Amman is a modern Arab city rather than one of the great cultural centres of the Middle East; it has never rivalled Damascus or Cairo as a grand Islamic city of antiquity. For those arriving from Syria or Egypt it can, depending on your perspective, feel either refreshingly or disappointingly modern and Westernised. Residents talk openly of two Ammans.
Aqaba, Wadi Rum & The Desert Highway
Southern Jordan has a totally different feel from the north and holds some of the country's most dramatic desert landscapes. Petra and Wadi Rum are both unmissable sights and Aqaba is a popular last stop before catching the ferry to Egypt.
Madaba & the King’s Highway
The King's Highway - known in Arabic as At-Tariq as-Sultani (Rd of the Sultan) - is of great historical and religious significance.
Aqaba & Around
The balmy winter climate and idyllic setting on the Gulf of Aqaba, ringed by high desert mountains, make this Jordan's aquatic playground. While Amman shivers in winter with temperatures around 5°C and the occasional snowfall, the daytime mercury in Aqaba rarely goes below 20°C and is often quite a few degrees warmer.
Jerash, Irbid & the Jordan Valley
The area to the north of Amman is the most densely populated in Jordan, with the major centres of Irbid and Jerash, as well as dozens of small towns dotted in among the rugged and relatively fertile hills. These are the biblical Hills of Gilead, peppered with olive groves and pine forests that lend a distinctly Mediterranean feel to the region.
Dead Sea Highway
There are several reasons to visit the Dead Sea region, not least for a float in the sea itself, especially if you're not visiting the Israeli side. Bethany is an important archaeological site that pinpoints a major event in the life of Jesus to a remarkably specific physical location on the banks of the Jordan River.
This easy-going town is best known for its superb and historically significant Byzantine-era mosaics. The town has a strong sense of its unique history, making it a major stop on the tourist trail.
The Dead Sea is at the lowest point on earth and has such high salinity (due to evaporation) that you just bob about on the surface like a cork.
The village that has sprung up around Petra is Wadi Musa (Valley of Moses), formerly known as Elji but now named after the valley it follows. It's a patchy mass of hotels, restaurants and shops stretching about 5km down from 'Ain Musa to the main entrance of Petra.
Offering some of the most extraordinary desert scenery you'll ever see, Wadi Rum (admission per person JD2, children under 12 free, per vehicle JD5) is a definite highlight of any visit to Jordan. This area, made famous abroad by the exploits of TE Lawrence ('Lawrence of Arabia') in the early 20th century, has lost none of its allure and forbidding majesty.
Wadi Rum & Around
Jerash & Around
Azraq & the Eastern Desert Highway
The deeper you go into the desert, the closer you come to God. Arab proverb To the east of Amman the suburbs gradually peter out, replaced by the badia, a stony black basalt desert that stretches to Iraq and Saudi Arabia.