Jordan offers everything a traveler's heart desires: desert castles and mosques. Splendid landscapes and polishing sea. Wellness and excellent cuisine. The young Hashemite kingdom is busy grinding its rough diamond "Tourism".
Whether as a guided group or on your own in a rental car - Jordan is worth more than a trip. Especially in spring, when the climate is mild. Jordan is located in the Middle East, surrounded by Israel, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Despite its crisis-ridden and war-torn neighbours, Jordan is a safe travel destination, welcoming visitors in a lovable Bedouin tradition. The constitutional monarchy under King Abdullah II has been stable for many years and strives for peace in the region, the level of education and prosperity of the population are comparatively high. The tourist infrastructure is good and there are hotels in every comfort class. Travelling in the country with public buses connecting all important points or a rental car is easy. Most tourists visit the country because of its impressive millennia-old history. As a junction between East and West and a transit country for caravans from southern Arabia to the North, a wide variety of masters, armies and tribes have passed through the country since time immemorial.
The cultural highlight and most famous tourist destination in Jordan is undoubtedly Petra. The ancient rock town not far from the Israeli border was the capital of the Nabataean Empire in Jesus' time - Arab merchants who controlled the important caravan routes from southern Arabia to the north. Fate did not mean well: in the turmoil of history the empire went under and with it the wondrous city in the rocks fell into oblivion. It owes its rediscovery to the Swiss adventurer and discoverer Jean Louis Burkhardt. In 1812 Burkhardt travelled through Arabia disguised as a Muslim pilgrim and gained access to many forbidden places.
Just like the explorer once did, you can still walk through the narrow red gorge, the Siq, whose rock walls sometimes rise up to 100 metres into the sky. If you are not so good on foot, the Bedouins can take you on a bumpy carriage ride, camel or horse ride to the rock town. But I recommend to hike through the gorge, only this way one can really experience the magic of the place. At the very back of the Siq, a breathtaking world opens up. In the realm of the Nabataeans there are grave temples, amphitheatres, cave houses - all carved in coral sandstone. In the evening a visit to a local restaurant is worthwhile. Try mezzehs, 1001 night starters or the national dish Mansaf: lamb, yoghurt-lemon sauce, rice and flat bread.
If you like nature and grandiose desert landscapes, a trip to Wadi Rum is recommended. If your rental car has a 4WD drive, you can explore the nature reserve on your own. Deep sandy slopes take you past magnificent rock formations. From time to time you will meet funny dromedaries, which sample you from top to bottom. Treat yourself to a night in the desert under the starry sky. There are plenty of places to do this - set your sights on a place far away from the village of Rum with its scattered light and far enough away from noisy camps so you can hear the silence of the desert.
As a counterbalance to the desert, a few days of wellness in the luxury Dead Sea hotels or beach and diving fun on Jordan's short Red Sea coast are ideal. South of the port city of Aqaba lies the colourful coral reef, which stretches for kilometres almost to the Saudi Arabian border. Since the water in the Gulf of Aqaba is very clear, divers and snorkelers can expect visibility up to 50m. Besides many smaller colourful fish species you can swim among parrotfish, emperor or moon fish, see barracudas, moray eels, lion fish, eagle rays or sometimes turtles.
How you get there:
From Zurich or Geneva with Royal Jordanian Airlines
How you get around:
with a rental car from SunnyCars (for Wadi Rum 4WD!)
How long should I go:
10 - 14 days
Best travel time:
February to May and September to November
Rock town Petra, Wadi Rum, snorkeling in the Gulf of Aqaba
Petra Moon Hotel
Wadi Rum Night Luxury Camp
Mövenpick Resort Tala Bay
In the restaurant Petra Kitchen you even learn how to cook Jordanian