Africa & The Middle East | Travel Tips & News

A Beginner's Guide to Jordan

The ancient crossroads of the Middle East, Jordan is a bewitching destination overflowing with archaeological gems and dreamy desert landscapes. Often overlooked in favour of its more mainstream counterparts – think Egypt and Morocco – Jordan offers safe and easy travelling thanks to its modern infrastructure, inquisitive locals and modest size. Discover why now is the time to visit this intoxicating Arabian country with our comprehensive beginner’s guide.

The Basics

Capital: Amman

Language: Arabic

Population: 9.5 million

Currency: Jordanian Dinar

Land Area: 89, 342 square km

Famous for: Being the land of crusading Bedouin tribes and mesmerising desert landscapes. It’s home to the iconic rock-cut city of Petra, featured in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Guide to JordanClimate

In the heart of the Middle East, Jordan is blessed with long, hot summers and short, cool winters. It has a subtropical arid climate, meaning that even in summer it averages about 27°C, rarely getting above 35°C. In the colder months, temperatures hover around 12°C, meaning it’s pleasant to visit even in the depths of winter.

What to See

Guide to JordanWith vast desert plains, mountainous scenery and picturesque oases, Jordan has some incredible landscapes. Its capital, the ancient trading city of Amman, holds plenty of secrets. Downtown, explore the historical Citadel with Roman ruins before strolling around leafy streets and stopping off at a café. Head north of Amman to the 3rd century city of Jerash where you can admire Corinthian columns and the 6,000-seater amphitheatre. And no trip to Jordan would be complete without seeing the majestic rose-coloured facades of Petra. Endlessly immortalised on celluloid, this extraordinary city was carved into sheer rock 2,000 years ago. Ascend Mount Nebo to view the Promised Land, as Moses once did in the Hebrew Bible.

What to Eat and Drink

Guide to JordanTraditional Bedouin culture appreciates simple home cooking, so Jordan’s restaurants serve tasty yet unfussy Middle Eastern dishes. Expect meze platters of light Arabic delights like the ever-popular falafel (fried spiced chickpea balls), tabbouleh (parsley salad), hummus, fresh olives and warag aynab (stuffed vine leaves).

Central to Jordanian life is the coffee house, where friends and neighbours meet over a bitter, Bedouin coffee. Tea is served without milk and strong. Be sure to try the delicious sahleb, a thick, milky drink sprinkled with cinnamon, nuts and coconut.


Jordan is a Muslim country, so when visiting respect local mores and dress modestly, covering exposed skin. As Instagram-worthy as its sights are, should you want to photograph any people, always ask permission first. Keep public displays of affection to a minimum (this includes walking arm in arm). When dining out, don’t be surprised to use your fingers but be sure to use your right hand only. The left is considered for toilet purposes and is thought of as rude to eat with.

What to Pack

Guide to JordanWhen packing for Jordan, lightweight cotton clothes are advised in the summer, with a sweater or cardigan to throw on for cooler evenings. Men should wear long trousers and a buttoned shirt that covers your shoulders and upper arms. Women should pack loose-fitting, opaque items like long dresses or separates that cover legs, arms and chest. For the hotter months, you may like to take a portable handy fan, sun hat and sunscreen.

Want to discover this magical corner of the Middle East? Have the Arabian adventure of a lifetime on our Jordan Experience trip.

Images: Man & Citadel © Getty, all others © Trafalgar Travel

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