Go experience the surreal natural buoyancy of the Dead Sea when you’re wondering what to do in Jordan, submerging in water ten times saltier than the ocean. Said to be the lowest valley in the world, this landlocked body of water between Jordan and Israel sees an unusual amount of minerals descending into it, caking in the sun to create a salt content of over 30%. Though a visit here won’t see you admiring brightly coloured fish or the usual beach paradise setting, this water is said to heal many bodily ailments - or at the very least give travellers a relaxing float under the Middle Eastern sun.
Sleep in a Bedouin Camp
Here in Jordan you can experience the life of the nomadic Bedouin people by sleeping in their traditional camp. Heading into the desert you are likely to find yourself sipping mint tea and local coffee within the cream tent setting, made exotic and aesthetic with countless red rugs and floor seated dining areas. By night these camps fall under the blanket of a night sky dazzled by stars, sparking lengthy conversations to the tune of traditional music. You may never want to live in a traditional home every again.
Hang out in Amman
Though the desert and and ancient setting of Petra are the country’s big hallmarks, the capital city of Amman is worth taking the time to appreciate. Wander the streets of Al-Balad where artistic flair can be seen on numerous walls, visit the awe-inspiring King Abdullah I Mosque that has the power to fill with 10,000 religious devotees, and smoke shisha with locals at a rooftop bar, bookshop, or elegant cafe. Just a few days here and you’ll be convinced Amman is not getting nearly as much attention from travellers as it deserves.
Visit the magical Petra
Journey into the southwestern desert region of Jordan to take in the archaeological masterpiece that is the city of Petra. With some records saying there are some 11,000 years of history to be found here, it’s impossible to overstate the historical significance of this UNESCO World Heritage Site and New Wonder of the World. Attracting some 1 million visitors it is by far the most popular feature of Jordan travel. The rock-carved city is accessible only via a gorge, allowing you to make your Indiana Jones dreams a complete reality.
Things to do in Jordan
Aqaba Traditional Arts Festival
Visit the idyllic setting of Jordan’s beachy resort town, Aqaba, and you are likely to catch one of many festivals held here throughout the year. The Aqaba Traditional Arts Festival is one of the most anticipated, which sees the nomadic Bedouin peoples bringing their colourful handicrafts to the seaside for sale.
Art, Culture & Crafts
Just 90-kilometres from the Syrian border, the town of Azraq might be best known for its United Nations refugee camp, but its sunnier point of fame is its festival of arts, craft and culture. Held in February, the streets of Azraq transform into a display of music, dance and handicrafts for both visitors and locals to enjoy.
Amman International Theatre Festival
Since 1994, Amman has been the centre of Middle Eastern theatrics for over a week in November, hosting the Amman International Theatre Festival. Now held in the Royal Cultural Centre, it showcases both Arabic and English performances across various themes of theatre.
Folk dances, ballet recitals, opera performances and handicraft stalls are just some of the cultural delights that take over the ancient city of Jerash, found by the mountain of Gilead. Held for over three decades, it has grown to become one of the most important cultural events in Jordan.
Top 4 Festivals in Jordan
Take your cultural experience up a notch by attending a festival in Jordan, such as the Traditional Arts Festival that brings traditional goods of the desert to the beachy town of Aqaba, or the Amman International Theatre Festival that’s been running since 1994.
The Jordan Museum
Jordan travel offers a wealth of significant archeological findings, and nowhere is this more easily accessible than The Jordan Museum. Sprawling over 10,000 square meters in an impressive modern building in the Ras Al-Ein district of Amman, this is one of the most important museums in the country and one not to be missed.
Jordan Folklore Museum
Part of the commonly visited Roman Theatre, the Jordan Folklore Museum offers an intimate look at life in the country in years gone by, most notably for the Bedouin desert dwellers. Admire traditional clothing, handicrafts, weapons, and musical instruments that are unique to this culturally rich region.
Aqaba Archaeological Museum
Found in a former palace of the Hashemite dynasty built in 1917, the Aqaba Archaeological Museum is a lesson in both Middle Eastern architecture of the 1900s and archaeology. The Bronze Age artifacts found here date back some 6000 years, making it a must when you visit Jordan.
Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts
Over 2,000 impressive international and local artworks fill the walls of the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, found in Amman’s Al Abdali district. Open since 1980, the gallery space has become renowned for supporting artists from the developing world, showcasing various mediums from sculpture to ceramics, weaving to video art.
Royal Tank Museum
Opened in 2018, the futuristic looking Royal Tank Museum is the newest addition to the list of museums on offer in Jordan. With almost 20,000 square metres of exhibition space sprawled across thirteen halls, even those uninterested in seeing 110 tanks and various military items may find themselves impressed by this collection.
Top 5 Museums and Galleries in Jordan
Here in the archaeological playground of Jordan many historically significant museums can be visited, not least of all the Aqaba Archaeological Museum that boasts Bronze Age artefacts with some 6000 years of history.
Presented like a cake and equally delicious, this savoury Middle Eastern dish will have you at ‘salam’. Layers of rice, meat, legumes and fried vegetables are assembled into a pot before being flipped upside down onto a plate. Learn to make your own at the Beit Sitti Cooking School in Amman.
Best eaten at Beit Sitti Cooking School, 16 Mohammed Ali Ad Sa'di St., Jabali Al Weibdeh, Amman
Roasted nuts are a popular street food in many Middle Eastern countries, and Jordan is no exception. Pistachios, macadamias, and many other nut varieties can be found roasted, dried, salted, or coated in markets and street stalls throughout the city.
Best eaten at Grand Husseini Mosque, King Talal St. 1, Amman
Said to be one of the world’s most popular street foods, shawarma consists of shavings of spit-roasted meats served in a wrap or sandwich with various condiments, pickles and tabbouleh salad. Completely addictive and readily available in Amman, this dish is a must try when visiting.
Best eaten at Shawarma Reem, Jabal Amman, Second Circle, Amman
Best described as a chickpea pudding, fattet hummus is a common breakfast food in many regions of the Middle East. Garnished by pine nuts and filled with ripped up pita bread, the creamy dish will have you hooked from the first bite.
Best eaten at Hashem Restaurant, King Faisal St., Amman
Food in Jordan
From warm roasted nuts to the kebab-like street food of shawarma, enjoying delicious food is a reason on its own to visit Jordan. With plenty of nods to Middle Eastern cuisine with a hint of local love, these are some of the best foods in Jordan.