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.
For a different perspective on Petra, take the six-day trek from Dana to enter the rose-red city through the back door. Try a hammam ('Turkish' bath) – especially good as a way for women to get chatting to local ladies.
Wanderlust web intern Holly Gurr on the one thing she wished she'd known on her arrival:
"Driving in Jordan, particularly in cities, is extremely chaotic. Drivers often change lanes quickly and without signal, speeding is the norm and cars tend to operate very closely together. Travellers, brace yourself before hopping into a taxi and be extra careful as pedestrians."
Climate and weather in Jordan Temperatures are largely dependent on altitude; Amman and the north tend to be cooler. Spring (March-June) and autumn (mid September-late November) bring pleasant temperatures and greenery. Summer (July-September) can be stiflingly hot, particularly in Wadi Rum and at the Dead Sea. Winter (December-February) can be chilly, though Aqaba remains balmy. Note that many ecotourism projects don't operate in winter.
Ramadan in Jordan During the ninth month of the Muslim calendar adherents must fast and not drink during daylight hours. Though visitors are not expected to follow suit, opening hours can become erratic.
Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) is 35km south of Amman.
Jordan's road network is modern and fairly well maintained. Car hire is a good way of getting around, though not all rental vehicles are in the first flush of youth and you'll need an International Driving Permit. Buses and minibuses are cheap and easy ways to get from town to town; serveeces (long-distance taxis) – though pricier – offer an convenient alternative. Domestic flights shuttle between Amman and Aqaba.
Jordan has the full range of accommodation options, from campsites and hostels through simple lodges and family-run hotels to luxury hotels.
Bread (khubez) is the bedrock – flat bread, used for scooping and dipping. Mezze – shared platters of appetisers – form the basis of most meals; simple dishes include the likes of hummus, olives and baba ghanouj (aubergine dip) or more elaborate treats such as kibbeh (wheat and lamb torpedoes) and warag aynab (stuffed vine leaves). Mansaf is a Bedouin feast dish comprising boiled lamb on rice. Coffee (qahwa) is ubiquitous; some decent Jordanian wines are available.
Crime is rare in Jordan, even in Amman. Tap water is chlorinated and bottled water is widely available. Use high-factor sunscreen, wear head protection and drink plenty of water. Check with your GP or travel health clinic that you're up to date with your jabs.
Get the very best of Wanderlust by signing up to our newsletters, full of travel inspiration, fun quizzes, exciting competitions and exclusive offers.