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Experience Jordan in Winter

You may be wondering, is winter a good time to visit Jordan? Does Jordan get cold? Or, how can I make the most of my trip while staying warm? And of course, what should I pack?

– Don’t worry! We have the answers to those questions and more below. There are plenty of great options for sightseeing, hiking, and having an amazing experience!

How is the weather? And what to Pack?

Practically, if you are visiting Jordan between December and February: Do pack warm cloths! Although it may seem that the temperature is higher in Jordan than your home country, the feel of the temperature can be quite different. There can even be snow. Wearing layers is advisable, as it means you can react flexibly to changing temperatures (day/night, inside/outside), plus a decent coat, sturdy shoes, and warm socks.

Indoor heating may be different than what you are used to from your home country as well. In Jordan the buildings generally have room heaters (hot water carrying wall units), AC units (that are also able to blow hot air), or space heaters (electric or gas) as primary heat sources. That is instead of central heating like more modern buildings and areas. Hotels should always be comfortably heated in the winter. However, houses and older buildings are very often poorly insulated. So even inside buildings, you may want to wear a light jacket. 

Preparation is key, so be sure to check the weather forecast before you come for any signs of rain/snow!

Winter is a great season to hike in Jordan.

In summer most places are crowded with tourists, and the blazing sun can make being outdoors uncomfortable. But you can avoid both of these inconveniences by planning your trip during the winter months between November and March.

This time of the year is especially perfect for activities such as hiking, since the temperatures are comfortable for even long hikes on desert trails. For example the route from Little Petra to Petra is a fantastic hike to consider: Rated among the top hikes in the world by National Geographic, it has you enter Petra via the lesser travelled ‘back door’ route. That route enables you to explore the beautiful and wild landscape, as well as many other attractions on the way, without the heavy traffic of thousands of fellow tourists. It also incorporates the phenomenal site (and sight!) of Petra with a better grasp of cultural and historical places and traditions. 

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While in Petra, you perhaps also want to take the time for a visit to Petra kitchen. It’s a great option for the shorter days of winter! There you can learn to cook traditional meals with local women. Additionally, it is a fantastic opportunity to engage with locals, sample delicious dishes, and learn more about the fundamental importance of food and hospitality in Jordanian culture.

Other Options for visiting Jordan in Winter:

A trip to Madaba, could include visits to several (heated) museums and churches, as well as a stroll on nearby Mount Nebo. The view over the Holy Land is best at this time of the year, when the dust in the air has been washed away by the winter rains. There is a renovated church on top of the mountain, boasting an array of beautiful mosaics, and on the road up to/down from the site itself you can visit the best folklore museum in Jordan: La Storia. In Madaba there are different churches that are also worth stopping by – above all the Church of St George accommodating the oldest existing map of the region. …and since Madaba is a predominantly Christian town, a December trip can incorporate the sighting of sparkling Christmas trees too!

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Another great option is to travel to the Dead Sea. Due to it’s low altitude, the climate in this region is much warmer than in the rest of Jordan, and the opportunities for relaxation are unrivaled. Even if you find it too chilly to swim in the sea, many of the hotels have heated pools, plus the spas are heavenly – treat yourself!

And last but not least, there are also many options in the capital city of Amman. In Amman there are art galleries, restaurants, cafes, cultural centers, concerts, historical sites, or local markets. As travel experts, we would be happy to recommend some options specific to your trip.

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Experience Petra: Enter via the ‘Back Door’

If you come to Jordan, you absolutely have to take the opportunity to discover the Nabataean city of Petra. Carved in beautiful red rock more than 2000 years ago, the impressive buildings and long staircases take present day visitors back in time and hold many secrets to discover.

We highly recommend entering Petra via the back route, which takes you on unbeaten paths past the Monastery (ad-Deir). This way, you will escape the majority of other tourists and end up with an enriched encounter of this magical site.

Options:

The ‘back door route’ can basically be done in one day. Starting at Little Petra, the path will take you all the way to the monastery and down into Petra. Along the way, enjoy taking in spectacular landscapes and the awe-inspiring monastery, arriving at the site with time for exploration.

For the more passionate hikers among us, there is the option to do the full Dana to Petra trek. That trek, which is also part of the Jordan Trail, is not without it difficulties – you especially should make sure to bring a certain fitness level. But don’t let this statement dishearten you. The experience is totally worth every bit of struggle! Rated as one of the best in the world by National Geographic, the hike leads through a wild and stunningly beautiful scenery, diverse landscapes and untouched nature.

The full hike, which can be completed in around 5 days, should generally be done with a tour company as it leads through some very remote areas.

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Re-Entering via the ‘front door’

If you’re staying the night in Petra you can attend ‘Petra by Night’, where the sight is illuminated by hundreds of candles. The next morning we recommend re-entering Petra the common way: via the Siq. You will walk through the canyon, walls of rose-colored stone towering above you on each side. While walking the anticipation builds as you feel yourself nearing the heart of the ancient site. Suddenly, there it is, right in front of you!

The appearance of the Treasury at the end of the gorge is a breathtaking moment. And while it is a moment usually shared with many fellow travellers, you will be the lucky one. By first entering via the ‘back door’ and then – assuming you made it out of bed in time – early the next morning via the Siq, you will have gotten the best of both worlds. Petra is so immaculate it is best taken in from multiple angles and lighting. From afternoon, evening, and morning sunlight to candlelight – Petra’s majesty can be witnessed in many different ways. 

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Our Recommendations:

If experiencing Petra via the backdoor seems exciting to you, check out this tour which offers the best sights of Jordan and the Little Petra to Petra hike via the back entrance: Jordan Hikes & Sights

If you’re up for more something more physically challenging, you should have a look at our Dana to Petra Treks – possible to do privately or as part of a bigger group.

…or you can of course request to add any version of the hike on to any of our private tours. We are looking forward to hear from you!