Do you long for a winter sun destination during Europe’s winter season as much as I do? Escape to Aqaba, a great choice to soak up some Red-Sea sunshine during Europe’s winter season.
Aqaba is the only coastal city in Jordan with lots of seaside activities such as boat trips, scuba-diving, fishing, snorkeling and relaxing on the beautiful beaches. However, even though Aqaba offers pleasant temperatures that can rise up to 21 degrees Celsius in February, I wouldn’t enjoy any of the sea-side activities… Unless you love cold water! No worries, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy during winter season in Aqaba. If you are looking to extend your trip and visit Petra or Wadi Rum as well, also read My Ultimate Jordan 5-Day Itinerary to get inspired.
Top Things to do in Aqaba during Winter Season
1) Eat, shop, drink and enjoy in Ayla Village
Next to the Hyatt Regency hotel, near the marina, you will find the Ayla village. With white and blue coloured buildings like in Greece, the marina village offers a range of dining, shopping, recreational and leisure experiences. It’s great for an early cocktail, dinner next to the sea, or just a stroll around buying souvenirs.
2) Indulge yourself in the Aqua Spa
If you are a spa lover, like me and my sister, you MUST visit the Aqua Spa at the Hyatt Regency. I traveled to almost 50 countries, and I tried so many spas in the world. This place is just pure magic and is listed in my top 3 spas around the world! Book the Hammam Dead Sea mud mask ritual including a Dead Sea salt scrub, a hot Dead Sea mud mask followed by a back massage with Rose essential oil, you will thank me later! Read my full spa experience The Aqua Spa – Your Soul Sanctuary in Aqaba
3) Go local, Stroll around the Souk
Visit downtown (it’s safe) and stroll around the city center where you will find souvenirs, spices, fruits, vegetables but also hanging goats! We fueled up on some tea infusions (black cinnamon and chamomile) scarves and jewelry. Make sure to negotiate prices, which is part of the authentic souk experience. The main areas to visit are the lively streets around Sharif Al Hussein Bin Ali Mosque.
Tip: If you happen to be in Aqaba on Friday, visit the Souk by the Sea, a pop-up market featuring over 50 local artisans, Jordanian food and drinks, music and more. A great occasion to support locals.
4) Relax on the Beach
Even though temperatures might not allow swimming, you can still chill and have a drink on the beach. If you are lucky, you might even tan in a swimsuit. One the most famous beach clubs in Aqaba is Berenice Beach Club, also a great place to watch the magnificent sunset.
Where to stay in Aqaba in Style
You won’t regret staying at the Hyatt Regency, our favorite hotel in Aqaba. It has one of the BEST Spas in the world, spacious rooms with sea view and walking distance from cozy restaurants, bars and shops.
If you want to feel like a true Arabic princess from the Aladdin movies, Al Manara, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Saraya Aqaba (a Marriott Bonvoy brand) is the place to be. Spacious, luxe feeling rooms with Red-Sea view, beautiful Arabic architecture, and the kindest staff that will make you feel like a true royal.
Ultimate Eats in Aqaba
For the Wagyu beef and fine dining lovers, don’t miss the Red Restaurant and Lounge. Their Rib Eye steak is so soft, it literally melts in your mouth. The chef even gave us a local dessert and signature dishes from the house to try, for free. Just excellent! Be minded that since this place is listed as one of the best restaurants in Aqaba, and it’s true, the prices are very “European”.
Located in Ayla village, Mirchi is the excellent choice for traditional Indian cuisine. You will find dishes like Tikka Masala, Korma, Butter Chicken and home-made Naan with a beautiful sunset view of the marina.
Hey, Let’s Be Pen Palls!
Get my best travel tips, experiences and inspiration directly in your inbox.