Embark on a family tour of Jordan

Delve into the magical ancient world of Jordan on this exhilarating family adventure! This tour has been specially designed to highlight the most exciting corners of Jordan, from historical Jerash to magnificent Petra, from Wadi Rum desert to the blissful Red Sea coast. With a carefully weighted balance of activities and down time, your family will love this cultural Middle Eastern odyssey.

Start
Amman, Jordan
Finish
Dead Sea, Jordan
Countries
Jordan
Themes
Family
Code
ERFJ
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 5
Group size
Min 1 Max 16
Carbon offset
138kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Float effortlessly in the Dead Sea
  • Camp beneath the stars in a Bedouin tent
  • Play gladiator at the ancient Roman city of Jerash
  • Follow Indiana Jones's steps in the ‘rose city’ of Petra
  • Cruise through Wadi Rum desert on a 4WD safari
  • Interact with locals playing football or Seven Stones games
  • Soak up the culture-rich vibe of Amman
  • Visit Mount Nebo, the resting place of Moses

Itinerary

Ahlan Wa Sahlan! Welcome to Jordan.
Amman has served as the modern and ancient capital of Jordan and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, with a 1994 excavation uncovering homes and towers believed to have been built during the Stone Age (circa 7000 BC). Check out sites such as the 6,000-seat Roman theatre built in the 2nd century, or the Citadel, offering panoramic views over the city from the highest hill in town. Within the Citadel is the museum that contains the Dead Sea Scrolls, and also the excavated ruins of an Umayyad palace.
Today is the joining day and free for you to settle in. The group flight will be arriving in late evening. The next morning meet your group and leader at approximately 8AM and head 50 km north to Jerash.
The ruins of Jerash were re-discovered in 1806 and continue to be one of Jordan's most amazing sites. One of the best examples of a Roman city in the Middle East, the ancient walled town that survives today is a remarkable evocation of life 2,000 years ago.
With a history stretching back at least 2,300 years, Jerash is one of the best preserved examples of a provincial Roman town anywhere in the world. Its hey day came with the arrival of Alexander the Great and the remains include a forum, nymphaeum, hippodrome, two theatres (complete with numbered seats!) and several temples. Along the Colonnaded Street, grooves in the paving stones show where chariot wheels once rolled and remnants of exquisite mosaics still cover some floors.
There is time to wander the site and imagine life in ancient times before returning to Amman with time to relax, or the opportunity to visit some of the city's sights, such as the Citadel.
Additional Information :- 30 mins (40km) drive from the airport to the hotel. Drive from Amman to Jerash approx 1hour. Distance 130+km
This morning we start our journey towards Petra, taking the Desert Highway south. En route we stop at Madaba.
The historical town of Madaba is famous for its Ottoman-style houses and beautiful Byzantine-era mosaics, including the famous 6th-century mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land at St George's Church. Other mosaic masterpieces found within the Church of the Virgin and the Apostles and in the Archaeological Museum depict a rampant profusion of flowers and plants, birds and fish, animals and exotic beasts, as well as scenes from mythology and everyday pursuits such as hunting, fishing and farming. If these interest you, you'll be delighted to know that literally hundreds of other mosaics from the 5th to 7th centuries are scattered throughout Madaba's churches and homes.
Just beyond Madaba is another biblical site, Mt Nebo, which overlooks the Jordan Valley. The bible tells us this is the final resting place of Moses; from here he looked out onto the Promised Land.
Along the way today you may see the black 'beit ash shar' tents of the hardy Bedouin who still wander throughout the Middle East as they have for centuries. Moving between the few grazing spots which dot the parched landscape, they survive by breeding goats, sheep and camels. Although the traditional nomadic way of life is starting to disappear as some Bedouin succumb to the lure of fixed accommodation, many adhere stolidly to the old way - albeit with the occasional addition of a 4WD vehicle for transport!. Living in such a hostile environment has taught them the importance of a friendly welcome and the ancient code of hospitality to travellers still survives today.
Next we drive to the small town of Kerak.
In Kerak a formidable crusader castle overlooks a long, winding road down to the Dead Sea. The crusaders had a huge impact on the region in the 11th-13th centuries, and fought the forces of Islam in a long campaign, which saw many atrocities committed. Their temporary successes can be attributed - at least in part - to an outstanding ability to construct impregnable defensive fortifications, of which Kerak Castle is a prime example. Amazingly, given that it is over 850 years old, a great deal of the structure remains intact and you can explore the dungeons, passages, refectory and kitchens of the castle, which also houses a small museum.
Afternoon charter bus to Little Petra, have tea with a local Bedouin family and play Seven Stones. You spend the evening in Wadi Musa, before setting off the following day to explore the site in full.
Additional Information - Travelling times today, Madaba approx 1 hour, Mount Nebo approx 30mins, Kerak 3 hours, Petra 2 hours. 300km
This morning we make our way to Petra.
Hewn out of the rose-coloured rock face, the ancient Nabataean city of Petra is one of the Middle East's most spectacular destinations, and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
The site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was discovered by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, a Swiss explorer. It was once described as 'a rose-red city half as old as time' in a sonnet by John William Burgon and UNESCO has described it as 'one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage.' In 1985, Petra was designated a World Heritage site. So you know you are in for an amazing experience here.

It's difficult to determine exactly when the history of Petra began. Evidence suggests the Horites, probably cave-dwellers, inhabited the area, lending their traditional habits such as burying the dead and offering worship in half-excavated caves to the next wave of inhabitants - the Nabataeans.

Evidence of the earliest Nabataean settlement is also sketchy. Some of the characteristics of the site appear partly Egyptian and partly Greek in style. Strangely, few inscriptions have been found at Petra making dating the civilization a real challenge for historians. We do know the Nabataean settlement doesn't go back farther than the 6th century BC.

In 106 AD, Petra was absorbed into the Roman Empire and the native dynasty came to an end but continued to flourish for a century after. Eventually the building of tombs ended and trade moved away from Petra, which fell into steady decline over the centuries. Over time many of the tombs' treasures were stolen by treasure hunters and their glory and whereabouts are unknown.

According to Arab tradition, Petra is the location where Moses struck a rock with his staff and water came forth.
Explore the rest of the site at your own pace. For those with the energy, there's the challenging but highly rewarding walk up the steps to the stunning Monastery (approx 1 hr). Please note a lot of walking is required to see all the sites and viewpoints of Petra. A basic level of fitness will enhance your enjoyment of your visit.
Please note that when entering Petra as a group a complimentary horse ride is included in the ticket price from the entrance point of Petra down to the Siq. Intrepid recommends passengers do not take this option due to the safety and insurance liability involved.
After finishing the visit proceed to your hotel to rest and prepare yourself for the amazing cooking experience at Al Qantara Kitchen , Al Qantara Kitchen is less than five minutes driving from Petra's main gate, where you can taste Jordanian food, live the true experience of cooking with a Jordanian chef and learn all about Arabic culture and cuisine.The kitchen is fully equipped and up to health and safety standards, our main concern is to make sure that each and every visitor will feel like home, eat and cook in a very clean atmosphere and the most important point is to let them have some fun with each other during cooking. The experience takes around 1:30 - 2 hours, we start with preparing the appetizers (Cold and hot Mezza, Baba ghanoush ,Hummus, Arabic salad, Fattoush and lentil soup), you will chop the vegetables and mix them under supervision of the experienced chef and learn the secret about the amazing Arabic food taste. Then the second step is the main course. Usually his would be Maglouba, Kabsah or Mjadra. These are the typical Jordanian dishes. After finishing all the dishes, the visitors will prepare their tables, then they gather to have the meal that they have cooked. At the end they will be given copies of all the recipes in order to impress their families and friends back home.
Today we drive to Wadi Rum, which offers some of the most extraordinary desert scenery.
Wadi Rum is full of weird and beautiful lunar-like rock formations. Traces of ancient civilisations can be seen in the many carved inscriptions found throughout the Wadi Rum area, from pictographs to Thamudic, Nabataean and Arabic texts. The most enduring monuments in Wadi Rum, however, are those carved by nature - the natural rock bridges, towering rose-coloured sand dunes and scattered rocky peaks.
We will enjoy a 4WD desert discovery, stopping to enter a narrow siq where many inscriptions can be seen. Passing Thamud nomads from Saudi Arabia and the Nabataean people have all left their mark on the surrounding rocks. Nature provides a number of rock bridges that offer some stunning views. There is also the option to explore by camel.
Sleep in a simple desert camp where you'll have the choice of sleeping under a camel hair tent or out under the stars. A mattress and blankets are provided. Please be aware that while the desert may be very hot during the day, it will still be cool at night and warm clothes and a sleeping bag is highly recommended when travelling outside of the summer months. A dinner cooked in a local earthen oven is included. Western-style toilet facilities are available. Conditions are basic at our desert camp, but the company of our Bedouin hosts is warm and you'll treasure the memory of sleeping beneath the twinkling desert night sky.
Additional Information - 2 hr drive, approx 130km.
Today we transfer to Aqaba on the coast of the Red Sea, where there is free time to relax or take an optional boat trip to go snorkelling. The warm and relatively shallow waters of the Red Sea support a series of coral reefs unsurpassed outside Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
Additional Information - Drive to Aqaba 1hr ,+70km.
Leaving Aqaba, we travel along the King's Highway, a winding road which follows the contours of the rocky hills, occasionally passing nomadic shepherds as they tend their flocks in the few areas where there is water. We descend lower and lower until eventually arriving on the shores of the Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea is 67 kilometres long and 18 kilometres wide at its widest point. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley with Israel on its west bank.
A Dead Sea float is a must for any trip to Jordan. Here at the lowest point on Earth (420 metres below sea level) the water is seven times saltier than a normal ocean at 30% salinity. The Dead Sea is the second saltiest body of water in the world after Lake Asal in Djibouti. When swimming this means you are extremely buoyant and seem to float on top of the water rather than in it.

The mud here is supposed to have healing properties and many visitors like to cover themselves from head to toe for a beauty mud bath. Stop at a private beach with pools and a gentle slope to the water. Towels are available for hire. Don't forget to pack your swimwear for today.
This evening you can meet up with the rest of the group for a final meal together, and reflect on your adventures in this fascinating country.
Aqaba to Dead Sea 3 hrs +280km,
Your trip will end at your resort in Dead Sea after breakfast.
Additional Information - Dead Sea to Airport 1hr +70km.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
7 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners
Transport
Minibus
Accommodation
Desert camp (1 night), Hotel (5 nights), Resort (1 night)
Included activities
  • Jerash Roman ruins
  • Kerak Castle
  • Little Petra
  • Guided tour of Petra ( Including 1 day pass ).
  • 4WD jeep safari and desert camp
  • Dead Sea

Dates

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Important notes

Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you.

Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 5.

A discount of 10% applies on this trip to children under 15 years of age at time of travel.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our Jordan Family - Journey to the Lost City trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 2 reviews in the last year.

Jordan Family - Journey to the Lost City , August 2015

Jordan Family - Journey to the Lost City , April 2014

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