Hidden between the desert and mountains of Jordan you will find Petra, the ancient rose-red Nabatean city carved out of sandstone and currently one of the seven new wonders of the world. Although it isn’t hidden anymore since 1812 you still feel like a real explorer when wandering around the many architectural wonders in Petra. To get the best out of your trip to Petra we would recommend you to stay at least two days in Wadi Musa.
In this guide you will find everything you need to know to explore Petra in Jordan.
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Explore The Lost City of Petra with this Map
The Siq: The beginning of exploring Petra
The Siq is the first highlight that will cross your path towards all the ancient beauty Petra has to offer. The Siq is a gorge of rock walls that are approximately 80 meter high. After following the path for around 1.2 km you will have your first small glimpse of The Treasury through the opening of the gorge. Walking The Siq will definitely be one of the highlights of visiting Petra.
It is also possible to travel by horse, camel or donkey. Although this will save you a lot of time be aware that this isn’t beneficial for the health of those animals.
The walk from the beginning of The Siq to The Treasury is around 25-minute of walking.
The Treasury in petra, jordan
As mentioned above, after exploring The Siq you will have sight on one of the best known rock-carved façade of Petra. The Treasury is very impressive to see from behind the rocks, it is a 40 meter high façade built out of the rose-red sandstone. Al-Khazneh the Arabic name for The Treasury is one of the most elaborate Nabatean ancient temples in Petra. This is by far the most popular tourist attraction in Jordan.
the Al-Khubtha Trail (Treasury from above)
We assume you would like to see The Treasury from a different perspective. If that is the case, follow the Al-Khubtha trail for a view from above. The hike starts at The Royal Tombs and will take around 45-minutes. Like all other trails it is easier to go early because of the heat.
The Monastery in petra
By far the most interesting and popular hike is the one that leads you to The Monastery and is around one and a half hour away from The Treasury. Once you reach the beginning of the climb of approximately 800 steps it will take you around 45 minutes to get to The Monastery.
If you give yourself some more time to finish the hike it is not as hard as you would expect. Our advice is to take good care of yourself and take some more time for the climb. Take some stops in between to drink some cold water and enjoy the amazing view over the surrounding area.
Once you reach The Monastery you instantly forget about the hike. Take your time and let the beauty of The Monastery soak in. The trail is definitely worth it and you would really like The Monastery and the space surrounding it. If you are there around lunch you will have the opportunity to have it all for yourself.
To see how large the Ad Deir façade is look at the scale of Maurena in front of it.
You can find the theatre on the left side of the Street of Façades. The Nabatean Theatre is special compared to other theaters, it is the only theatre carved out of sandstone instead of being built with stones.
The Royal Tombs of petra
On the right side of the Street of Façades you will find The Royal Tombs. This is a collection of four tombs including: The Urn Tomb, The Silk Tomb, The Corinthian Tomb and The Palace Tomb. You will have a great time exploring this part of Petra.
The Garden Temple
One of the hidden gems that can be found in Petra is The Garden Temple and surrounding façades. If you want to explore this area you have to go a little bit of the beaten track but you will have a way more authentic experience of Petra. When we arrived there where only a few other people that came from The High Place of Sacrifice.
Tip: When arriving at The Temple Garden, climb a little bit more up to have a great view on the temple.
Avoid: Petra by Night
For an extra 17 JOD you can enter Petra by Night, this gives you entrance to walk through The Siq with candles lit on the side. Once you reach The Treasury you will immediately find out this place is fully packed. Not quite the experience you hoped for. If you want to see the candles in front of The Treasury without too many people, we recommend you to go early (around 8PM) and stay as long as possible after the show.
You can visit Petra by Night on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30PM to 10:30PM.
Tip: Take a flashlight with you, because during your walk through The Siq it can be very dark.
Must do: Go early! Petra opens early every morning and that is a perfect opportunity for you to avoid the crowd. We would recommend to go as early as possible and the doors open at 6AM.
Tip: Buy your drinks in a supermarket near your hotel.
Where to stay in Petra, wadi Musa
If you are planning to explore Petra more than one day it is easy to find good hotels in Wadi Musa. This town is near the entrance of Petra and that is really beneficial if you would like to go early in the morning. You can find some real good deals for hotels in Wadi Musa at booking.com. We stayed at the Anbat Midtown Hotel which also provides a free shuttle to the Petra entrance.
Entrance tickets to Petra
A one day ticket to Petra will cost you 50 JOD (around $70), two days will go for 55 JOD and for another 5 you will get access for three days. So the longer you stay the better your overall price will be. But it’s even better to buy a Jordan Pass online which will cost you 75 JOD for the EXPLORER Pass. This pass will give you two days entrance to Petra, free entry to over 40 attractions and also includes your visa for entering Jordan.
⫸ Read more: The Jordan pass: save time and money
Best time to visit Petra
The best time to visit Petra is early in the morning and later in the afternoon. We would recommend to go as early as possible and the doors open at 6AM. This is a great advance if you know that the big tourist groups will arrive after 8AM. Petra closes at 6PM.