Thousands – thousands! – of years of history, or a luxury beach resort? You choose
I want to explore...
One of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, dating back to the 9th millennium BC, Amman is an historical repository, and a cooler alternative to popular coastal destinations in the summer months. Ancient meets modern on virtually every street corner with Roman ruins, maze-like souqs, hip art galleries and trendy cafés dotted across the hilly city. History buffs can wander around the Citadel’s ruined Temple of Hercules and Ummayad Palace ruins, while just down the hill is the spectacular 2nd century AD restored Roman amphitheatre.
Take an air-conditioned breather at the Jordan Folklore Museum and Museum of Popular Tradition, or lose yourself in the archaeological heritage of the country at the national Jordan Museum. Culture and retail therapy intersect in the city’s labyrinthine souqs with traditional jewellery and antiques on offer in Souq Al Bukharia, or local food and crafts at Friday’s Souq Jara, near the trendy dining and entertainment district around Rainbow Street. Amman is also the gateway to the beautifully preserved Greco-Roman settlement of Gerasa (Jerash). A 60-minute drive from the capital, you enter the ancient site through the imposing Hadrian’s Arch, then wander along the remains of city streets, gaze at the Corinthian columns of the Temple of Artemis and grand colonnaded Forum, or see a recreated chariot race at the Hippodrome.
Explore Amman’s new emerging downtown from the comfort of a stylish studio or apartment at The Boulevard Arjaan by Rotana, with gorgeous city views from the rooftop pool and kitchenette facilities. Three nights from Dh1,418.
I want to unwind...
A picturesque port on the Red Sea with a Mediterranean vibe, and Jordan’s only coastal city, Aqaba offers a relaxed respite from the summer heat, with the occasional wafting sea breeze. An historic destination in its own right with a 14th century Mamluk fort and remains of the ancient port city of Ayla at its heart, it is also something of a hotspot for snorkelling and diving fans. Fifteen kilometres up the road is the luxury coastal resort of Tala Bay, home to some of the area’s upscale hotels. Stay local but in relative luxury at the Aqaba Kempinski. Directly on the beach, this resort has its own stretch of golden sand, pool, spa, watersports activities, and is just five minutes walk from the city centre. Three nights from Dh1,748. Offset hours of pool lounging with a day trip to the lost Nabatean city of Petra, one of the world’s most immersive Unesco World Heritage Sites. Rediscovered in 1812 by a Swiss explorer, visitors emerge from the narrow echoing walls of the Siq canyon to the jaw-dropping sight of the famed Treasury facade. The stuff of legend, Petra covers 60km2 and was once home to 30,000 people with royal tombs, a colonnaded street and, 800 rock-hewn steps above, the awe-inspiring mountain top Monastery. Or follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia with a sunset tour or a night spent under the stars in the red dunes and dramatic rocky landscape of Wadi Rum.
Roman ruins, dramatic rocky landscapes and a picturesque port offer something for everyone