Jordan’s King’s Highway is one of those epic road trips to be enjoyed in a private vehicle, exploring stunning places and landscapes at your own pace, with stops to capture the surroundings along the way and visit unique natural, historical, and religious sites. In this section, we gather all the destinations on the King’s Highway that Exclusive Jordan includes in its itineraries, along with useful information to give you an idea of what to expect on this fascinating route.
The King’s Highway in Jordan is known as one of its main north-south communication routes. It is also referred to as the Kings Highway in English, although it is not actually a highway, as it mostly consists of a single lane in each direction, resembling a national road.
It runs through the Jordanian Highlands, a large plateau of tectonic origin, with over 1,000 meters of elevation difference in some points between the highlands and the lowlands of the Dead Sea to the west.
In the central section of these Highlands, there is a sharp interruption: Wadi al Mujib, a large rocky canyon where the King’s Highway takes a winding route to cross this geographical feature. The good news for travelers is that there are panoramic viewpoints from which to admire this spectacular canyon, with the Mujib Dam at the bottom of the depression.
The King’s Highway is steeped in history, as it follows the path of the ancient caravan and trade route that connected Syria with Arabia and Egypt. Therefore, it has been used over the centuries by all the major civilizations that have settled in the region, from the Israelites led by the prophet Moses from Egypt, to the Arabs during their conquests in the 7th century, the Crusaders who gained control of the Holy Land in the 12th century, and the Muslims who defended it.
The climate you will encounter along the King’s Highway in Jordan will depend greatly on the time of year you travel. Several factors come into play here, including low precipitation, clear skies that result in high insolation, high altitude, and rocky desert terrain.
With all of this, it can be said that:
Despite the low precipitation, it is important to exercise caution during rainy days and in the days following rain, as the rocky terrain can result in sudden flash floods. This can be dangerous in certain natural areas where there are steep slopes, especially in places where canyoning is practiced.
There are several destinations of great interest located along or near the King’s Highway, and Jordania Exclusiva includes them all in its country tours. Here are some of the highlights.
World-famous for its Byzantine mosaics, it is likely the most Christian city in Jordan, as evidenced by its ancient and modern churches. Among them, the Church of St. George stands out, which houses the oldest map of the Holy Land (in the form of a mosaic on the floor), a fascinating rarity that is worth visiting. Additionally, it boasts archaeological parks and a lively city center, all within easy reach of Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport.
Although the King’s Highway does not pass exactly through this place, it is located nearby (about 10 km), so it is worth taking a detour to reach this site full of religious symbolism: it is the hill from which Moses saw the Promised Land and also where he died. Currently, a Byzantine basilica and other spaces related to this prophet and the early centuries of Christianity can be visited, providing context to the visit.
In Shobak, all the spotlight is on its castle. And rightly so: it is a large fortress from which the entire surrounding area can be dominated. Despite being in ruins, it allows visitors to travel back in time and immerse themselves in the era of the 12th-century Crusaders, who built it but later fell to the Muslim forces of Saladin, who is also referenced throughout the site. Undoubtedly, an interesting stop before reaching Petra, or as an excursion from there.
Karak and its castle share many parallels with the fortress of Shobak. Their construction era, their views of the surroundings… Their state of preservation is even better, with spaces where one can truly imagine the most tumultuous episodes of its history, such as the siege it underwent by Saladin, a local idol. Dungeons, Mamluk palace, or extraordinary viewpoints are some of its most notable attractions.
In addition to the cultural visits that can be done at the destinations mentioned above, there are many activities to do on the King’s Highway. Jordan Exclusive can organize nature experiences for those who have enough time, for example: