Experience Jordan’s Most Famous Highlights—From Amman to the Dead Sea

A figure hikes the top of dune. Large cliff formations are seen in the background

Jordan’s truly remarkable history and culture are best experienced through the lens of a tour company with its own history and connections. Globus has been showing travelers the world for more than 90 years, making them a great choice for your adventure in Jordan. Their Jordan Escape tour begins in Amman, the country’s dynamic and historic capital, and ends by the shores of the Dead Sea.

Along the way, you’ll see sites like Jerash, the best-preserved Roman city outside of Italy, and the iconic Treasury at Petra, the capital of the Nabatean people. A highlight of a trip to Jordan, especially with Globus, is meeting residents and tasting the many flavors of its cuisine at markets and restaurants that are local favorites—and this itinerary includes magical moments like enjoying tea with a Bedouin in his tent in the desert.

Another noteworthy aspect of this Globus trip is that most of its departure dates fall in Jordan’s off-season, offering deals for bargain-minded travelers. While you can expect some chilly nights on the coldest days of winter and even occasional snowfall in Amman (so pack some layers), it’s an excellent time to visit the country, when daytime temperatures rise to comfortably cool. If you’re not a big fan of desert heat, then this is actually the best time to visit Wadi Rum, Petra, and the Dead Sea.

A car drives through the desert


A Jeep Tour of Wadi Rum

An adrenaline-inducing four-wheel-drive tour of the desert landscapes of Wadi Rum can feel like driving through a movie set—which is actually the case, as this has been the location of dozens of films, from Lawrence of Arabia to The Martian.


Globus Journeys

Since 1928, Globus Journeys has been introducing travelers to the world’s most beloved destinations, always emphasizing the undiscovered spots that tell the true story behind a country. Follow them to off-the-beaten-path locations with the charm, tradition, and cultural beauty that can only be found in the authentic towns and landscapes of destinations like Jordan. From undiscovered hamlets of Great Britain to the vineyards and hills of Italy and whitewashed villages nestled against the sandy shores of the Mediterranean that only the locals know, Globus will share their favorite, less-traveled treasures with you.
Cars travel through a sand-colored city

DAY 1Arrive in Amman

You’ll land this morning in Jordan’s capital and be met by a Globus representative for the transfer to your hotel, the Kempinski Hotel Amman. Most of the 278 rooms here have sweeping views, so as you get settled, get a bird’s-eye look at the city streets before you start wandering them.

You’ll have the rest of the day free to explore Amman. While the Kempinski is located in the financial district, it’s also convenient to the sites on most travelers’ lists. A 15-minute cab ride will bring you to the Amman Citadel, a walled fortress atop the city’s tallest hill. The area has been occupied since as early as the Bronze Age, and every empire that has ruled Jordan over the millennia has left traces. The most famous sites of the citadel date from the Roman period—the columns of the Temple of Hercules—and the Umayyad period, in the form of an ancient palace.

You may also want to spend part of the afternoon exploring the galleries of the Jordan Museum. This archaeological museum, which opened in 2014, houses artifacts that cover almost 10,000 years of the country’s human history, including one of the oldest known statues of humans, sculpted around 7500 B.C.E.

After your free day, you’ll join your group for a welcome dinner. This special meal offers an opportunity to meet your tour director from Globus and your fellow guests for the week-long adventure exploring Jordan.
A large circle marked by columns. Amman is seen in the background

DAY 2Jerash

Today you’ll head out on a guided tour. Among the stops on the introduction to Amman is the city’s most famous and most photographed site, the Roman Theater. Built in the first century C.E., it can seat 6,000 spectators and is still used for cultural events. There’s also an adjoining and more intimate space seating 500—the Odeon—that dates from the same period and is, like the larger theater, remarkably well preserved. Both offer a chance to walk in the footsteps of Amman’s ancient residents.

The two theaters are, however, just a small taste of what you’ll experience later in the day when you visit Jerash, roughly an hour north of Amman by car. The earliest signs of human settlement at Jerash are from around 3200 B.C.E., but the so-called “city of a thousand columns” is best known for the theaters, temples, baths, and other buildings erected during the periods of Greek and Roman rule. Despite a devastating earthquake in the 8th century C.E., the ruins here are the most extensive and best-preserved Roman ones outside of Italy.
Black and white buildings in a valley.

DAY 3Wadi Rum

You’ll check out from your hotel this morning and head to one of the many sites in Jordan that was made famous, in part, by its turns on the silver screen. Wadi Rum, a four- to five-hour drive south of Amman, is the largest wadi in the entire country.

Though sometimes translated simply as “valley” or “ravine,” a wadi is more of a seasonal gully or wash—a specific type of valley created in a desert by the forces of seasonal rivers or occasional flash flooding. The arid landscape of Wadi Rum, with its dramatic sandstone outcroppings, manages to embody the typical desert landscape while at the same time looking entirely otherworldly. See it and you’ll understand how it can be the setting for both classic films like Lawrence of Arabia while also playing the part of the planet Mars in a number of films, including 2015’s The Martian.

Then it’s time to really experience what makes the desert magical—by getting out there in a four-wheel-drive, which offers close-up views of the dunes and rock formations. You’ll be given a keffiyeh, the traditional Arab headdress or scarf that Peter O’Toole donned when he played Lawrence of Arabia. It’s the must-have accessory for a desert driving tour of the Wadi Rum.

Afterwards, you’ll continue on to the Movenpick Nabatean Castle, just a few minutes to the south of the ruins at Petra. You can either get a head start on exploring legendary Petra or spend the remainder of the afternoon relaxing by the pool—or perhaps reading up on the sites you’ll see tomorrow.
A stone building carved out of a mountainside

DAY 4Petra

Today you’ll explore an ancient city, Petra, located in the biblical land of Moab on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. Petra is one of the most famous destinations in not only Jordan but the entire world: The red sandstone façade of the city’s treasury has become an iconic image of the country—more broadly, it’s come to embody the mystery of vanished ancient civilizations.

Petra was long the capital of the Nabatean people, an ancient Arab nation strongly influenced by Hellenistic and later Roman cultures (eventually, the Nabatean people would be absorbed into the greater Roman Empire). The most famous buildings at Petra, including the treasury and a number of tombs, date from the first and second centuries C.E., at the height of Roman influence, though archaeologists believe the site was settled as early as 9000 B.C.E.
During your visit, your Globus guide will take you to the most important archaeological sites; you’ll also walk down the Siq, a dramatic narrow gorge made famous in part by its appearance in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. After learning about the area’s ancient past in Petra, you’ll have a chance to experience the living culture of Jordan’s deserts. Over the very unique experience of sitting down to tea in a Bedouin tent, you’ll hear about the culture of the nomadic people who have long roamed the deserts of North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Levant region.

As they have for centuries, the Bedouin in this part of Jordan spend half of each year in villages and the other half wandering the desert with their flocks in search of the best grazing spots. You’ll learn about their lives while you’ll sip sweet tea and sit on low cushions and rugs in a traditional black tent with white stripes—the distinctive design typical of these homes, with walls of woven camel, goat, and sheep hair.
A decaying castle on a hill

DAY 5Kerak and Wadi Mujib

This morning you’ll drive north toward the Dead Sea; your first stop will be Kerak. The city’s impressive castle was the largest built by the Crusaders in the Levant region. Even though it was only used by the Crusaders for less than 50 years—from its construction in the 1142 until Muslim forces captured it in 1188—its location at a vital crossroads to the south of the Dead Sea assured that it was coveted and fought over up until World War I. The structure is a fascinating mix of European (specifically, French), Byzantine, and Arab elements and motifs.

Later in the day, you’ll continue on to another of Jordan’s famous wadis—today, it’s Wadi Mujib. The so-called Grand Canyon of Jordan has been formed by what historians believe is the Arnon—an important stream mentioned in the Old Testament books of Deuteronomy and Judges that once formed the border between the Moabites and the Amorites. Today, the wadi’s canyon walls rise more than 3,300 feet above the river, which makes its way through the valley to the Dead Sea.

The marshlands and small lakes formed by the stream have made the wadi a crucially important area in terms of biodiversity. Various finches, sparrows, owls, vultures, and other bird species either live in the wadi year-round or use it as a stop on their annual migrations. At the same time, some of the more isolated parts of the wadi are sanctuaries for wolves, goats, wild cats, and other rare mammal species that live in the desert.

After exploring the Wadi Mujib, your final stop for the day is your hotel for the next two nights, the luxurious Movenpick Dead Sea resort. Start your healing retreat with a visit to the enormous spa—more than 60,000 square feet—where you can sweat it out in the hammam or take a soak in one of the pools. You can also head to the famous Dead Sea itself and take a swim in waters that have been famous for millennia for their therapeutic qualities. Reportedly even Cleopatra praised Dead Sea water and used it in cosmetics.
A T-shaped sculpture at sunset

DAY 6Highlights of the Dead Sea

Many key moments of both the Old and New testaments played out on the peaks overlooking the Dead Sea, and on the beaches lapped by its waters. Today, Globus’s tour will take you to many of the area’s most famous sites. In Madaba, you’ll visit the 19th-century Church of St. George, where the main attraction is the Madaba Map, a 6th-century mosaic discovered during the church’s construction. It’s one of the oldest existing maps of the Holy Land.

Mosaics are also the highlights of the Madaba Archaeological Museum. You’ll find ones displayed in the houses where they were originally unearthed, as well as others that were transferred to the museum for conservation. Alongside them are displays of jewelry, weapons, and other artifacts.

Later in the day, you’ll ascend to the top of Mount Nebo to take in the stunning views of the Holy Land. It was here that, according to the book of Deuteronomy, God showed Moses the land of Canaan, which he would not be allowed to enter. Moses is said to have died on Mount Nebo and then buried there (at least according to some faiths), after having seen the Promised Land from afar.

In the afternoon, you’ll stop at Bethany Beyond the Jordan, a town of special significance to Christians. On the banks of the River Jordan, roughly six miles from the Dead Sea, John the Baptist is believed to have baptized Jesus Christ. A number of Byzantine and other Christian chapels and shrines from over the centuries reflect the site’s long history as a place of pilgrimage.

Tonight, you’ll have a final farewell dinner with the rest of your Globus group. We recommend making sure you exchange contact information with your new friends: You’ll want to swap photographs of your trip through Jordan after you get back home.
A mosaic map on the ground

DAY 7Return Home

It’s just been one week, and already it’s time to return home. The Globus trip has provided a sampling of the highlights of Jordan and top sites that we expect you’ll want to revisit and explore in more depth. After breakfast, you’ll depart for the airport in Amman, but you can spend the flight home pondering what you’ll include in your next trip to Jordan.
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Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East