A guide to visiting Petra
Petra, one of the new 7 wonders of the world, is a historical and archaeological city in Jordan. The city is carved from stone by the Nabateans, nomadic Arabs, and became their capital in the second century BC. It was a very important trading hub, connecting the Mediterranean and Arab seas. After the Nabateans, the Romans also discovered the “Rose City” and left their marks.
Although Petra is most famous because of the treasury, there is so much more to see. You can spend an entire day in this beautiful city and enjoy the majestic history you see everywhere.
When to visit Petra?
You can visit Petra the whole year and every season has his advantages; during spring and fall temperatures are more bearable compared to summer. Winter months are the coolest months but there are chances of rain in this period.
How to visit Petra?
Petra is a 3-hour drive from the capital city of Amman and a 2-hour drive from Aqaba. It is also possible to visit Petra when you are staying in Taba (Egypt) or Eilat (Israel). You then must consider the border crossings which will cost you some time.
How much does it cost to visit Petra?
There are different ticket prices for people who are only in Jordan for one day and for people who are staying in Jordan. These go from 62 euro to 111 euro. The ticket also includes a horse ride for the first part of the visit. Here you will find the latest ticket information
You can also book a tour guide or a horse carriage for 2 people.
What to see in Petra?
Your visit starts at the visitor center where you will also find a map with the different walking trails. The main trail (4k one way) starts at the visitor center and goes all the way through the Siq, along the Treasury, the theatre and the Girl’s Palace.
There are numerous other trails that will bring you to different parts of the city. Because we visited Petra as an excursion from Taba, we only did the main trail until the theatre.
The first part is Bab Al Siq, which means gateway to the Siq. Along this road, you can already see some incredible structures and monuments carved out of the rocks. This is the part you can do by horse if you would like to.
After a few 100 meters, you are entering the Siq. This is the main entrance leading to the city of Petra. It is about 160 m long, varies between 3 and 12 m in width and can be up to 80m in height. It is an amazing experience to walk in this canyon. The colors change depending on the light, you can see genius structures for irrigation and admire sculptures carved in the rocks.
And then there is the highlight: The Treasury. This 40m high façade is decorated with Corinthian capitals and figures. It is thought to be constructed in the first century BC but its purpose remains unclear. The place before the Treasury is very busy with camels, horses, donkeys and just a lot of people. Unless you come very early or stay very late, it will be a challenge to have a picture without any people. But the whole buzz makes it an incredible experience. There is a short climb to a viewpoint of the Treasury higher up.
The Treasure is not the endpoint, you can go further to the Street of Façades. These are rows of Nabataean tombs carved in the rocks. The street ends in an open space with the theatre. This theatre can accommodate 4000 people and was carved in the rocks between around 4BC with also some additions made by the Romans.
Unfortunately, this is where we turned around. But you should go on and discover the tombs, temples, church and monastery that lie further away.
Visiting Petra was a real bucket list item that we can cross off our list. Because we did it as a tour from Taba, we didn’t have a lot of time to explore the whole city. But we will be back.
Enjoy some more beautiful pictures!
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