One of the main tourist attractions in the Middle East, Petra is an absolute must during a trip to Jordan. For many centuries, the Nabatean city carved in the stone was a well-kept secret. Now that it’s open to visitors from all over the world, it still hasn’t lost its mystic charm.
If you have only one day in Petra, go through the narrow gorge called Al-Siq to the most famous sight—the Treasury (Al-Khazneh). Go past the Royal Tombs, the Street of Facades, the Theatre and the Great Temple to the end of the main trail and mount a few hundred steps to the Monastery (Ad-Deir). Don’t go back the same way—instead, follow the path to the High Place of Sacrifice. If you still have time, also take the short way up the Al-Khubtha Trail to the magnificent viewpoint, overlooking the Treasury.
The Treasury – the most popular place in Petra.
It’s worth climbing up the steps to the Monastery.
Nevertheless, the above itinerary may be hard to accomplish during short, winter days. I strongly recommend you to buy at least a 2-day ticket to Petra and enjoy all the sights without the unnecessary rush. Exploring less known parts of Petra is a pleasure in itself, and taking longer trails like the one to Little Petra or even to remote Jabal Haroun, feels like more of an adventure.
The tickets to Petra are expensive, but they’re worth it. If you plan to stay in Jordan for at least a few days, consider buying the Jordan Pass before you go; it includes both a visa to the country, as well as an entry ticket to Petra and many other sites.
PS: Petra by Night is a tourist trap. The Treasury indeed looks beautiful, but the whole experience is tedious and painfully overpriced. I can’t believe I fell for this!
PS 2: Please, please don’t ride camels or donkeys unless you’re a person with some kind of disability. Seriously, it’s lame. And you’re not supporting the economy this way—you’re just hurting the animals.
The higher you go, the fewer tourists you pass by.