Petra, an ancient city in the southwestern part of modern-day Jordan, is one of the most visited tourist sites in the world. This place is both a unique memorial to an ancient civilization and the former capital of the Nabatean kingdom, a civilization of ancient Arab people who lived in northern Arabia and southern Levant. They built the city so precisely that the sun illuminates the sacred places in it. Therefore, your one day in Petra is bound to be magical, and here’s how to best prepare for it.
What’s the Best Time to Visit Petra?
Spring and/or autumn is the best time to visit Petra as the weather is not too hot and not too cold – just right. If you like it cold, visit Petra in January because the temperature ranges from 2 to 14 ºC in that period.
Pro tip, if you want to avoid the hot sun, tourists and to see one of the most beautiful sunsets, visit Petra in the late afternoon. There are not so many tourists in the morning, either.
A Few Facts About Petra
The Nabataeans were a nomadic Bedouin tribe who wandered in the Arabian Desert searching for water and pasture between the 4th and 2nd centuries BCE. Described as be the most talented people in the ancient world, they were extremely skilled water engineers and traders, which is why Petra had a sophisticated water channel system, which could supply with water 30 000 citizens.
Petra is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, Jordan’s most visited tourist site. It is also called a Rose City because of the color of the stones and the Lost City because it was lost for centuries before it was discovered by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, a Swiss historian, in 1812.
This place was the core city for trades between Arabia, Egypt, and Syria-Phoenicia. Silks from China, spices from India, and incenses from Arabia were all sold here. In 1985, Petra Archaeological park became a UNESCO World Heritage site.
One Day in Petra Itinerary
Use this guide to learn more about the best places to visit in Petra, Jordan. Here is a list of must-visit places for your perfect one-day itinerary!
Visit the Treasury of Petra
Petra Treasury is one of the most famous and photographed places there. Its magnificent facade opens a path to the other jewels of the city. Spend some time there observing one of the most beautiful treasuries of the ancient world.
The Street of Facades
A short while after you pass the Treasury, a part of the city with tomb facades carved into the rock will open in front of you. The Street of Facades has many incredible details an average tourist could easily miss, so it’s good to have a guide while here.
In the town’s centre, there are several huge mausoleums with incredibly impressive facades. They are carved in the western slope of the Jabal al-Khubtha rock. The tombs have a two-story substructure of arched vaults and a large colonnaded courtyard in front of it, and from here you can enjoy a great view of the city.
The Colonnaded Street
The once bustling town center of Petra was full of shops and vendors. Today, impressive columns still stand as a reminder of that time, and the heart of the town is what is called the Colonnaded Street. It was created somewhere at the beginning of second century AD.
As a part of your day trip, you really should visit Nabatean Theater. Yes, it too was carved in stone (a part of it, to be more precise), which makes for a pretty impressive sight. It’s only a short walk from the Petra’s center, so it’s very much worth a look.
Ad Deir Monastery
This is one of the largest monuments in Petra: 47m wide and 48m high! The monastery was built in the second century AD by King Rabel II. Now when you look at the ruins, you still can find the pieces of facades and columned porticos.
Where to Stay in Petra, Jordan?
Petra Moon Hotel
Petra Visitor Center Street, 71882 Wadi Musa, Jordan
The Petra Moon Hotel is placed near the gates of Petra – 100m and you’re in the city! It is a very comfortable hotel with breakfasts and lunches. If you want to travel by car, the staff can easily arrange that for you. Also, they have horseback riding and hiking trails for the guests! Add to that excellent breakfast and luxurious rooms and you get a fantastic hotel.
Petra Plaza Hotel
Off Petra Tourism Street City Center, 71810 Wadi Musa, Jordan
Petra Plaza Hotel is among the very best hotels in Petra. They serve great continental or buffet breakfasts and offer a car to take you to Petra. Comfortable rooms have all the amenities you need, and the view from the hotel is quite beautiful, too. Clean, comfortable, with excellent and very helpful staff.
Petra Marriott Hotel
Queen Rania Al Abdallah Street, 71810 Wadi Musa, Jordan
Petra Marriott Hotel has an outdoor pool and a great restaurant, so it’s really an incredible way to enjoy your visit to Petra. This five-star beauty is something quite special indeed, and the view of the valley below and the peaks in the distance will stay with you long after you go back home. Oh, and there’s a spa here, too.
Day trips from Petra
Petra is one of many touristic Jordan’s sites. It is surrounded by some other great places you can visit on your day trip from Petra.
The Valley of Moses is located in Southern Jordan. It is an important gateway city to Petra, where tired tourists mostly soak in Turkish baths. There are plenty of sites to visit as well: the Byzantine church, for example, dates back to the 6th century.
You can rent a car and get to Wadi Rum from Wadi Musa within two hours. It is a protected area where the valley cuts into the sandstone and granite rock. There are many ancient petroglyphs scraped on the red rocks. Here you can meet authentic Bedouins and Zalabieh tribe! Also, a great place to enjoy some rock climbing!
Ain Asshallaleh is the historical place where Prince Feisal bin Al-Hussein and T.E. Lawrence made the headquarters to fight for the Arab Empire against the Ottomans during World War I. The area is a great red dune in Wadi Um Ishrin. You can go there to see the Canyon and the rock drawings. The ruins of Lawrence’s house are in the valley and there Bedouin tribes living in the area.
Extra tips for visiting Petra:
Before visiting the place, make sure you read about its culture and nature. Here are some tips that will help you make your trip to Petra more comfortable.
When buying the tickets to Petra, you automatically pay:
– Border tickets fee – 90JD (US $127), with the refund of 40JD (US $57) if you are returning the next day;
– The price for the non-accommodated visitor is 90JD (US $127);
– The price for the accommodated visitor per one day is 50 JD (US $70), per two days – 55 JD (US $77), per three days 60JD (US $85).
There are also optional services such and touristic routes. To learn more about them, visit Petra’s official website.
– Take appropriate clothes. You will need hiking shoes and light, loose-fitting cotton clothes. Also, do not forget to take a hat that will protect you from the sun;
– Go early in the morning. 6 or 7 in the morning will be the perfect time to start your tour. You will skip the crowds of tourists and the scorching sun;
– Do not go to the caves with fake Bedouins. There are people in the city dressed as the Bedouins who offer to show tourists their cave homes. Do not believe them: the original ones were moved out by the government years ago;
– Bring your lunch with you! There are many restaurants there, but the food is average and pricey. Some hotels offer to pack a takeaway lunch – it is a great option;
– Do not ride animals: they are poorly treated. Instead, you can support local handicrafts. It will be much better not to give money to people who exploit animals. Do not worry: all the routes are not long, so you will not get tired.
Make sure you have everything you need
What to pack for your next trip?
Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.