Just five hours after take-off from London Heathrow (LHR), you will arrive in Queen Alia International Airport (AMM). A pleasant afternoon arrival gives you plenty of time and opportunity to experience this fast-modernising city before the cool Arabian night begins.
Amman is just the start of your journey, however, as the real draw to Jordan is the diverse landscape and its ancient and turbulent history. Whether this is your first visit or fifteenth, a trip to Jordan wouldn’t be complete without heading south to the Wadi Rum and the desert. Try a moonlit tour of Petra’s mysterious halls or head to the Dead Sea resorts to see this natural wonder’s eerily lifeless shores. Make sure to see some of the best Roman ruins outside of Italy, just 30 kilometres outside Amman in Jerash.
Direct flights from London Heathrow (LHR) to Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) take just over 5 hours. Fly over Europe and the Mediterranean into Arabia, where you’ll encounter a fascinating desert kingdom and a pulsating capital that’s one of the region’s rising stars. Choose your preferred seats up to 24 hours in advance when you check-in online, or use your mobile phone.
British Airways offers daily flights to Queen Alia International Airport, situated a 30-minute bus or taxi ride from downtown Amman. Passengers with British Airways experience award-winning service, complimentary food and drink and a generous checked baggage allowance of 23kg. Fly to Amman International Airport non-stop from London Heathrow with British Airways and arrive refreshed in the intriguing country of Jordan.
Amman International Airport is south of the city, around 20 miles from the business area. Express buses run from there every 30 minutes and take you to Abdali – the midtown area of Amman. 24 hour taxis are available from the airport, and prices are fixed, or book a transfer in advance. Alternatively, hire a car at the airport to see Jordan’s diverse landscapes at your own pace.
What to do in Amman and beyond
Inside the city, you’ll find delicious cuisine and wonderful hospitality, alongside some historic treasures, but mostly a modern metropolis making its mark. But Amman acts as a gateway to ancient cultures and bustling trade routes, to majestic natural wonders and the stunning city of Petra.
Jordan is made up of almost 85% desert, with some stunning landscapes ranging from undulating dunes to otherworldly peaks. Take a trip to the Wadi Rum, its red sandstone monoliths will give you an idea why it is known as ‘The Valley of the Moon’. It is hotspot for adventure eco-tourism, with Bedouin tribes acting as guides through its diverse and mystical terrain. Or make your way to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, whose salt lake is too harsh for flora or fauna to survive, hence the name. Or take a trip to the beautiful canyons of the Dana Biosphere Reserve – here you can see endangered mammals in their natural habitat, including Blanford's Fox and Caracal.
Ancestral home to the ancient Nabataea nomads, the city and necropolis of Petra is an archaeological and historic wonder. Sculpted from the red sandstone rock, its walls acted as an impenetrable barrier from the outside world, protecting the amassed wealth of its residents. A mysterious and beautiful place, its weathered façades are legendary – especially the Treasury and Theatre. Make your way up to the ominously-named High Place of Sacrifice for a spectacular panorama of the city. Film fans will know UNESCO Heritage site Petra from it featuring in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, among others, but this does not do it justice.
Jordan is like an outdoor museum, inside Amman city there are several worthwhile sights, like the wonderful Jabal al-Qal'a (or Amman Citadel), which over 7000 years has seen the rise and fall of many civilisations in the Jordan Valley. Or just outside the capital, you will find the ancient Roman settlement of Jerash, one of the best preserved sites outside of Italy. Visit the crusader castles of Kerak and Montreal, or the Islamic castles which feature rare 8th century frescos and mosaics, not seen in later architecture. Don’t miss a trip to Madaba, a small market town whose collection of Byzantine-era mosaics is world-famous, the most famous being a map of the region in St George’s Church.
Jordanian cuisine tells the story of its many cultures and diverse influences, from the Bedouin nomads to the trade routes of India and China. Street food – creamy hummus, falafel, grilled lamb on flatbreads – is designed to make your mouth water, but food in Jordan is made to be shared. The national dish Mansaf is a superb melange of spicy rice, lamb chops and yoghurt served on a huge platter. As a traditional Bedouin dish, be sure to eat it with your right hand, as it is considered rude to use the left. No meal would be complete without some sticky and syrupy delicacy for dessert like dates, Kunafeh and Baglawa, providing Jordanian dentists with a lot of work. Even learn to cook it for yourself at Beit Sitti, where three sisters keep their grandmother’s culinary legacy alive.
Like a lot of other Levantine countries, Jordan has a great spa and hammam scene – to relax and to be pampered, but also as a source of local news and gossip. You’ll find steam baths in Amman and Petra, or head to the coast of the Red Sea at Aqbal, to find luxury spa hotels. Those in the know, however, travel to the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea. This salt lake is 400 metres below sea level and packed full of minerals unique to its shores, perfect for a rejuvenating mud bath to cleanse the body and mind. Be aware, don’t go in the sea with any cuts on your body, the saline will sting.
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