So you have chosen to visit Jordan this winter, and are wondering how to make the most of your trip (while staying warm)?
– Don’t worry! There are plenty of options for sightseeing, hiking, and having an overall amazing experience.
Winter is in many respects a great season to visit Jordan. While in summer most places are crowded with tourists, and the blazing sun can make being outdoors uncomfortable, you can avoid both of these inconveniences by planning your trip during the months between November and March. This time of the year is especially perfect for activities such as hiking, since the temperatures are low enough that even long hikes on the desert trails become possible. For example the route from Little Petra to Petra is a fantastic one to consider: Rated among the top hikes in the world by National Geographic, it has you enter Petra via the lesser travelled ‘back door’ route, meaning you are able to enjoy and explore the beautiful and wild landscape, as well as many other attractions on the way, without the heavy traffic of thousands of fellow tourists. It also incorporates the phenomenal site (and sight!) of Petra with a real grasp of cultural and historical places and traditions, which is why your trip will become a true experience.
While in Petra, you perhaps also want to take the time for a visit to Petra kitchen, where you can learn to cook traditional meals with local women. This is a fantastic opportunity to engage with locals, sample delicious dishes, and learn more about the fundamental importance of food and hospitality in Jordanian culture.
Also besides Petra there is much sightseeing possible in the colder season, both in- and outdoors:
A trip to Madaba for example, could include visits to several (heated) museums and churches, as well as a stroll on nearby Mount Nebo. The view over the Holy Land is best at this time of the year, when the dust in the air has been washed away by the winter rains. There is a renovated church on top of the mountain, boasting an array of beautiful mosaics, and on the road up to/down from the site itself you can visit the best folklore museum in Jordan: La Storia. In Madaba there are different churches that are also worth stopping by – above all the Church of St George accommodating the oldest existing map of the region. …and since Madaba is a predominantly Christian town, a December trip can incorporate the sighting of sparkling Christmas trees too!
Another great option is to travel to the Dead Sea. Due to the low altitude, the climate in this region is much warmer than in the rest of Jordan, and the opportunities for relaxation are unrivaled. Even if you find it too chilly to swim in the sea, many of the hotels have heated pools, plus the spas are heavenly- treat yourself!
And last but not least, there are also in the city of Amman many things to keep you occupied such as art galleries, restaurants, cafes, cultural centers, concerts, historical sites, or local markets.
Practically, if you are visiting between December and February: Do pack WARM CLOTHES! Although it may seem that the temperature is higher in Jordan than your home country, the feel of the temperature can be quite different – and there can even be snow! Layers are advisable, as it means you can react flexibly to changing temperatures (day/night, inside/outside), plus a decent coat, sturdy shoes, and warm socks.
Indoor heating may be different than what you are used to from your home country as well. In Jordan we have room heaters (hot water carrying wall units), AC units (that are also able to blow hot air), and space heaters (electric or gas) as primary heat sources. Unfortunately, houses walls and windows are very often poorly isolated. This means even inside buildings re often rthat the floors are quite cold. Warm slippers in your suitcase are advisable. If you often get cold at night it would be be good to have a hot water bottle as well.
Preparation is key, so be sure to check the weather forecast before you come for any signs of rain/snow!