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How to Visit Petra in Jordan: A Complete Guide

Petra. An ancient city, nestled in the heart of Jordan, full of awe-inspiring architecture and captivating history. If you say Jordan, most people immediately think of Petra. It is without a doubt the most famous sight in Jordan. From the majestic Treasury to the towering Monastery, Petra is a playground for history fans, nature lovers, and Instagram influencers. But don't take our word for it - you have to see it to believe it!

As you step through the iconic narrow Siq and catch your first glimpse of the magnificent Treasury, you'll be transported back in time. But where should you start exploring in this gigantic site and how can you best avoid the crowds? In this blog post we share all our tips to make the most of your time in the captivating red-rose city of Petra.

Are you ready to explore one of the world's most mind-blowing destinations?


About petra

Located in the deserts of Jordan, Petra is an ancient city that showcases incredible architecture and a fascinating past. People have been living there since around 9000 BC, and it became the capital of the Nabataean Kingdom in the 4th century BC. The city’s buildings are carved into reddish rocks and look absolutely stunning. The Treasury, the famous monument with fascinating carvings, is the absolute highlight. Petra also has many temples, tombs, and an amphitheater to explore.

What’s even more impressive is how the people of Petra managed to bring water to the city in a desert environment. They built a smart system of channels, cisterns, and dams to collect and store water. This helped the city thrive despite the dry surroundings.

Throughout history, Petra faced challenges like invasions and earthquakes, which caused it to decline and be forgotten. Eventually, it was lost and only known to the local Bedouin communities. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the city was rediscovered.

Nowadays, Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular destination for travelers. As we walked through the narrow Siq and catched the first a glimpse of the Treasury, we felt like we had traveled back in time. Petra’s history and beauty will really captivate you and leave you in awe of this ancient wonder.

Interesting fact

Only 15% of all of Petra has been discovered. So there are still a lot of temples, facades, tombs and ruins that have not yet been found and are still buried under the sand.



Free with the Jordan Pass
50 JOD without Jordan Pass

Opening hours

06:00 AM - 06:00 PM
Opening hours depend on the season or month of your visit.
Find all current opening hours on their website.

The Jordan Pass

The Jordan pass is an all-in-one ticket that will grant you access to over 40 of the country’s most iconic attractions, simplifying your travel experience and saving you time and money. Not only does the pass grant you entry to these must-see sites, it also includes a visa for Jordan, making it a convenient and cost-effective choice for travelers. 

There are 3 types of Jordan Passes. The price varies between 70 to 90 JOD (€`90-€120). You can find all information about the Jordan pass here.

When booking your trip with Jordan Nomads, they can arrange a Jordan pass for you. 

What to see and do

The Trasury

The Treasury, known as Al-Khazneh in Arabic, is one of the most iconic and awe-inspiring structures in Petra. It is entirely carved out of the rose-colored sandstone cliffs and stands as the symbol of this ancient city. It is the first building you see when you enter Petra through the gorge. 

Despite its grandeur, the Treasury’s interior is relatively simple and consists of a single chamber. The Treasury gets its name from a legend, that suggests it was once a hiding place for treasures. Its original purpose remains somewhat of a mystery, with theories ranging from being a tomb for a Nabataean king to being a place for religious rituals or ceremonies.

This imposant structure stands at approximately 43 meters (141 feet) tall and features a unique blend of architectural influences, including Hellenistic, Egyptian, and Nabataean styles.

The Treasury gained global fame and recognition after being featured in the film “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”. 

The ultimate 7-day road trip through Jordan

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The monastery

The Monastery is one of the largest monuments in Petra. It is 47 meters wide and 48.3 meters high. It is very similar to the Treasury, with the difference that the upper part comes out of the rocks. Its entrance is beautifully decorated. Inside, you’ll find a peaceful and open space, filled with sunlight shining through small openings. 

The Monastery is located in a remote location, perched high on the cliffs of Petra. It takes effort to reach it, but we felt that the experience was more than worth the steep climb.

It is also usually a little less crowded than the Treasury. We liked it at least as much as the Treasury, but maybe that’s because we had it all to ourselves. How? We will tell you later more about that in this blog post.

Al Siq

Al-Siq or just the Siq is a mesmerizing pathway that takes you into the heart of the ancient world of Petra. This narrow gorge has a length of 1200 meters, a width between 3 and 12 meters and a maximum height of 80 meters. It is flanked by towering sandstone cliffs, creating a dramatic entrance to the hidden city of Petra. At the end of the gorge, you’re greeted with a breathtaking view of the iconic Treasury. The biggest part of the gorge was created naturally, the rest was carved by the Nabataeans. Al-Siq used to be the main entrance to Petra. 

The royal tombs

The royal tombs lie in the heart of the old city. Their monumental size and richly decorated facades suggest that they were once built for wealthy and important people, including the kings and queens of the city.

The most famous tomb is called the Urn Tomb, because it looks like a big urn. It has columns and detailed carvings, that make it look grand. There are also other tombs like the Silk Tomb, which has bright colors, and the Corinthian Tomb, with special columns.

Inside the tombs, you can explore the chambers, although many have been looted over time. Even so, the tombs still have a majestic feel.

You pass by the Royal Tombs on your way to Treasury viewpoint along the Al-Khubtha trail. 

Al-khubtha trail

The Al Khubtha Trail offers a thrilling adventure through stunning landscapes and hidden treasures. You hike along breathtaking rock formations and impressive views. You will have to climb a lot of stairs but you’ll be rewarded with a mesmerizing view of the famous Treasury.

The trail also leads to the High Place of Sacrifice, where you can soak in panoramic views of Petra. This trail provides a remarkable experience to appreciate the natural beauty and historical significance of this place.

Treasury viewpoint

There is a beautiful viewpoint on top of the cliff right in front of the Treasury. To get there, you’ll have to follow the Al-Khubtha trail. Know that you will have to climb a lot of stairs to get here, but it is really worth it.

The viewpoint is located in the ‘house’ of a local resident. He asks to buy a drink in exchange for entering his house, which we think is a fair deal. The drink was certainly welcome after the tough walk.


There are men walking around at the Treasury, dressed up like Captain Jack Sparrow, asking if you want to go up. Don't follow these men, as they will take you up an illegal trail to another viewpoint that is overcrowded and they'll probably ask for money afterwards. There are signs warning for non-official guide. 

Street of facades

The Street of Facades in Petra is a captivating pathway, lined with impressive rock-cut tombs and intricate facades. As you walk along this historic street, you’ll be immersed in the architectural wonders of the past. The sandstone cliffs and detailed carvings create a mesmerizing atmosphere, offering a glimpse into the daily life of ancient Petra. 

When you stroll around the site of Petra, it is impossible to miss this place. You almost walk past this anyway, and it is hard to take your eyes off it.

How to get there

When you come to Jordan by plane, you will probably land in Amman. From Amman, but also from many other major cities in Jordan, you have several options to visit Petra. 

By (Rental) Car
There are several highways and roads that connect to Petra. You can rent a car and drive to Petra, which allows for more flexibility in exploring the region. There is a free parking lot next to the entrance, where you can leave your car. 

By Public Transportation
Public buses are available from various cities in Jordan, including Amman and Aqaba, to Petra. The journey duration and frequency of buses may vary, so it’s advisable to check the schedules in advance.

Organized Tours
Many tour operators offer organized tours to Petra, which can be a convenient option if you prefer a guided experience with transportation included. These tours often depart from major cities or tourist destinations in Jordan.

With Jordan Nomads
If you want to visit other highlights of Jordan in addition to Petra, we recommend you to go with Jordan Nomads. Besides Petra, there are also many other impressive sights in their route and it’s all already mapped out and arranged for you!

Once you arrive near Petra, you’ll need to enter the Petra Archaeological Park and purchase or swap your Jordan Pass for an entrance ticket. From the park’s entrance, you can walk, take a golf cart or take a horse carriage through the Siq, the narrow gorge that leads to the main attractions of Petra. The walk from the entrance to your first glimpse of the Treasury is 2km, and it takes about 20 to 30 minutes before the Treasury looms between the cliffs. 


Because we don't know how the animals are treated, we don't encourage taking a horse carriage. 

When to visit Petra

The best time to visit Petra is from March to May and September to November. These months offer pleasant temperatures and comfortable weather for exploring the ancient city and there are fewer tourists during these periods

Summers in Petra can be very hot, with temperatures exceeding 40°C, making it uncomfortable for extended outdoor activities. Winter months, particularly December and January, can bring colder temperatures and occasional rainfall, which sometimes causes floods in the valley.

To avoid large crowds, it’s recommended to visit Petra during weekdays rather than weekends. Arriving early in the morning or later in the afternoon can also help you experience the site with fewer tourists.


It is best to be at the entrance when it opens to avoid the crowd! The large groups usually only arrive from 8 o'clock.

Where to stay near Petra

The best place to stay is in Wadi Musa. This is the closest town to Petra and offers a range of accommodations, including hotels, guesthouses, and bed and breakfasts. Wadi Musa provides convenient access to the Petra Archaeological Park, allowing you to easily explore the ancient city. It has a variety of dining options, shops, and services for travelers.

Practical tips


Wear Comfortable Walking Shoes

Petra involves a lot of walking, so it's important to wear comfortable shoes that provide good support. The site is extensive, and you'll be exploring various terrains, including uneven surfaces and stairs. We hiked around 20km that day!


Bring Water and Snacks

It's crucial to stay hydrated, especially during the warmer months. Carry enough water and snacks with you, because you'll have to walk quite a distance and climb a lot of stairs.


Start Early

We have mentioned this before, but we can't repeat it enough: To make the most of your visit and avoid crowds, it's recommended to start your day early. Arriving at the park when it opens allows you to explore the main sites before they become crowded, and you can also capture beautiful photos in the soft morning light.


Take Your Time

Petra is a huge and remarkable site with many hidden treasures to discover. Plan to spend at least a full day exploring, if not more. Take your time to soak in the atmosphere, admire the details of the ancient architecture, and explore off-the-beaten-path areas. Another reason to start your day as early as possible. 


Bring a Hat and Sunscreen

Check the weather forecast to be prepared. Petra can experience extreme temperatures. Bring sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun and dress appropriately with respect for the local culture. 


Plan to Avoid the Crowds

Petra is a popular tourist destination, so expect some crowds, especially at the iconic sites like the Treasury. If possible, try to visit on weekdays rather than weekends for a potentially less crowded experience.

It is also a good idea to plan your day in advance. Upon entering, we immediately walked to the Monastery after the Treasury. In this way, we had it all to ourselves. After the Monastery, we went to the Treasury viewpoint along the Al-Khubtha trail. We felt that this was the best way to avoid the crowd.


Explore Beyond the Main Sites

While the Treasury is the most famous landmark in Petra, there are numerous other fascinating sites to discover. Take the time to explore lesser-known areas and hiking trails, such as the Monastery or the Al Khubtha trail, for a more immersive experience.

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However, you still pay the same and therefore have no extra costs! So a win-win for everyone. This way, we can continue to add even more travel inspiration and tips to this blog for your next adventure. Thanks a lot!

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