Jordan’s rose-red city of Petra, once a trading hub of the Nabataean people, offers a long lineup of astonishing sights, from its Treasury and Monastery to Roman-built ruins. Here’s how to experience the highlights of this 2,000-year-old city and some of its surrounding attractions in just two days.
Devote today to covering Petra’s must-sees, whether you’re on a full-day tour from Petra town (Wadi Musa) or a 2-day tour with the first day assigned to the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk through the Siq canyon and marvel at star attractions such as the Treasury, Amphitheater, and Colonnaded Street—once Petra’s main shopping thoroughfare.
Dig deeper into Petra this afternoon: Many tours let you explore independently after the key sights. Perhaps trek to the High Place of Sacrifice, where a clifftop Nabataean ceremonial altar commands panoramic views, or ascend the 600 steps of the Al Khubtha trail to a vertiginous viewpoint over the Treasury.
Enjoy dinner at the Petra Cave Bar: an atmospheric restaurant within a 2,000-year-old Nabataean rock tomb. Many 2-day tours that visit Petra include an overnight stay at a tent camp in the desert valleys of Wadi Rum, giving you a full-on Bedouin cultural experience.
Continue inside Petra this morning, perhaps with a private tour customized to cover sights you missed yesterday. Maybe include a guided hike to the magnificent Monastery, or take a closer look at Petra’s Royal Tombs and temples. Alternatively, if you’re on a 2-day tour, take a trip to nearby Wadi Rum, Aqaba, or the Dead Sea.
Covered Petra? Then assign this afternoon to Little Petra, thought to have been a suburb of the main city. Book a tour of its rock-cut facades and triclinium dining halls—one bearing frescoes—or up the adventure with a 4WD journey that visits this mini-Petra and other local ruins.
Make your last night in Petra special with a Turkish bath: indulging in a steam bath and scrub. Otherwise, choose a Petra-by-night tour, returning to the Siq and Treasury to see them in the glow of hundreds of candles.