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4 tips for visiting the ancient city of Petra

In the southwestern region of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is an ancient city of wonders beyond your wildest dreams. Here’s how you can explore it.


Within the rugged desert of Jordan lies Petra, or the “Rose City”. This incredible, bucket list destination has been carved out of pink sandstone over many, many years, earning UNESCO World Heritage Site status because of its deep historic, cultural, and archaeological value. Petra is also one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Within Petra, you can find Khaznah (“the Treasury”), Al-Dayr (“the Monastery”) and The High Place of Sacrifice - but how can you see it all during your holiday? We can help. To get the most out of your visit to this unforgettable Jordanian destination, follow these four helpful tips:

Go as early as possible

As the site is very, very popular with tourists, with people arriving as early as 7am to get that classic shot by the carved structures, it pays to rise early. While on holiday, you might appreciate a lovely little lie-in, but when it comes to visiting this incredible UNESCO-listed site, it pays to get yourself out of bed. 

Petra is open to visitors every day from 6am to 6pm during the summer months and 6am to 4pm during the winter months. For the most part, the larger tour buses don’t get in till later in the morning. Arriving early will also allow you to avoid the heat of the day which can sometimes be inescapable in the summer months. Trust us - it’s worth heading there before the site fills up to get the best possible experience.

Dress for the day

With the ancient site stretching over 102 square miles and the landscape varying from carved steps to rocky paths to sandy ground, you will certainly want to pack your comfortable and sturdy walking shoes. Your flip flops, or anything with a heel, just won’t cut it (save those for dinnertime!) - particularly if you want to get to higher ground and reach some of the classic viewpoints dotted around Petra.

As Petra offers little shade, and Jordan can get quite balmy in the summertime - up to 36 degrees in August - so come equipped with a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a bit of clothing cover. A scarf can also be handy to keep the dust and sun at bay.

Visit Petra during the evening

If you don’t think you have time to see most of Petra during the day, come back at night. Petra by Night is a once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunity, offering people the chance to see the buildings of the Treasury and the Siq surrounded by incredible illuminations. Petra by Night begins at 8.30 pm from the visitor centre and lasts for two hours, officially wrapping up by 10.30 pm.

Prepare to walk

While it might be tempting to hitch a ride on one of the locals offering a ride on a donkey or horse, resist the temptation. Some of these animals are not treated very well, plus you might not feel comfortable riding one of these creatures without riding experience. Just take your time when walking, and alert your guide should you need a little bit of time out. 

Explore the former Nabatean trading post on an escorted holiday to Jordan. Check out Newmarket Holidays' range of tours to Petra.

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