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Discover Petra – A Day in Jordan’s Timeless Marvel

(Last Updated On: March 20, 2024)

Petra, the ancient Nabatean city carved into the rose-red cliffs of southern Jordan, is a destination that captivates the imagination of travelers from around the globe. Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Its breathtaking architecture and intricate facades offer a unique glimpse into the past. Spending one day in this archaeological wonder requires careful planning to make the most of your visit. From sunrise to sunset, here’s how to experience the best of Petra, concluding with sunset drinks and dinner in Aqaba.

Traveler Profile: Kitty, UK

Location: Petra, Jordan

Time of Year: Late spring

Travel Goals: Magic, history, adventure, and photography.

The History of Petra

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Aleksandra Kossowska

Petra, once the thriving capital of the Nabatean Kingdom, is archaeologically breathtaking and has fascinated historians and travelers alike for centuries. Established as early as the 4th century BC, this ancient city was strategically positioned along the caravan trade routes that linked the Far East with the Mediterranean, serving as a vital commercial hub for the incense, spices, and silk trades. The Nabateans, known for their advanced engineering and water management skills, carved this city out of the rose-red sandstone cliffs, creating monumental buildings and an intricate system of water channels and reservoirs that allowed the city to flourish in the desert.

Over time, Petra fell to Roman rule and then to the Byzantines, each civilization leaving its mark on the city’s architecture and culture. However, by the 7th century AD, changing trade routes and a series of devastating earthquakes led to the city’s decline. Petra was eventually abandoned and forgotten by the Western world until it was rediscovered by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812. Today, Petra is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, drawing visitors from across the globe to marvel at its historic ruins and breathtaking natural beauty.

Breakfast at The Petra Kitchen

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Image Credit: Pexels / ELEVATE

Begin your day at The Petra Kitchen, a cozy eatery just minutes from the entrance to Petra. Offering a buffet of traditional Jordanian breakfast items, it’s the perfect place to fuel up before a day of exploration. Enjoy a selection of local cheeses, olives, fresh bread, hummus, and made-to-order eggs, accompanied by strong Arabic coffee or mint tea.

Insider’s Tip: Participate in a morning cooking class if time allows, giving you a hands-on experience in preparing Jordanian cuisine.

The Treasury

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Zephyr_p

Enter Petra early to beat the crowds and the heat. Start with the Siq, the narrow gorge leading into the city, which opens up to the Treasury, Petra’s most iconic structure. From there, visit the Street of Facades and the Theatre before the sun climbs too high. The soft morning light provides excellent photo opportunities and a mystical ambiance as you explore.

Insider’s Tip: Hire a local guide at the entrance for insightful stories and historical context that will enrich your visit.

Lunch at Basin Restaurant

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Image Credit: Pexels / David Levinson

Located within Petra Archaeological Park, the Basin Restaurant offers a convenient and refreshing stop for lunch. Operated by the renowned Crowne Plaza Resort, this buffet-style restaurant serves a variety of Middle Eastern and international dishes, providing a welcome break in your exploration.

Insider’s Tip: The restaurant can get busy during peak lunch hours, so aim to arrive early or later than the main tourist groups.

The Monastery and Royal Tombs

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Image Credit: Pexels / Francesco Ungaro

Spend your afternoon venturing further into Petra. Climb the steps to the Monastery, Petra’s largest monument, which offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. On your way back, explore the Royal Tombs and the Colonnaded Street. The afternoon light casts beautiful shadows on the tombs’ intricate carvings, making it a photographer’s delight.

Insider’s Tip: Carry plenty of water and wear comfortable shoes, as the climb to the Monastery involves over 800 steps.

Sunset Drinks and Dinner in Aqaba

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Image Credit: Pexels / Th?ng-Nh?t Tr?n

Conclude your day with a drive to Aqaba, Jordan’s only coastal city, about two hours from Petra. Enjoy sunset drinks at one of the beachfront resorts and dinner at a local seafood restaurant, where you can savor the fresh catch of the day while overlooking the Red Sea.

Insider’s Tip: Choose a restaurant on the Corniche for the best sea views and a lively atmosphere.

How to Get There: Regular buses and taxis connect Petra to Aqaba, making it an easy journey after a day of exploration.

Where to Stay in Aqaba

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Image Credit: Pexels / Manos Orfanos

Al Manara, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Aqaba

For those extending their journey to Aqaba after visiting Petra, Al Manara, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Aqaba, offers an exquisite stay. This five-star property, part of the prestigious Luxury Collection, blends modern luxury with the rich cultural heritage of Aqaba. Situated along the pristine shores of the Red Sea, the hotel provides guests with unparalleled access to the city’s historical sites, vibrant coral reefs, and exclusive shopping districts.

Each room and suite at Al Manara is designed with an eye for detail, offering breathtaking views of the sea or the city and all the amenities expected of a luxury resort. Guests can indulge in various dining experiences, from traditional Middle Eastern cuisine to international dishes, all prepared with the freshest local ingredients. Whether you’re returning from Petra, unwinding at the private beach, exploring the underwater wonders of the Red Sea, or relaxing at the world-class spa, Al Manara promises a memorable and luxurious conclusion to your Jordanian adventure.

How to Get to Petra

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Image Credit: Pexels / Hisham Zayadneh

Petra is located in the southern region of Jordan, approximately 240 kilometers south of the capital, Amman. The most common way to reach Petra is by road. Visitors can opt for a rental car, a private driver or utilize the country’s reliable bus services. The JETT bus company offers daily services from Amman to Petra, providing a comfortable and efficient transportation that takes around three to four hours.

King Hussein International Airport in Aqaba, about 125 kilometers away, is the nearest airport to those arriving by air. From Aqaba, visitors can hire a taxi or join a tour group to reach Petra. Additionally, for international travelers, Queen Alia International Airport in Amman serves as the primary gateway to Jordan, with numerous international flights. From the airport, travelers can take a taxi or a bus to Petra.

When to Travel to Petra

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Image Credit: Pexels / Gustavo Fring

The best time to visit Petra is spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). During these periods, the weather is mild and conducive to exploring the archaeological site. Temperatures are comfortable, ranging from 18°C to 25°C (64°F to 77°F), allowing for extended periods of exploration without the extreme heat of the summer months, where temperatures can soar above 30°C (86°F).

Additionally, these seasons avoid the cold nights of winter, making them ideal for visitors looking to fully experience Petra and its surrounding landscapes. It’s also worth noting that these times of the year offer the best light for photography, with softer light at sunrise and sunset, enhancing the natural beauty of Petra’s sandstone cliffs.

The Bottom Line

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Bryan Blaes

A day in Petra is a journey through time, offering a glimpse into the ancient world of the Nabateans. From the majestic Treasury at sunrise to the imposing Monastery and the vibrant sunset in Aqaba, Petra and its surroundings offer an unforgettable experience.

Planning your visit with these highlights in mind ensures a day filled with wonder, history, and the flavors of Jordan. As you walk in the footsteps of ancient traders and explorers, remember that Petra is an extraordinary passage to a bygone era, inviting you to enjoy its enduring beauty and mystery.

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The post Discover Petra – A Day in Jordan’s Timeless Marvel republished on Passing Thru with permission from The Green Voyage.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels / AXP Photography.

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