Discover the best tips for visiting Petra below.
Petra is one of the most majestic and mesmerizing places on earth. It truly deserves its spot as one of the 7 World Wonders and is a place everyone should visit once in their lifetime. This stunning archaeological site is located in Jordan and is one of the most famous in the world. It is home to an entire city that has survived the test of time and it is out of this world.
Keep reading for a complete guide and tips for visiting Petra.
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In This Post
What is Petra
Petra is a world-famous archeological site that dates back to 300 B.C. when it was the capital city of the Nabataeans Kingdom. It was once home to over 250,000 people and was a thriving and very advanced city. It is now one of the 7 Wonders of the World due to its advanced city systems, designs, and architecture.
Today, it is open to the public to explore archeological sites and structures. Surprisingly to most people, the lost city of Petra is HUGE! Most think it is just the famous Treasury (the main temple built into the rocks) but there is SO much more to it.
The entrance price is 50 JD (67.72€) or INCLUDED in the Jordan Pass (more about this in the tips section).
Tips for Visiting Petra:
- At the entrance, people will say a horse ride is included in your ticket. They will give you a horse ride and demand a “tip” so don’t do it.
- The animals in Petra are NOT treated well. Camels, donkeys, horses. Do not ride them and support unethical treatments.
- The entrance price is 50 JD (67.72€) or INCLUDED in the Jordan Pass (More about this at the end of the article)
- Budget around 4-5 hours to see as much of Petra as you can. You won’t nearly see all of it but quite a bit.
- Hours: 6 AM – 6 PM in summer and 6 AM – 4 PM in winter.
There are quite a few tours that will bring you here. The one below is the one I joined for visiting all the hot spots of Jordan and I HIGHLY recommend it.
How to Get to Petra
The two best ways to get to Petra are:
- Renting a Car
- Joining a Tour
Renting a car is a great option if you want to arrive on your own time. It is best to rent a car from the capital Aman as this is where there are the most options. Be sure to have data for the drive to navigate your way with ease.
If you are not comfortable driving or want to maximize your time in Jordan by ticking off a few bucket list adventures in a limited amount of time a tour is best. I joined the tour called “Amman: Petra, Wadi Rum, and Dead Sea 2-Day Tour” by Jordan Private Tours and Travel and it was amazing!
14 Essential Tips for Visiting Petra, Jordan
Buy the Jordan Pass
The Jordan Pass is a complete sightseeing and entrance package for visitors to Jordan. It is best if you are a visitor from a Western country as you will get the most out of your money. Important! Be sure to purchase this pass BEFORE arrival.
The Jordan Pass provides free entrance to over 40 attractions in Jordan, a 1-day visit to Petra, and waves the entrance visa fees. The price for the basic package is 70JD (94.37€). Without the Jordan Pass, you will pay the visa fee of 40 JD(53.93€), and the entrance fee to Petra of 50 JD (67.41€). Even with just these two things you save money with the Jordan Pass.
For more information and to look into if this is right for you check out the Official Jordan Pass Website.
Wear Comfortable Shoes
Petra is HUGE! Many people expect a small attraction easy to explore, but it is much bigger than you can imagine. In fact, walking from one end to the other takes around 1 – 1.5 hours walking pretty quickly. In addition to this, the terrain is rough: many rocks, uneven ground, and slippery steps. Wearing comfortable shoes is a must.
Prepare to Walk a Lot
In order to see as much of the lost city as you can be prepared to walk a ton! You will likely spend 4-8 hours in Petra, which seems outrageous at first but with all the walking and different things to see the time flies by. Prepare to spend hours on your feet and walk quite a bit.
Skip the Animals
I’ve been told by many Jordanian locals that the animals in Petra are not treated well at all. The mistreatment is evident if you look at the animal’s skin and overall conditions, it’s incredibly sad. Therefore, it is best to skip all animal rides and offers. This includes: camel rides in front of the Treasury, horse rides into Petra, Donkey rides up the mountain, and more.
Beware of the Locals
The locals in Petra are very pushy about just about everything. Upon entrance, the locals will tell you that you get a free horse ride into Petra and that it’s free “included in your ticket”. However, once you are done they will demand a big tip. There is also a very famous viewpoint in Petra that looks at the Treasury from above. The locals will tell you that they MUST guide you and you have to pay to go up. I found these locals very pushy and opted against it, even though I had wanted to see the view!
It is good to be aware of what’s to come to not fall into any traps that locals can convince you of.
Go as Early as Possible
Like any famous place, Petra can get SUPER busy! Especially from 10 AM onwards. If you want to view this magical place with few people around it is best to get there as early as possible – like the opening hour!
The hours are 6 AM – 6 PM in summer and 6 AM – 4 PM in winter. Arriving at 6 AM gives you the best chance to enjoy Petra in its most authentic and still form.
Bring Water & Snacks
Although there are snacks and drinks for sale in Petra they are very overpriced. It’s a good idea to bring in your own water and some snacks so you don’t have to pay 5x the price for the same thing you could buy just outside. You will need water and snacks since visiting Petra is a full-day event.
Prepare for at least 6 Hours
As previously mentioned, Petra is a huge attraction that takes hours to fully see. Be sure to plan for a minimum of 6 hours and if you want more time budget that accordingly. Many people buy 2 or 3-day tickets so they can explore slowly and completely.
There’s no Dress Code
Petra doesn’t enforce a strict dress code, unlike many other attractions in Jordan. However, it is still the middle east and the culture and norms are much more modest here. Wearing something slightly more modest than western standards is a good rule of thumb to be respectful even when there are no rules forcing you to be.
I think a dress that covers your knees and something to cover your shoulders is best.
Walk to the Monastery
The Monastery is the furthest and most difficult place to get to in Petra but 100% worth the effort. This is a cliff-carved temple that looks quite similar to the Treasury but is MUCH less busy. Getting here requires around 45 minutes of walking uphill and is quite the hike.
Skip a Guide
There are many locals around the entrance who will offer to guide you through Petra for the day but it is best to skip these. Even if you go with a tour your driver will most likly let you go in and explore on your own which is much more enjoyable.
Visit Petra by Night
Petra by night (pictured above) is an occasional event experience that only runs Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 20:30 – 22:30. It is a time when you can enjoy the magic of Petra after dark. The only source of light is thousands of candles which makes the entire adventure all the most exciting and magical. The entrance price for this is 17 JD (23€).
Bring Your Passport
The ticket counter will sometimes ask for your passport when entering Petra so it is best to have it on hand in case you need to show it!
Do Research Before Visiting
If you are reading this post you are well on your way to gathering enough information before you visit. However, there is so much more to learn and read about. Researching the lost city before visiting makes the experience all the more exciting and enjoyable. Luckily there is a ton of information online you can search through for a brief or thorough history!
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