8 Incredible Day Trips from Amman For Your Jordan Itinerary

There’s no doubt Jordan is one of the most intriguing countries for visitors to the Middle East. However, if you’re short on time, how much of the country can you see basing yourself just in the capital of Jordan, Amman?

Most international visitors will start and end their visit in Amman, via Queen Alia International Airport (AMM), which is in the north of the country, whilst many of the historically significant sites lie to the west and the south.

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The good news is a relatively good network of highways, and straightforward driving conditions (once you’re out of the city!) make it easy to explore Jordan whilst staying in Amman.

So once you’ve finished touring the highlights of Amman with your family, let’s get behind the wheel (or have someone do it for you!) and explore the highlights of Jordan on a day trip from Amman.

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Transport Options in Jordan

Before planning a day trip from Amman to other cities in Jordan, it’s good to know the various transport options beforehand. You can travel around Jordan by hiring a private driver, joining a tour group, or renting a car and self-driving.

Let’s have a look at each option separately:

Option 1: Self-Drive by Renting a Car

If you love road trips, renting a car and self-driving across Jordan for a day tour from Amman is the perfect option for you. You’ll find plenty of car rental companies in Amman offering reasonable per-day prices. However, the cost of renting a car greatly depends on the type of car you’re renting.

You can expect anything from 24 to 30 JD per day for regular sedans. But if you opt for an SUV or 4WD vehicle, you can expect the price to be around 50 JD per day.

The upside of self-driving is that you can travel according to your time and convenience and stop along the way to capture a scenic view. However, self-driving is only good if you know your way around Jordan or have a GPS to help you stay on track (don’t always rely on Google Maps!).

Do be mindful that whilst highway driving in Jordan is straightforward, driving in Amman itself can test even the most courageous of drivers! That, and you will need accommodation in Amman that includes parking. If you are basing yourself in Amman and day-tripping daily, this may not be the best option.

Option 2: Hiring a Private Driver

Another option for taking day trips from Amman is to hire a private driver. It costs around 100 to 150 JD per day, but as it is a private tour, you can choose a luxury air-conditioned vehicle and relax while the driver takes you to famous attractions around Jordan.

The good thing about hiring a private driver is that they can act as a local guide, too. They know the routes, they know the rules, and they know the places. Therefore, you won’t have to go through the fatigue of finding the way or tiring yourself out during your vacation.

However, private drivers and cars can be pretty expensive – though the value adds up travelling as a family as you pay per car/day, not per person. Don’t forget to allow a little extra to tip your driver if you’re happy with their service.

Here are some examples of private driving services from Amman:

Option 3: Group Tours

If you don’t want to drive, and hiring a private driver might not be an economical option, you can always join a tour group. Even though tour groups are more expensive than private drivers, they include meals, accommodation, and transportation, which balances everything out.

If you want someone to give you an extensive guided tour of a famous site, the easiest way is with a group tour! However, travelling with a group means you must adhere to strict timing and cannot wander off on your own, which is not always ideal for families.

We’ll set out for you below some suggested group and private tours you could join for each destination (remember you may be able to combine several of these ideas on one day trip!)

8 Day Trips from Amman

Now that you know the transport options in Jordan, it’s time to go through all the best day trip options from Amman:

1. Stroll Through the Lost City of Petra

Drive Time from Amman: 3 hours and 15 minutes south
Entrance Fee: You need a ticket to enter Petra, costing 50 JD or use Jordan Pass

Jordan is known for being home to the ancient city of Petra, and a visit to this prehistoric city is a must! The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra has been around since 300 BC and is a half-carved and half-built city with amazing architecture. Most of its preserved buildings are carved into sandstone with a pinkish hue; hence, it is also known as Rose City.

A stunning view of Petra, Jordan
A stunning view of Petra, Jordan.

The city is riddled with gorges and passages that take you around some of its famous architectural wonders, including the El-Khazneh (The Treasury), the Temenos Gate, the Triclinium, and Qasr Al-Bint Temple with its famous altar. Apart from this, there are also several royal tombs in Petra, including the Urn Tomb and the Obelisk Tomb.

The intricate design and architecture of these ancient sandstone structures tell us about the rich taste of the ancient civilizations that inhabited this city. There’s no wonder Petra is considered one of the new Seven Wonders of the World!

This is a full-day tour from Amman so expect to get up early and come home late; you’ll also be arriving in amongst the crowds if you take this option, whereas taking your time and staying in Wadi Musa overnight, you can make an early morning start ahead of the crowds and tour buses.

However, going with a tour group does have its advantages as you’ll have a guide with you throughout who can tell you in detail about each monument and can guide you through the passages.

So, plan a day tour to Petra from Amman if you’re up for a sneak peek into prehistoric times!

2. Explore the Ruins of Jerash

Drive Time from Amman: 45 minutes north
Entrance Fee: 10 JD

As we mentioned earlier, Jordan is home to several archaeological sites; therefore, when you’re done exploring Petra, it’s time to head toward another of Jordan’s most impressive historical sites with a fascinating glimpse of ancient civilizations. We’re talking about the ruins of Jerash!

Roman archaeological remains in Amman
Roman archaeological remains in Amman.

The Ancient city of Jerash (modern-day Gerash) is situated in northern Jordan and is a major tourist attraction. It has the remains of Roman structures and civilizations dating back to 106 AD. The site is spread across a large expanse, and it can easily take 3 to 4 hours to explore it completely.

The ruins are home to ancient yet beautiful Roman buildings, including Hadrian’s Arch, the Temple of Zeus, the Temple of Artemis, several collonaded streets, fountains and a Roman theatre.

While it is straightforward to get to Jerash from Amman, we suggest hiring a local guide to take you around the ruins and give a brief history of each attraction (not to mention you can avoid the hectic traffic in both Amman and Jerash!).

3. Step into Ajloun Castle

Drive Time from Amman: 1 hour and 10 minutes north
Entrance Fee: 3 JD

While visiting the Jerash ruins, you can also travel an extra 34 minutes and cover Ajloun Castle. During the crusades, several outposts were constructed in the Jordan Valley, the Holy Land, Karak, Moise Crusader Castle, and of course, Ajloun.

A view of Aljoun Castle
A view of Aljoun Castle

The ruins of the other outposts and desert castles in Jordan are not as well-preserved; however, Aljoun Castle is a proper standing structure with rooms. The good thing about visiting Aljoun is that you can easily include it in your day trip from Amman to Jerash.

The castle dates back to the 12th century and has several rooms, columns, and intricately designed windows that tell us about the rich lifestyle of the people who lived there through the ages. Each room has a different story to tell about the past and what happened within the walls of the castle. Sounds quite interesting!

If you want to explore Aljoun Castle and learn more about its history, we recommend going with a tour group or hiring a local guide when you reach there.

4. Admire Al-Maghtas (Bethany Beyond the Jordan) Baptism Site

Drive Time from Amman: 50 minutes southwest
Entrance Fee: 12 JD

Who knew Jordan was home to the actual baptism site of Jesus? That’s right! Situated 50 km toward the southwest of Amman is Al-Maghtas or Bethany Beyond the Jordan. This is the actual baptism site mentioned in the Bible where John baptized Jesus.

The baptismal site of Bethany Beyond the Jordan
The baptismal site of Bethany Beyond the Jordan.

It holds a lot of religious significance for some people, and crowds upon crowds arrive here while visiting Jordan to perform pilgrimage or get baptized. Al-Maghtas has two areas: Al-Kharrar or Elijah’s Hill and an area 2 km away from it with ancient ruins.

Elijah’s Hill, or Al-Kharrar is a vegetated area; however, a 2 km trail takes you to a site with churches, baptismal fonts, and the ruins of several ancient buildings. You will also find the remains from the Roman and Byzantine periods, including monasteries, chapels, pools, water installations, and dwellings of monks and hermits. However, there are some active springs and lodgings for visitors in this place.

With so much history and religious significance attached to Al-Maghtas, the baptism site is a must-visit place in Jordan!

5. Float in the Dead Sea

Drive Time from Amman: 1 hour west
Entrance Fee: 5 JD per day for parking only.

If you’re in Jordan, your trip will be incomplete if you don’t visit the Dead Sea!

Turquoise water of the Dead Sea
Turquoise water of the Dead Sea.

The Dead Sea is one of the strangest natural phenomena in the world. The sea’s water is ten times saltier than regular ocean water due to the 34% salinity. Why is this information important? Because you can’t drown in the Dead Sea!

The high salt content keeps you afloat when you go for a swim in the seawater. However, the best thing about swimming in the Dead Sea is that it offers several health benefits. For instance, salty water and mud are good for psoriasis, skin impurities, chronic pain, arthritis, and other skin issues like acne.

Therefore, if you want to experience floating in the Dead Sea and reap its many benefits, plan a day trip from Amman to the Dead Sea. We suggest taking a private day trip to the Dead Sea as there’s not much to explore except for the beaches and simply being at the lowest point on earth; therefore, you can enjoy it for as long as you like.

6. Hike Wadi Mujib

Drive Time from Amman: 1 hour and 23 minutes southwest
Entrance Fee:
21 JD for the Siq Trail

Wadi Mujib is a 212 square km gorge that goes all the way from the Karak mountains to the Dead Sea and is known as Jordan’s Grand Canyon. It has several trails and rivers that make it one of the most visited tourist attractions in Jordan.

Wadi Mujib
Entrance to Wadi Mujib canyon.

The most popular trail in Wadi Mujib is the Siq Trail, which is only 2 km long; however, its challenging course makes it seem longer. The track has several rocks and flowing rivers and requires ropes to help cross it.

There are many other trails in the wadi, including the Ibex Trail, the Canyon Trail, the Malaqi Trail, and Al-Hidan Trail; however, they are pretty long plus have strong-flowing rivers, making them quite difficult to hike on without a trained guide and proper gear.

If you’re going to day trip to Wadi Mujib from Amman, we suggest going with a tour group. And if you travel independently, make sure to hire a local guide to help you along the trails.

7. Mount Nebo

Drive Time from Amman: 40 minutes southwest
Entrance Fee: 2 JD

Mount Nebo is another historical site that holds much religious significance: It is the place where Moses died.

At the top of Mount Nebo in Jordan
At the top of Mount Nebo in Jordan.

Mount Nebo is located at a whopping height of 1000 meters and is famous for being the highest point in the Kingdom of Moab. This is the place where God granted Moses a view of the Promise Land (Israel and Palestine). It is also the place where Moses breathed his last. Many people visit Mount Nebo to perform pilgrimage, which is why there’s a statue and church atop the mountain. Although the church was built later on, it houses the remains of the original columns, church artefacts, and mosaics from the Byzantine era.

Apart from the religious significance, Mount Nebo is a great tourist attraction because of the amazing views of the Dead Sea and Isreal.

We suggest visiting Mount Nebo with a tour group so you can get a detailed overview and historical background of the area.

8. Tour Around Madaba

Drive Time from Amman: 40 minutes southwest
Entrance Fee: 2 JD

Madaba is located just 15 minutes away from Mount Nebo; therefore, you can cover both these sites on a day tour from Amman.

Madaba in Jordan
Wide shot view over the town center of Madaba in Jordan.

Madaba is home to a small Christian community and is famous for St. George’s Chuch or the Church of the Map, where you can find a mosaic or a map depicting the Holy Land. The map dates back to the 6th century and holds much religious significance.

Other attractions at Madaba are the Church of St. John the Baptist, the Church of Apostles, intricately designed mosques, and the Archaeological Park with the remnants of churches, mosaics, and columns from the Roman and Byzantine eras.

With so much history behind each historical structure, we suggest going with a tour group or a local guide who can narrate the interesting stories tied to each attraction.

More Reading Planning Your Trip to Jordan

When you’re planning a family trip to Jordan, you may also be interested in:

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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Family Travel Middle East
Family Travel Middle East

The Family Travel in the Middle East team of travel writers are all parents based in the Middle East, sharing first hand experiences and reviews from across the region to help you plan your next family adventure.

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