If you’re looking for some of the most delicious food, spectacular beaches spread across a vast expanse of shimmering golden sand, and happening nightlife, plan a trip to Tel Aviv in Israel!
However, once you have taken in all the cosmopolitan vibes and are looking to tone down things for a bit, you can go from Tel Aviv to Petra, The lost City. It is hidden amid the canyons and mountains in southwestern Jordan in Wadi Musa.
But why would someone want to visit an abandoned city? Because of its stunning sandstone architecture that dates back to 300 BC!
The ancient city of Petra was once bustling with a thriving trading system. However, the residents moved to another location because an earthquake destroyed more than half the city and its entire water system beyond repair.
However, after staying abandoned for over a hundred years, it was rediscovered and is now a famous tourist spot.
So, if you’re up to exploring one of the earliest civilizations in the history of mankind, with intricately carved tombs, temples, churches, and public buildings, we suggest taking Petra tours from Tel Aviv.
How Far is Petra from Tel Aviv?
The distance between Petra in Jordan and Tel Aviv in Israel is approximately 5 hours (370.8 km) if you take Route 15. But, if you travel via Route 40, the distance increases to almost 6 hours (470 km).
As you all know, Petra and Tel Aviv are situated in 2 different countries, even if the distance is less. Therefore, to get to Petra from Israel, you must first cross the border into Jordan. And from there you can travel to Petra.
The public transport from Tel Aviv will only go as far as the border crossing point in Israel. You can take Jordan’s public transport to continue your journey to Petra once you cross the border. However, if you want to skip all the inconvenience of changing vehicles, we suggest going with a tour group.
Tours from Tel Aviv to Petra Jordan
Many travel companies in Tel Aviv arrange one-day and multiple-day trips to Petra. Opting for a one-day tour in Petra will include transportation, meals, a guided tour, and entrance fees. On the other hand, a multiple-day tour lasts for 2 or more days and covers Amman, Petra, and Wadi Rum, among other places.
Therefore, whether you’re looking for a one-day tour in Petra or more, here are some group tours you can join:
This Petra day trip from Tel Aviv by bus starts early at 3 am, and has you back to Tel Aviv by midnight. The tour includes an air-conditioned bus and everything from the border crossing to the entrance fees to Petra. The bus takes you from Tel Aviv to the rock city through some of the most scenic desert routes, including Wadi Rum.
The tour bus will pick you up from the City Center, and take you to the Arava border in Eilat in approximately 4 hours. Over there, the process of the border crossing will take up to an hour; therefore, you can expect to be inside Jordan by 9 am.
From the border, the tour group will take a new bus to the ancient city of Petra, which will take another 2 hours. However, during this whole time, the tour guides will take care of everything while you comfortably sit on the bus.
The main tour starts at 11:30 am. The tour company will give you a detailed guided tour of the lost city of Petra, and around 4:30 pm, the journey back to Israel will begin. This includes stops at Aqaba and Wadi Rum.
The group tour will return to Israel by 7:30 pm, and to Tel Aviv by midnight.
If you want to make the most of your time in Petra, we suggest taking a 2-Day Israel to Petra trip. This tour includes spending one day exploring Wadi Rum, followed by a night stay in a Bedouin camp, and wrap up with a Petra day trip.
The 2-Day Tel Aviv to Petra Tour follows the same itinerary as the one-day trip; however, instead of going to Petra directly from the border, you will go to Wadi Rum. Wadi Rum has many attractions including Lawrence’s Spring and Jabal Khazail in addition to outdoor activities like jeep tours, desert safaris, and sandboarding.
The tour includes dinner at a Bedouin village, followed by staying in a camp under the starry sky.
The following day, after breakfast, the tour heads towards Petra. After exploring the ancient city and its attractions, you leave around 4:30 pm and are back in Tel Aviv just before midnight.
If you want to cover more than a few places in both Israel and Jordan, we suggest opting for the 3-Day Tel Aviv/Jerusalem/Eilat to Petra tour.
The tour starts from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, or Eilat, depending on your selection. From there the tour group will cross Jordan’s border to reach Aqaba. After spending some time in the city, you’ll be off to Wadi Rum, where you’ll spend the night in a Bedouin camp. You can enjoy the various attractions and activities in Wadi Rum, enjoy a Bedouin-style dinner, and spend a night under the star-lit sky.
The 2nd day of your tour involves breakfast in Wadi Rum, and then visiting Petra. You can spend the whole day exploring Petra with the tour group, and spend the night in one of the hotels.
As for the 3rd day, you can continue exploring Petra and return to Wadi Rum, then Aqaba, and back to Israel.
Not everyone is comfortable traveling via bus for long hours. Therefore, this 2-Day Tel Aviv to Petra tour by air is the perfect choice if you want to save travel time and spend it on visiting tourist sites.
The tour starts from Tel Aviv, from where you’ll go to Jerusalem. There are plenty of places to see in Jerusalem including Mount Olive, the Church of Holy Sepulcher, Bethelem, and the Church of Nativity. Around 6 pm, after a somewhat spiritual trip to Jerusalem, you can spend the night at a 3-star bed and breakfast.
On the 2nd day, you’ll catch a flight to the Ramon Airport, cross the Jordanian border, and head towards Petra. The trip from the border to Petra will be via an air-conditioned bus. You can check out the various attractions at Petra, have lunch, and then head back to Ramon Airport for a flight to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.
Now that you know about the many one-day and multiple-day trips from Tel Aviv to Petra, let us tell you a bit about crossing the Israel-Petra border.
Israel – Petra Border Crossing Points
If you’re traveling from Israel to Petra, you can cross via one of the three border crossings in Eilat, Beit Shean, and Jerusalem.
1. Wadi Arava Crossing, Eilat
The first option is the border on the south in Eilat, also known as the Wadi Arava crossing. It connects the Red Sea resorts of Eilat and Aqaba and is almost 324 km from Amman. You can get a visa on arrival from this crossing, and it allows private vehicles and tour buses to cross; however, rental cars are not allowed to pass.
- Sunday to Thursday: 6:30 am to 8 pm
- Friday and Saturday: 8 am to 8 pm
2. River Jordan or Sheikh Hussein Crossing, Beit Shean
The second border crossing between Israel and Jordan is the River Jordan or Sheikh Hussein crossing in Beit Shean. This crossing connects the cities of Beit Shean in Israel and Irbid in Jordan and is 90 km from Amman. Sheikh Hussein crossing also issues visas on arrival and allows private cars and tour buses to cross after verification.
- Sunday to Thursday: 8 am to 8 pm
- Friday and Saturday: 9 am to 9 pm
3. Allenby Bridge Crossing, Jerusalem
The third international crossing between Israel and Jordan is the Allenby Bridge Crossing which connects Jerusalem and Amman. This crossing does not issue visas upon arrival; travelers must arrange them beforehand. Also, private cars, rental cars, and tour buses are not allowed to cross via the Allenby Bridge crossing. If you’re traveling to Petra from this route, you’ll have to change your vehicle at the border crossing.
- Sunday to Thursday: 8 am to 8 pm
- Friday and Saturday: 8 am to 1 pm
Why Should You Take a Tour Bus from Israel to Petra?
As mentioned earlier, all three border crossings from Israel to Petra do not allow rental cars; therefore, there’s no point in renting a car to travel from Tel Aviv to Petra.
However, private cars and tour buses can cross. But here’s the catch: It takes a long time, almost 3 to 4 hours, to cross the border in a private vehicle, as you have to get a visa issued, pay the fees, and carry out other document procedures.
We advise you to go via tour bus to save yourself from this hassle. Why? Because going with a group tour means the travel company will take care of the visa issuance process; you just have to provide the necessary documents.
So, make the most of your trip and join a tour group from Tel Aviv to Petra!
Staying in Petra
If you decide to stay near Petra (which we thoroughly recommend!), there are many accommodation options in the nearby township of Wadi Musa.
Don’t expect many fancy resorts near Petra, but value hotels that put you near the visitor entrance to the historic site.
More Jordan Travel Tips
If you decide to extend your trip to Jordan beyond Petra, you may also be interested to learn more about:
- The best times of year for visiting Jordan
- Appropriate dress code for men, women and children visiting Jordan
- How much should you be tipping your drivers and guides in Jordan?
- What to expect at a Wadi Rum desert camp for families
- A detailed 5-day itinerary for seeing the highlights of Jordan
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