As you plan your trip to Jordan, you’ve probably covered all the bases: what to do, where to go, and what to pack… but be sure to leave some extra space in your suitcase! There are some incredible Jordanian souvenirs that you’ll want to pack and return home with.
While I’m not normally a souvenir person, I found that there were several cool souvenirs my husband and I brought back from our trip earlier this year, many of which I see every day.
From clothing to art to natural products that will remind you of your time in Jordan each time you taste or use them, Jordan is a unique place that will stay with you long after you return home – and these souvenirs from Jordan can help.
Arguably the most iconic souvenir you should bring home from Jordan, the shemagh or keffiyeh is a traditional headscarf that is commonly worn by Jordanian and Palestinean men in Jordan, as well as tourists who buy one to provide additional shade from the sun.
Actually, the Keffiyeh is commonly worn throughout the Middle East in Arab nations, but it has a special association with Jordan as so many Palestineans have come to Jordan over the past several decades. It became a symbol of the Arab Revolt in the 1930s and a symbol of Palestinian resistance in the 1960s. Since then, it has been adopted and worn widely in Jordan, and is commonly offered as a souvenir at shops and stalls across the country where tourists commonly visit (like Jerash and Petra).
You might wonder about whether it’s culturally sensitive to buy and wear a keffiyeh and what color to buy… Generally, yes, it’s okay for tourists to support local people selling them, but I recommend double-checking that the keffiyeh you purchase was actually made in Palestine or Jordan. (This is almost never the case for ones you can buy online.) Additionally, the traditional colors in Jordan are red and white; the black and white version is more associated with Palestinian solidarity – just so you’re aware when you’re wearing it!
Dead Sea Spa Products
I’ve already covered where you can buy Dead Sea spa products online, but you should also definitely buy some when you’re actually in Jordan – especially once you’ve had a chance to float in the Dead Sea and experience its wondrous properties for yourself.
When it comes to spa products, you can find almost any that you can imagine: soaps, lotions, bath salts, skincare products, and more. My favorite spot for Dead Sea spa products is Trinitae, which also offers home fragrances and oils, as well as men’s products. They have a store in Amman where you can browse their products in person (and also sell them online); it’s on Rainbow Streat at 8b – look for the little sign to spot the alley where you can wander up to their beautiful display store.
Dead Sea Mud
While you’re at Trinitae or any other place you discover to stock up on Dead Sea products, be sure to also get some mud. Yep, mud – of course!
No trip to Jordan is complete without a visit to the Dead Sea, and if you take a dip in the ultra-saline water, you probably notice the opportunity to slather on some mineral-rich Dead Sea mud, let it dry, and then rinse it off to reveal your silky, smooth skin.
Several of the companies that make Dead Sea products also package up mud at a reasonable price, so that you can bring some home with you to recreate that experience at home. We found it for 2JOD at Trinitae, and I wouldn’t pay more than that as it really is just mud – but very nice, Jordanian Dead Sea mud!
While most of the items on this list are probably what you expect for a destination like Jordan, I discovered a new souvenir on my most recent trip and want to recommend it in case it’s something others might enjoy too.
While visiting Petra, you’ll probably see a number of vendors within the site offering “Kohl” or “Kohel” demonstrations. Yes, they are an attempt to get you to buy the product, but despite my classically cynical approach to these kinds of souvenir lures, I was so delighted with the experience and how good it looked that I immediately bought myself a bottle to bring home.
You see, kohl has a long and storied history in Arab, African, and South Asian countries; it’s still commonly worn by people – both men and women – in Jordan, and especially among the Bedouin people who still live traditional lives in the desert (where kohl helps protect their eyes from sand and dust). This makes it a lovely souvenir for those who enjoy wearing makeup and will transport you back to memories of your Jordan trip each time you apply its dusty dark color to your eyes.
While I don’t typically buy art when I travel, my husband is a big fan of bringing back unique pieces each time we travel somewhere new. So it was no surprise that he found the small painting pictured above during our visit to Jerash and we had to bring it home with us. (He did ask me to consult on the final choice, which is how we ended up with such a colorful one among the similar paintings on offer.)
LIke buying a locally-made Shemagh or Keffiyeh, it takes a little bit of extra work to ensure the art you’re buying is made in Jordan by Jordanian artists. The best way to know is to ask the vendor, but you can also check the back/frame to ensure it either says it was made in Jordan or doesn’t have any other countries tagged on it from large manufacturing processes. In the end, though, you may need to just trust your instincts and choose a piece of art you like.
For a more specific type of local art that you might also want to purchase as a souvenir from Jordan, be sure to take a look at the mosaics in Madaba.
Madaba is actually nicknamed the “City of Mosaics” because it’s the primary area where mosaics are still made in the traditional way, placed piece by piece, by hand. There are a number of places to shop for mosaics, but I particularly enjoyed learning about the mosaic-making process and browsing at Art River Mosaic Workshop. This shop works with local individuals with special needs to teach them mosaic-making as an option for their career and proceeds from the shop support this work too.
They have a huge variety of mosaics – both in size and form – to choose from, as well as a number of other Jordanian souvenirs (like jewelry, Dead Sea products, and tchotchkes).
As you can tell, I love unconventional souvenirs, and Jordanian wine is one such option. When I first visited Jordan in 2016, wine was hard to find; there were only a few producers and most places didn’t carry any at all. During my most recent visit in early 2022, Jordanian-made wines were much more widely available, especially one particular brand, Jordan River.
You can find Jordan River wines almost everywhere now, especially in the big hotels in larger, tourism-driven cities (you likely won’t find it in smaller communities or off-grid experiences like Feynan EcoLodge though). However, this isn’t my favorite Jordanian winemaker, which is St. George Wines. St. George wines are even harder to find, but well worth it for better flavor and supporting a smaller winemaker.
If you do find them on a menu, give them a try – if you discover something you like, you can find St. George wines (and Jordan River wines) in the Duty-Free area at the Amman airport, making it a perfect final Jordan souvenir to buy.
Zaatar (or Other Spices)
If you fall in love with Jordanian food during your trip, then there are a few Jordanian souvenirs you should also look for: spices!
In particular, the spice Zaatar is a unique blend that usually includes oregano, marjoram, thyme, cumin and coriander, with sesame seeds, salt, and the key ingredient of sumac. This dynamic and unique mix is commonly used in Jordanian (and plenty of Middle Eastern) cuisine and will bring a flavor of Jordan to any meal you choose to make at home.
(Completely unrelated, I once had an incredible Zaatar cheese in California that you can order within the U.S. if you want to try the flavor in a totally new way!)
As you will know if you’ve ever been to Jordan, tea is a big part of Jordanian culture and an iconic Jordanian drink. But each place you try tea will likely have a different blend – making for a very interesting souvenir from Jordan if you enjoy what you sip.
I personally decided to bring back a bag of Dana tea from Feynan EcoLodge, as it was a very unique blend of flavors unlike the standard black teas I enjoyed at other times during my trip. You can actually find Dana tea available online if you’re curious to try this one and won’t be making the trip to Feynan.
These are some of my favorite souvenirs from Jordan but there are many other interesting items you could bring back with you. Do you know of any other great Jordan souvenirs I should add to this list too – maybe ones that you brought home? Let me know in the comments.