Even before my first trip, I knew Jordan was a bucket list destination. Some of my own bucket list goals were in Jordan – thanks to pop culture and my desire for unusual and light-adventure destinations. But for a bucket list destination, Jordan is also quite distant for many travelers – and they might not get to spend as much time in Jordan as they’d like due to travel timelines and time changes.
For this reason, I’m putting together this Jordan 5 day itinerary to help those short on time to make the most of their Jordan trip.
I first visited Jordan in 2016; I loved it so much that I started writing about visiting Jordan and have even planned two tours there. (The first one was cancelled due to the pandemic; the second one is scheduled for March 2022 and you can find more info in the menu bar.) I believe Jordan is a fantastic destination for adventure travelers, those who love history, and anyone who needs to see the beauty of the Middle East and learn from cross-cultural interactions.
After reading this post, you’ll know how to plan your trip to Jordan in 5 days; you’ll have all the info you need including travel times, hotel recommendations, and a hit list of the best sites and sights in Jordan you’ll see. Now let’s get started planning!
Jordan Travel Tips
Before jumping right into my Jordan 5 day itinerary, I thought it might help to share a few quick travel tips about traveling in Jordan to help you plan when and how to spend 5 days in Jordan.
- Should You Visit Jordan Self-Guided or Guided? This is really a matter of preference, as you can definitely visit Jordan independently (without a guide). I personally liked having a guide to do the driving, take care of admission tickets, and dealing with roadside checkpoints. However, if you’re more independent and want to do it yourself, I have a guide to driving in Jordan that covers everything you need to know – from rental cars to roaside stops.
- When to Visit Jordan? The best times of year to visit Jordan are in March to May and September to October. During these windows, the weather is hot but tolerable – without getting too cold at night in the deserts like Wadi Rum. I visited Jordan the first time in May 2016; it was way too hot for me, so I planned my next tour in March 2022.
- What to Pack for Jordan? I’ve got you covered with my Jordan packing list, which includes suggestions for women and men too. Check it out!
- What Does it Cost to Visit Jordan? Jordan is not a cheap destination; it pegs its own currency (the Jordanian Dinar or JOD) to the British Pound (GBP) so it usually costs relatively more for U.S. or European travelers. When I first visited, 1JOD was roughly $1.50; today it’s roughly $1.40. I’ve got a guide for the cost of Jordan travel coming soon and will link that here once I publish it!
- Is it Safe to Visit Jordan? Jordan is a majority Muslim country (93%) and has neighboring countries that might make some people nervous (Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Israel – oof!). That said, Jordan itself is very safe to visit and tourism is an important part of the economy so tourists are generally well-looked-after by locals. The Jordanian government recommends avoiding border regions, and nowhere on this Jordan 5 day itinerary will take you close to a border.
That covers the basics; if you have other questions, be sure to let me know in the comments!
Quick Glance: The Best 5 Day Jordan Itinerary EVER
Before jumping into the details, here’s a really quick look at the Jordan 5 day itinerary I’m about to recommend. As you can see – it’s busy! But it allows you to see many of Jordan’s top sights in a short time, so it’s worth it!
|1||Jerash, Ajloun & Amman|
|2||Madaba, Mount Nebo & Petra|
|3||Petra & Wadi Rum|
|4||Wadi Rum & Dead Sea|
|5||Dead Sea & Amman|
As you can see, I don’t address your “arrival date” – which I would call “Day 0” in the above table. On this day, you’ll probably arrive in Amman in the afternoon and be pretty wiped from jetlag. I recommend taking it easy: grab dinner at/near your hotel, and call it an early night so you’re well-rested for the next five days.
Day 1: Jerash, Ajloun & Amman
For your first full day in Jordan, it’s time to get sightseeing! Five days is a short time to visit Jordan, so each day of this Jordan 5 day itinerary is full; rise early and get out there to make the most of your time.
To begin, start with breakfast at your hotel, then make the drive to the Roman ruins of Jerash. It’s a 45-minute drive north from Amman to Jerash (if you look on the map, don’t worry: this won’t take you close to the Syrian border). There you’ll pay the admission fee and can explore the huge ruins at your leisure; there are also Jordanians who are willing to guide you for a fee. It takes 2-3 hours to see all of Jerash, so plan accordingly by bringing water and shade from the sun (like a hat or umbrella).
Next, enjoy lunch in Jerash then drive another 45 minutes to Ajloun Castle. This is a 12th-century Muslim castle high atop a hill surrounded by olive orchards. You can explore the castle and look out over the surrounding countryside while imagining what it was like for the warriors who lived here, defending their land from Christians.
After these two sites, it’s time to return to Amman. Make the 90-minute drive and arrive in time for a quick trip to the Amman Citadel (more Roman ruins) or to your hotel to freshen up before dinner. For dinner, I recommend eating near Jabal Amman, the neighborhood near the historic district and downtown.
Resources for Day 1:
- For dinner, I ate at Jafra Cafe, followed by kanafeh (a sweet cheese treat) at Habibah – these are great suggestions if you don’t want to a bunch more research.
- Stay a second night at your Amman hotel. Since I didn’t make recommendations before, here’s where I recommend:
- La Locanda Hotel is a boutique option within walking distance of Jabal Amman; this is where we’re staying for the 2022 tour. Rooms start from $111/night; book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
- Le Royal Hotel is an iconic round hotel with sweeping views but a little further from the city center. Even if you don’t stay here, try to find time to grab at drink at the bar (maybe on the night you arrive!). Rooms start from $108/night; book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
Day 2: Madaba, Mount Nebo & Petra
Now that the first day is over and it’s time to leave Amman, the rest of this 5-day Jordan itinerary is going to fly by! Rise early, enjoy breakfast at your Amman hotel, then check out and head out of the big city.
The first stop is the city of Madaba, 45 minutes south. This town is famous for its well-preserved Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, especially the Byzantine-era mosaic map of the Holy Land. You only need to stop here briefly, but this gives you another point on the timeline of just how far back you can trace history in Jordan. (For context, the Byzantine Empire dates to 330 CE, so after the Roman ruins you saw in Jerash yesterday.)
Next, drive to Mount Nebo. This is a short 15-minute drive from Madaba, but a worthy stop for those with an interest in religious history (which, visiting Jordan, how can you not be?). Mount Nebo is renowned as the holy site where Moses looked out across the Jordan Valley to see the Promised Land, Israel. On clear days, you can see Israel and the city of Jericho across the valley, though it was hazy and dusty on the day I visited; on very clear days, you can even see Jerusalem. This is another short stop, but certainly fascinating.
After these two morning stops, head back to Madaba for lunch and then continue on to Wadi Musa – this is the town nearest to Petra. It’s a three-hour drive, so you’ll arrive in the mid-afternoon and have time to check into your Petra hotel to relax for a couple of hours.
Once you’re rested and rejuvenated, it’s time for dinner. You can eat at a local restaurant, but I recommend arranging dinner with a local family through A Piece of Jordan. This is a great way to add a cultural experience and ensure you spend more than a few minutes with local Jordanians. You’ll need to ensure you finish dinner by 8pm though, so be sure to confirm that when booking the tour (or choosing a dinner spot).
This is a long day, but it’s not over yet! At 8:15pm you need to head to the Petra visitor center to purchase tickets for the Petra-by-Night experience. This was definitely one of the highlights I remember from my first Petra visit; the two-hour tour takes you one mile through the siq (slot canyon) to the famous Treasury ruins. There you sit and learn about the history of the Nabataean people who carved Petra and then abandoned it. The stars turn overhead as candlelight fills the space and creates a magical scene. It’s really a must-do – even if you’re already feeling a bit tired on this Jordan 5 day itinerary. (Be sure to rest up though – you’re just getting started and have three more jam-packed days!)
Resources for Day 2:
- You don’t need to purchase Petra-by-Night tickets in advance, but be sure to purchase a two-day ticket to access Petra so you can go in for the night event and again tomorrow morning.
- You need to arrange one night in Wadi Musa. Here’s where I recommend:
- Petra Moon Hotel has a rooftop pool and nicely sized rooms; this is where I stayed on my first trip. Rooms start from $54/night; book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
- Petra Guest House is another great option, even closer to the entrance of the Petra site; we’re staying here on our 2022 tour. Rooms start from $93/night; book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
Day 3: Petra & Wadi Rum
After a late night seeing Petra under the stars, I recommend getting up early to head back into the site to go hiking in Petra before the sun gets too high and hot.
There are a number of great hikes and sights in Petra you won’t have seen last night:
- Re-Visit the Treasury – On my morning in Petra, I personally took it easy and went back to the Treasury along the siq trail. This is an easy option to go back for more photos without too much strenuous activity.
- Climb to the Treasury Viewpoint – It’s a little bit complicated to get there, but you can hike to a higher viewpoint overlooking the Treasury. Here’s a handy guide; I’ll be doing this hike on my next visit to Petra.
- Hike to the Monestary – Another famously iconic building in Petra, The Monestary requires a longer hike to reach – and it’s more technical, so best for those who enjoy a good workout.
After hiking in Petra during the morning, return to your hotel and check out. I recommend enjoying lunch in Wadi Musa before setting out, as it’s a two-hour drive to Wadi Rum and you don’t want to arrive too early.
Once you do get to Wadi Rum, head to your chosen Wadi Rum camp (I’ve provided some suggestions below) and check in. Depending on your arrival time, you can then hang out in the common area enjoying tea and watching the staff prepare dinner to enjoy later. As sunset approaches, I recommend heading out on a 4×4 tour of the Wadi Rum desert; your driver will take you to some of the famous rock formations and sites within the desert, then find a perfect spot to enjoy the sunset.
After returning from your tour of the desert, it’s time to refuel! Many camps offer a traditional Bedouin Zarb dinner; it’s an underground barbeque featuring lamb, vegetables, and rice. Once you’ve eaten, head out to your tent and perhaps enjoy a little stargazing before turning in.
Resources for Day 3:
- Be sure to bring lots of water for your Petra hike!
- Book your sunset 4×4 tour in advance with your Wadi Rum camp.
- Speaking of Wadi Rum camps, my top recommendation is Sun City Camp. They have traditional Bedouin tents with modern amenities inside plus ~*Martian Domes*~ (this is also where we’re staying for my 2022 tour!). Rooms start from $129/night; book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
Day 4: Wadi Rum & Dead Sea
If you haven’t caught on yet, there’s a theme to making the most of this Jordan 5 day itinerary: rise and shine early!
Start Day 4 by getting up before sunrise to take a camel ride out into the Wadi Rum desert. This can easily be arranged through your Wadi Rum accommodation as almost all offer this as another tour excursion (in addition to the sunset 4×4 tour you did yesterday).
Camel tours take roughly 60-90 minutes, so you’ll still have time to hang out and have breakfast at camp in Wadi Rum before packing up. It takes about 4.5 hours to drive from Wadi Rum to the Dead Sea, so it’s important to get a reasonably early start on this drive. There are two routes you can take:
- Desert Highway/Route 15 – an inland route that’s a little bit shorter but offers scenic views
- Jordan Valley Highway/Route 36 – a route that works northbound through the Jordan Valley and along the shores of the Dead Sea
After reaching the Dead Sea, head straight to your resort and check-in. Most resorts offer a luxurious way to end your trip with spacious rooms, balconies, on-site restaurants, bars, and pools, and access to the shores of the Dead Sea. Some also offer spa services if you really want to splurge. You can then spend the rest of the day exploring your resort property or floating in the Dead Sea.
Resources for Day 4:
- Book your sunrise camel tour in advance with your Wadi Rum camp.
- For lunch, you may want to stop at a roadside stand or small restaurant between Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea. There are lots of options as I don’t have a specific recommendation and it depends on your route.
- At the Dead Sea, you have tons of options for where to stay. Here are my two top recommendations:
- Holiday Inn Resort Dead Sea has a private beach and tons of ammenities; this is where we’re staying for my 2022 tour! Rooms start from $90/night; book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
- Ramada Resort by Wyndham Dead Sea is where I stayed on my first trip to Jordan. It has beach access (that’s a bit of a walk) and a nice on-site pool. Rooms start from $62/night; book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
Day 5: Dead Sea & Amman
For your final day of this Jordan 5 day itinerary, rise early to take one final dip in the Dead Sea; watching the sunrise over the landscape is a beautiful way to start the day.
After soaking and possibly one more mud bath, head back to your hotel to pack up, check out, and catch your private transfer back to Amman. Flights leave throughout the day so your schedule might vary here – you may have more time at the Dead Sea (or less). Be sure to give yourself two hours to get from the Dead Sea to Amman, in case of traffic.
Resources for Day 5:
- Arrange a late check out at your Day 4 hotel if needed.
- No hotels needed tonight due to departure.
- Use my guide for getting between Amman and the Dead Sea to see your trasport options.
And there you have it – a jam-packed Jordan 5 day itinerary. This is definitely a fast-paced way to see Jordan if you’re short on time; if you’d rather extend your trip and have more time to enjoy it, I recommend spending at least 7 days in Jordan (my first, 10-day trip to Jordan was super leisurely, looking back!). If you’re up for a group trip and would like to travel with me, join me on my Jordan tour in March 2022!
Have any questions about this Jordan 5 day itinerary? Let me know in the comments!