top of page
the monastery in Petra

Petra Jordan - What you have to do when you visit Petra

Petra, one of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World, truly deserves its place on that list! The city of Petra is only a three-hour drive from the capital, Amman, making it an easy spot to visit. Petra is much more than just the familiar sight of the Treasury, carved into stunning rose-red sandstone cliffs, and featured in many movies - Indiana Jones is probably the best known. Be sure to plan 2-3 days during your trip to explore this ancient city. You will definitely need it, and perhaps something to help with muscle pains, as the distances you walk here are not to be underestimated!

the main trail in Petra
hiking to the monastery in Petra
the treasury in Petra

The best time to visit Petra

The best time to visit the ancient city of Petra is during spring (March to May) and fall (September to November). During these seasons, the weather is mild and stable. You’ll experience warm days and cool nights, making it comfortable for exploring the Nabatean Kingdom’s rock-cut architecture. The pleasant weather is especially beneficial for hiking to various attractions.

Summer (June to August) can be scorching hot, so it’s best to avoid this period. In winter, there is a possibility of extreme weather conditions, with a high risk of flash floods.

We visited Jordan in winter and were very lucky. However, three days before we arrived, there was a flash flood in Petra, and hundreds of tourists had to be evacuated. So be aware that this risk is real before you book your trip!

Ancient city of Petra: The hiking trails

There are several hiking trails in the ancient city of Petra, and hiking is the main activity if you want to explore its most beautiful and breathtaking spots. On certain parts of the Main Trail and the Ad-Deir Trail, you can opt to use a camel, horse, or donkey.

The government has implemented measures to improve the living conditions of these animals, so using them for transportation no longer contributes to perpetuating animal abuse. However, personally, we are not big fans of this mode of transport. While we saw families using donkeys to provide relief for their little ones on tough parts of the trail, which we completely understand, we also witnessed donkeys weighed down by hefty tourists, clearly causing distress.

The price of a horse, donkey, or camel ride depends entirely on your negotiating skills!

map of the hikes in the ancient city of Petra Jordan

Entrance - Treasury: 4K round-trip. A part of Petra that every visitor walks several times, but it didn't bore, the path up to the siq is very beautiful, and once we arrived at the siq it is downright gorgeous! The path continues into the spectacular gorge that only seems to get deeper and deeper. The color of the rock makes the incidence of the sun's rays even more special. Just before you reach the Treasury, the siq is at its narrowest, which only increases the spectacle value of the first glimpse you can get of the Treasury. Especially in the morning, when the sun provides a golden glow.

 

Main trail (Entrance - Quasr al-Bint): 8K round-trip, an interesting one to do with an official guide of Petra! It would be a shame to turn back after watching the Treasury already. After all, Petra is so much more. To the right of the Treasury, the wide path continues past the Royal Tombs, many smaller caves and an amphitheater completely carved into the rock. You will encounter small bars in many places, so even if it is very hot here, you will never be thirsty! Beware of the price you have to pay here and there, though! After the Royal Tombs, the path becomes a wide avenue that ends at the two restaurants at Quasr al-Bint.

 

Al-Khubtha trail: 3,5K round-trip. Starts at the Royal Tombs and goes up until you have a magnificent (and free!) view on the Treasury far below you.This trail took us about two hours, it has a few 100 steps and you can buy drinks along the way.

High Place of Sacrifice Trail: 3K. Starts not far after you pass the treasury and ends near the end of the Main Trail. This trail has about 400 steps and is very popular. Gives you a great view over the whole city

Ad-Deir Trail: 2,5K round-trip. This trail starts at the end of the main trail and leads to the Monastery, it's a breathtaking hike (yes, also because of the 788 steps!), but very crowded. You can buy food and drinks near the monastery and drinks and a lot of stuff you don't actually need along the way.

 

The Petra Trail: 12,8K, starts at little Petra (small path on the left side just before you enter little Petra), passes the monastery (yes, by taking this trail you don't have to take 788 steps up to see the Monastery!) and ends at the entrace of Petra. This is the 'back door' trail and our absolute favorite! A local guide is mandatory on this trail.

 

 

the monastery in Petra
view on the treasury, Petra
hiking in the mountains of Petra
hiking trail in Petra
hikingtrail from little Petra to Petra

Petra by night

We had read beforehand that Petra by Night might not be very impressive. However, I like to judge things for myself, so we decided to go anyway. Besides, our curiosity about Petra was so great now that we were finally in this historic place ourselves. Even the hotel manager whispered just before we left that Petra by Night really wasn't worth the money (we might have been better off spending it on a spa evening at the hotel :)). Fortunately, we were on time and managed to secure one of the last seats, as people continued to arrive for at least an hour after we got there. It became so crowded that we couldn't see the lights in the square anymore, and people were packed against the Treasury. First impression: oh my god, this is chaos! The illumination of the Treasury itself was very beautiful, although the musicians playing that night seemed to be having an off day. We decided to leave early because the thought of hundreds of people squeezing back through the Siq together felt a bit overwhelming. Conclusion: we're glad we experienced it once, but once was enough for us.

Best hotels in Petra Jordan

You have two options here if you want to spend the night in Petra. You either stay in one of the hotels near the main entrance or you pick one of the hotels in Wadi Musa and take a taxi to get to the main entrance. We chose a hotel near the main entrance of the ancient city of Petra. This makes it easier to go to Petra by night or go to the ancient city very early. One of the best hotels near the entrance is the Petra Guest House Hotel. Another hotel that is very good and affordable is Petra Boutique Hotel. Nomads Hotel Petra is a more budget option, but also near the entrance and a place to enjoy after a day of hiking!! 

If you don't want to spend the night in Petra it's also possible to book a tour from Amman and make a daytrip of your visit to Petra.

Ancient city of Petra, the information you need to know!

Opening hours:

  • Winter (November - March) every day between 7h and 16h

  • Summer (April - October) every day between 6h and 18h

Entrance fee:

The entrance fee is included in the Jordan Pass (always have your Jordan pass and your Passport with you!)

No Jordan Pass? Than this are the prices:

  • 1-day ticket: 50JD (67€)

  • 2-days ticket: 55 JD (73,50€)

  • 3-days ticket: 60 JD (80€)

  • Children under the age of 12: free

You will find more information about Jordan here.

Hi! We are Bart, Kris, Lore and Ruben. We are a family of 5, yes, we also have a dog named Spike.

read more

Maybe we can inspire you to explore a bit more of all those beautiful corners of our planet? Go to our trips and find out!

About us

travel family
bottom of page