Take a journey through Jordan’s incredible sights
This is sponsored content for Etihad Airways and Jordan Tourism.
In Jordan, every day brings a different discovery. This is a country where you wander along historical Roman streets, sight remarkable rock formations, or simply marvel at the emptiness of a dramatic desert landscape.
Explore the red desert
You may never have heard of Wadi Rum, but you have almost certainly seen it. This dramatic wilderness has served as a backdrop for movies ranging from The Martian to Lawrence of Arabia. Its vast desert sands interrupted by rocky canyons may look untamed, but even today Wadi Rum is home to nomadic Bedouin tribes. Spend a day exploring with a 4WD safari, then head for a desert camp to fall asleep beneath a dome of glittering stars in your cosy bubble tent.
Stroll the streets of an ancient city
You may have seen Roman ruins before, but chances are you have never seen anything like Jerash. In this remarkably well-preserved site, you can walk along colonnaded streets, take a seat in an ancient theatre or pay a visit to a hilltop temple. Dating back more than 6500 years, Jerash was once a wealthy imperial centre and there is an extraordinary amount to see. Don't miss the triumphal arch built to honour the visiting Emperor Hadrian, the hippodrome where chariot races were held, and the imposing temple of Zeus.
Go chasing waterfalls
Ready for some river action? Then head for the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve: Wadi Mujib, a deep and majestic canyon that cuts through the rugged highlands and drains into the Dead Sea, where fast-flowing rivers have carved their way through the sandstone. The resulting landscape is a playground for adventure lovers, with a choice of trails offering a range of canyoning experiences. The simplest route, The Siq Trail, takes in dramatic rock formations and leads to an impressive 20-metre high waterfall.
Overnight at an eco-lodge
Jordan's first eco-lodge ticks all the sustainability boxes. The off-grid property relies on solar energy to heat its showers, uses candles instead of electric light, and offers employment to local families. That's not the main reason to stay here, however. The real reason to check in at Feynan Eco Lodge is because it's such a memorable experience. Set in a remote valley and designed to resemble a traditional caravanserai, activities on offer include hikes and cooking classes. Candlelit dinners, served on the terrace, are vegetarian – another way in which Feynan Eco Lodge is keeping it low-impact.
Make like you are king of the castle
Qasr al-Kharranah, one of the Amman castles. Photo: Supplied
The centuries-old desert castles that ring Amman were more than just military outposts. These atmospheric complexes, sometimes located by tranquil oases, functioned as trading hubs and pleasure palaces, with some even equipped with elaborate baths. Each one offers a fine example of early Islamic architecture and art, but each also has its own character. The maze-like Kerak, for instance, was an important stronghold during the Crusades, its tunnels and passageways designed to confuse invaders. By contrast, Quseir Amra, once a hunting lodge for the elite, is decorated with magnificent carvings and frescoes.
Float on the dead sea
Floating and relaxing in the Dead Sea. Photo: Supplied
No matter how many images you have seen of people floating effortlessly on the surface of the Dead Sea, there is nothing quite like the reality of doing it – which takes some getting used to. There is a rational explanation for it all – the sea's ultra-saline waters increase your buoyancy – but it still feels as if the rules of physics have been suspended. The floating fun is not the only memorable thing about visiting the Dead Sea; the salt rocks that line its shore are eye-catching, and the mineral-rich mud from the seabed is a tonic for your skin, so slather it on.
Walk in Jesus' footsteps
The site where Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist on the banks of the River Jordan has been a popular pilgrimage site for centuries; even today, white-clad pilgrims come to be baptised in the river waters. While some Biblical sites have been over-developed, this one remains unchanged enough that it's relatively easy to indulge in a bit of mental time travelling. Also worth a visit are the area's Roman and Byzantine remains, which include churches, a monastery, and caves that were once refuges for hermits.
Discover a different side of Petra
It is considered one of the wonders of the world, and few sights can compete with that first glimpse you get of Petra, the ancient city carved into cliffs. While a day spent exploring Petra is a must-do, it is also worth returning for a night-time visit. The imposing facades are illuminated by a carpet of candles and fairy lights, while the haunting sound of Bedouin musicians performing traditional songs provides a memorable soundtrack.
Etihad Airways has 5 flights daily from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, connecting onwards to Amman via their home Abu Dhabi.
Etihad's guests are at the heart of everything the airline does. With Etihad, be assured you are choosing well. Experience the comforts of Business with their renowned Dine Anytime menu, or tailor your Economy flight to suit your own needs. Choose to upgrade to Economy Space, select your in-flight add ons like extra baggage, amenity kits or the buy on board menu in addition to their inclusive meals, plus take advantage of their Flying Nanny to help take the stress out of flying for families.
Travel before 31 July 2020 and you can add a two-night free stopover in Abu Dhabi on the way to Jordan. It's the perfect multi-country combination. For more details, visit https://flights.etihad.com/en-au/freestopover-east
Secure a Jordan Pass before you travel, and get hassle free entry to over 40 of Jordan's tourist attractions including Petra, Wadi Rum and much more, inclusive of the entry visa cost. Check out this great offer today www.jordanpass.jo