Amman to King's HighwayWe’ll begin with a friendly introduction, and a small tour briefing. A detour to Starbucks to pick up your favourite coffee will take place after, on your request. From there, it’s a 1-hour drive from Amman to Mount Nebo, our first stop, in a 4x4 vehicle which includes WiFi, sipping coffee and enjoying your selected snacks. Water and soft drinks are provided at no extra cost. There is also an iPhone charger, headphones and you’ll have access to an iPad with an internet connection, and Netflix.
Mount NeboFound at about 710 meters above sea level, the biblically famous ridge of Mount Nebo is a must-see if you’re touring through Jordan’s most popular sites from ancient literature. This mountain is mentioned in the Old Testament, as the place where Moses had received his vision of the Promised Land, and thus remains a famous spot to visit for believers. Some say it’s also the place where Moses’ body is buried, though nobody’s entirely sure. With its historical and literate significance, stunning mosaics, as well as its surrounding beauty is well worth the first stop on this trip.
Umm Ar-RassasWith ruins left over from the Roman, Byzantine and early Muslim periods, there’s plenty enough to discover. The perfectly preserved mosaic floor of the Church of St Stephen, alone, is worth the trip to see. It’s the largest mosaic floor in all of Jordan, in fact. But what really makes this a memorable trip is the stylite tower, which once served for isolated Christian ascetics as a place to live, as well as a place of prayer. The tower’s survival is iconic, going against all odds, but chance made it possible.
Karak CastlePerhaps one of the most interesting ancient military structures in all of Jordan, Karak was a Crusader castle, the construction of which began in the 1140s. It was later besieged in 1183 by the famed Saladin, who led the campaign against the Crusaders in the Levant. The siege would come to be relieved by King Baldwin IV, the Leper King of Jerusalem. The castle would live on, but this was only the beginning of its long and interesting history – a history just ripe for the discovery. As one of the largest Crusader castles in the Levant, there’s plenty to explore.
Khirbet Al-DhariehThis well-preserved archaeological site which includes an unforgettable Nabatean temple, found along the King's Highway, undoubtedly has its charms. It’s the temple’s elaborately carved façade that is the main interest for many tourists who come by, however, making for a beautiful and artistic adventure around this Nabatean settlement.
DanaThe largest nature reserve in all of Jordan, the Dana Biosphere Reserve is one of the country’s most recent yet most popular additions, driving in visitors since its opening in 1989. It covers an area of 308 square kilometres inhabited by 703 plant species, 215 species of birds, and 38 species of mammals. The reserve itself is among Jordan’s greatest beauties, with landscapes so fine, rocky, and occasionally green that the reserve ought to top just about any tourist’s itinerary for the best places to visit in Jordan.
Shobak CastleBuilt-in 1115 by Baldwin I, the Crusader King, Shobak (Montreal) Castle has a rich history, having later been expanded by the Mamluks and perching along the high rocks of the Arabah Valley. It’s one of the best, and oldest, of the Jordanian castles to visit. With awe-inspiring views, and a comfortable café, you’ll find it to be one of the most tourist-friendly sites in the country, and with its long violent history of sieges and battles, you’ll soon see yourself enthralled in all the right ways.
Litle Petra & Al-BeidhaNext up on the journey is Little Petra, which is also known by the name ‘Siq al-Barid.’ It’s located at an archaeological site in the town of Wadi Musa, just North of Petra. Next to it, the Al Beidha is one of Jordan’s most major Neolithic archaeological sites. Al Beidha consists of the remains of an ancient village – thought to have been inhabited from around 7200 BC to 6500 BC.
Vaux MoiseWhat better way to end the tour than with yet another Crusader Castle? This ruined Crusader castle, found in Wadi Musa, used to serve as something of an outpost for the Shobak castle, long ago. It was smaller, as a result, though also founded by the Crusader King Baldwin I a year after the creation of Shobak castle, in 1116 AD. It was once thought proud and unconquerable, having been one of several such castles at the time. Today, it serves as a popular tourist attraction, reflecting the violence and bloodshed that was once wrought across Jordan by the Crusades.To conclude the tour, we will drop you off at your hotel in Petra. No doubt after a satisfying and inspiring day in some of Jordan’s most famed archaeological sites along the King’s Highway.