Jordan is one of the Middle East's most enchanting countries. Its star attraction is the ancient city of Petra, a cultural treasure set amid craggy mountains and striking desert terrain, which forms the focal point of tailor-made holidays in the country. [See Jordan itinerary ideas]
But Jordan has much more to tempt visitors. Its impressive landscape contains the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea, and the moonlike terrain of Wadi Rum - well known for its connections with Lawrence of Arabia. Then there's the genial modern capital, Amman, with its upmarket hotels, smart restaurants and art galleries.
After canyons, deserts and citadels, the Red Sea coast provides a distinct change of pace. Its beaches fringe warm waters that are home to unspoiled coral reefs that are well suited for snorkelling and diving holidays.
Jordan travel combines four-wheel-drive adventures and camel treks amid shifting Arabian sands and wild wadis. Climbing, hiking and horse riding are other popular activities that can be incorporated into a luxury all-inclusive tour of the Hashemite kingdom.
When to go
The summer heat is intense from June to August, but cools off sufficiently in September to make hiking an attractive option. December to February is cold in the north, but you can still take balmy dips in the Red or Dead Seas. The most popular time for travel is March to May, when days are warm, nights are cool, and wildflowers are in bloom after the winter rains.
Capital - Amman
Size - 89,342 sq km
Language - Arabic (English widely spoken)
Population - 6.5 million (2012)
Religion - 92% Islam (Sunni 90%, Shi'a 2%), 6% Christian, 2% other minority religions
Currency - 1 Jordan dinar = 1,000 fils
Time zone - GMT + 2 hours
Flight time - London Heathrow to Amman 5 hours 10 mins
Highlights of the cultural calendar include:
13 January 2014 (moveable) - Muhammad's Birthday celebrations throughout the country.
February - Aqaba Traditional Arts Festival. Celebration and markets for Bedouin and other endemic crafts.
- Azraq Festival. Showcasing local food, drink, music and crafts.
April - Amman International Theatre Festival. Performances in Arabic and English.
May - Jordan Rally. A staple of the FIA World Rally Championships since 2008.
June/July - Jerash Festival. Two weeks of musical and folklore performances, poetry readings, symphony orchestras, ballet, theatre, handicraft and art shows in the ancient city.
July/August - Arab Film Festival, Amman.
Please note that entry requirements and visa regulations can change often and at short notice. We can provide general information about the passport and visa requirements for your trip and this information may be included after the itinerary section of your quotation. Your specific passport and visa requirements and other immigration requirements are your responsibility and you should confirm these with the relevant Embassies and/or Consulates. Neither we nor the principal(s) or supplier(s) accept any responsibility if you cannot travel because you have not complied with any passport, visa or immigration requirements. Please call your WEXAS specialist if you wish to discuss entry requirements.
Passports must be valid for a minimum of 6 months from the date of entry into Jordan.
The Jordanian dinar is divided into 10 dirham, 100 qirsh (also called piastres) and 1,000 fils. At early 2014 exchange rates, 1 dinar = £0.86 (the exchange rate is fixed to the US dollar, so doesn't fluctuate widely). Notes are issued in values of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 dinars, and coins in values of 10, 25, 50, 100, 250 and 500 fils, and one dinar.
ATMs can be found almost everywhere except Wadi Rum. They are used extensively on the run-up to weekends and holidays and sometimes run out of cash.
Cash and EFTPOS
Credit and debit cards are widely accepted at hotels and resorts, but expect to pay cash in shops, bus and train stations and travel agencies and restaurants. Souvenir shops may also refuse card payments below a certain value or charge a levy on your purchase.
Jordan is far from the cheapest destination in the Middle East, but offers good value compared with European travel. Street snacks like a falafel or shawarma sandwich cost just a few dinars, local restaurants charge 2 to 3 dinars for a main course, and upscale restaurants around 15 dinars for three courses without wine. Entry to most tourist sites is often free or just a dinar or two, which makes Petra at 50 dinars for a one-day pass (or 60 dinars for three days) seem expensive. Public transport is cheap, and hire cars comparatively pricey, though savings can be made by booking ahead - your WEXAS consultant will be able to advise.