This ancient wonder is a must-see in Jordan. Follow a narrow sandy-floored pathway lined by deep gorges to reveal pink-hued Petra, a tomb for King Aretas, carved into the rock in 100BC. Seen by daylight, when crystals in the rock glitter, or by night, when candles flicker in the sand – either sight is astonishing. Be sure to discover the rest of the ‘Pink City’, including a vast theatre, a monastery and the stunning High Place of Sacrifice, where pathways littered with ancient pottery pieces and Spring flowers open out onto a secluded vantage point over the carved ruins.
Wadi Rum, a desolate desert south of Petra, is a captivating and liberating place to spend a few days. Guided by Bedouins, you’ll explore the dunes and fascinating rock formations that pepper the wide-open space. At night, admire the yawning night sky, where a galaxy watches over you, and a cosy Bedouin tent awaits for you to lay your head. At dawn, the colours of sunrise as it tints the dune landscape around you will stay with you long after you leave.
As well as miles of desert, Jordan also has two very different bodies of water to explore, each offering a unique experience. As Jordan is a compact country both the Red and the Dead sea, desert and Petra are all easily doable in one to two weeks. The Dead Sea is actually a lake and is the lowest point on earth. High in salt content, wildlife is scarce but the buoyant mineral-rich waters have soothing, healing properties for those who float on it. The Red Sea is a marine-lovers paradise with its warm, clear waters filled with colourful corals and flitting with fish, sharks and dolphins.
Spending time within Jordan’s lush oases show another side to this diverse country, where nine-tenths of the land is semi-arid desert. Surprisingly there are six protected wilderness reserves, including the Dana Biosphere where you can hike through woodland and palm forests which have extraordinary amounts of flora and fauna. The lucky few may spot the extremely rare Syrian wolf.