Top 10 Things to See and Do in Petra, Jordan

A general view of the city of Petra|©Leon Petrosyan/WikiCommons
A general view of the city of Petra|©Leon Petrosyan/WikiCommons
Photo of Ginin Dunia Rifai
20 February 2017

When admiring Petra, the words of Dean Burgon’s famous poem comes to mind: “Match me such marvel save in Eastern clime, a rose-red city half as old as time.” The rose city’s appeal is famous for its multicolored sandstone and genuine Nabatean architecture, making it one of the most archaeological treasures in the Middle East and the world.

Start at the Obelisk Tomb and Bab Al-Siq Triclinium

As soon as you arrive at the Visitors’ Centre, this beautiful monument is first to welcome you. The triclinium is a chamber with three benches, which the Nabateans used to honor the dead by sacrificing feasts every year. It also neighbors the Egyptian-influenced Obelisk Tomb. Bab As-Siq, or the door of the Siq, is also the gate to the main entrance to Petra, from which your 1200-meters-long journey begins.

Look for the Cobblestone Water Channels While Walking through Al-Siq

The long, deep, and narrow gorge of natural golden beauty is now soaring 80 meters abo your head. Whether going through by foot, cart, or camel, you will be witnessing the typical bizarre-looking formations of Petra throughout all your 1200-meters-long ride. The Nabateans were the architects of their time, and they carved water channels, dams, and niches into rock, which, if you happened to visit Petra on a rainy day, you might as well see them in function.

The spectacular and very high natural fault of al-Sīq, the grand caravan entrance into Petra (The Siq) | © Jorge Láscar
Petra, Al-Khazneh | © Faraheed

Marvel at the Rosy Treasury, Al-Khazneh

Before your walk through the Siq has come to an end, the famous Treasury will start emerging bit by bit from behind the rosy rocks. When coming face-to-face with the 43-meter-high monument, you will immediately feel dwarfed. Al-Khazneh was carved in the 1st century as a tomb for a Nabatean king, later used as a temple. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to enter the Treasury for fear of wreckage.

Seeing the Treasury in daylight is an overwhelming experience, but paying a night visit will lift you into another magical dimension, where hundreds of candles are illuminated to guide your path through the Siq and to the glorious Treasury.

"Khazneh" Petra by night, Jordan / Pétra de nuit, Jordanie | © Sylvain L.

Reward Yourself with the Best View from the High Palace of Sacrifice

The spectacular view of Petra down below, seen from the High Palace of Sacrifice is worth every step of the 100 flights of stone steps. You will be standing tall on holy ground for the Nabateans, on which they used to hold religious ceremonies honoring their gods.

Give Respect to Urn Tomb

It is by far the largest of the Royal burials, and was later to be reconsecrated as a Byzantine church. There are three chambers above its doorway. The central chamber is blocked by a stone that depicts the man buried inside, which will send shivers running down your spine.

Spice Up Your Adventure by Riding a Horse Carriage

Tired of walking? You can always take a carriage and stroll through the long Siq while sitting comfortably and admiring the non-measurable height of the cobblestone walls. Enjoy your journey to the famous Treasury in a magic horse ride.

Horse Carriage Petra | ©

End Your Journey by Mounting 800 Stairs to the Monastery, Al-Deir

Take a long deep breath, and enjoy the second-most famed monument of Petra, standing tall in front of you. The overall design resembles Al-Khazneh in many ways, but with rather simplified architecture.

The Monastery at Petra | © Salil Wadhavkar

Watch the Sunset

By the time you have reached the Monastery, you might as well stay for a couple of minutes and witness one of Earth’s most beautiful sunsets. Watch the cold cobblestones turn rose gold under the sun’s last beams.

Sunset in Petra | © Gabriele Asnaghi

Ride a Camel and Engage in Small Talk with the Bedouins

A journey through Petra can never be complete without riding on the back of the ship of the desert. Petra’s Bedouins are like any desert people of Jordan; humble, generous, and multilingual. Some Bedouins can speak up to seven languages fluently, learned only by engaging with visiting tourists. So when asking for a camel ride, they will always be there making sure you are safe and sound.

Camel in front of the Treasury, Petra, Jordan | © Colin Tsoi / Flickr

Relax at the Mövenpick Resort Petra

Petra hosts a number of hotels and resorts to suit your taste and budget. Mövenpick Resort Petra is considered the most favored among tourists for being adjacent to the Al-Khazneh monument and for its stunning authentic interior and bar.

Cookies Policy

We and our partners use cookies to better understand your needs, improve performance and provide you with personalised content and advertisements. To allow us to provide a better and more tailored experience please click "OK"