The ancient city of Petra, situated deep in the southwestern desert of Jordan, is a famous archaeological site that attracts tens of thousands of tourists every year.
Also known as the “Lost City,” it is said to have been an essential trading city from pre-historic times, dating back to around 300 BC. It is believed to be inhabited by roughly 20 to 30 thousand people, but they moved to a more fertile location as the water system in Petra broke down beyond repair.
The abandoned city of Petra was rediscovered centuries later and astonishingly had much of its architecture intact. And that’s how it became a famous archaeological and tourist attraction – one of the 7 Modern Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site.
Therefore, if you want to look at the amazing tombs, temples, churches, and public buildings back from one of the earliest civilizations in the history of mankind but only have limited time in Jordan, we suggest taking a Petra tour from Amman.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about taking a day trip to Petra from Amman, complete with the distance, days, what to expect, and which tours to take for a more extensive trip.
- How Far is Petra from Amman?
- How Long Do I Need to Explore Petra?
- What to Expect on a Petra Tour from Amman?
- Day Trip to Petra Vs. Longer Jordan Road Trip
- Recommended Petra Tours From Amman
- Entry Fees For Petra
- Petra By Night
- Questions to Ask Before Booking a Tour from Amman to Petra
- So Should You Day Trip Amman to Petra?
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How Far is Petra from Amman?
If you go via the Desert Highway, Petra is almost 3 hours (229 km) away from Amman. However, if you take Route 65 (The Dead Sea Highway), the distance increases by a few kilometres (250 km), and it takes around 4 hours to reach the ancient Nabatean city.
Regardless of which route you choose, it will lead you to the town of Wadi Musa, the entrance to the gorge that leads to Petra.
How Long Do I Need to Explore Petra?
You can easily spend 1 to 3 days in Petra, depending on how you have planned your trip.
If you’re taking a day trip from Amman, one full day in Petra is just about enough to explore the various attractions and architectural wonders.
However, if you add Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea to your trip, you can easily spend 5 to 6 days exploring the areas.
But, if you plan on extensively exploring only Petra, a 2 to 3-day trip is more than enough.
What to Expect on a Petra Tour from Amman?
Whether you’ve been inspired by Hollywood blockbusters such as Tomb Raider or Indiana Jones, or you’re a history buff, a visit to Petra is undoubtedly a bucket list experience in the Middle East. Strolling through the half-built and half-carved city, full of winding passages and gorges, a trip to Petra is similar to taking a trip down memory lane, where everything is covered in dust yet has an interesting backstory.
The City of Petra
As you step into the ancient city of Petra via the 1 km long siq (canyon), you will be mesmerized by the tall building structures, pathways going around the city, and of course, the ancient architecture.
The first monument you will come across as you reach the canyon’s end is the Al-Khazneh (treasury), which is a 30 meters wide and 43 meters tall tomb entirely carved into the sandstone.
As you move past the Al-Khazneh, you will see several other tombs, including the Urn Tomb and Royal Tombs, alongside hundreds of carvings in the rocks.
The second major attraction in Petra is the Theatre, built to seat 3,000 people, complete with obelisks, sacrificial altars, temples, and colonnades. Then there’s the Ad-Dier Monastery, located 800 steps atop the hill.
For more information on the ancient city of Petra, you can also visit the Petra Archaeological Museum and the Petra Nabatean Museum. Here you will find unique artefacts from the ruins that tell us about the lifestyle and culture of the Nabateans.
As a side trip to visiting Petra, many tours will include a visit to the UNESCO-listed Wadi Rum Protected Area. This vast 74,000-hectare area of southern Jordan sits around one and a half hours to the east of Petra and includes some of the most stunning desert vistas in the world.
You can spend the night in one of the basic accommodations in the desert reserve or a luxury glamping tent just outside or Rum immediately before or after your trip to Petra.
Day Trip to Petra Vs. Longer Jordan Road Trip
The most common question regarding Amman to Petra tours is the duration of the trip.
Should you plan a day trip and return to Amman the same day? Or should you plan a longer Jordan road trip that includes Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea, and other areas nearby?
This will really depend on the amount of time you have in the country, and the amount of time you want to spendon the road in a single day – given a day return will involve sitting for a good 6 hours.
Let’s have a look at the pros and cons.
Day Trip to Petra From Amman
The Petra Archaeological Park is spread across an expanse of 2640 acres; therefore, there is plenty to see and explore. People who have already been to Petra say it takes almost 4 hours to fully explore the Lost City before heading back to Amman or moving on to the next destination.
So, if you take a tour that leaves Amman around 7:00 am, you’ll be in Petra around 10:00 am. After visiting all the places, even if you leave the city around 2:00 or 3:00 pm, it will take you almost 2 hours to reach Wadi Rum around late afternoon.
- You’ll be back in Amman the same day.
- You’ll be able to see the sunset in Wadi Rum.
- You won’t be able to explore the Lost City at your leisure and will because you have to follow the tour bus schedule; at most you’ll get 4 to 5 hours to explore, which is really not long enough to take in the Monastry (8km from the entrance).
- You’ll miss the Jeep Safari Tour in Wadi Rum due to limited time – a big side trip to only catch a small glimpse of the desert beauty.
Therefore, if you just want to explore Petra, excluding Wadi Rum and other places, a day trip is possible, whether you book a tour or take your own vehicle. However, if you want to explore the surrounding areas, we suggest taking a 2-day or more tour.
Longer Jordan Road Trip
If you want to explore Petra and its surrounding areas, we suggest taking a longer Jordan road trip that includes Petra, Jerash, Umm Qais, Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea, Aqaba, and other nearby places. You can book a trip with a tour company or take a private vehicle.
- If you take your own vehicle, you can explore more places during your trip according to your time and pace.
- If you go with a touring company, the guide knows their way around the places, so you won’t lose your way.
- You can be first in when the gates open to Petra at 7:00 AM, especially in the summer months, beat the heat and beat the crowds.
- With a touring group, fuel and places to stay will be the least of your worries.
- Going in a private vehicle means you’ll have to pay for the fuel and look for accommodations on your own.
- You may not feel confident driving in Jordan – although the highways are relatively easygoing, not everyone likes learning new road rules and having the stress of driving when they’re on vacation.
Amman to Petra By Bus
If you want to go-it-alone and avoid the group tour experience but avoid the cost of a private driver, your other option is a bus.
- The JETT bus departs the Circle Amman at 7:00 AM and reaches Petra in under 4 hours.
- You have the option to catch the return bus to Amman on the same day at 5:00 PM or at your leisure any day of the week if you’d like to stay in Wadi Musa.
- The bus costs 10JOD per person one way (adults and children).
- You can book tickets in advance online or at the ticket booth.
Recommended Petra Tours From Amman
Now that you’re aware of all the ins and outs of Petra tours from Amman, here are some tours that we recommend:
1. Petra & Wadi Rum Day Trip with Hotel Pickup
This day trip to Petra and Wadi Rum from Amman includes:
- Hotel pickup and drop-off in an air-conditioned vehicle.
- A tour of Petra’s beautiful reddish-pink sandstone ruins, including the Siq, Treasury, Royal Tomb, Pharoah’s Castle, and Street of Facades.
- A 4×4 jeep safari ride through Wadi Rum.
- A chance to see the mesmerizing landscape of the desert.
- A view of the beautiful sun setting on the desert horizon over a refreshing cup of Arabic tea or coffee.
The tour does not include food and entrance fees, so bring along some cash and snacks for the trip (tips below on entrance fees)
2. Private Day Trip to Petra with Pickup
This is the perfect tour if you want to visit Petra in a private vehicle. It includes:
- Hotel pickup and drop-off in a private air-conditioned vehicle.
- Exploring the beautiful ruins of Petra at your leisure, including the main highlights like the Treasury, the Theatre, Monastery, and the sacrificial altar.
The tour does not provide meals and local guides; therefore, keep some cash with you for lunch and a map to help you get around. Or you could hire a local guide in Petra to take you around the Lost City.
3. Petra, Wadi Rum, and Dead Sea 3-Day Tour
If you want to take your time exploring the Lost City and surrounding areas, including Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea, we recommend taking the 3-day tour. It includes:
- A trip to explore the siqs and gorges of Petra.
- Camping in Wadi Rum at night.
- Watching the charming sunset view at the Dead sea.
- Taking in the breathtaking scenery at Dana Reserve.
This tour includes a one-night stay in Petra and Wadi Rum with breakfast; however, meals and other personal expenses are not included.
You can find more options easy to book online (and many cancellable until 24 hours before) here:
Entry Fees For Petra
If your tour is exclusive of entry fees to Petra, take note when budgeting your time and money:
- A one-day entry to Petra is 50JOD.
- Entry is included if you hold a Jordan Pass (If you will be in the country for a minimum of 3 nights/4 days, this includes your Jordan Visa and is by far the best value method of entering Petra)
- If you enter the country on the same day you visit Petra, you will be charged the visitor day rate, an additional 40JOD (so total 90JOD).
- If your stay is longer than 24 hours, you can return the following day to the ticket booth to get your 40JOD refunded.
- Children under 12 are free of charge (if your tweens look old enough, they will ask for ID to prove they’re under 12); there is no youth/teenager/student rate.
- The resident’s rate (with a valid Jordanian residency ID) is 1JOD.
- A local guide can be hired at the entry to the archaeological site if not included in your tour. The tour guide costs 50JOD per group for the main trial, 100JOD if you will continue on to the High Place of Sacrifice Monument or the Monastery.
Petra By Night
A day trip to Petra will exclude the Petra by Night experience. You really need to be staying in Wadi Musa overnight if you’d like to enjoy this unique experience of seeing the Siq lit with candles and the Treasury gloriously flood-lit with storytelling, music and special effects.
- Petra by Night only occurs Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 8:30 PM.
- Petra By Night requires a separate entry ticket to a Petra day ticket; you must hold a day ticket first before purchasing an additional night ticket; 17JOD adults, 10JOD kids; under 4’s free.
- Check out accommodation choices if staying in Wadi Musa overnight:
Questions to Ask Before Booking a Tour from Amman to Petra
Here are some common questions that might be useful for your tour from Amman to Petra:
If you’re visiting only Petra, two to three days are more than enough; however, if you add more stops to your trip, like Wadi Rum, Dead Sea, Umm Qais, etc., you may require four or more days.
You can dress casually and comfortably on your tour from Amman to Petra; however, as a respectful gesture, we recommend wearing long-sleeved shirts covering the cleavage and ¾ length pants rather than shorts. In winter, you’ll want to at least start the day with a warm jumper.
You can find our complete dress code advice for Jordan here.
As the days are quite warm in Jordan, we suggest taking along a sun hat, water, and an umbrella. And, as there’s a lot of walking involved, a pair of good walking shoes is highly recommended. Plus, keep your passport, ID, and cash with you for personal expenses like food, etc.
With infants, we’d suggest skipping the stroller and opt for a carrier.
So Should You Day Trip Amman to Petra?
One of the most famous attractions in Jordan is the Petra tour from Amman. You can either plan a day trip or a more extended one, including Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea, and other spots.
We have rounded up some Petra tours, including private day trips and a 3-day trip that takes you through the ruins of the ancient city, with a desert safari in Wadi Rum, sunset at the Dead Sea, and back to your accommodation in Amman.
We honestly think this is very rushed, though, with far too much of your day spent in transit. A more comfortable and in-depth experience will be had if you spend at least one night in Wadi Musa before continuing your Jordan experience.
Before You Go! More Guides to Help You Plan That Dream Trip To Jordan
When planning a family trip to Jordan, you may also want to see our guides to:
- The do’s and don’ts of visiting the Dead Sea with kids
- Where to find the best family-friendly camps in Wadi Rum
- 5-Day highlights itinerary – see Jordan on a long weekend!
- How to dress in Jordan – a tourist guide for men, women and children (includes a printable packing list suitable for family travellers)
Jordan Guide Book
For a first-timer looking to visit Jordan, we can highly recommend you download the Step Into Jordan Guide & Itineraries.
This handy digital guide is just $19.99USD and includes:
- An interactive downloadable map
- 36 detailed pages of planning guidance
- Multiple suggested itineraries (10, 7 and 3 days)
- Tips from an expert
- Accommodation recommendations
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