ULTIMATE JORDAN 5-DAY ITINERARY TO VISIT THE HIGHLIGHTS

Wadi Rum desert

Visit Petra, Wadi Rum, Jerash, and Madaba with my tested Jordan 5-day itinerary. Have a glimpse at the Dead Sea and the Red Sea, Amman, and Aqaba. Spending only four nights in the country, you will visit all of its highlights.

Jerash ancient city
Jerash ancient city

Some basic facts to know before you start the Jordan 5-day itinerary

  • Where is Jordan? Jordan is a kingdom in the Middle East.
  • Size Jordan is a small country with an area of less than 90, 000 sq. km.
  • Population The country has 11 million inhabitants and 35% of them live in the capital.
  • Capital The capital of Jordan is Amman. Despite being the capital and the largest city, Amman is also the economic, financial, and cultural center of the country.
  • Currency The currency of Jordan is the Jordanian Dinar (JOD). The dinar exchange rate is pegged to the dollar as 1 USD = 0.708 JOD. I only exchanged dollars once, at a bank, and the rate was equal to the official rate, without any commission.
  • Religion Almost the entire population is Muslim.
  • Language Arabic is the official language. People employed in the tourism industry have some knowledge of English.

Why visit Jordan

Jordan is a fascinating country, rich in history, archaeology, and nature. Undoubtedly, the main attractions are Petra, a UNESCO heritage site, and the Wadi Rum desert. Though not so famous, don’t miss Jerash.

Madaba mosaics
Madaba mosaics

Jordan visa requirements

To do this Jordan 5-day itinerary you will most likely need a visa. Almost all tourists entering Jordan have to obtain a visa. Travelers from some nationalities (restricted countries) require prior approval. All the others, coming from non-restricted countries may apply for an e-visa. Check the list of restricted and non-restricted countries to know where your passport belongs. The tourist visa costs 40 JOD.

The most cost-effective way to enter the country and to accomplish the Jordan 5-day itinerary is by buying a Jordan Pass.  It includes the entry visa cost and free entry to over 40 attractions throughout the country, including Petra. The price of a Jordan Pass is 70, 75, or 80 JOD. The only difference between the three types of pass, apart from the price, is the number of consecutive days (1, 2, or 3) you can visit Petra. Petra entry fee alone is 50, 55, and 60 JOD for one, two, or three-day entry respectively. That being said, the Jordan pass is well worth the money even if you are only going to Petra.

TIP: If you are flying in and out of Aqaba airport and staying in Jordan for up to 30 days, the entry visa is free. Some low-cost carriers provide connections between Aqaba and many cities throughout Europe.

Jerash amphitheater
Jerash amphitheater

Best time to visit Jordan

The best time for this Jordan 5-day itinerary is from late autumn through early spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Temperatures are pleasant and heat is tolerable. Most of the low-cost carriers stop flying to Jordan in the summer.

Jordan 5-day itinerary on the route Jerash – Amman – Madaba – Petra – Wadi Rum – Aqaba

Five days is not enough time to visit, try, taste, and see everything Jordan has to offer its visitors. In case you have more time and suitable flights, extend your stay. If you only have 4 nights, which was my case, follow my Jordan 5-day itinerary.

Following the suggested itinerary, I drove about 920 km. The traffic was a bit chaotic at times, but I got used to it quickly and driving was not a problem. The roads are in a pretty good condition. Google Maps offline navigation didn’t let me down once.

Day 1: Fly to Aqaba

I flew in and out of Aqaba airport with Ryan Air, so my itinerary starts and ends in Aqaba. It makes a circle, so if you fly in and out of Amman, just start the Jordan 5-day itinerary in Amman and end it there.

Aqaba promenade
Aqaba promenade

If you want to buy a local SIM card, you can do so at the airport. Or you can buy an e-SIM. Make sure your phone is compatible with e-SIM cards before you buy one.

For this Jordan 5-day itinerary, you will need a rental car. I have booked one in advance. It was a small SUV, relatively new and in very good condition. Picking up the car was smooth and quick.

Check into your accommodation and use the rest of the day to explore Aqaba.

You may take a boat trip around the Gulf of Aqaba. The boats are small and old, with glass bottoms to see underwater. The whole experience takes about an hour. Bargain for the price. It’s reasonable to pay 2/3 of the originally advertised price. The price is for the whole boat, not per person.

Aqaba Gulf boat tour
Aqaba Gulf boat tour

TIP: A good place to enjoy local food in Aqaba is the Al-Sofara/Ambassadors Restaurant. It is the locals’ favorite, the food is delicious and plentiful, and the prices are affordable. You can eat for 5-6 JOD per person. They don’t serve alcohol. Address: G2F3+327, Aqaba.

Day 2: Aqaba – Jerash – Amman

The distance you’ll travel on the second day is just over 400 km, and you should be prepared to spend about five and a half hours on the road. Don’t worry, you’ll be traveling less in the following days.

After an early breakfast take the Jordan Valley Highway towards Jerash. Despite the name, it is not a highway, but a two-way road with one lane in each direction and an emergency lane here and there. There are checkpoints at many places along the highways. We were stopped 3-4 times a day. Sometimes the military asked for passports, sometimes just for the driver’s license, and most of the time they just asked where we were from and sent us on our way politely with “Welcome to Jordan!”.

Dead Sea
Dead Sea

This route passes by the Dead Sea. You can stop for photos at the Dead Sea and Wadi al Mujib.

Try to arrive in Jerash not later than 2 pm (it closes at 4 pm during the winter season). Two hours is quite enough for sightseeing. The entrance fee is included in the Jordan Pass. Return to Amman for an overnight stay. The distance between Jerash and Amman is about 40-50 km, but it may take more than an hour if you hit rush hour.

Jerash columns
Jerash columns

Enjoy dinner in Amman. I can recommend Mawwal Restaurant. Wonderful food, great service, and a slightly eclectic interior. Address: Mawwal Restaurant, Zahran St 241, Amman.

Amman offers plenty of accommodation to choose from.

Day 3: Amman – Madaba – Petra

Madaba mosaics
Madaba mosaics

The itinerary for this day includes a drive from Amman to Petra on the Desert Highway, with a short stop to explore Madaba. The distance is approximately 250 km and takes three and a half hours to drive.

Exploring Madaba takes about an hour and a half. The Church of St. George is not included in the Jordan Pass. The entrance fee is 1 JOD.

St. George church in Madaba
St. George’s church in Madaba

If you arrive in time, you can also make your first visit to Petra via the second entrance, which is closer to the monastery.

For dinner, I recommend the restaurant at Petra Marriott Hotel. The food is excellent. They also have a great selection of Jordanian wines. In general, alcohol in Jordan is easiest to find at international chain hotels.

Where to stay in Petra?

Petra Moon Luxury Hotel and Mövenpick Petra are just in front of the Petra entrance. Not far away is the Petra Marriott Hotel. All of them offer luxurious accommodations and excellent guest experience.

For a budget option, I can recommend Petra Plaza Hotel. It is a relatively new hotel, opened in 2020, clean and comfortable.

You can find many other accommodation options in Petra to satisfy every need and budget.

Day 4 Petra – Wadi Rum

It’s a good idea to enter Petra early in the morning when it opens. That way you’ll have more time to explore the site. Keep in mind that it is very cold in the morning and gets quite hot by noon. The sun is very strong. Bring a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses.

Petra
Petra

Around 2 pm, head towards Wadi Rum. The distance is 100 km and you will need an hour and a half to get there. Once there, go to the visitor center first to pay a small entrance fee. Then you’ll be ready to enter Wadi Rum. You will have to leave your car in a parking lot where an SUV from the accommodation you have chosen will be waiting to take you to your chosen campsite. The next day you will be taken back to your car.

Use the time until dinner to tour the desert at sunset. The desert camps provide breakfast and dinner in most cases. I advise you to choose accommodation in a bubble. You’ll have more amenities than in a tent, like your own bathroom, for example. And the pleasure of sleeping under the stars is incomparable. Bubble accommodation is considerably more expensive, but you can find some affordable ones.

Aladdin Camp Wadi Rum
Aladdin Camp Wadi Rum

I can recommend Aladdin Camp, where we stayed at. The price was quite reasonable and the food was plentiful and varied. After dinner, you can sit or lounge by the fire with or without shisha.

Aladdin Camp bubble Wadi Rum
Aladdin Camp bubble Wadi Rum

Day 5, the last one of Jordan 5-day itinerary: Return to Aqaba and fly home

Depending on the time of your departure flight, you may have time for another experience in the desert. Wadi Rum is just a mere 70 km and one hour drive away from Aqaba.

Return to Aqaba. Go to Kempinski Hotel Aqaba for a drink on the sun terrace and to say goodbye to the Red Sea.

Kempinski Hotel Aqaba
Kempinski Hotel Aqaba

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11 thoughts on “ULTIMATE JORDAN 5-DAY ITINERARY TO VISIT THE HIGHLIGHTS”

  1. I’m planning on doing this in a couple of weeks time. What is the driving like? I’m used to driving on the left, so unsure whether I should try a car or use a driver?

  2. Hi, Tracy. The driving is on the left. Traffic is a bit chaotic, especially in Amman, though it’s not difficult to get used to it. If you can drive in a big European city, you will have no problem at all. And they tend to park wherever they find an empty spot, even at crossroads! Enjoy your trip!

  3. Wow thanks for the detailed Jordon itinerary.I wish I could see larger versions of these gorgeous pictures.

  4. I have not been to Jordan yet, but the itinerary looks awesome. I would love to visit the Dead sea and Jerard columns. Is it true that you can float on the dead sea? Aladdin camp in Wadi Rum looks great!. I enjoyed your blog post.

  5. Thank you, Jan. I’m really happy you liked the post and found it helpful. I didn’t swim in the Dead Sea, but I saw people floating on the surface. So, yes, it’s true.

  6. Thank you, Ashlea. Yes, there are many places throughout Jordan that deserve visiting. I wouldn’t miss anyone of those described in the post. And I will add more to my itinerary for my next visit.

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