Petra by candlelight (Wanderlust)
Blog Words : Wanderlust team | 28 March

The Wanderlust Guide to the best of Jordan

From the red-rose 'city' of Petra to the luxurious spas lining the Dead Sea, Jordan offers something for every taste and budget. When are you going?

Jordan is best known for its true world wonder, the rose red city of Petra, carved from stone and long hidden in its desert canyon.

But Jordan is far from a one-trick pony (or should that be camel?). Elsewhere, Roman remains at Jerash and Azraq, Hellenic ruins at Umm Qais and crusader castles at Karak and Shobak draw history buffs.

And Jordan's natural charms are just as alluring: float in the briny Dead Sea, dive the dazzling depths to explore Red Sea reefs at Aqaba, spot wildlife in the valleys and heights of Dana Nature Reserve, and wander the desert expanses of Wadi Rum – by foot, 4WD or camel power.

Sprinkle in Jordan's tempting cuisine, great walking and canyoning, easily traversable distances and smiling people, and you've got the recipe for the perfect Middle East mezze.

Self Drive Jordan

Looking for inspiration?

The key to understanding Jordan is its people and its landscapes. Paul Morrison spent time with both, travelling with Bedouin across the country’s vast deserts, unlocking the secrets of both Jordan’s past and present.  If you don’t feel compelled to don a head scarf and head into the sand dunes after reading it, then perhaps Jordan isn’t for you.

Amar Grover tackled the Malaqi Trail, a stunning trek which snakes its way through the dramatic canyons, waterfalls and rock pools of the Wadi Mujib Nature Reserve. Once a Bedouin hunting ground, it now hosts an Ibex breeding program and the odd hyena. Find out why Amar reckons it’s a wadi wonderland.

Fancy a Middle East self-drive holiday? No? Well, perhaps Nick Redmayne can convince you to change your mind. Being mater of his own destiny opened up all kinds of opportunities he’d have otherwise missed – habibi hip-hop fusion, anyone – and helped him discover why Jordanian drivers are always honking their horns.

If being slathered in mud and wrapped in clingfilm is more your thing, swing by Gail Simmon’s Guide to Dead Sea spas. It will do wonders to your complexion.

More information

Petra and Wadi Rum: life in the desert – Paul Morrison

Could this be Jordan’s greatest hike? – Amar Grover

Self-drive Jordan – Nick Redmayne

Dead Sea Spas – Gail Simmons

Petra (Wanderlust)

Everything you wanted to know about Petra

The ‘rose-red city’ of Petra is Jordan’s biggest attraction and a genuinely breathtaking world wonder – the lost desert city of childhood imagination.

Spectacular location behind impenetrable mountains – check; lost for centuries – check; tales of hidden treasure – check; fascinating remnants of a long-forgotten culture – check. Petra delivers, with bells on.

But with thousands of visitors each day, it’s vital you plan your visit accordingly.

Matthew Teller’s Complete Guide to Petra is a great place to start, an exhaustive overview of everything the rose-red city has to offer. His 6 Petra Highlights piece is worth a look too, especially if you are pushed for time.

Ten Wanderlust readers joined Lyn Hughes and photographer Paul Harris in Jordan to research and produce the Ultimate Top 5 Guide to Petra and Wadi Rum.

And don’t forget to check out Stanford’s suggestions for the 7 books to take to Petra. From guidebooks to narratives, they’ll ensure you’ll return from Petra with a deeper and fuller understanding of history and lasting allure.

More information

The complete guide to Petra – Matthew Teller

6 Petra highlights – Matthew Teller

Ultimate Top 5 guide - Wanderlust Journeys

Top 7 books to take to Petra – Stanfords

Jordanian Souk (Wanderlust)

Jordan’s secrets revealed

There’s more to Jordan than Petra, of course, and our guide to off-beat Jordan will make sure you find it. From Crusader Castles to wetlands teeming with birdlife, no hidden corner is left unexplored.

David Symes was Director of Jordan Tourism and visited the country over 40 times. He reveals his favourite restaurant in the country and a nature reserve you must visit here.

Finally, Hossam Moussa lifts the lid on the Jordanian capital, Amman. A finalist in the Wanderlust World Guide Awards, he contends that Amman is seriously underrated as a tourist destination and explains why.

More information

7 highlights in off-beat Jordan – the Wanderlust Team

Insider Jordan – David Symes

Know Before You Go: Amman, Jordan – Hossam Moussa

Grandma's kitchen (Sally Broom)

A Jordanian Feast

From sophisticated Lebanese styles to basic Bedouin fare, Jordanian cooking is a cosmopolitan mix of influences – and one of the great pleasures of travel in the Middle East.

Matthew Teller gives you the lowdown on Jordan’s finest food and drink, from street stalls to its better restaurants, including a handy guide to the country’s increasing well-regarded wines.

Sally Broom, on the other hand, visited Beit Sitti  – ‘My Grandmother’s House’ – a unique cooking school in Amman where she learned to prepare Mensaf like, well, Grandma, used to make. Find out how you can too.

The traditional chefs of Petra kitchen have kindly shared the recipes of their favourite soups, salads and mezzes so you can bring the tastes and aromas of Jordan to your dining room at home.

More information

Jordan’s Finest Food and Drink – Matthew Teller

Learn to cook like a Jordanian grandmother – Sally Broom

4 Jordanian recipes from Petra’s kitchens

Petra by candlelight (Wanderlust)

Capturing it all on film

With its surreal landscapes and photogenic tribes, Jordan is photographic nirvana. But with that comes a particular set of problems. Petra is often crawling with tourists, and besides, even if you do manage to keep them out of your view finder, how do you get a shot that hasn’t been taken a million times before?

Thankfully, our resident photographic guru, Paul Harris, has the answers. You’ll find them in his piece entitled Photographing an icon: Petra.

You might also want to see some of the fantastic images taken by our readers.

More information

Photographing an icon: Petra – Paul Harris

Readers’ photos of Jordan

Camel in the desert (Wanderlust)

Everything you need to know

Ready to plan your trip? Our Jordan travel guide is the perfect place to start. Our Petra Travel Guide is worth checking out too. If you have any questions, pop over to the myWanderlust forum where our knowledgeable community is ready to spring into action and share all that they know. Or check out the questions people have already asked about Jordan. The answer to yours might already be there.

More information

Jordan Travel Guide

Petra Travel Guide


Ready to go?

Here’s a selection of fantastic tours offered by our partners. From multi-activity adventures and to more leisurely explorations of Jordan’s wonders, there’s sure to be something that tickles your fancy. You’ll find the full list of tours available here.

More information

Trip Finder can help you find adventures in Jordan