The Dead Sea
As the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea is a fascinating place to visit. It’s very straightforward to get to and usually takes about an hour driving from central Amman. My first trip was with my host family and we grabbed our breakfast, a falafel wrap and cinnamon tea, and drove on down. Luckily, living in the Marj Al-Hammam area meant it only took us half an hour to get there. The views are really beautiful and we didn’t go to a conventional beach, just a road-side area where most locals go so we could see all the salt formations.
My second trip was with the daughter in my homestay family and her friends, it was a really fun evening and we had dinner at Buffalo Wings & Rings which has beautiful views over the sea!
My final trip was with a few friends and we stayed the night in the Ramada Resort hotel. I really recommend spending a night in a hotel at the Dead Sea so that you can use their access to the beach! If you don’t hire a car it can be expensive and awkward to get down there and access to the Oh beach (widely considered the nicest in terms of cleanliness and facilities) will set you back around £25.
Swimming about in the Dead Sea is a very odd experience! I say swimming; it’s more like bobbing around whilst desperately trying not to get any of the water anywhere near your mouth or eyes because it BURNS. You know how horrible seawater already tastes, the Dead Sea is 100x worse. But if you’re lucky enough to spend some time in the sea when there is no wind or waves you can have a really relaxing time and definitely make the most of the mud they provide, it makes your skin super soft!
Salt formations at the Dead Sea – Views of Israel across the water!
Ajloun & Jerash
I’ve put these two together as it’s easy to do them both in one day, but if you only have time for one then definitely go for Jerash! It’s only an hour north of Amman and it’s a huge, beautiful site, there’s plenty to see with lots of ancient ruins dating back to 2000BC. Keep your eyes peeled – there are secret passageways to be found, some of which are boarded up but some you can go into and find yourself wandering through underground chambers. Ajloun castle is about an hour and half north of Amman with very pretty, green views and steep hills, totally different to what we were used to in the capital. The castle itself is relatively small in comparison with Karak castle, which I cover later on in this post, but still worth a visit. You can also visit The Great Ajloun Mosque which is one of the oldest in Jordan.
Views over Jerash
Inside Ajloun Castle
As-Salt is a beautiful day trip and the mum in my home stay would tell me how her and her late husband used to take morning trips down to As-Salt to have a romantic breakfast watching the vast views as the town awoke. It’s much colder in As-Salt than Amman as the altitude of the town is so high, so if you’re there during winter months like we were you will definitely want a coat! St. George’s Church is a beautiful attraction, built in 650AD and can be found by walking through the narrow streets of the town. There are beautiful sights to be seen from all angles due to the steep hills, ideal for the perfect photo. We also took a trip to a local stables and each got to take a horse ride – very cheaply!
Views over As-Salt
Karak is a small city with the man attraction being the castle, which dates back to 1140 and is one of the largest within the Levant area. It’s a bit further out and took us around 2 hours driving time to get there, but there are lots of little authentic restaurants around where you can grab a bite to eat. I was really surprised at just how big the castle and grounds were. It’s not something I would put at the top of your list for places to visit if you’re stuck for time, but if you have a spare day and want to explore more of Jordan (the views on the journey there and back were really beautiful!) I definitely recommend taking a trip down.
The views from Karak castle are stunning!
There are plenty of other places you can take great little day trips to in Jordan, for example Mount Nebo in Madaba, where Moses was said to have been granted a view of the Promised Land. I hope this list gets you off to a good start and as always, any questions, please just ask away!