Surprisingly one of the most expensive destinations in the Middle East, yet a beauty to visit and discover! Here’s a full guide to Amman, and Jordan’s most visited attractions. For our favorite restaurant picks, read through Where to Eat in Amman.
You have to start your week in Amman at one of Jordan’s most esteemed breakfast spots. A favorite for both locals & tourists alike, Shams Al Balad is perfect for a light or hefty start to your day.
Citadel & Hand of Hercules – Jabal Al Qalaa or the Citadel Hill is one of the seven original hills that made up Amman. At the very tip, is the Amman Citadel, Temple of Hercules, a Byzantine church, and the Umayyad palace. Make sure to get there early, as locals like to spend the day there and it could get crowded quickly.
West Al Balad– head to downtown where you can venture in the heart of the city, markets, shops and get a good dose of street art and souvenirs.
Some tourist highlights are the Umbrella Stairs decorating the entrance of Restaurant Zajal. But an unknown and just as worthy set of stairs – is the private entrance of a home decked out in piano painted stairs. You’ll find many similar gems throughout downtown.
Duke’s Diwan– for some art and culture, visit the Diwan the oldest standing stone townhome in Amman. Built in 1924, the preserved building is open for the public and local artists, writers, and musicians to meet.
Roman Amphitheater- a 6,000 seater theatre in the heart of the old city that dates back to the 2nd century. If you’re lucky, you can catch a live show at the theatre in the evenings.
You can take a major uphill hike (only 10 minutes of a cardio burning walk) to Rainbow Street. Another Amman staple!
Another personal favorite is Wild Jordan, overseeing the old city’s bright lights.
While in Amman, check out both King Hussein Mosque and the black and white stripped Abu Darwish Mosque. Both are architectural beauties!
Al Weibdeh is a pretty trendy neighborhood with lots of art, cafes and filled with tourists & locals alike. A few notorious spots are Café Rumi, Café Kepi, Talet Al Weibdeh and Fan we Chai. Take this secret tip, and make sure to stop at Atir, the most impressive dish of konafa & other desserts freshly made to order. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen.
You’ll also get a good dose of street art and murals, if you want to follow the graffiti along – this is a great map of Amman’s street art.
For more contemporary art with a historic twist, stop at Darat Al Funun, also in Al Weibdeh. Actively pursuing its mission in providing a platform for contemporary Arab artists, the “center” is also known for salvaging and restoring abandoned traditional buildings and antiquities.
Amman is pretty small; you can cover almost everything in a day or two even if you’re really taking your time with the attractions.
You can’t visit Jordan without taking a dip in the Dead Sea (review of Dead Sea resorts here!), make sure to spend the night and head over to Wadi Mujib.
Spend 3-4 hours hiking the valley of Mujib and the Siq Trail. Wrap up your day at the Ma’in Hot Springs for some relaxation and head back to Amman. Or even spend the night at the Ma’in Hot Springs Hotel. Here’s a full guide on the springs, whether you need a day pass or will stay overnight!
Depending on how long you’re in Jordan for, you’ll have plenty of options for quick day trips from Amman.
As-Salt is the closest stop and offers a beautiful hike overseeing the historic town and homes built into the hills. Here’s how where to go and what you’ll see at As Salt!
Jerash Ruins –only an hour away from city center this Graeco-Roman settlement is massive and home to theatres, colonnades, a hippodrome, all sorts of ruins and mosaics. Be greeted by the Arch of Hadrian and make your way to Colonnaded Street and beyond.
Ajloun Castle- another quick visit from Amman, is the city of Ajloun. It’s most famed attraction is the old Castle. You’ll also get a chance to walk through the city’s thriving market and grab some fresh fruits.
Finally, off to The Lost City of Petra! The ancient capital of the Nabatean Kingdom is a magnificent site, and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. The top attractions are the Kazneh (or treasury), the Siq walkway, Ad Deir Monsatery among many other sites. Plan to spend at least 4-6 hours wandering through the ruins.
Wadi Rum – About an hour and 45 minutes from Petra you’ll reach a stretch of miles long red-orange hills and desert. You’ll have a ton of touristic adventures like camping, climbing, camel riding and ATV tours – all kindly coordinated for you by your camp guide. I enjoyed my stay at Bedouin Lifestyle Camp! But there are dozens of other options.
Of course, you’ll be served a glorious traditional Bedouin dinner cooked in azarb that consists of lamb and vegetables, which are cooked underground.
The highlight of desert camping is gazing at the clear night skies, making out all the stars and galaxies in total serenity.
Do you have any stellar recommendations for visiting Jordan? Let us know in the comments!