s real masterpiece, in the Orthodox Church of Saint George, is the 6th century AD mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land – the earliest religious map of the Holy Land in any form to survive from antiquity.
Today, Madaba is within easy driving distance of many biblical locations, including Mount Nebo; Um Rassas; Mukawir; the Dead Sea; Lot’s Cave; Amman; and Bethany Beyond the-Jordan Baptism Site.
Food Scene with a social twist
Food lovers are having a field day in Jordan, particularly if they're looking for a social twist to their food.
- Summaga Cafe - Near Aljoun Castle, you can dine on 100 per cent organic fare from a women-led farmers' cooperative.
- Bait Khayrat Souf Kitchen and Garden - Serves up food and cooking lessons while providing training and jobs to local women
- Beit Sitti - Meaning "My grandmother's house," in Arabic, this Amman restaurant run by three sisters offer lessons in cooking and Jordanian heritage.
- Hashem - Try legendary Amman street food at one of the oldest restaurants in the city.
- Habibah - one the most famous places that serves Knafeh. It is considered a complimentary dessert to the hummus and falafel dishes at Hashem Restaurant nearby.
Boutique accommodations are on the rise across Jordan, with the country experiencing a boom in luxe lodgings and unique offerings
The most notable of recent openings is the Fairmont Amman, unveiled in late 2017 in the capital's glitziest neighbourhood. The hotel offers 317 elegantly appointed guest rooms and suites featuring views of the Amman hills and the signature Willow Stream Spa, a swank retreat with six treatments rooms, a Dead Sea pool, mud treatments, and a top-rated hammam.
Hyatt Regency Aqaba Ayla Resort is a scenic retreat nestled midst towering mountains, dazzling blue lagoons, exclusive marina and the fairways of the 18-hole Ayla Golf Club.
The diversity of accommodations in Jordan is another angle, from Beouin camps in the Wadi Rum to an eco-lodge in a biosphere reserve, to B&Bs that have spearheaded community tourism initiatives in off-the-radar villages.
Deep in the heart of the mountainous Dana Biosphere Reserve, at the end of a rugged track, an idyllic candle-lit lodge, the Feynan Eco Lodge, rests in the magnificent Wadi Feynan. Hailed as one of the best 25 ecolodges in the world by National Geographic Traveler Magazine, the award-winning, solar powered Feynan Ecolodge offers the most developed eco-experience in Jordan; an experience only made possible by a unique partnership between EcoHotels and the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, a Jordanian NGO devoted to the protection of the Kingdom’s finest natural landscapes.
Set against the glorious desert landscape, guests staying at the 26-room lodge can be found adventuring through the untouched outdoors, sipping sweet tea with the native Bedouin, exploring local archaeological sites or simply unwinding in the serene courtyards and terraces of the candle-lit complex, safe in the knowledge that their travels in Jordan are socially and environmentally responsible.
In the heart of Wadi Rum’s majestic desert, stands the incredible Sun City Camp offering serenity and spiritual soothing experience of living in the desert and enjoying the simple Bedouin life of the valley with its unmatched authentic charm and beauty. Such an experience is featured through variety of high standard services, amenities, and accommodation options to choose from alongside a wide range of relaxing and adventurous recreational activities. The camp is located in Wadi Rum about 60 km from Aqaba city and 313 km from Amman.
This is just one example of the many camps and experiences available in Wadi Rum and Petra.
Arts & culture
The Jordan Museum is located in the dynamic new downtown area of Ras al-‘Ayn and aims to be a jumping off point for visitors to entice them to explore the cultural sites and cities in Jordan. Presenting the history and cultural heritage of Jordan in a series of beautifully designed galleries, The Jordan Museum serves as a comprehensive national centre for learning and knowledge that reflects Jordan’s history and culture, and presents the ongoing story of Jordan’s past, present, and future.
Arab fashion has captured our fascination for hundreds of years and the Tiraz Centre is an interactive museum where the region’s history is told through textiles and clothing. The Centre’s Widad Kamel Collection is home to one of the most significant archives of Arab fashion and costume heritage.
Darat al Funan is a home for the arts housed in six renovated historical buildings and warehouses, with a restored archaeological site in the garden. It is located just a few minutes from downtown Amman's King Faisal Street, and from Jabal al Weibdeh's Paris Circle.
From the very beginning Darat al Funan has played a pivotal role in hosting, exhibiting and supporting artists from the Arab world, from modern masters such as Adam Henein, Fahrelnissa Zeid, Farid Belkahia, Marwan, Rafa’ al Nasiri, and Shaker Hassan al Said, to contemporaries such as Adel Abidin, Ahlam Shibli, Amal Kenawy, Emily Jacir, Hrair Sarkissian, and Mona Hatoum. Many artists had their first solo exhibition in the region at Darat al Funun.
The oldest residence in the city, located just a stones-throw from the bustling souks of downtown, the Duke’s Diwan has an open door policy of accepting all curious willing to climb the steep staircase leading to its storied rooms.
Built in 1924 by Abdul Rahman Madi, the space at 12 King Faisal Street serves as one of the finest reminders available of the architectural heritage of Old Amman. Named “Duke” in honor of its benefactor( Mamdouh Bisharat the Duke of Mukheiheh), and “Diwan” in reference to the Arabic word for the room of the house always open to guests, the modern Duke’s Diwan has become a meeting place for creators and visionaries from near and far to convene in moments of artistic celebration and contemplation.