Amman in Jordan is possibly the most chilled capital I’ve ever been in!
Arriving here from Cairo, I could scarcely believe it when I woke up to find myself in the most, relaxed, stress-free and quiet of cities, where life rarely even seems to stir before 10am!
But once it does get going, there’s actually a surprising amount to do in Jordan’s cute capital and, with it being so small, most things are even within easy walking distance – my favourite!
As such, I actually ended up spending over a week in Amman (ha!) and while you might not hang around for that long, it’s likely that you’ll spend at least a few days in this city on your arrival in and / or departure from Jordan.
But, a word of warning!
Most travellers start by saying they’ll spend just a few days in Amman, but as they relax into this country’s way of life and inevitably meet other travellers in this Middle Eastern hub, it’s amazing how the days roll into each other!
So if Jordan is on your travel horizon, check out these 13 epic things to do in Amman – the perfect travel guide to your time in the very loveable Jordinian capital.
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#1 Explore the Souk
Amman’s lovely Souk sits in the centre of town and is a great place to pick up, well, just about anything you could need!
With an amazing array of fresh fruits and veggies, nuts and dried fruits, clothes, electrical bits and beauty products, it’s the place to head if you’ve forgotten anything when you packed!
There’s also some wonderful coffee shops situated within its many streets and taking time to refuel at one of these and watch the action pass you by is a great way to get into the spirit of Amman.
And it goes without saying, that the photo opps in this Middle Eastern market are pretty good too!
All in all, exploring the souk is definitely one of the best things to do in Amman.
#2 Visit the Blue Mosque
Visiting the Blue Mosque in Amman, otherwise known as the King Abdullah Mosque, is definitely one of the top entries on my “what to do in Amman” list.
Holding an impressive 7,000 potential worshippers, this gorgeous structure is the only mosque in the city that welcomes non-Muslim visitors.
Heading here may give you your first direct insight into the primary religion of the Jordanian people and the blue dome that gives this mosque its nickname is very beautiful indeed.
Built in the 1980s, and named after the first king, just remember that if you are coming to visit this impressive domed mosque, you need to be appropriately dressed – men in long trousers and women with a headscarf.
There’s also a museum attached to the mosque that celebrates the King’s life with a number of his personal possessions on display.
#3 Climb to the Citadel
One of my favourite things to do in Amman is to climb up the Roman Citadel, which sits on a hill peering down over the city.
And while the ruins of this ancient outpost are ok, it’s really the views from its elevated position that make it worth the hike!
The cheapest way to visit Amman’s Citadel is with the Jordan Pass – an online attraction ticket you should buy in advance of your visit to this country.
Including your visa fee, free entry to Petra, as well as a whole heap of other attractions around the city, such as the Citadel, with the Jordan Pass you can get into this hilltop attraction for free!
Learn more in this post I wrote.
Evidence of inhabitation at this site dates back to the Neolithic period, which makes it one of the oldest continually inhabited places on earth!
Nowadays, it’s the Roman and Byzantine ruins that remain, as well as an archaeological museum that was built in the 1950s.
#4 Discover the Jordan Museum
And on the subject of museums, Jordan’s newest addition sadly isn’t included in the Jordan Pass, but it’s well worth the reasonable entrance free and is certainly one of the top things to see in Amman.
With tons of interactive displays, interesting exhibits and its trump card – some of the Dead Sea Scrolls – this is the one museum you should definitely visit if you’re interested in learning more about the incredibly rich history of the country of Jordan and its people.
Located in the Ras Al-Ein district of Amman, this is the largest museum in the country and boasts an impressive collection of archaeological finds, including some of the oldest known human statues in the world, the Ain Ghazal statues, which are thought to be almost 10,000 years old!
Open every day except Tuesday, tickets for the museum cost 5JD and can be bought onsite.
#5 Marvel at the Roman Theatre
Sticking with the history vibe, checking out the extremely well-preserved Roman Theatre, which literally sits in the heart of Amman, is a great thing to do in this city, especially if you have the Jordan Pass, because here again, entry is free!
If you’re staying at Jordan Tower Hostel, then the Roman Theatre is literally next door, otherwise, it’s just a few minutes walk from the main street and the Souk.
There’s a small museum attached to the theatre included in the entrance price and while the signage isn’t great, it’s amazing to be able to scale the seats and stalls of a place that humans have been visiting for hundreds of years.
The fact it’s centrally located in a modern capital city is also pretty cool!
#6 Visit the Oldest Building in Amman
When it comes to things to newer things to see in Amman, you absolutely can’t miss the oldest building in the modern city, which is thought to have been built in 1924.
Formerly the Central Post Office, and later a Hotel, Duke’s Diwan (as it is called) is a wonderfully well-preserved, stone building that’s become an architectural treasure.
Visitors and artists are welcome to step inside – indeed the word Diwan references the Arabic word for the room of the house always open to guests – so beautifully typical of this culture.
Located at 12 King Faisal Street, this is definitely one of the top places to go in Amman if you fancy a walk down history lane.
#7 Snap the Colourful Streets
There’s some really fun and funky streets to discover in Amman and just taking yourself for a wander in the city can be a great way to stumble upon them.
But, if you weren’t aware, the capital is built across a series of hills, meaning a wander can also turn into a hike!
Add to this the thin, winding and often cobbled streets of this city, and getting lost here as a traveller is almost guaranteed!
But that’s ok, because this safe city is kind of the perfect place for it and, in doing so, you never know what beautiful treats you might stumble upon.
My favourite was the umbrella stairway – let me know if you find it too!
Another colourful street – Rainbow Street – is also a top pick on my “where to go in Amman” list.
#8 Treat Yourself at Wild Jordan
One of the city’s best cafes, a trip to Wild Jordan is one of Amman’s must-do things.
Not super easy on the budget to be fair, it is worth however stopping by even just for a juice or a coffee to take in one of the best views of the capital – spoiler alert, it has a glass front and is located on a hill!
A non-profit organisation that finances and protects many of Jordan’s national reserves, Wild Jordan do a great job and it’s worth supporting them.
Plus, their café makes for a great digital nomad spot and the staff will happily let you sit there and work for hours… trust me!
#9 Feast on Hashem Falafels
And while we’re on the food vibe, it’s hard to talk about the best things to do in Amman without mentioning the famous Hashem eatery!
Supposedly a favourite of the King of Jordan, this long-standing family kitchen is renowned for its amazing falafels and I can definitely testify to the fact they are delicious.
Served night and day, and accompanied by yummy hummus, tea and ful, tucking in for a least one meal here while you’re in Amman is almost a rite of passage!
This is an absolute must when it comes to places to eat in Amman and it won’t cost you the earth either.
Open every day, swing by for a great lunch or dinner and some top local people watching.
#10 Get Your Sweet Tooth Fix
And after Hashem, it’s all about heading to the local hotspot of Habibah Knafeh for, yes you guessed it, knafeh!
A typical middle-eastern dessert comprising of a noodle-like pastry soaked in sweet syrup, knafeh is then typically layered with cheese and topped with nuts.
Personally, it’s way too sweet for me, but most people go wild for it!
I don’t really need to relay to you where Habibah Knafeh is, a) because it’s right near Hashem and b) because you’ll see the huge queues that line the road!
But just in case you somehow can’t locate it, then this top spot to get your knafeh fix can be found on Al-Hazzar Street.
#11 Day Trip to Jerash
Ok, so granted this one isn’t in Amman itself, but Jerash – an incredibly well-preserved Roman City – is an easy bus ride away and is a must-see from the capital.
Taking around an hour to get here from the city, Jerash makes for an easy day trip from Amman, but do make sure you set out early in the morning as you’ll want at least a few hours to explore all of these amazing ruins.
The local minivans that run to Jerash also won’t depart Amman until they are all full, so heading here early will give you plenty of time if the journey does take a bit longer to get going than you’d hoped!
Jerash is absolutely one of the best places to go in Amman, if not the whole of Jordan, so check out this top day trip if you’d rather a hotel pick up /drop off and transport in an aircon van with an English-speaking driver.
#12 Float at the Dead Sea
Another out-of-town suggestion, I couldn’t resist squeezing this one in as it really was a highlight of my time in Amman.
Honestly, who knew floating could be so fun!
Hard to get to on public transport however, the best way to float in the Dead Sea is one of the budget-friendly tours organised by Jordan Tower Hostel.
This hostel groups backpackers together and arranges a driver and transport too, making it the best and easiest way to experience this crazy salt lake for yourself.
Also included in the Jordan Towers Dead Sea trip are the nearby sites of Mount Nebo and the Madaba Mosaics, as well as some seriously panoramic drives and lookouts.
Paired with a local driver, the tours are also a great way to learn more about regular life in Jordan and to get some top tips on the best places to eat, shop and drink tea too!
Otherwise, if you want to book something in advance, or spend the whole day at the Dead Sea, check out this top-rated day tour from Amman that gives you plenty of time to float and enjoy a mud bath at this high-mineral content sea.
#13 Shisha Up!
And after all that activity, you’ll be more than ready to chill out at the end of your time in Amman.
So why not do as the locals do and head out to smoke some shisha?
While you can buy alcohol in Jordan, it’s certainly not prevalent, but smoking flavoured tobacco definitely is… and it’s cheap too.
Numerous cafes line the streets of Amman, from where you can head up to the rooftop to enjoy Shisha with a fruit juice or coffee and a view over the city – perfection!
Word of warning, shisha does contain nicotine, however, as well as carbon monoxide, tar and other toxins, so is addictive.
When to Visit Jordan?
No question in my mind that you should definitely visit Jordan during the spring and autumn seasons i.e. from April to May and September to November.
This will allow you to get the most from the country’s lovely historical and natural sites without being either too hot or too cold!
How to Get to Jordan?
Most people access Jordan by flying into the international airport in the capital Amman.
As always, I use Skyscanner to find the best prices.
If you are crossing into Amman overland from Jerusalem, check out this post which details all the ins and outs of crossing this border.
Best Budget Accommodation in Amman
In case you weren’t aware, Jordan isn’t, unfortunately, as cheap as you may imagine to travel in.
This means even the price of budget accommodation here is likely to surprise you… and not in a good way.
In Amman, there’s several choices and while some of the cheapest options might at first seem appealing, my advice would be to spend a few dollars more a night and rest your head at Jordan Tower Hostel.
With an awesome location, delicious breakfasts and spotlessly clean, the dorms here are the best deal.
Otherwise, if you want some space, request a private room with a balcony!
I ended up staying in Jordan Tower Hostel for the 10 days I was in Amman and was really pleased with the opportunities it gave me to meet other travellers as well as locals.
Alternatively, for something a bit more comfortable, check out this excellent value hotel…
The Dali House has private rooms and apartments in an incredibly central location and offers superb comfort and service, making it a real bargain find.
Travel Safety in Amman, Jordan
Which leads me on nicely to talking about travel safety in Amman.
Having travelled all across Jordan as a solo female, I’m happy to say I found adventuring in this Middle Eastern country incredibly safe.
Staying at Jordan Towers, I met loads of other great travellers and we even teamed up on some trips to make things more fun and cheaper too!
As safe as it is however, I would never think of travelling to Jordan without proper coverage and always recommend travel insurance from World Nomads which I’ve used during my time in this country and throughout the Middle East.
I love their great coverage of hiking activities – crucial for travel in a country like Jordan – as well as their excellent customer service and ability to claim online, which is very handy if you’re travelling in remote places for a long time.
Other tips when it comes to staying safe in Jordan include getting a local SIM card, making sure you stay hydrated and dressing appropriately.
Learn more about what to wear in Jordan here.
4 Packing Essentials for Jordan
#1 Camera – I love my Sony A6000 mirrorless camera, which I can’t recommend enough for adventurous travellers. Light, compact and easy to use, this is a must if you want to snap some amazing pics of Jordan’s epicness.
#2 Thin Pants – Jordan is a predominantly Muslim country and while it’s not super strict, I wouldn’t advise walking around in shorts in Amman, and definitely not if you want to visit any Mosques. As such, a pair of thin, long pants, like this would be great for your time in the city.
#3 Sweater – I didn’t realise, but Amman does get cool in the evenings (outside of the summer months) so bringing a light, thin sweater, like this, which you can throw on when the sun goes down, is a great idea.
#4 Day Pack – There’s so many historical sites in Jordan, that you’re likely to be doing at least a few days of fairly exhausting sightseeing while you’re here. As such, I highly recommend bringing a good day pack with you, so that you can comfortably carry your camera, water, sunscreen and guidebook hands-free. As always, the Bobby Anti Theft Backpack is my go-to!
SAVE IT TO PINTEREST!
So there you have it, my list of the 13 best things to do in Amman, the capital of Jordan.
Is this little Middle Eastern beauty on your bucket list yet?
It definitely should be – I loved my time there!
Let me know all your plans, or any questions you have, by putting them into the comments box below…