Amman is the capital of Jordan, one of the most visited and beautiful cities in the Middle East, where you can find tones of historical and cultural sites, beautiful sunny weather, and warm and welcoming people. Jordan is a country I always wanted to visit and particularly Amman because the airport is easy to access and there are a lot of flights from different places in Europe. Amman Airport is the main and largest airport in the country. As a budget traveler, it is cheaper to access bigger airports as there are many flights and the competition is higher among the airlines.
Before I get into details about my trip to Jordan, I would love to share with you a few interesting facts about the country, the culture, and what to expect when you first visit.
Jordan is a country located in the Middle East, with neighboring countries Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Iraq, Israel, and Syria. The country has a strategic location as being the crossroad for Christians, Muslims, and Jewish. Jordan has been part of the Ottoman Empire until 1918 and later in 1946 became an independent kingdom. Jordan is known as one of the most liberal countries in the Arab world, and also has shown a commitment to maintaining peace and stability in the region. The capital of the country is Amman, once named Philadelphia after Ptolemy Philadelphus, who rebuilt the city during his reign before Amman was taken by Herod and fell under the influence of Rome. The country is formally known as Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and it has its own king, who is from the family of the Hashemite.
When I first started this travel blog, I wanted to show the world that traveling on a budget is possible, and if you do it the right way, you can save a lot of money that you can put towards your next trips. Usually, when I travel, I am very organized, and I like to do my own research, book my hotels, make a list of the places I want to visit, pack my bags and go! As we all have been stuck due to the COVID-19, I’m not able to take trips now, so I rely on my latest trips I have taken. When I share my travel experience, I want to inspire you to travel more, and that traveling on a BUDGET is possible, and it is so much fun. There are budget travel destinations that you can explore and if you plan carefully you can still enjoy your vacation.
I would consider myself as a budget traveler and one of the many budget travel bloggers who want to inspire and show people that traveling on a budget is possible.
My trip to Jordan!
My trip to Jordan was a trip I planned to take from Cyprus because when I travel, I like to visit at least two to three new countries. I have flown from Paphos to Amman airport and then back on the same route. The cost of the return flight was $55 included taxes and luggage. YES, you saw it right! You can find many low-cost airlines in Europe offering cheap flights (you can even fly for 1-2 EUR when there are good promos).
About Amman Airport
Queen Alia International Airport is also known as Amman Airport is the main and the biggest airport in the country. Amman airport is named after Queen Alia, who died in a helicopter accident in 1977. It is located about 30 kilometers south of Amman and it is easily accessible by bus and taxi. If you prefer to drive, you can also rent a car from the airport.
The flight from Cyprus to Jordan was about one hour and fifteen minutes, and it was a pleasant experience (you usually don’t get meals and drinks in low-cost flights, but you can order once onboard for a few extra dollars.). Since my country is part of the countries qualifying for visa on arrival, my friend and I purchased the visa (the cost is about 55USD) from the immigration officer, and you can also pay by credit card if you don’t have cash.
After you pass immigration and take your luggage, you will see many people offering taxi services, but be careful when getting in a taxi. We took a bus, and while waiting at the bus stop, we met a Korean girl, who lives there, and she was very helpful in directions and even offered to come with us to our hotel and then show us around the city. Since this trip was more like a long weekend, we had limited time; I planned everything in advance. 😊. The first day we arrived in Amman, we had a few attractions to explore, then the second day we traveled to Petra and the third day we came back to Cyprus. The Jordan weather was beautiful, sunny, and not too hot. Keep reading I will tell you what to expect from the weather in Jordan.
Places I visited:
The Citadel, Amman Jordan
The first attraction we went to visit was the Citadel, which is a historical site located in downtown Amman. The Citadel is considered as an important historical site, occupied by many great civilizations back in the days. Around the Citadel, you will see buildings from Roman, Umayyad, and Byzantine periods. The most spectacular buildings you can find here are the Temple of Hercules, the Umayyad Palace, and the Byzantine church.
There is a small museum that you can visit and explore more of the findings throughout the years. If you get tired and need a little break, there is a small coffee shop or more like a store, that you can stop for a few minutes and enjoy an iced drink, and there is also free wifi (that doesn’t work) 😊
Roman Theater, Amman Jordan
After the Citadel, we went to see the Roman theater, which is a 6, 000 seat Roman theater from the 2nd century. The theater is a famous landmark, and it dates back from the Roman period when the city was known as Philadelphia. It’s located in the eastern part of the city, right across the hill where the Citadel is located. We had our Korean friend who showed us a shortcut from the Citadel directly leading to the theater, so we didn’t waste time. (Be friendly and find friends who will help you on the way!) An interesting fact is that the theater is now used for cultural events, musical concerts, and festivals. I recommend if you stay longer in Amman to research and check out if there are any events that you can attend. I am sure with the lights on at night, the theatre turns into a magical place.
The Currency of Jordan is Jordanian Dinar (JOD) and the exchange rate is 1 JOD to 1.41USD and 1 JOD to 1.20 EUR
It was almost 5-6 pm when we headed to the market to exchange money and find some food. It was Ramadan, where people fast during the day and only allowed to eat after 7 pm (if I am not mistaken about the exact time). Our friend told us that after 7 pm everyone is busy eating so the public transport stops and basically everything stops for an hour or so.
The Market, Amman Jordan
Keep in mind that Amman is a big city, there are a lot of people, cars, sellers all around, so it might get overwhelmed if you are not used to this kind of environment. One thing I love to explore when visiting Arab countries is the market, where you can find fresh spices, fruits, dates, even clothes, and jewelry. You will find a lot of those markets around Amman and in Jordan in general. We went to the closest to the Downtown area. I love taking photos of the market, the fresh spices, fruits, and vegetables, and every seller is welcoming you and offering you to taste their production.
If you have time, you can also visit The Jordan Museum, Jordan Archeological museum, Mount Nebo, or one of the many beautiful mosques in the city.
I have found a great place that is just a few streets away from Downtown Amman. It was a small guesthouse with no more than ten rooms, very clean and spacious rooms, and the host was very helpful and accommodating even without speaking perfect English. He prepared for us some breakfast baskets for our early morning trip to Petra. If you want to stay in a comfy place and don’t want to break the budget, check out Gallery Guesthouse Amman. We paid around 100 USD for two nights, including breakfast and free wifi, divided by two, which is around 50USD each. Lately, I have booked my hotel stays from Hotels.com because they have 1 FREE night for every ten nights you book, which is a great deal, and I recommend joining their rewards program. They also offer different discounts, I recently saw 10% OFF for teachers, or military discounts and much more, so if you need help getting any of the discounts let me know.
Jordan has four seasons and it is considered as a year-round destination. If you want to enjoy and explore all the attractions and not to worry about being too hot, then you might consider visiting in the spring between March and May, or in the fall, which is between September and November. When we visited at the end of May, it started to feel a little too hot, as the summer was approaching. I would recommend visiting Amman and Jordan in general in April or September.
If you are visiting for more than 2-3 days, I would recommend you getting the Jordan Pass, which includes free entry to more than 40 attractions, free tourist visa when you arrive, and an online guide book. The pass costs around $100 and it is totally worth it if your stay is longer than 3 days.
Stay tuned because my next post will be about my trip to Petra and I think this is one of the best places I have visited, apart from the long walk and the hot days in May, it was an amazing experience.
Have you been to Amman? Are you planning to visit anytime soon? I would love to revisit for a week or so. If you want to see more photos from my travels, please make sure you connect with me on Facebook or Instagram!