Looking to visit Jordan? You can see all the highlights in just a week, including Petra, the Dead Sea and Wadi Rum. This country is filled with unique sites that makes a week in Jordan fly by. Here's my best 1-week itinerary on a budget.
Pro Tip: Save money and time at the airport by getting the Jordan Pass before arrival. I recommend the Jordan Explorer, which includes 2 consecutive days at Petra. You can only get the Jordan Pass if you plan to stay longer than 3 days. Also, if you plan to visit Bethany beyond the Jordan, it’s cheaper to add on this ticket at purchase, rather than buy it separately.
Generally, you can rent a car, take an Uber or use local transportation. Uber is very cheap around downtown Amman, but, if you are on a budget, take the express bus from the airport to the city center (3.3 JD cash only). Tickets can be purchased outside of the arrivals hall. Buses typically leave every half hour, though my left as soon as it was full.
You can rent a car to explore the country (which I did for one day), but it’s less of a personal headache to just take the Jett Bus around Jordan. They provide numerous routes daily to all the major attractions, including Petra, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea.
Pro Tip: If you can’t book a route on the English web page, go into the Abdali office in Amman to purchase your tickets in advance.
Day 1 Amman
Amman was my base of operation for my Jordan 1 week itinerary. I actually booked a hostel for the whole week, even though I spent a night in Petra and one in Wadi Rum. It was worth it to not worry about my big bag and haul all my luggage around the country for 48 hours. Though most places (especially if you come back to them) will allow you to store your luggage. Amman is filled with things to do for a few days, so don’t just jet out of the city.
Centrally located, the Roman Amphitheatre is free for those with a Jordan Pass and includes two museums underground with insight into local customs and traditions. It doesn’t seem to matter where you travel, the Romans have been there before. Wander the landmark and scale the seating to get a better view of the Roman columns just outside.
Head to lunch at the Hashem Restaurant, one of the oldest in the city and ranked in the world’s top 50 restaurants. Mostly vegetarian, though they now offer meat on top of your hummus, grab a table and order an array of options, including falafels. It’s a bit of a hole in the wall, but definitely a Jordanian institution.
After lunch you can wander the street shops nearby. For some local artwork, go to Mohammed Turky’s Art Gallery. This local artist paints watercolors of the city and region, which make a great souvenir of your time in Jordan.
Next, head up the hill to the Roman Citadel. You can explore for just 3 JD, but it’s also included for free on your Jordan Pass. I went an hour before sunset to enjoy the sky and avoid the heat of the day. There is an ancient church and lots of ruins to explore, so allocate 1-2 hours here. There is a small museum at the back of the site with archeological finds over the century.
For dinner, head to Rainbow Street. On Thursday and Friday nights it’s especially busy with many of the bars offering specials and rooftop views.
The Abdali Mall and nearby boulevard, a quick walk from the Jett bus station, is a great place to grab a bite to eat, watch an English-speaking movie at the theater or do a little shopping. I spent a few evenings on the boulevard for dinner or drinks after my day trips. It’s a wonderful place to people watch and the mall is a great way to cool off in the desert heat.
Pro Tip: If you are traveling long term like I am, you sometimes need a little self-care. With all thousands of steps I’ve taken, my feet have really taken a beating. I found a wonderful nail salon with great staff and cheap pedicures (8 JD) at Calamantina. They have several locations around the city and you can make reservations online.
Day 2 Dead Sea
You can take a day trip to the Dead Sea from Amman (round trip) for 15 JD on Jett Bus. Pick up the bus at the Abdali Station. The driver can stop at any of the resorts at the Dead Sea (in the north) but I liked the Dead Sea Spa Resort. They have a day pass for 20 JD that includes all pools, changing rooms and as much time as you want at the Dead Sea. You can add a meal option to your day pass, but I just bought snacks a la cart at the restaurant. You will arrive at the Dead Sea around 10 am and depart by bus again around 4:30 -5 pm. If you don’t want all the time at the Dead Sea, you can also use this day to grab a taxi up to Bethany by the Jordan. I decided to take the full day at the resort, enjoying the pool and floating in the sea for a couple of hours. Be sure to rinse off before getting in the pools.
Day 3-4 Petra & Wadi Musa
Jett Bus offers a 6:30 am bus from Amman to Petra for 15 JD. The ride is about 4 hours and makes a pitstop for restrooms and food about halfway. The bus station is right next to the Petra Museum, so pop into the free spot to learn a little more about the local tribes and history.
I decided to spend the afternoon exploring the city (Wadi Musa) around Petra before going into the park closer to sunset. I knew I wanted to stay for Petra by Night to experience the Treasury by candlelight. Have lunch at a great vegetarian restaurant halfway up the hill – Falafel Time Restaurant. I stayed at Nomads Hostel, but the walk up the hill was BRUTAL and quite steep. If you have a little more cash, choose a place on the main Tourism Street leading into Petra.
Pro Tip: Prepurchase your Petra by Night ticket at the entrance and you can stay after day closing and get a spot early for your night ticket. It will be just you and the Bedouins. Petra by Night lasts from 8-10 pm, so I brought snacks into the park to eat beforehand.
The next day hit the ground running. If you want that Instagram shot, you likely need to enter around 7 am to avoid the crowds and day trippers. There are many Bedouins offering tours, help up the hill to get your perfect picture or practicing their flirting skills. I wandered around the site solo. Be sure to take the hike up the mountain (including many stairs) to the Monastery on the hill. There are a few restaurants in Petra, or you can choose to exit with enough time to eat before the bus. I purposely left my large bag in Amman at my hostel accommodation in order to keep it light in Petra and Wadi Rum. There isn’t a luggage storage (that I know of) in Petra, so bare that in mind as you book your hotel and plan your day.
Grab the Jett Bus from Petra to Wadi Rum for 15 JD at 5 pm on Day 4. You will likely be pooped from your second full day exploring Petra and can relax at your camp in Wadi Rum.
Day 4-5 Wadi Rum
Having already ventured into Egypt’s White Desert and Whale Valley, I wasn’t sure the landscape in Jordan would be much different. However, I decided to spend one night in Wadi Rum due to its proximity to Petra and budget friendly accommodations. I booked a last-minute stay in a Bedouin camp in the middle of the park. Most places will offer cheap accommodation with activities and/or meals at additional costs. Be sure to budget for that. I read several reviews that some camps would charge for pick up at the Visitor’s Center if you didn’t plan any additional activities with them. You can usually add-on a half or full day of adventures, including camel riding, desert trekking or sandboarding.
Wadi Rum’s topography was definitely different than the White Desert, but the overtly touristy vibes of the domed campsites take a little of the sheen off. I can easily see how the Martian and other movies were filmed here, with the unique red rock and sweeping desert views.
The Jett Bus offers a Wadi Rum to Amman option at 5 pm from the Wadi Rum Visitor’s Center for 20 JD. Book in advance so the bus driver knows to look for you.
Optional: If you want to go to the Red Sea, then keep heading south from Wadi Rum to Aqaba for the night. I had already spent a week on the Egyptian side of the Red Sea, so I bypassed this location, but I’ve heard the resorts are nice and the area is quite tourist-friendly.
Day 6 Mount Nebo & Bethany by the Jordan Day Trip
The Jett Bus didn’t go directly to Bethany by the Jordan, so I rented a car. However, if you don’t want to deal with driving in a foreign country (the endless speed bumps and police stops) then you can also take a short cab ride from the Dead Sea. You will need about 1.5-2 hours at Bethany for the tour so plan ahead on your day trip from Amman.
Bethany by the Jordan
Bethany is a military zone and faces Jericho. It was opened in 2003 after the 1994 Treaty that split the territory for Jordan and Israel. Entrance is 12 JD; cards accepted. You can save 33% by pre-purchasing your ticket along with your Jordan Pass. Entrance includes a guided tour and the chance to dip your feet into the river.
About 30 mins from Bethany and 15 mins from Madaba is Mount Nebo. Entrance is 3 JD and only cash is accepted. You should allocate ~45 mins to 1 hour for a visit.
Pro Tip: Visiting Bethany and Mount Nebo together is great day trip. You can stop in Madaba for lunch and walk around the area. There are several religious stops in the city, including the old mosaic at the Byzantine church of St. George. If you don’t want to rent a car, you can also arrange a day trip from Amman. Those tickets usually include a couple of other attractions nearby.
Day 7 Amman & Head Home
Last day to see any remaining sites in the city. If you want, you can take a bus up to Jerash, one of the most important Roman cities outside of Italy. You can spend a few hours exploring the amphitheater, mosaic tiles, and remaining columns. There are guides available for hire at the visitor’s center.
This itinerary is a great way to see all the highlights in Jordan. While visiting in the summer is pretty hot, hello desert, it’s generally safe for solo female travelers. I had no issues aside from some flirty Bedouins at Petra. People are generally friendly and happy to help. English is widely spoken, though knowing a few words in Arabic will go a long way with the locals. Be sure to dress modestly, though the tourist sites like the Dead Sea or Petra have a little more leeway. Check out my post on dressing for a Muslim country.
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