As for most of you exploring the rose colored city of Petra will be one of the main reasons for your visit of Jordan, we want to give you some more detailed insights and recommendations about how to have a perfect day at the Petra site. If you are looking for some additional inspiration and want to read more about our experiences in Jordan (Amman, Jerash, the Dead Sea and Wadi Rum) you can have a look at our full Jordan itinerary and blog post ‘Our trip to Jordan – a dream come true’.
The city of Petra is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world and its history dates back to the 1st century BC. Various reasons as earthquakes, changing trading routes etc. led to its downfall. Only in 1812 Petra was rediscovered by a Swiss explorer. At this time the site was only accessible to local Bedouins and the story says that the explorer only was able to enter the city because he was disguised as a local Bedouin as well. Nowadays Petra is claimed one of the Seven World Wonders and is a World Heritage Site.
Useful topolindra travel facts:
- The visitor center opens at 6am daily, and if you want to take pictures without any people in it, you have to be there at 6am.
- The entrance fee is quite expensive and is 50 JOD (=58 Euros). You can buy your ticket at the visitor center (creditcard is accepted)
- Wear comfortable shoes and no open sandals. If you want to get up to the famous viewpoint you have to do some climbing. As you see on our pictures I’ve been wearing a long white dress (the climbing part was tricky but it worked out well) and some sneakers. If you want to wear sandals on your pictures, I would recommend to bring a separate pair.
- Bring a backpack for all your camera gear – again you need your hands while climbing up to the viewpoint.
- As you can spend a whole day on the site we would recommend to bring some water (in addition there are several small cafes where you can buy some tea or refreshments).
- Petra by night is only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays – unfortunately we haven’t seen it.
We wanted to arrive in Petra already at the day before our actual visit and so we stayed 1 night at the Mövenpick Resort Petra which is directly located at the entrance of the Petra visitor center. If you stay at this hotel don’t expect too much, the service and food was really good but you can see that the hotel itself and its rooms haven’t been renovated over the last years. Nevertheless, we would recommend you this hotel, because its location is unbeatable and has the best requirements to be among the first visitors at the Petra site.
We started our visit at 6am in the morning and were one of the first people at the visitor center. We didn’t have a guide as we wanted to explore the site by ourselves. The way from the visitor center to the Treasury takes about 20 minutes and there is only one possible way, so you can’t go wrong. It’s an easy walk through the impressive canyon called Siq.
Below you can see the official map of the whole Petra site. You can get a free copy at the visitor center when buying your tickets. You can see all relevant spots on the map. But note: the famous viewpoint is not marked on the map. It would approximately be where the picture of the Treasury is located.
Official map of the city of Petra
Don’t be tempted and take a lot of pictures on your way in, as you don’t want to waste your time there and you want to be the first one at the Treasury. We know the canyon looks beautiful but you can get your pictures on your way out (without any people in it as well and the light in the afternoon is far better!).
On our way through the Siq (picture taken on our way out)
After following the way through the Siq you will reach this famous viewpoint and you will catch this first glimpse of the impressive monument.
The first glimpse of the Treasury
The Treasury is the most famous spot of Petra and was one of the main movie locations for Indiana Jones. While the movie shows a labyrinth behind the impressive door of the Treasury (Indiana Jones is hoping to find the Holy Grail in there), in reality it’s only a façade with a small hall which was used as a royal tomb. As a visitor you can see the façade only, as it is not allowed to enter this hall.
The Treasury looks stunning from every perspective
While exploring the area around the Treasury a local Bedouin started talking with us and offered us to bring us up to the famous viewpoint to see the Treasury from above. This unofficial way up the rocky hill took around 20 minutes (my long white dress caused a delay of 5 minutes 🙂 ) and it’s definitely not an easy walk. There are a lot of rocky and slippery parts where you need to use your hands and where you have to climb. This path is not accessible without any local guide as it is not marked and not recognizable for tourists. There is another official trek which takes around 1 hour to get to the same viewpoint. The view from above is breathtaking and worth the effort!
The Treasury from above
Essential topolindra travel tips for the perfect picture:
- The red carpet on the picture belongs to the small shop right at the viewpoint (we even brought our own little blanket just in case, but we didn’t use it as the carpet was perfect)
- Our Bedouin guide told us that we were beyond lucky to have the viewpoint just to ourselves. During high season (starting around April) hundreds of people are up at the viewpoint and sometimes you have to queue up to 30 minutes to get to the spot and to take your pictures. So be prepared that it might be crowded – and I won’t tell you that we had this place for more than 1 hour just for ourselves 😉
- To get the perfect shot from above some additional climbing might be necessary: our Bedouin guide did the (not really safe) climbing for us to get the perfect picture.
Only the locals know the best spot to take the perfect pictures
To find your way down again you need again the help of a local Bedouin and so we continued exploring the area and took another way down. We hiked about another 1,5 hours and came across amazing viewpoints overlooking the whole site of Petra.
Enjoying the scenery at one of the local coffee shops
Amazing viewpoints along the hike
Besides the Treasury there are several other impressive locations to explore: the Royal tombs, the Monastery and various viewpoints. We spent around 8 hours exploring the whole area and were fascinated that there are so many different things to see!
Exploring the Royal tombs
We fell in love with all the different shades of sandstone
Our visit of Petra was the perfect ending for a perfect trip to Jordan. We really fell in love with the country, its people, its food and its hospitality. There are many more things to explore and we cannot wait to visit this country again – see you soon Jordan!
Note: this is not a sponsored blog post.