Iraq Al Amir
Iraq Al Amir translates to “Caves of the Prince,” so the series of 15 caves carved into the cliff across from the Iraq Al Amir Women’s Cooperative are a great place to start. Explore this cave system (accessible by a stone staircase from the paved road) that dates back to the Copper Age, and then return to the Women’s Co-op for a hands-on ceramics, weaving, paper making, or soap making workshop taught by local craftswomen. In the afternoon, take a stroll down to Qasr Al Abad and watch the light peek and play through the ruins of the pre-Roman palace.
Visit Jordan Jewel Art & Mosaic en route to witness the work that goes into creating mosaics and support local artists with disabilities. Then stop by Mt Nebo, stand in the spot said to be where Moses saw the Promised Land, and admire the mosaics inside the hilltop basilica. Continue on to see a massive mosaic and the oldest map of Palestine on the floor of the St George Church in Madaba. If you’re up for a longer drive, take the scenic route along the King’s Highway from Madaba to the Castle of Herod the Great in Mukawir and trek up in time to catch sunset over the Dead Sea before returning to Amman.
Purchase a day pass from one of the Dead Sea hotels and gain access to their private pools and beaches (for example, Dead Sea Marriott Resort and Spa offers a day pass for JD60 which includes JD25 to be used for food and drink). Lather on mineral-rich mud before taking a float in the healing waters here at the lowest point on Earth.
Those looking for adventure will find it at Wadi Mujib where abseiling is available in the river canyon from April through October. You can also join a more leisurely hike and cycle with NGO Al Numeira Environmental Association or learn to make local handicrafts, harvest vegetables, and cook shrak bread and other local dishes through the Zikra Initiative. Before you head back to Amman, catch the sunset – from the beach, the Panoramic Complex, or one of the lookout points along the highway.
The slower pace of the northern city of Jerash provides the perfect escape from Amman. And the impressive archaeological site at the city centre is believed to be one of the best-preserved Roman towns in the world. The Roman ruins are must-see locations. Walk the colonnaded streets of the archaeological site and explore the temples and theatres with views over the city. You can visit year-round, but springtime is extra sweet with colourful wildflowers popping up amidst the storied stones.
Climb to the top of Ajloun Castle for a view over the olive groves and surrounding countryside. Hike a section of the Jordan Trail or one of the Ajloun Forest Reserve trails before paying a visit to the three themed houses here: Soap House, where you can learn to make olive oil soap from local women and purchase some eco-friendly souvenirs; the Biscuit House, where you can snack on locally-made treats; and the House of Calligraphy, where you can practice the art of writing your name in Arabic script.