We had been counting the months and days to Visit Petra, one of the 7 wonders of the world, an ultimate bucket list item you simply cannot miss! It was a dream come true to visit this wonderful sight, however, there are many tips and tricks you will need to make the most of your stay. If I could re-do this experience, I would have made some smart tweaks to my itinerary. All the details you need for the ultimate Petra experience, you will read below.
You can make your trip to Petra from several cities in Jordan and transport is easy to arrange, because simply everyone will go to Petra. It’s one of the main highlights when visiting Jordan. We traveled from Aqaba by private transfer, it is not expensive and super easy and the journey lasts around 2 hours. You can also take a local bus or rent a car, there are plenty of options available.
Also read My Ultimate 5-Day Jordan Itinerary for tips and tricks to book your trip to Petra.
We visited Petra by ourselves during winter season, this is the way we like to travel because it’s less crowded as well. However, keep in mind that you might experience snow and cold temperatures, Petra also has a winter season.
8 Must-See Sights in Petra That Can’t Be Missed
At your arrival in Petra, you can choose to visit the park yourself, or hire a local guide directly at the Petra Visitor Center, do note to count extra hours for such experience. The natural park is extremely big, count at least 2 days to visit all sights.
The day pass costs around 50JOD (please double check this with the visitor centre as prices can change) and for only 5JOD extra, you can get a 2-day pass. Now, get ready for the must-see sights in Petra that can’t be missed below.
1) Bab al Siq
Just at the entrance you will find the beautiful Bab al Siq, which is the Arabic gateway to the “Siq”. Here you will find 3 massive Djin blocks, which are squared monuments carved out of the rock.
2) The Siq
On your way to the Treasury, you won’t miss the Siq, which is the main road that lies between the City’s rose-colored mountains with a height of up to 80M. Grab your camera and make some beautiful shots of the red colored canyons and rock formations.
3) The Treasury
Also known by all as the true icon of the rose red city, however, for me the true icon wasn’t The Treasury but Al-Deir Monastery. Even the feeling at this place during the day was “empty”. It had no more soul… Unfortunately, Instagram is ruining this place, and you have plenty of influencers taking endless pictures in giant red dresses not even allowing any individual to take a shot. Even this happened at 7h30am in the morning when waking up early. However, I managed to take a few good shot!
Tip – experience the treasury by night and hike up to Al-Deir Monastery, it is quite the hike up, but you won’t find any instagrammers blocking your view.
4) The Street of the Facades
When continuing from the Treasury towards the Monastery, you will pass the Street of the Facades. They look like carved out houses, but they are tombs. You really wonder how people in the past were able to carve out such high reaching creations with so much detail.
5) The Royal Tombs
Unfortunately, because we only had the morning, we had to skip the royal tombs. We saw them from the main road, but it is another small hike you must take to see them up close. If you have 2 days in Petra, I strongly suggest taking a look, they look absolutely beautiful. I did manage to take some shots.
6) The Theatre
The Theater you won’t miss on your way to the Al-Deir Monastery. It is also beautifully carved out of rock and almost looks like a roman theatre.
7) Al-Deir Monastery
Grab your hiking shoes as this place is a good hike up the canyon, but do not worry, the hike is beautiful and SO WORTH IT. It is a full experience! A round trip back to the visitor entrance with many stops for local tea and pictures is around 6 hours including 1 thousand (stair) steps. If you are not much of a hiker, you can also go up on a donkey, which we found quite sad, but that’s completely up to you.
On the top, you will find the beautifully carved Al-Deir Monastery which is much wider than the treasury. It is not overcrowded as many people do not go up and take the challenge. This place still had the mystic vibe and soul that I was longing for in Petra. Plus, you will not find any influencers in red dresses blocking your shots 😉
Tip: Be careful with the local sellers. They will offer you free tea, but they are really pushy when it comes to buying something. Make sure you tell them a fair NO. We had an instance with a lady that grabbed my finger and said pinky swear to come back and visit her shop, even though we didn’t want to buy something from her, she screamed that we disgraced her culture because we “pinky sweared”. Make sure to avoid these situations.
There is much more to see, but unfortunately, we did not have time to see all sights. I suggest to visit the Visitor Centre to get the map and the full scope of the historic city.
8) Bonus: Petra By Night
If you have the chance, pay the extra fee for the Petra by Night experience, it is truly magical. You will walk for around 30 minutes in the dark, surrounded by lanterns, canyons and stars. It is such a mystical experience. Wild dogs and locals will accompany you on your hike towards the Treasury. At the treasury you will have the chance to take photos of the magic sight by night surrounded by hundreds of lanterns and see locals performing their music.
Tickets can be bought with your hotel or directly at the visitor center. Please check the visitor center opening days and hours prior to your travel, because days and times are subject to change.
Where to Eat in Petra
There are plenty of restaurants to choose from, also within the park. So no worries, there is plenty of food and fresh juices. We really enjoyed My Moms Recipe Restaurant in town serving local flavours.
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