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Hidden amid the mountain passes of south-western Jordan for thousands of years, the awe-inspiring city of Petra is as close as you can get to a real Indiana Jones-style experience. In fact, this rock-hewn ‘rose-red city' is so astonishing that the Treasury's facade was featured in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. A Unesco World Heritage Site and named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, it easily rivals Egypt's antiquities for mystery and magic and is a must-see sight on any trip to the Middle East. Though many visitors only spend a day here, Petra's antiquities are spread out over a vast area and the area rewards exploration. To reach the impressive Al Dier Monastery, for example, requires an hour's climb up a steep mountain-side. Don't miss the evening candle-lit vigil outside the city's treasury – this majestic place is even more magical by candlelight.
Follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia into the dramatic lunar-like landscapes of the Valley of the Moon. Learn about the local Bedouin's way of life, go on a camel safari and camp out under the stars in Wadi Rum. Made famous more than fifty years ago by David Lean's epic film, these rust-red landscapes feel as if they have changed little since the dawn of time. Set in southern Jordan, Wadi Rum's desert valley tracts are full of strange and wonderful sandstone and granite rock formations, such as the so-called Seven Pillars of Wisdom. As a Unesco World Heritage Site, Wadi Rum is a protected area with its own visitor centre. Excursions to the valley can be easily arranged from most tourist hubs in the country.
Biblical and classical sites
Visit the well-preserved ancient Greco-Roman city of Jerash, situated in northern Jordan, founded by Alexander the Great and considered one of the most important classical cities in the Middle East. Extensive excavations have uncovered a vast oval forum surrounded by an almost-intact colonnade, massive temples dedicated to the Roman gods and a long colonnaded street, as well as countless other buildings. Jordan also has more than its fair share of iconic biblical sites: enjoy a stop-off at Mount Nebo where the Prophet Moses viewed the Promised Land, explore crusader castles, and view the extraordinary byzantine mosaics in the central Jordanian city of Madaba, including a huge Byzantine map of the Holy Land dating back to the 6th century.
Immerse yourself in the history and culture of Jordan's lively capital, Amman, with a bevy of bustling souks and ancient ruins waiting to be discovered. History buffs should head straight for the grand Roman Theatre, built into a hillside with steep tiers that once seated up to 6,000 spectators. The Amman Citadel, a set of ruins on Citadel Hill, is also well worth a look. The jumbled ruins, including the Temple of Hercules, take visitors on a passage through time at one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited sites. To experience the culture of modern day Amman, a stroll along Rainbow Street is hard to beat. Here, travellers can experience buzzing city life and watch the world go by in one of the many excellent cafes.
To experience the beauty of the underwater world, Aqaba, set beside the Red Sea on Jordan's southernmost tip is an ideal destination. Less busy than many other Red Sea resorts, Aqaba is blessed with long golden beaches and crystal-clear waters, with many high-end hotels set right on the seafront. The Red Sea's subtropical gardens are filled with colourful corals and an array of marine animals including sea turtles and rays. Visitors will not have to look far to find a good dive centre. Alternatively, many of the area's shallow reefs can be discovered with a simple snorkel, mask and fins.
Rest and relaxation
The world-famous Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth and its shores are dotted with luxurious spa resorts capitalising on the Sea's therapeutic reputation. In fact, some might say that this is the world's oldest spa destination, with visitors coming here to luxuriate in its buoyant mineral-rich waters and slather themselves with its curative mud since ancient times.
Equally, travellers can find a peaceful golden stretch of sand to soak up the sun and swim in clear, azure waters at Jordan's only Red Sea resort of Aqaba. This low-key and relaxed holiday hotspot has all the facilities of a typical beach resort and is the ideal place to relax at the end of your journey through Jordan.
A little taste of everything
Alternatively, why not see it all and take an all-encompassing tour of every major highlight with some added time off at the beach, or enjoy one of our multi-centre holidays to Jordan, including two or more of the most popular destinations within this fascinating country. You can also create your own ideal tailor-made Jordan holiday – one of our holiday specialists will be happy to help.
Twin-centre holidays and Tours
Experience the best of both worlds in Jordan. With so much to see and do, including countless cultural marvels, dramatic desert landscapes and a beautiful subtropical coastline, Jordan is the perfect destination for a twin- or multi-centre holiday.
Combine a beach holiday with a cultural trip and experience the delights of two types of holiday in one. Take in the spectacular cultural sights of Amman, Jerash and Petra, explore the lunar-like scenery of Wadi Rum, and end your trip floating in the Dead Sea's therapeutic waters or relaxing on the beautiful beaches of the Red Sea.
You can also create your own ideal tailor-made Jordan holiday – one of our holiday specialists will be happy to help.
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Ryanair has announced the launch of its first flights to Jordan, offering a total number of 14 routes to the cities of Aqaba and Amman. The first flight to Amman will depart from Paphos in Cyprus this March, and the airline's operations to this city will increase to ten from October. Flights to Aqaba will launch in October with four routes from Europe, and they will operate for the winter season.
As one of the most charming destinations in the Middle East, Jordan is filled with amazing sites to discover that make for thrilling adventures. Travel blogger Emma Thomson from UK newspaper The Independent recently reported her experience in Jordan and recommended some of the top activities that visitors can sign up for whilst enjoying holidays in this enchanting and enigmatic destination.
The Jordanian resort town of Aqaba beside the Red Sea is now more accessible to travellers than ever as airline Royal Jordanian have added prompt same-day connecting flights from the country’s capital Amman down to Aqaba that includes free carriage of scuba diving gear.