Jerash Festival, July
Hiking Season, March–April
Peak Wildflower Blooms, April
Dead Sea Ultra Marathon, April
Petra Desert Marathon, August
If you thought the desert was hot by default, think again! The desert is bitter cold until March. But while most of Jordan shivers under chilly skies, those in the know head for Aqaba.
Red Sea Snorkelling & Diving
Aqaba, with its warm winter sunshine, hosts the annual holiday exodus of urbanites from the hills. The winter months, from December to March, are perfect for an underwater adventure, with clear skies and crystal-clear waters.
April is the most popular month to visit Jordan, and with good reason. The weather is balmy and the semi-arid hills of northern Jordan burst into magnificent, knee-high bloom.
Spring, from late March to mid-May, is the best time to visit Jordan’s nature reserves. The elusive black iris (Jordan’s national flower) blooms and nature lovers can hike through narrow wadis without fear of flash floods.
The annual Jordan Rally (www.jordanrally.com) attracts cheering crowds to the Dead Sea shore. The world’s leading rally drivers participate in this 1008km route.
Dead Sea Ultra Marathon
Not just for a few crazed locals, the Dead Sea Ultra Marathon attracts athletes and amateurs – all heading below zero. The 50km race begins in Amman at 900m above sea level and ends 400m below the international tideline.
Still peak tourist season, the country heats up in May leaving low-lying areas toasting. It’s also peak season for flowering oleander, making the wadis pretty in pink.
On 25 May, Jordanians celebrate national day with bunting and flags and military parades in the capital. It’s a good excuse for a chat, water pipe and mint tea with friends, and visitors are always made welcome.
Hiking & Camel Trekking
It may be heating up in Petra and Wadi Rum, but the desert is a quintessential experience in the heat. With sizzling days and breezy nights, you quickly slip into the rhythm of Bedouin life, rising early and napping after lunch.
During the 30 days of Ramadan, Muslims must refrain from eating, drinking and smoking between dawn and dusk. While there are some restrictions for visitors, Ramadan (mostly in May until 2021) also brings special delicacies unavailable at other times.
Until 2021, the months of May and June are associated with high points in the Islamic year, the exact dates of which are based on the lunar calendar.
Eid Al Fitr
Marking the end of Ramadan, Eid Al Fitr is a time of festivity for Muslims. Disruptions to opening hours, and heavily booked transport and hotels are likely; on the upside, an invitation to join the party is an opportunity not to be missed.
The midsummer month of July brings hazy skies and suffocating heat and few choose this time of year for a visit. Thankfully, it is cheered up by open-air cultural events.
Hosted within world-class ruins, Jordan’s best-loved cultural event brings ancient Jerash to life with plays, poetry recitals, opera and concerts. Held annually since 1981, the festival usually spans three weeks of the summer months.
Traditional Concerts & Plays
In July and August traditional concerts and plays are held at the Odeon and Roman Theatre in Amman, as well as in Salt and Fuheis.
Just when you think it can't get any hotter, August arrives with high temperatures radiating off the parched earth. Little wonder visitors are few.
Petra Desert Marathon
When the heat is at its most extreme, marathon runners take to the near vertical ascents around Petra in a bewildering act of self-punishment (www.albatros-adventure.com/petra-desert-marathon).
Eid Al Adha
Marking the end of Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, this Islamic holiday falls in July or August until 2021. Shops close as owners join their families on these important days of celebration.
With the first signs of autumn showers, the scorched earth returns to life and everyone, including the farmers, makes hay while the sun shines.
Residents of Jordan sigh with relief in September as temperatures show signs of cooling and markets abound with figs, corn and fresh olive oil.
Jordan Running Adventure Race
Covered in a single stage usually between Petra and Wadi Rum, this 160km ultra trail (www.tendao-run.com/jrar_english) has become an established part of Jordan’s sporting calendar. A shorter route attracts less masochistic participants.
Blustering with wind and heavy rains, November signals flash flood season as water chases through sun-dried wadis towards Wadi Araba. Not the best month for hiking, but good for sightseeing.
Floating in the Dead Sea
With fewer tourists than in spring, you may be bobbing alone in the Dead Sea in November. Early harvests of mangos and bananas from the Jordan Valley give extra enticement!
Ramadan, the month of fasting, and the two main Islamic holidays in the year, Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha (marked by feasting and family festivities), are observed throughout Jordan. The dates are governed by the lunar calendar and therefore advance by roughly 10 days each year.