Distances are small in Jordan, and the landscapes are hugely varied. A couple of hours' travel could see you losing or gaining hundreds of metres in altitude and moving in quick succession from village to city and forest to desert.

Jordan Itinerary 1: A weekend in Amman

Two days to sample the capital, from history to art to fine dining.

Day One: 1 Downtown breakfast

Spurn the delights of your hotel buffet and go for a traditional Jordanian breakfast of hot beans, flatbread and scalding sweet tea at Hashem.

2 Jordan Museum

Lose yourself in the country’s best museum, amid fascinating displays on history, art and culture.

3 Citadel Hill

The ruins of this early-Islamic hilltop palace make for a fine contrast with the buzzing modern city.

4 Dinner

Head to Rainbow Street and take your pick: fine dining, salads and wraps, hot dogs and pizza – or falafel and tea.

Day Two: 1 Art galleries

Devote a morning to exploring Jabal Al Lweibdeh’s art, from the National Gallery to funkier contemporary spaces.

2 Cave of the Seven Sleepers

Venture out to this pilgrimage spot in the far-flung outskirts for a fresh take on the city.

3 Royal Automobile Museum

This fine collection of vintage vehicles, amassed by the late King Hussein, is a fascinating way to learn more about Jordan’s modern history.

4 Dinner

Time for some posh Arabic nosh. Sample the top-quality cuisine of Fakhr el-Din or Tannoureen – or head out of town to comfortable, informal Zuwwadeh.

Jordan Itinerary 2: Jordan's great outdoors

See the best of Jordan’s dazzlingly varied landscapes in a week of travel between deserts, forests, mountains and seas.

1 Ajloun Forest

Head north of Amman into the forested highlands for long walks in quiet countryside, home-cooked food and community crafts projects.

2 Umm Qais

Jordan’s northernmost point offers panoramic views out over the Sea of Galilee and Golan Heights, set among rolling green hills and plunging valley gorges.

3 Dead Sea

Float your cares away at the world’s largest open-air spa, situated 400m below sea level at the lowest point on Earth.

4 Dana

Don’t miss this tranquil highland village of stone cottages and yawning vistas out over rocky domes and soaring cliffs. Walk, camp, daydream – you won’t want to leave.

5 Aqaba

Head south for some of the Red Sea’s best-preserved coral reefs and greatest marine biodiversity.

6 Wadi Rum

Legendary desertscapes – red dunes, granite cliffs, hidden springs and ancient inscriptions. Take it all in with a night or two under the stars at a bedouin camp.

7 Azraq

Drive out across empty desert to reach Jordan’s only oasis, offering birdwatching and desert tours.

Jordan Itinerary 3: Culture and history

Cover the cream of Jordan’s ancient sites, from Roman cities to the majestic Petra.

1 Amman

Start your explorations in the Jordanian capital, replete with biblical history, Roman architecture and fascinating Islamic ruins.

2 Umm Qais

Visit the stupendously located Roman city of Gadara, high above the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus performed the Miracle of the Gadarene Swine.

3 Umm al-Jimal

Far out in the black volcanic desert north of Amman sit the evocative ruins of this frontier Roman town, with fine architectural detail surviving.

4 “Desert Castles”

Take a day to explore this fascinating string of early-Islamic forts, bathhouses and caravanserais east of Amman on a convenient, easy-to-navigate loop of roads.

5 Madaba

Start out in this genial Christian town, packed with Byzantine mosaic art, then head to nearby Mount Nebo, where Moses gazed over the Promised Land, and Mukawir, where John the Baptist lost his head.

6 Shobak

Further south, this was the Crusader headquarters in Jordan – a virtually impregnable hilltop fortress.

7 Petra

Last but not least, visit the legendary "rose-red city" of the Nabateans, lost for centuries, but still full of the power to amaze.

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