Jordan archaeology holiday, Beyond Petra

“Two days in Petra allows travellers to explore a little deeper with Jerash, Wadi Rum and city tours of Amman adding to a cultural itinerary that's set at a distinctly relaxed pace.”


Amman | the ‘Desert Loop’ | archaeological museum in Irbid | Umm Qais, Pella and Iraq al Amir castles | Jerash | Aljoun Castle | King's Highway | Madaba | Mount Nebo | the Dead Sea | Petra | Wadi al Mujib | Al Karak and Al Shawbak castles | Wadi Rum | ‘Little Petra’ | Aqaba | Red Sea | Optional activities include snorkelling in the Red Sea |

Description of Jordan archaeology holiday, Beyond Petra

This twelve day Jordan archaeology holiday takes a one week cultural visit to Jordan, visiting its extraordinary heritage wonders such as Petra and Jerash but also then digs deeper. Because for people who are passionate about ancient archaeology, fleeting visits to see these great sites is rarely enough.

This small group tour, with an expert guide throughout, begins in the Desert Loop where a panoply of castles and forts such as Qasr al- Hallabat, Qasr El Kharraneh and Qusayr 'Amra are the best preserved of the desert castles, dating back as far as 661 AD. Here your guide will walk and talk you through the restorations made to these extraordinary desert constructions, from Roman times to current day.

We also take quality time to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Petra, with two full days taking it all in on foot and on horseback. We also spend a good amount exploring the ancient Decapolis cities of Jerash and Umm Qais as well as the extraordinary City of Mosaics at Madaba. The journey to Madaba is one of the most superb of the trip, following the ancient King’s Highway, an artery stretching from Irbid in the north to Aqaba in the south, winding its way through farmland, desert, mountains and canyons.

This holiday itinerary also includes visits to two archaeological museums, one in Irbid, which is home to the famous Ain Ghazal statues dating back to Neolithic times. And then, of course, the National Archaeology Museum in Amman, the ancient and modern capital and one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world.

It’s not all ruins and restorations on this holiday, however, with journeys through Jordan’s natural heritage too. Such as the Dead Sea, the Red Sea at Aqaba and Wadi Rum where the red mountains, sculptured rocks and giant plains merit the Bedouin name "The Valley of the Moon". We take a night camping with the Bedouin here too. From digs to diving to deserts, this Jordan trip is both dramatic and in depth.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700


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Our top tip:
Make time for the National Museum in Amman and prepare yourself for some long and hot walks in Petra. Also, when changing money, make sure you ask for notes smaller than 50JD including 1s for tips.
Trip type:
Small group. Avg 12. Min age 16.
Activity level:
Moderate. Cultural sightseeing and walks within hot conditions.
10 nights 3-star hotels, 1 night 4-star hotel, all en-suite.
Accommodation, transport, listed activities, entrance fees and tour leader throughout.
All breakfasts and 1 dinner.
Solos welcome. Single room supplements apply.
Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Jordan archaeology holiday, Beyond Petra

Accommodation and Meals:
You will spend 11 nights in 3-star hotels with en suite rooms and 1 night in a Wadi Rum desert camp. Bedouin people are employed to run the camp, so we know we are directly benefiting local communities with our business. The hotels are also locally staffed as per law in Jordan, so our stay here is also in support of local employment. Where meals are provided, ingredients will be sourced from a local market wherever possible. Clients may eat a ‘zarb’ (where food is slow cooked underground) at the Bedouin camp and there will also be plenty of chance to eat in restaurants selling ‘mezze’ style specialties like kebabs, fresh salads, and bread with hummus.

Local Craft and Culture:
Usually guides take clients to the market on the day going from Petra to Wadi Rum or Aqaba. This is a great cultural experience where clients can buy their own vegetables and fruit and even see how some meals are prepared- like falafel. We also visit the ancient city of Jerash, Madaba, the Dead Sea, and the fortified town of Kerak, but the cultural highlight of the trip for many is the visit to UNESCO World Heritage city, Petra. There is a full day here to explore the ancient, rose-coloured rock-cut architecture including El Khazneh (the treasury) and El Deir (the Monastery). There are some local handicrafts and souvenirs available here like hand painted ceramics, jewellery and vases filled with coloured sand. Clients can also support the community by purchasing donkey or horse rides from local people.

We try to minimise litter as much as possible and are careful to emphasise that clients should not damage or remove pieces from any historical sites we visit. As we hire local guides as well as Bedouin guides, we can ensure that our activity has a positive effect on the economy and that our clients take away some of their passion and knowledge of Jordan. Our guides are trained in responsible travel issues and will be able to convey these in briefings.

UK Office
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Group size
We operate small group tours that have a low impact on the communities we visit and we always ensure our operations do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. This allows us to stay in unique and characterful accommodation that would not have benefitted from tourism due to their limited size.

1 Reviews of Jordan archaeology holiday, Beyond Petra

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 13 Nov 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

So many to choose from but Petra by candlelight, swimming in the dead sea and snorkling in the red sea are the ones that come to mind first.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Make sure to take advantage of snorkling in the dead sea, do the hike to the high sacrifice place in Petra where you will be rewarded with an amazing view of the treasury and maybe add an extra day or so to your holiday to do some of your own exploring in downtown Amman (and have dinner at hashem's - a remarkably down-to-earth falafel restaurant but worth the visit)

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We attended local restaurants and went to a few shops that we were told were community based businesses.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Unbelievable - we had an amazing time - it lived up to expectations (despite a few niggles wih regard to accomodation in a couple of locations). The guide (Sami) was extremely knowledgeable and the other travellers we met on the tour were a delight to spend time with in a truely remarkable country.

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