Blog Winter
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.

St. George Church Madaba
Experience Culture: Madaba

Madaba is a city that may on the offset seem less historic than modern. But, it is a city with ancient roots, mentioned two times in the Old Testament of the Bible, that can still be explored today. We wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on experiencing this unique part of Jordan.

As you drive to Madaba the experience begins. On the outskirts of the city, there are many family homes that have been there for generations. You’ll notice the goats and sheep wandering in the fields. The fields are either green or brown depending on when you visit. As you enter the town, you will see it full of life. People everywhere you look.

Welcome to Madaba, the city of mosaics and religious history.

Before heading out to one of the many local attractions, first, stop at the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George. This church has the famous map of the Holy City circa 70 AD. Not only does it depict Jerusalem, but it also depicts the areas of Palestine and the Nile delta. It is the oldest mosaic map of the Holy Land. If you just look at the tile inside, you may miss the significance. Be sure to check out the large post outside the church that explains the map.

 

Mosaic Floor in Madaba

 

As you leave the church, spend some time wandering the small tourist shops. Yes, they are touristy, but they also represent families who have been shopowners in this area for generations. These shops often have mosaic replicas of the well-known designs in Madaba, as well as many other things. The owners usually speak basic if not excellent English and they love to share about their city and country. Ask them some questions and don’t be surprised if they ask if you would like tea. 

 

In Madaba, there is also an Archeological Park where you can see more mosaics. It is easy to see why Madaba is well known for this art form.

 

Archeologocial Site Madaba

 

We don’t recommend leaving without a food break. There is a lot of food in Madaba. One of our favorites is Harat Jdoudna. It is a fantastic restaurant in an old home.

 

Orthodox Church madaba

 

When you are ready to head out, there are many different options awaiting you. Close to Madaba, you will find other attractions such as Mount Nebo, La Storia Museum, Dead Sea, Ma’in Hot Springs, Bani Hamida, Umm Ar’rasas, and the Baptism Site.

 

Enjoy your experience in Madaba!

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Experience History: Mount Nebo

Mount Nebo, according to scripture, is the mountain on which the prophet Moses was shown the Promised Land before he died.

 

Located just outside of the city of Madaba, Nebo is a top attraction in Jordan due to its religious and historical significance; it boasts a large collection of ancient mosaics amongst other artifacts. If you want to experience history, this should be on your “must see” list.

 

A sculpture of Moses' staff

A sculpture of Moses’ staff

 

It’s quiet here if you are lucky enough to arrive when there are no buses of tourists, just a few others who are like you, in awe of the beautiful scenery and fresh air.

 

From the top of the mountain you can look out in all directions, onto the Baptism Site, Jerusalem, Jericho, the Dead Sea, Amman… The whole land is spread out before you, just as God showed it to Moses, only with a few more buildings!

 

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Looking out over the Dead Sea, towards Jericho and Jerusalem

 

There’s a fantastic renovated church at the top of the hill, filled with an impressive selection of mosaics that date back thousands of years to when the first church was established in this location.

 

Ancient mosaics in the renovated church atop Mt Nebo

Ancient mosaics in the renovated church atop Mt Nebo

 

A short walk down the Mount is the “La Storia” museum that, as the name suggests, documents history- specifically religious and Jordanian. The displays consisted of life size models, some moving and some stationary, depicting key stories from the Qur’an, Bible and Torah (such as Noah’s Ark, Moses parting the sea, and Jesus’ baptism), plus a whole section named “the village”.

 

la storia

 

This latter area is literally a large model village recreating Jordanian life as it used to be, complete with all the traditional professions, shops and a school. It is very impressive to see, and the museum guides are entertaining and knowledgeable; it is worth incorporating into your visit.

 

From Mount Nebo there are several other sites that can be included in your tour. Madaba is a historic city that is very close, the Dead Sea is a short drive and along the way you pass the Baptism Site. Also, there is Makawir, Ma’in Hot Springs, and Lot’s Cave.

 

A trip to Mount Nebo offers fascinating insight into history, religion and general Jordanian culture. We highly recommend including this great spot on your Jordan tour.