As the first country I visited in the Middle East, Jordan will always be very special. And what’s not to love? Amazing food (that will always be one of my top priorities, let’s be honest), gorgeous landscapes, and a culture of hospitality that makes it almost rude to ever refuse.
To experience everything the country has to offer, here are my ten favourites (split into two parts, because there’s just so much to say!) :
A classic pilgrimage, if you will, to the city carved into the mountain (pictured above). A day trip from Amman, it is well worth the long hike to see the monastery, and don’t be afraid to take some of the lesser known hiking trails for some of the best views of the ruins. Donkeys and stalls selling local wares are scattered across the trails – great opportunities for some souvenirs.
2. Wadi Rum
Go camping, or really today, ‘glamping,’ with a Bedouin meal under the stars, amidst the sand dunes of the Jordanian desert.
Another set of spectacular ruins in the north of the country, Jerash is one of my favourites as they are still so beautifully preserved. Greco-Roman remains that date back to the Bronze age, these ruins are one of the greatest archaeological findings in the Middle East today.
4. Falafel at Hashem
This small falafel joint, with a little outdoor seating, is said to be a favourite of the King’s, so really, it’s got the ultimate local seal of approval. On King Faisal Street, if you’re walking through downtown Amman, this is impossible to miss.
5. Aqaba & The Red Sea
The coastal city of Aqaba is at a unique position – look across the water and you’ve got Egypt and Israel, look a little further west and you’re looking towards the horizon to Saudi Arabia. A scuba diver’s haven in the Middle East, the Red Sea has some gorgeous coral reefs that are accessible from Aqaba. Take a boat out to the reefs, spend an afternoon diving (or learning how to!) and relax on the deck with some homemade Mediterranean food for the ultimate R&R.