When you fly into Jordan to start your travels, you’ll probably fly into Amman. This is the capital of Jordan and it is the home to about 25% of the complete Jordan population. Yes, it’s busy and yes, the traffic is total chaos. But it’s also a beautiful and versatile city with lots to do and see! So let me share my top things to do in Amman.
We were in Amman for 1,5 days (2 nights). We arrived there in the late afternoon, and we went straight into the city, to visit some of the main tourist attractions. Nice to know: The city of Amman is built on hills, so prepare to walk (uphill) a lot.
King Adbullah I Mosque
This is the only mosque in Amman which you can enter if you are non-muslim. It’s a very impressive building with a beautiful dome which is covered in white and blue tiles. Entrance fee is 2 JOD, but apparantly you can get in for free as well, if you act natural and just wander right in :).
The Amman Citadel used to be one of the seven jabals which made up Amman. People have lived there for ages, but now only ruins are left. It’s definitely worth visiting, mostly because of its location.
It’s situated upon a hill, with a beautiful view over the modern city of Amman. Although there were several people walking around the historical site, it felt amazingly quiet and calm. It’s like your floating over the busy city of Amman. So yes, the Citadel surprised me in that way.
The entrance fee is round 3 JOD. If you go late in the afternoon, you can even see a sunset from the Citadel.
The Roman Theatre, visible from the Citadel, is a nice place to relax. You can escape the hustle and bustle of the Amman city life. You might see a couple of families with kids, some bedouines and some lovely couples, all just relaxing.
The entrance fee of the Roman theatre is online 1 JOD. This ticket also allows you to visit the little theatre next to the big Roman theatre.
Take day trips from Amman
Are you done visiting the highlights of Amman? No worries, there’s still lots to do. Take some day trips to cities and sights nearby. I’ll give you some options:
Madaba and Mount Nebo
I wouldn’t necessarily consider Madaba a highlight. There’s hardly anything to do, so it’s actually quite boring. We added Madaba as a final destination of our Jordan road trip, because it’s easy to get to the airport from this city. But if you’re taking a day trip, you can easily combine Madaba with Mount Nebo. Just pop by and visit the two things which Madaba is “famous” for: the Saint George church and the mosaic.
Then continue to Mount Nebo, where you can just wander around and dip into some history.
Mount Nebo allegedly is the place where Mozes saw the promised land.
Day trip number two: From Amman to the Dead Sea. As you can read in my Dead Sea tips & tricks, I’d recommend staying in a resort for the night, but if you’re not into that (or don’t have the time), you can just as easily take a day trip. There’s an entrance fee if you want to float in the dead sea, via either a private resort beach or a public beach, so keep that in mind.
Wadi Mujib is a nature reserve in Jordan, 400 meters below sea level. There’s a canyon running through this reserve, in which you can go hiking en canyoning between April and the end of October. Definitely a must do if you’re into adventurous activities. Planning on visiting Jordan outside of the beforementioned months? You won’t be able to go canyoning, but there are some nice hikes which are available, like the Ibex Trail.
We did the Siq trail, since other canyoning trails weren’t available because of the Ramadan. I made a separate post about the Wadi Mujib Siq Trail. Check it out!
The ruins of Jerash are the remnants of an ancient roman city. It’s very well preserved and bigger than you would expect. Beautiful arches, a hippodrome, bath buildings, temples, churches… there’s lots to see!
Jerash is about an hour drive from Amman. You can easily spend an entire morning or afternoon in this city. I would recommend going in the morning, because it’ll be hot and there’s little to no shadow. Make sure to wear comfy shoes, because you have to walk a fair bit. The entrance fee is 10JOD, but if you have a Jordan Pass, you can get in for free.
From Amman to Salt
Do you feel like escaping the touristy places of Jordan? Salt would be the place to go. This city used to be the capital of Jordan, but after a little disagreement between the king and the people of Salt, the king moved to Amman. Salt is definitely a place where you can find the most lovely locals. People are always in for a little chat, and they are just as curious for your stories as you are for theirs.