Petra is, of course, one of Jordan’s absolute must-sees, one of those sites that you’ll kick yourself for missing if you’re in the vicinity! It doesn’t matter if you’re on a day-trip from Eilat, or taking your time to explore the whole country, Petra just has to be done!
Once you’ve decided on exactly how long you want to spend here – if you’ve got the time, try a 2-day pass – it’s time to work out exactly what you want to see in Petra. Note that if you plan on spending more than a day here, it makes sense to buy the Jordan Pass.
Thanks to the nomadic tribe (the Nabateans) that crafted Petra into the sides of sandstone mountains, you’ll find there’s plenty of things to see in Petra. Of course, there’s the fantastic and world-renowned Treasury to enjoy, but we’ve narrowed things down to just six places to hopefully help you make the most out of your trip (especially for those of you with limited time – this great video of Petra might also inspire!).
1. The Treasury
Aaahh, the Treasury, quite possibly the reason most of us come to visit Jordan!
This true wonder gets its name from long-held (mistaken) belief that there was treasure in an urn at the top of the structure, hidden by a king of the Nabateans.
And despite all that you’ve read and seen about the Treasury and Petra, I don’t think anyone is still ready for the impact when they walk through the canyon and suddenly come across this desert wonder.
There is still a vibe of great mystery in the air and despite it bustling with tourism on some days, you are left wondering how a place like this can even exist.
The perfect times to visit the Treasury if you want to escape the busiest times (and possibly the heat!) are early in the morning and early in the evening – and note you can grab a coffee next to the Treasury too (it’s actually a great place to chillout and take in the beauty of this site).
2. The Monastery
Make sure you bring some flat and comfortable shoes for this one! In order to reach one of the largest monuments in Petra, The Monastery, you will have to climb 800 steps to get there! But it’s worth it – if not quite as complete as the Treasury, this site is still impressive, especially as you walk towards it and realize just how huge it is!
I’d recommend taking water with you to keep hydrated but there are also places to get drinks once you’re up there. Don’t worry if you’re not the hiking type as there is an option to get a donkey ride all the way to the top… poor donkey! And don’t think that once you’ve reached the Monastery you’ve reached the end of the road in Petra – if you continue to walk a little further you will get an absolutely amazing view across the mountains.
3. The Siq
The Siq is the stunning canyon that leads you into Petra; it is made up of some fascinating natural rock and some sculptures by the Nabateans. What is perhaps most amazing about this canyon is how the Nabateans knew how to manage the water flow by creating damns and tunnels for the water to flow through in order to prevent flooding.
The walk through the Siq is somewhat blissful and is the perfect tease to what awaits you at the Treasury! And don’t forget to look up when in the Siq, but only if you want to be truly impressed!
4. The Silk Tomb
One of the Royal Tombs of Petra, the Silk Tomb is truly amazing as you can see where the Nabateans actually carved the tomb out of the mountain! Granted this tomb is of a smaller scale than the other Royal Tombs, however the pigmentation is slightly different and much more interesting to look at.
5. High Place of Sacrifice
As its name points out, The High Place of Sacrifice was thought to have been a place where animal (and even human!) sacrifice took place… whatever else happened up here is left to our imagination, but what we do know is that the tough hike to the top is worth it!
Once you are at the top you are able to see the stunning views across Jordan, it really is a perfect place to stop and take in the panoramic paradise of Petra. At the top there are also two large rock towers which are there to represent two of the Nabatean Gods.
6. The Great Temple
The Great Temple is the last of our six must-sees of Petra. It is thought to have been built around 2000 years ago by the Nabateans and it remained abandoned until around 25 years ago when archaeologists rediscovered it, which adds another layer of mystery to it. To this day it remains the biggest freestanding building in Petra. It’s unquestionably fascinating to walk around and explore the ruins which remain there today; it’s hard to believe that we didn’t know that this place existed until recently…