Jordan (part I) – Amman

Temple of Hercules
Temple of Hercules

We finally made it to Jordan! I had been dreaming of coming here since my boyfriend suggested the idea. We spent the New Year holidays and it couldn’t have been more magical. Follow our itinerary throughout this Middle Eastern country starting in Amman!

Day 1

Our first stop in Jordan was the capital: Amman. We landed in Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport late in the evening. Shamil, the driver that would accompany us throughout the country, picked us up and took us to our hotel.

 

Day 2

The next morning, my boyfriend’s Jordanian friends Sarah and Tulin picked us up at the hotel and showed us around Amman the whole day.

The capital of Jordan is a fascinating city of contrasts – a unique blend of old and new, situated on a hilly area between the desert and the fertile Jordan Valley. In the commercial heart of the city, ultra-modern buildings, hotels, smart restaurants, art galleries and boutiques rub shoulders comfortably with traditional coffee shops and tiny artisans’ workshops. Amman’s neighborhoods are diverse and range in cultural and historical context.

The first landmark we visited in Amman was the Citadel, a hill with ruins of the temple of Hercules, an Ummayyad Palace and a Byzantine church. We spent a few hours walking there and checking out the Jordan Archaeological Museum.

At the foot of the Citadel lies the 6,000 seat Roman Theatre. We climbed up its stairs at sunset and visited the Jordan Folklore Museum. Then, we strolled a bit around this area and headed to Rainbow Street for dinner. The latter is a promenade of restaurants and shops that is popular with both locals and tourists alike.

Trip details

Flights: we traveled with Turkish Airlines from Madrid to Istanbul and then to Amman.

Accommodation: we stayed at hotel Larsa for a couple of nights. Their rooms were standard but the breakfast was good, especially their fresh bread from a traditional oven.

Cafés & restaurants:

*Samawer: we came here for a traditional Circassian breakfast and would come here two more times during our trip. Besides serving excellent food, this was a great place to discover the Circassians’ history. We also learned later on that this restaurant was owned by our driver’s Mum! 

*Habibah sweets: we went to one of their branches close to the Roman Theater to try their delicious knafeh. This rich treat is made with unripened cheese that’s baked in shredded phyllo dough before being soaked in simple syrup.

*Urdon Shop & Café:  we had a very tasty dinner with various Middle Eastern dishes such as chicken shawarma, galayet bandora (a simple Jordanian dish of tomatoes, onions, hot peppers, olive oil and salt) or kibbeh (a Levantine dish made of bulgur, minced onions and finely ground lean beef, lamb, goat or camel meat with Middle Eastern spices). Check out their beautiful shop downstairs with plenty of Jordanian handicrafts. 

Prep information:

*The Jordan Tourism Board offers a wide array of information on their website and on the ground. Make sure to grab their Jordan map upon arrival as it includes a lot of information about the different sites throughout the country.

*If you’re staying more than 3 nights (4 days), purchasing a Jordan Pass is highly recommended. If you do, you’ll get access to over 40 Jordanian landmarks, including Petra, Jerash or Wadi Rum.  There are 3 different categories depending on how long you´ll stay in Petra. We got the Jordan Wanderer for 99 USD, which includes a 1 day visit to Petra.

*Visas: another advantage of purchasing the Jordan Pass is that your visa fees will be waived provided that you comply with the conditions of staying at least 3 nights in the country.

*Money exchange: the currency in the country is the Jordanian dinar (1 JOD = 1.41 USD as of now). We exchanged all the money we had budgeted for the trip upon arrival at the airport so we wouldn’t need an ATM in the middle of nowhere.

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