Amman and its surroundings

Amman: what to see, what to do how to get there and other useful information

Amman is the capital and largest city of Jordan: its population exceeds 4 million. It is also the city with the most pulsating heartbeat, both socially and culturally. Therefore, in
our circuits
we usually reserve a part of the time to get to know it. On this page we tell you
what to see in Amman, what to do and other information that will be of interest to you when you visit this city.

Table of Contents

Where is it and what climate is Amman

Amman is located in the north-western sector of Jordan, in an area of irregular and mountainous relief, about 50 km from the border with Israel (to the west) and about 120 km from the border with Syria (to the north).

Its climate, as in many other places in Jordan, is characterized by the great thermal oscillation between winter and summer. In winter, the days can become very cold, with the possibility of some snowfall even. In summer, there can be sweltering heat, with thermometers well above 30ºC most days.

This has to do, in Amman and in other cities of the country, with its geographical location: it is located on a plateau and the altitude in many points exceeds 800 meters above sea level, approximately. Undoubtedly, the spring months (April, May) and autumn months (October, November) are the most suitable for visiting the city from a climatic point of view, although the city welcomes visitors throughout the year and only reduces its daily rhythm during the month of Ramadan.

How to get to Amman

A bit of history

Walking through the streets of Amman, where the buildings of the twentieth century of cream and gray colors predominate (the latter due to the lack of maintenance), the traveler might think that we are facing a city of recent creation, without historical monuments. But nothing could be further from the truth: there is a lot what to see in Amman, and very old.

It is known that this territory was already populated in Neolithic times, as evidenced by the site of Ain Ghazal, located on the outskirts of the city: a settlement that has brought us spectacular sculptures in stone and plaster in the form of statuettes, datable around 8,500 BC 4,000 years before the pyramids of Egypt!

In later millennia, this territory was part of what was known as Canaan and the Ammonite kingdom. He experienced commercial contacts with the main civilizations of the time, such as the Egyptian and the Mycenaean.

The area of the current Citadel, on the Jebel al-Qala’a hill, is the part of the city that has been permanently inhabited since ancient times: since about 1800 BC, under the name of Rabat or Rabat Ammon. In fact, it is mentioned in the Old Testament and was besieged by King David.

Subsequently, it was conquered by successive invading empires, such as the Assyrians and Persians. Egypt, during the Ptolemaic dynasty, also extended its tentacles to present-day Amman. In fact, Pharaoh Ptolemy Philadelphus rebuilt it and renamed it Philadelphia, in the third century BC.

The Romans also submitted it to their rule, becoming part of the Decapolis (network of 10 Roman cities on the eastern border of the empire, among which was also
Gerasa, modern Jerash
). He lived a period of splendor, and to understand it there is no more
what to see in Amman the spectacular remains of the Roman Theatre and other great buildings. But with the fall of the Western Roman Empire, its importance also decreased, being somewhat relegated in Byzantine times.

Since the middle of the seventh century, after the Muslim conquest, Amman experienced a certain resurgence for several centuries, both with Umayyads and Abbasids, largely due to its position on one of the caravan routes of the region, which connected Damascus with Mecca. However, this slows down significantly in times of the Crusades, when the central role of the territory is assumed by Karak, from the tenth century, and when different natural disasters occur.

It will not be until the early twentieth century when Amman regains a preponderant role in the geopolitics of the area: the construction by the Ottoman Empire of the Hejaz railway, which connected Damascus and Medina, put this city back on the map, although the project declined due to the Arab revolt in 1916.

However, the twentieth century definitively gave Amman its role as capital: either under the English protectorate or as an independent kingdom since 1946, the monarchs of the Hashemite dynasty elected it to establish their court and government, until today.

Vista de la ciudad amman

What to see in Amman

The most interesting places to see in Amman are spread over its different hills, known as
. In ancient times, the city stretched for seven, but today encompasses more than a dozen. Each of them constitutes, to a large extent, a neighborhood with its own personality. Jebel Amman and Jebel al-Qala’a, the oldest nucleus of Amman, stand out for their historical and monumental importance.

This is a list of places to see in Amman, located not only in Jebel Amman but also in other neighborhoods of the city. To see them all, you will need more than one day of visit, especially if you want to enter one of its museums.

  • Citadel and historical ruins: it is located on the hill of Jebel al-Qala’a. Occupied since the Bronze Age, it preserves an extensive wall, rebuilt successively in each historical period of the city. The panoramic views are spectacular from this site, especially at sunset. Here are some of the most interesting places:
    • Temple of Hercules, built in the time of Marcus Aurelius
    • Umayyad palace, built by the Umayyads in the eighth century
    • Archaeological Museum
    • Remains of a Byzantine basilica
  • Roman Theater: Roman Amman, known as Philadelphia, was a great city in which culture occupied an important place. And proof of this is this spectacular theater, which had a capacity for about 6,000 people. It was built in the second century AD, in the time of Emperor Antoninus Pius. It enjoys an extraordinary acoustics, as can still be seen today, since performances and concerts have been organized again at present
  • Other Roman remains: the Roman Theatre is by no means the only vestige that has remained of that period of splendor of Amman. Must see Other archaeological remains to realize this, as they testify to that glorious past:
    • Roman Forum: it was one of the great public squares of Philadelphia
    • Nymphaeum: public fountain dedicated to nymphs
    • Odeon: small venue for musical performances
  • Al-Husseini Mosque: built in 1924, on the site of another historic mosque from 640 BC.
  • King Abdullah Mosque: completed in 1989, in honor of the king who precisely promoted the construction of the Al-Husseini mosque. It stands out for its spectacular blue dome and its enormous capacity: more than 7,000 people.
  • Rainbow Street: is one of the liveliest streets in the city, especially for its cafes and restaurants
  • Hijaz Railway: station with disused historical trains and a small museum, with a certain air of decadence and nostalgia that takes us to the early twentieth century
Amman Museum

Main museums what to see in Amman

Amman is undoubtedly the most interesting city in Jordan from a museum and artistic point of view. It has interesting exhibition centers, both modern creators and the past, as well as several archaeological museums with pieces of enormous value. This is a list of museums What to see in Amman if you have time:

  • Museum of Jordan: archaeological and historical museum built in 2014, which offers an excellent collection where the statuettes of Ain Ghazal, from 8,500 BC, stand out. It is also a must to learn more about the history of Petra and the Nabataeans.
  • Archaeological Museum: in the Citadel. Facilities that need to be updated, but the exhibits are of great interest to know the history and prehistory of Amman
  • Folklore Museum: modest but interesting to know ancient ways of life, such as the nomadic customs of the Bedouins or the traditional clothes of the Circassian people
  • Museum of Popular Traditions: another ethnographic museum, not only with ancient costumes but also with jewelry and mosaics from other cities of the country, such as Jerash or Madaba
  • Automobile Museum: surprising museum assembled to exhibit the personal collection of classic cars and motorcycles of King Hussein, which adds more than fifty vehicles, some of them from the first half of the twentieth century
  • Darat Al Funun: one of the best contemporary art museums in the Middle East. It represents an essential place What to see in Amman if you like plastic arts
  • National Gallery of Fine Arts of Jordan: another gallery of great interest to delve into the contemporary art of the country, highlighting painting, sculpture and pottery
  • Islamic Museum: inside the King Abdullah mosque, it displays personal objects of the said king as well as other artistic objects of Muslim theme

What to see in the surroundings

If you have enough time on your trip and can spend more than one day in this city, you will also find interesting places to see in Amman peripheral. Here is a short list of proposals:

  • Qsar al Abad: historical construction, probably from the Hellenistic period, located about 17 km from Amman, in the valley of Wadi as-Ser
  • Wadi as-Ser: fertile valley that has nothing to do with Amman, as it represents a great contrast with the arid plateau of the capital. A few kilometers from this town are the remains of a Roman aqueduct
  • Cave of the Seven Sleepers (Kahf ar-Raqim): cave in which, according to Christian tradition, seven children took refuge to escape religious persecution in the time of Emperor Trajan. Here they would have slept, miraculously, for more than three centuries.
What to Do in Amman

Things to do in Amman

Amman is one of the liveliest cities in Jordan and here the leisure plans are more varied than in other parts of the country. In recent times parties and cultural events are organized in privileged places, such as the Roman Theater or the Odeon, so we recommend you consult the tourist office (see below). The most important music festival is probably the Amman Jazz Festival, with local and international groups and artists.

For shopping, Amman is also a good destination. It has the main souks or markets in the country, among which you can mention the souk of the hardware store (metal objects), the Jara souk or the gold souk (or El-Sagha). In addition, it concentrates numerous antique shops and handicrafts, some of them from local cooperatives. And for more modern and international shopping, the great shopping center of Amman is the City Mall.

Finally, gastronomy is another attraction of Amman. Not only because of the enormous variety of restaurants, for all tastes and budgets, but also because cooking courses are organized for travelers, which introduce them to Jordanian flavors and culinary techniques. Our staff will know where to eat in Amman, what to see and where to do any of these activities.

How to get to Amman

Amman is the great gateway to the country. It has Jordan’s main international airport, Queen Alia International Airport. On our page on
How to get to Jordan
you can consult the complete list of destinations directly connected to it. To this must be added the direct flight that arrives to Amman from Aqaba, the other operational airport in Jordan.

To reach Amman by land, you will have no choice but to use the road, either by car or bus, since the railway service is very limited in the country: it only has one line from Damascus, which currently cannot be considered as a viable option.

Amman, on the other hand, is well connected by road to the rest of the country. The main bus company, JETT, has in the capital the epicenter of its network, as it could not be otherwise, and connects the city with some of the main tourist destinations, such as Aqaba, Petra, the Dead Sea or Wadi Rum, are scheduled departures almost daily. The two main stations of its network are Abdali and 7th circle. This company also has long-distance lines to/from Cairo and to the Saudi cities of Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam.

In any case, the private vehicle is presented as the most comfortable and independent option. Whether you opt for a chauffeured car or a rental car to drive on your own, these are some distances and indicative times:

  • Jerash: 50 km, 45 minutes
  • Petra: 230 km and 3 hours of travel
  • Dead Sea: 60 km and 1 hour drive
  • Madaba: 30 km, 40 minutes
  • Border with Israel: 50 km and 50 minutes trip
  • Jerusalem: 90 km and 1 hour and 45 minutes of travel, although in this case there are possible delays arising from the border crossing
  • Wadi Rum: 315 km, 3 hours and 45 minutes
  • Aqaba: 330 km and 4 hours drive
How to get around Amman

How to get from the airport to the centre

Another important issue for every traveler is how to get from the airport to the center. Again, the most comfortable is to hire a private transfer with driver, which will wait for you at the exit of the airport and will take approximately 30 minutes to reach the center, if there is no traffic jam.

If you prefer to make this journey on your own, these are the options you have:

  • Private taxi: the yellow ones
  • Collective taxi: the white ones. They are cheaper but usually offer pre-established routes
  • Private taxis through app: there are Careem and Uber
  • Airport shuttle bus: Sariyah Express. Arrive or depart from Tabarbour bus station

Addresses of interest

In Amman you will find the main administrative institutions of the country, some of which offer services to the citizen and the traveler. In particular, you can write down the following services:

  • Tourist information: Al Mutanabi st, Jebel Amman. On the ground floor of the Ministry of Tourism. It’s a good place to get up-to-date information from what to see in Amman and what to do, since they can also give you details about the cultural agenda of the city
  • Tourist police: Al Mutanabi st, Jebel Amman. It is the local police force specialized in offering service to tourists, for example in different languages. It is also located on the ground floor of the Ministry of Tourism
  • Embassies and consular offices: being the capital of Jordan, all countries with diplomatic missions in the country have their embassy here. You can check the full list on our page about Jordanian embassies and consulates.

Plan your trip to Amman

Disfruta de Amman and its surroundings
Enjoy experiences
Cambia tu moneda unicamente Espana Amman and its surroundings
Change your currency (Spain only)
Vuelos muy baratos Amman and its surroundings
Very cheap flights
Alquila tu coche Amman and its surroundings
Rent your car
Contrata Wifi o telefono Amman and its surroundings
Hire Wifi or phone
Quieres una tarjeta Amman and its surroundings
Do you want a card, we have it!

Other destinations



Contact one of our travel advisors for commercial assistance.