Seasonal,  Things to Do

Visiting Petra in December: All You Need to Know

Petra, the ancient city carved out of rock, is one of the most iconic and impressive archaeological sites in the world. Located in Jordan, this UNESCO World Heritage site attracts visitors from all over the globe.

While Petra is known for its hot and dry weather, visiting in December can offer a unique and unforgettable experience. December is a great time to explore Petra without the crowds, as it is considered the off-season. The cooler temperatures and occasional rain make for a more comfortable and atmospheric visit.

In this article, I’ll delve into the various reasons why visiting Petra in December is a great idea plus what you need to know when visiting – from the weather to the activities, and everything in between.

Petra Weather in December

Petra in December Hero

Winter is in full swing in December in Jordan. That said, the Petra weather in December is quite chilly and breezy. The average temperature has started to drop. During the day temperatures range from 39°F (4°C) to 59°F (15°C); nights can dip as low as 32°F (0°C) since it is the coldest season.

Also, the rainy season is just around the corner, meaning you should be prepared for potential rain showers to make an appearance in the forecast. The best news is that most days are clear and the sun doesn’t stop shining brightly during this month, even if the occasional rain cloud passes by.

Petra Open & Closing Hours

The Nabatean Kingdom changes its opening hours, depending on the season. In December in Petra, visitors are allowed from 6:00 am to 4:00 pm. 

Now that you know the opening hours, I’ll give you a bit more info to help you plan your visit: the day’s length. Like everywhere else in the world, days are a lot shorter during the winter in Petra. On average, the days in Petra in December are around 10-11 hours long, with sunrise occurring around 6:30-7:00 am and sunset happening around 4:30-5:00 pm.

As you can see, you’ll be a bit tight timewise when visiting the ancient city as the sun sets quite early. My advice is that you visit Petra as early as possible in the morning to ensure you can cover a good portion of its attractions.

What to Pack for Petra in December

When packing for your trip to Petra in December, it’s important to be prepared for both cool and warm weather. Here are some essentials to pack:

  1. Pack lightweight, breathable clothing that you can layer to adjust to the changing temperatures throughout the day. You’ll be doing a lot of hiking, so your body temperature will fluctuate. A light jacket will be your best ally.
  2. Petra is an archaeological site, and the only way to explore it is on foot, so make sure to pack comfortable shoes with good grip to navigate the rocky terrain.
  3. While December is not the rainy season in Petra, occasional showers can occur. Pack a waterproof jacket or a small umbrella to stay dry during any rain showers should they occur during your visit.

Don’t forget to check my Jordan packing list for all the other essentials you need to fit in your suitcase (and leave some room for souvenirs too!).

Other Considerations for Visiting Petra in December

Besides the weather and clothes, here are some additional considerations to keep in mind when planning your visit to Petra in December:

Fewer Crowds: Unlike the peak tourist season in the summer, December generally sees fewer crowds, which means you can enjoy a more serene experience exploring Petra. You’ll have more time to take in the stunning details of the intricate rock-cut architecture and have fewer people in your photos.

Limited Daylight Hours: Since December days are shorter, with the sunset as early as 4, you’ll have to be careful about following a schedule that allows you to make the most of the daylight hours you have.  

Holidays: Christmas and New Year’s Eve are busy times in Petra from a local point of view, and it’s best to plan your visit accordingly if you want to have a fancy dinner or celebrate this date in a special way. (While most sites are still open, it’s always worth checking to ensure you don’t arrive somewhere on Christmas/New Year’s Eve/Day to find it closed!)

Have any other questions about visiting Petra in December? Let me know in the comments below.

JT Headshot New

I fell in love with Jordan after my first visit in 2016; now I love returning to explore more – and writing guides to help you do the same.

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