Jordan is a wonderfully calm desert oasis of a country, with some incredible sights and experiences on offer. It’s a country you’ll find yourself warming to in no time at all, and one that will leave you with only beautiful memories.

Perhaps Jordan’s most famous attraction – and a destination of global significance – is the ‘Rose City’ of Petra. Carved from reddish sandstone, at certain times of the day it glows with an intense pink color when the sun’s rays hit the rocks. The wonderfully intricate arches and columns are spectacular in their own right; when they’re illuminated, they’re almost out of this world.

Christians and anyone interested in religious history will find Jordan particularly interesting, as it was the setting of many key Biblical events. Even if you’re not a believer, it can be incredibly moving to visit places that hold real significance to millions of people around the world. The eponymous Jordan River still attracts pilgrims to this day, and their faith is remarkable to witness. This is a river that has huge cultural significance – just think of how many American spiritual songs mention it.

In northern Jordan, you can also enjoy views across the Sea of Galilee and into neighboring Israel from the hilltop town of Umm Qais.

There is, of course, another body of water in Jordan that holds immense appeal – despite its name. The Dead Sea has to be experienced to be believed. It’s a lake that’s a long way beneath sea level, and so salty that you’ll find you’re much more buoyant than in the ocean. It really is possible to lie on the surface and read a book or a newspaper! The waters are also believed to have health-giving properties, making the Dead Sea rather like a giant, open-air spa.

To experience the romance of the desert, an expedition to Wadi Rum is also highly recommended. The combination of jagged peaks, ruined temples, and incredible night skies make the Jordanian desert a place you simply must experience.

Jordan’s stunning natural scenery and impressive monuments make it the perfect introduction to a longer Middle East itinerary. Or you can equally enjoy it as a standalone destination.

Gateway City: Amman

Best time to travel: April through November

Highlights: Wadi Rum, Petra, Bethany Beyond the Jordan, Amman, Jerash, Dana Nature Reserve

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