Self drive tour of Jordan

There's no better way to explore Jordan than on your own self-drive journey. Starting in Amman, explore the land of the Nabataeans by car. Visit Amman's Citadel, the mosaics of Madaba, the Dana Nature Reserve, the Crusader Castle of Karak, the ancient Nabatean stone city of Petra, the unique desert landscape of Wadi Rum, and the colourful underwater world of the Red Sea.

Touring style: Self-drive vehicle to discover Jordan at your own pace. We will book your self-drive vehicle, hotels, and airport transfers 

Best time to travel: March to May when it is cool and dry. Summer is long, from May to September, and intensely hot & dry. Nov to March has the most rain.

Prices are seasonal and include hotels, breakfast, self-drive vehicle, and transfers. Starts from:

GBP 787 per person sharing a twin room, Standard Class Hotels

GBP 865 per person sharing a twin room, Superior Class Hotels

Airfares are extra.

  • Freedom to discover Jordan at your own pace
  • Suggested touring itinerary
Self drive tour of Jordan at a glance
  • Day 1: Arrival in Amman
  • Day 2 Full day Amman sightseeing and Jerash
  • Day 3: Desert Castles
  • Day 4: Amman-Madaba-Mount Nebo-Kerak-Petra
  • Day 5: Petra
  • Day 6: Petra to Shobak and Wadi Rum
  • Day 7: Wadi Rum to Aqaba
Self drive tour of Jordan Image 1

Day 1: Arrival in Amman

On arrival in Amman, you will be met by our representative for a private transfer to your hotel.

Overnight.

Distance and journey times:

Airport to Amman 35 km, 40 mins.

Self drive tour of Jordan Image 2

Day 2: Full day Amman sightseeing and Jerash

Private tour with your guide. Visit Amman, the capital of Jordan, a fascinating city of contrasts. Visit the Citadel, which is situated on the Jabal Al Qala, one of the highest hills in Amman that offers a splendid view of the old city. Near the citadel pay a visit to the Archaeological Museum that houses an excellent collection of Jordan’s antiquities. Discover the remains of the Roman temple of Hercules and Umayyad Palace as you walk amongst the ruins.

Proceed to the old city to visit the beautifully restored Roman Theatre, which dates back to the 2nd century AD. It is also the home of Jordan’s Folklore Museum, which displays various artefacts of traditional Jordanian life including, costumes, home furnishings, musical instruments, and handicrafts dating back to the 19th century.

Drive north to visit Jerash, which remains today as one of the most beautiful and best-preserved Greco-roman cities outside Italy. Excavations made it possible to update two theatres, several temples, churches, a market, thermal baths, and the famous Cardo Maximus alley of 600 metres bordered columns.

Dinner suggestion - Tawaheen Al Hawa Restaurant translated to Windmill in English as the restaurant's exterior shows. This very fresh and nice restaurant has a wonderful typical Bedouin decoration with an oriental atmosphere. Many local people go there so the group can have the chance to see the local people of Jordan. The restaurant is famous for its Arabic Starters (Mezza).

Overnight in Amman.

Distance and journey times:

Amman to Jerash: 53 km, 1.15 hrs.

Self drive tour of Jordan Image 3

Day 3: Desert Castles

Your car will be delivered to you at the hotel. 

Drive to the eastern desert of Jordan to visit the Desert Castles. These castles were built between the 7th century and 8th century AD, under the caliphs of the Umayyad dynasty. Their fine mosaics, frescoes, and stone carvings are beautiful examples of early Islamic art and architecture. Visit Al Kharrana, Qasr Amra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and  Qasr Al Azraq.

Visit Qasr Hallabat on your way back to Amman for an overnight stay or you may wish to consider staying at Azraq Lodge.

 

Self drive tour of Jordan Image 4

Day 4: Amman - Madaba - Mount Nebo - Kerak - Petra

Drive the Kings Highway, the ancient road mentioned in the bible, which links prehistoric villages from the Stone Age, and biblical towns from the kingdoms of Ammon, Moab, and Edom.

Self-drive 30 km south of Amman to visit Madaba “the City of Mosaics”. Visit the Greek Orthodox church of St. George where the famous 6th Century Byzantine mosaic map of the holy sites in the biblical world is found.

Take a short detour from the King's Highway to Mount Nebo where it is believed that Moses first saw the Promised Land, died, and was buried. See the remarkable ruins of basilicas and churches dating from Byzantine times. 

Visit Karak’s Crusaders Castle built in the 12th century AD, which is situated on a hilltop about 1000 metres above sea level and surrounded by a valley on three sides.

Drive to the greatest city of the Arab nation which existed 2000 years ago: Petra 

Stay for 2 nights.

Distance and journey times:

Amman to Madaba: 35 km, allow 50 mins.

Madaba to Mount Nebo: 10 km, allow 20 mins.

Mount Nebo to Kerak 113 km allow 2 hrs.

Kerak to Petra: 156 km, allow 2.30 hrs. 

Self drive tour of Jordan Image 5

Day 5: Full day Petra touring

The highlight of any trip to Jordan! 

Begin your visit by enjoying a walk or a short horse ride from Petra’s main entrance to the entrance of the old city “Al Siq”, which is a 350 metres narrow canyon. As you reach the end of the Siq, the first and greatest monument of Petra slowly comes into view. This is the famous Treasury monument “Al Khazneh”. Petra “The Rose City” is an extraordinary and unique place, that was built by the Arab Nabateans more than 2,000 years ago. The Nabateans carved their monumental tombs, palaces, temples, and treasury from the desert’s natural rose-coloured rocks and sandstones.

Take a walk through the architectural and spiritual wonders of this majestic place. You may choose to climb 800 steps to visit the Monastery. The Monastery is similar to the design of the Treasury, but it is much larger (50 m high x 45m wide) and much less decorated. The facade is flat on the lower level and deeply carved on the upper level, with engaged columns and two half-pediments flanking a central urn (10m high).

Petra by Night

Walk along the Siq with thousands of candles lighting the path until you reach the Treasury. Be greeted by an Oud (Arabic guitar) Player producing some mellow tunes. Sip sweet tea and absorb the magical atmosphere. This is an experience not to be missed.

Overnight in Petra.

 

Self drive tour of Jordan Image 6

Day 6: Petra to Shobak and Wadi Rum

Just ten minutes north of Petra’s visitor centre is Beidah, often called Little Petra. It is literally hidden away in the centre of a mountain. The entrance of that village is a narrow Siq (small canyon) named Siq Al Barid “Cold Siq” which is about 325 m long. When you reach deep inside the canyon, you will realise that the sun cannot reach inside to warm the place. Little Petra was one of the main commercial and lodging areas for honoured guests with a supply post for camel caravans and an agricultural centre with ancient vineyards and grape-pressing sites.

Proceed to Shobak Castle Once called “Mont Real”, Shawbak dates back to the 12th century AD. It is perched on the side of a mountain, with a grand sweep of fruit trees below. The castle’s exterior is impressive with a forbidding gate and encircling wall three layers thick. The walls and projecting towers are still reasonably intact, but the castle’s interior consists mainly of tumbled stones with few walls and arches.

Depart to the Natural Resort of Wadi Rum “The Valley of the Moon” a unique place unlike anywhere else you have ever visited. There are several options for exploring Wadi Rum. First, head for the Visitors' Centre. Here you can book a jeep tour. Once you get past the visitor centre and the Rum village just inside the gate, there are no roads in Wadi Rum. The Bedouins are the only ones allowed by the local authority of the protected area, to drive in Wadi Rum. Driving tourists around is their livelihood.

Start with the soaring pinnacles of rock directly opposite the Visitor Centre, referred to as the Seven Pillars of Wisdom. A short drive will take you to the ruined temple with Nabatean inscriptions on the walls and columns. Round off your day with a visit to Lawrence's Spring (  Ain Shalaaleh) for spectacular views of Wadi Rum.

Other notable sites here to visit include Jabal Umm Kharg (“Lawrence’s House”) which offers panoramic views.  Sig Barrah and the hidden valley of Siq Umm Tawagi (“Siq Lawrence”) with rock drawings and face carvings.

Stay in the Wadi Rum desert for the night. Sleep under the stars in a Bedouin tent, where you can enjoy a traditional campfire meal accompanied by Arabic music. The sunsets and starry skies here are unforgettable. 

Distance and journey times:

Petra to Shobak: 32km allow 40 mins.
Shobak to Wadi Rum: 155 km, allow 2 hrs

Self drive tour of Jordan Image 7

Day 7: Wadi Rum to Aqaba

Enjoy your beach extension in Aqaba. It is the perfect location for divers as the unusual vertical currents and sea breezes make diving cool and pleasant even in the heat of the summer. Aside from diving, you can participate in the following water activities snorkelling, fishing, sailing, jet-skiing, parasailing, regional cruises, or take a tour of the famous glass-bottomed boats

Distance and journey times:

Wadi Rum to Aqaba: 72km allow 1 hr.

 

 

Aqaba departure or extend to the Dead Sea

Depart from Aqaba by flight or drive north via Lot's Cave to the Dead Sea for another day.  

 

Do you like the freedom of travelling on your own instead of an organised tour? Then this self-drive itinerary is for you. This suggested itinerary will cover the main sites. It is your choice to choose to visit different sites or not to visit some. You can add days or reduce the overall programme. Please get in touch with us to discuss this. We are ready to help.

You may also be interested in other self-drive holidays.

Highlights

Amman, a modern city built on the sands of time

Jordan’s capital Amman enjoys a temperate climate, and a stunning and timeless location set at an altitude of dramatic desert wastes and the lush green Jordan Valley below.

Read more

Aqaba on the Red Sea

Set timelessly in its own gulf on the Red Sea, Aqaba is a place of unique and special natural beauty.

Read more

Desert Castles of East Jordan

The wonderfully atmospheric desert castles of Jordan date to the 8th Century. The distinct early-Islamic art and architecture however is infused with elements both of the Persian and Graeco-Roman traditions.

Read more

Float on The Dead Sea

The stark beauty of the Dead Sea is framed to stunning effect by high mountains to the east and to the west by the rolling hills of Jerusalem.

Read more

Jerash, Ancient Greco-Roman city

Jerash, dating more than 6500 years stands as one of the most fabulously preserved Greco-Roman cities anywhere in the world.

Read more

Kerak Castle

Set upon a plateau over 3000ft above sea level, this massively imposing castle has in varying forms since biblical times utterly dominated the region it commands.

Read more

Madaba, City of Mosaics

Located 30km south of the capital, Amman, on the 5000-year-old Kings’ Highway, the celebrated ‘City of Mosaics’ dates back more than 3000 years, predating both Christian and Muslim traditions by centuries.

Read more

Mount Nebo

Mount Nebo remains since the 4th Century AD one of the most revered sites in the Christian world, recorded in the Bible both as the place from which Moses first saw the Holy Land at the end of the Exodus, and believed also by the faithful to be the site of his burial.

Read more

Petra, the Red Rose city

The extraordinary Rose city of Petra, carved from a mountain valley 2000 years ago and lost to the world in antiquity, was re-discovered only in the 19th Century. Only local Bedouins knew of its existence and guarded the secret. Petra is breathtakingly beautiful, and one of civilisation’s most amazing stories.

Read more

Wadi Rum: the Valley of the Moon

he Natural Resort of Wadi Rum “The Valley of the Moon” a unique place unlike anywhere else you have ever visited. There are several options for exploring Wadi Rum. First, head for the Visitors' Centre. Here you can hire a 4x4 vehicle, together with driver/guide, and then drive for two or three hours into the Wadi system to explore some of the best-known sites.

Read more

Accommodation

Amman, Deluxe Class
The Four Seasons Amman

Located between the prestigious Al Sweifiyah residential area and the Shmeisani financial district, the Four Seasons is the ideal choice for those seeking a top quality hotel in Amman.

Read more

Amman, Superior Class
Amman Marriott Hotel

Located in beautiful Shmeissani area, this deluxe hotel is located in the downtown district and offers easy access to the cultural attractions and a short distance to the shopping district

Read more

Aqaba, Deluxe Class
Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba

Relax on a private beach, dive in the Red Sea and unwind with a spa treatment at this luxurious Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba.

Read more

Aqaba, Deluxe Class
Kempinski Hotel Aqaba

Located a short distance to the centre of Aqaba, the luxurious Kempinski Hotel Aqaba is situated on the white sandy beach of the Red Sea and makes an ideal retreat for families and couples

Read more

Petra, Deluxe Class
Movenpick Resort Petra

This luxury, 5-star spa property, attractively constructed of timber and natural stone is located conveniently for the gorge (Siq) leading into the fabulous lost city of Petra.

Read more

Petra, Superior Class
The Petra Marriott

Located a short distance away from the site entrance to Petra, this is a comfortable hotel offering spacious rooms with spectacular views of the valley and amazing colours of the sunset.

Read more

Wadi Rum, Standard Camp
Sun City Camp

Located wonderfully in a serene desert setting, this Wadi Rum camp is a chance to experience the romance and charm of Bedouin life.

Read more