The Ultimate Jordan Road Trip Itinerary for 7 Days
Jordan is a very popular county in the Middle East because it’s relatively safe despite being in the middle of a contentious region. Jordan’s extensive history is very accessible and you can learn a ton during your time here. From the fun and historic Dead Sea to the stunning desert of Wadi Rum, to the ancient city of Petra and back to modern life in Amman, Jordan is a wonderful place to spend a week (or more if you’re lucky!). Read on for this ultimate Jordan road trip itinerary!
What should I know?
If you plan to travel around Jordan, the best deal is to buy the Jordan Pass in advance. This includes your visa fee, entrance to Petra and entrance to Wadi Rum. You can purchase this online.
After landing and showing your visa documents, you’ll head to the baggage claim area. It’s relatively small and you can get cash from an ATM, a SIM card from one of the local cell phone providers and pick up your car from a car rental company all within a relatively small space which makes it easy for first time visitors.
This Ultimate Jordan Road Trip guide wouldn’t be complete without road trip tips!
- Pack some snacks from home so you can eat them on your road trip. My favorite is Larabars or similar all-natural energy bars.
- There are random speed bumps everywhere in Jordan – including on the highway – so watch out for them and certainly slow down so you don’t ruin your rental car! There are also checkpoints where police will wave you over and just want to look at your passports. This is more of a formality and they would really just say “Welcome to Jordan!” after seeing we were foreigners so don’t be alarmed!
- We over-relied on Google Maps to get us around, which sometimes meant detours through villages as the “fastest route.” This can be nice to see local life but sometimes it’s better to stay on the main highways. One village we drove through had kids who started to throw rocks at the car. I don’t think they were malicious but just don’t really see many tourists so I’d recommend staying diligent and trying to stay to main roads.
- At gas stations, someone will likely fill your gas for you. You either tell them to fill it all the way or how much you want to spend. They will tip themselves very little (pennies) out of what you pay them. Maybe just tip them a little bit more? People are very familiar there and one gas attendant asked us for a ride. We were polite but definitely declined this.
Check travel restrictions on your airline’s website for Amman. Our battery packs were taken from us at the airport (in Amman, not in London) so make sure you don’t bring anything restricted.
Day One: Amman to Madaba
Many international flights arrive in the evening. After picking up your rental car, either stay near the airport or in nearby Madaba. We were on a budget so opted for nearby Madaba. Mosiac City Hotel Madaba was a good option with a really nice breakfast buffet including some fun sweet breads. Settle in and rest up!
Day Two: Madaba to Petra
After a nice buffet breakfast, explore town a bit and get some water and snacks for the rest of your trip. Madaba has a well-known church with a floor mosaic map from the 6th century. Make sure you check this out (it won’t take long) and really soak in the genius of this map. They didn’t have drones to figure out aerial views so it’s pretty incredible!
From here, head out on your drive to Petra – truly starting your ultimate Jordan road trip now! Consider leaving Madaba by around 1030am so you can get to Petra by 3pm.
Check in to your hotel near Petra. We stayed at the Candles Hotel in Wadi Moussa. It was a budget option but nice enough and within walking distance of everything around Petra so was perfect for us. A more Western option would be the Movenpick (more pricey) or the Crowne Plaza (more reasonable). Petra Guest house also looks like a nice mid-range option.
Grab a late lunch/early dinner at My Mom’s Recipe – they have a great buffet. Stock up on water (seriously, stock up) at one of the convenience stores en route to Petra. I was so thirsty from the dry air and hot weather and always wanted more water.
Explore Petra until it closes at 6pm.
If you are lucky to be at Petra on a night that has “Petra by Night” then definitely check this out. There are a lot of tourists that go so it can ruin the experience a little bit but not enough that I would say skip it. Just try to be one of the first in line so you can walk at the front of the crowd through the canyons lined by candles. It’s pretty magical to imagine those living there so long ago navigating the same path by candlelight.
Day Three: Petra to Wadi Rum
Check out Petra early this morning. Many hotels offer an early breakfast option as many tourists are there to go to Petra early in the morning.
The entrance opens at 6am and Petra will be the least busy at this time for pictures. There are so many hikes in the park and I’d recommend doing a few – not as many people actually do the hikes so it’s a great way to explore in relative peace. We hiked The High Place of Sacrifice Trail, the Wadi Farasa Trail and up to The Monastery. Another popular hike people do is above The Treasury to get a bird’s eye view. If you have limited time, skip this as you’ve already seen it from the ground and there are more interesting/less touristy places to see in your precious time.
If you hike up to the Monastery as the last of your hikes, there is a restaurant there and I’d recommend having some light bites and delicious refreshing juice.
After you complete your meal, head back to your hotel (make sure to get a late check out so you can shower and pack up your bags in the room before departing).
Drive to Wadi Rum, arrive mid-afternoon. We stayed at the Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp which was really great. They met us at the parking lot and then took us on a tour around the desert to explore a variety of interesting spots. It feels like you’re on a different planet here and we enjoyed the jeep tour immensely.
After the tour, we were brought to the camp where we changed and freshened up before dinner.
The main focus this evening is on the delicious meal being made for you. The food is cooked in the ground and then you eat buffet style. We enjoyed learning from the berbers about their lives and their families’ histories in the desert.
Don’t forget to spend time outside just looking up at the stars. We saw shooting stars which was really special for our night in the desert. The cabin we stayed in was very nice considering we were “camping.” We had a proper bed with warm bedding and it was so lovely to fall asleep to the silence of the desert.
Day Four: Wadi Rum to the Dead Sea
You’ll likely wake up a bit early with the sun (the cabins are dark but it seemed like everyone was mostly awake by 7am). Take time to enjoy walking around camp and taking in the views before a delicious breakfast.
If interested in a camel trek, opt for the camel ride back to the parking lot at the start of the desert. This will be about a one-hour ride which I’ve heard is long enough on a camel. Some people do full or ½ day camel treks in the desert and end up very sore!
Back at the parking lot, start your drive to the Dead Sea.
Arrive to your hotel midafternoon. We stayed at the Marriott which was such a treat. We paid with points but I think I would have paid the price to stay at such a lovely resort for a night of relaxation.
Settle in, maybe grab a sandwich and delicious juice from Jo’s Midi, enjoy some pool time and of course head down to the Dead Sea for some awesome float time. Watch the sunset over the sea (that’s the beauty of being on the Jordan side of the Sea!)
The Dead Sea area isn’t really built up yet so stay at your hotel for dinner. The Marriott has some great dinner options and we really enjoyed our meal at Il Terrazzo with views over the sea. You can see the lights in Palestine which was really incredible.
Day Five: The Dead Sea to Amman
Enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet (seriously amazing!) before heading out on a morning hike at Wadi Mujib about 30 minutes south from the hotel. The Siq Trail was flooded when were there but is highly recommended if you are able to do it! Make sure you bring water shoes so you stay protected. Consider hiking with Wild Jordan; they were so kind in responding to all of my enquiries about if the trail would be open and seem like a great company to tour with if you’re nervous to hike alone. They also have a great mission! This hike can take awhile so plan accordingly.
From there, head back to the hotel (request a late checkout) so you can shower/change. After checking out, head to Jesus’ Baptism site if you’d like to learn more about the history of the Jordan River valley. It’s a special tour and one I’d recommend even if you’re not religious.
From here, drive up to Mt. Nebo to see the site where Moses saw the Promised Land.
After spending some time here, drive back to the airport to drop off your rental car. Given how hectic the driving in Amman is, I’d recommend dropping off your car at the airport and then taking either a taxi or a bus into Amman for the last destination of your ultimate Jordan road trip. A car is not necessary in Amman since you can pretty much walk everywhere!
We took a bus to a central bus stop in the city and then from there took a taxi to save money. Make sure the driver turns on the meter and doesn’t scam you on the price. It is cheap to take taxis in Amman (like it could cost $3-$5) and sometimes drivers will tell you it is actually $30 or $50. Most drivers are honest but as always, stay diligent!
There are many great hotel options in Amman. We really liked the Gallery Guest House. It’s a budget option but very clean and includes a nice breakfast delivered to your door each morning. The rooftop also has great views.
Walk around town, grab dinner if hungry. We were honestly so full from breakfast that we skipped lunch AND dinner today and just had some snacks at the hotel before bedtime.
Day Six: Amman
After a nice breakfast at the hotel, get out and explore Amman!
Walk down the Al Balad Steps (and maybe grab a coffee or tea if so inclined) en route to the ruins of the ancient Citadel (worth every penny) and the Roman Theatre – Odeon (we just saw it from the outside since we didn’t want to pay to go in).
From here, grab lunch at Hashem Restaurant for falafel. It’s seriously amazing and a true local spot. Afterwards, tuck in just down the street to Habibah Sweets for dessert. Here you’ll find both locals and tourists and it’s a sweet mingling.
Once full, walk to the Jordan Museum. The highlight for me was seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls, although the whole museum is well done.
After a day exploring, perhaps grab a juice from a local vendor (they’ll mix the freshest and most delicious combinations up for you!) and then rest back up at the hotel for a bit before heading this evening to Rainbow Street.
Walk along Rainbow Street and check out all of the great shops. My favorite was the Jordan River Foundation Showroom – it has beautiful handicraft and home décor items that support local people and refugees, especially women. I wanted to bring home so many items! The products are a bit pricey but are high quality and you’re supporting the futures of many wonderful people. For your last dinner in Amman, enjoy a meal on Rainbow Street at Sufra. It’s a treat and in a gorgeous setting. We enjoyed the hummus/falafel mezze and lamb mansaf. Don’t forget to order the lemon and mint juice and pistachio ice cream for dessert!
Day Seven: Amman to Home
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before getting a taxi to the airport. It’s typically cheaper if you find a taxi driver on the street and ask them to use the meter vs. having your hotel arrange but it’s also easier for the hotel to coordinate on your behalf. Either way, it should cost ~$30 by taxi to get to the airport.
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