Jordan and Egypt are separated only by the Gulf of Aqaba, and for many people making the long journey over to the Middle East it often makes sense to visit multiple countries in the same trip. For us, it was a no-brainer to combine the two – we love cultural travel, visiting UNESCO Heritage Sites and exploring archaeological ruins. Luckily, it is very easy to explore Egypt and Jordan’s top highlights in 2 weeks.
Egypt and Jordan are not only home to thousands of years of history and culture, the countries also offer visitors the opportunity to stand at the foot of the last remaining Wonders of the Ancient World as well as marvel at one of the new Wonders of the World.
Though these countries are only a hop and skip away from one another, Jordan and Egypt are fairly different in terms of how to get around, ease of independent travel, currency and visa policies. If you’re planning a visit, read on for our 2 week Egypt and Jordan itinerary and essential travel tips to know before your trip.
Quick tips for your first trip to Egypt and Jordan
- Best time to visit Egypt and Jordan: The weather in Egypt and Jordan is the most pleasant from September to November or March to early May. Egypt and Jordan can be too warm in the summer months from June to August, and while Egypt experiences mild weather from November to February those months can be bitterly cold in Jordan. Some parts of Jordan even receive snow in the winter months!
- Visiting Egypt and Jordan during Ramadan: Both Jordan and Egypt have majority Muslim populations, and Muslims fast from dawn to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan. The tourist landmarks are all open during this month though opening hours may vary slightly – otherwise, it’s pretty much business as usual. You should be aware that as a sign of respect, you should try to avoid eating and drinking (even water) in public, and many restaurants may cease serving alcohol.
- Language in Egypt and Jordan: Arabic is the most spoken language in both Jordan and Egypt, and most people (especially those in hospitality or food & beverage) speak English well. You shouldn’t run into any major problems with communication.
- Currency in Egypt and Jordan: The two countries use their own currencies – the Egyptian Pound (LE) in Egypt, and Jordanian Dinar (JOD) in Jordan. You can easily exchange money at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, or at Cairo International Airport. Cash is king in both Jordan and Egypt though credit cards (mostly Visa and Mastercard) are accepted at international hotel chains. I recommend making sure that you have plenty of small denomination notes.
- Egypt and Jordan visa policies: It is easy to purchase visas on arrival in both Jordan and Egypt. The visa on arrival in Jordan costs 40 JOD (approximately US$56) and the visa on arrival for Egypt costs US$25. If you are spending 1 week in Jordan then you should purchase the Jordan Pass. A Jordan Pass is a city pass that grants you entry into over 40 attractions across Jordan and costs between 70-80 JOD (US$99-113) depending on how many days you want to spend in Petra Archaeological Park. The great thing about buying a Jordan Pass is that you do not need to buy a separate visa on arrival – your entry into Jordan is covered by the Jordan Pass as long as you spend more than 3 nights in Jordan. There is no “city pass” equivalent in Egypt.
- Dress code in Egypt and Jordan: There aren’t specific dress codes at major tourist landmarks in Egypt and Jordan, although it is best to dress on the conservative side to be respectful. Female visitors are not required to wear scarves on their heads when walking around in cities; however, you should cover your shoulders and knees if you are visiting Coptic churches and places of worship in Egypt, and women will be required to wear an abaya when visiting certain mosques such as the King Abdullah I Mosque in Amman.
- Water in Egypt and Jordan: It is not safe to drink tap water in Egypt or Jordan. You should boil water before drinking or use a water purifier bottle.
- What to bring to Egypt and Jordan: Plenty of sunscreen, a hat, refillable water bottle, wet wipes and/or hand sanitizer, a few packets of pocket tissue (for the public toilets), comfortable walking shoes or sandals. I used my Canon 6D for most photos, though these days many smartphones can take incredible travel photos as well. Don’t bother packing a drone if you’re a recreational drone user as Egypt and Jordan both have strict drone laws and many people end up having their UAVs confiscated at the airports.
Is it safe to visit Jordan and Egypt?
The vast majority of visits to Jordan and Egypt are trouble-free. However, there are certain things you should know before you go. Read on for more information about safety and security in Jordan and Egypt.
Though Jordan shares borders with Iraq and Syria, it has been relatively immune to the instability plaguing the region with the exception of a few isolated events. You can read more about safety and security in Jordan here, here and here. In general, tourism in Jordan is straightforward and the country has managed to make it easy for visitors to get around. There is a high security presence in many hotels throughout Jordan, and tourist police patrol most major attractions and their surroundings. We traveled through Jordan independently with a rental car without a guide or organized tour, and highly recommend exploring Jordan this way.
Egypt experienced a military coup in 2013 and there has been a number of terrorist attacks by extremists across Egypt over the past three decades. Egyptian security forces as well as tourists have been targeted by terrorists, and attacks have taken place at tourist landmarks, religious sites, large public gatherings and hotels. In the past year alone there has been two roadside bombs and a deadly car bomb attack in Cairo. There are security checks and road barricades at most major tourist sites and hotels, as well as security forces around the cities. I encourage you to stay abreast of news concerning Egypt ahead of your trip, and check Egypt travel advisories for the latest updates and developments. You can read more about safety and security in Egypt here, here and here. While it is easy and very do-able to travel through Jordan independently, I highly recommend enlisting an experienced travel company in Egypt to help you plan and organize your tour itinerary.
First time to Egypt? Here’s what you need to know ahead of your trip.
There are tons of options when it comes to private Egypt tours and reputable tour companies – I understand that it can be overwhelming. We used Your Egypt Tours and would recommend them for their incredible Egyptologists, helpful customer service representatives and experienced drivers. You can read more reviews from other travelers here or get in touch with them at [email protected].
2 Week Jordan and Egypt Itinerary
There are several combined Egypt and Jordan tours out there, but I don’t believe that it is necessary to use a tour company for Jordan. If you do not want to self-drive in Jordan, it’s easy to organize a private driver or point-to-point transportation within Jordan – get in touch with your hotel for recommendations. I do not recommend self-driving in Egypt due to traffic and road conditions.
Driving in Jordan is very manageable – the drive between each of the stops on our 7 day Jordan itinerary took no longer than 3-4 hours, and the highways are in good condition (though there is the occasional pothole and hidden speed bump). Google Maps gave accurate directions and parking was free in most cities and hotels (with the exception of Petra, where we chose to park in a secured lot for a small fee).
We rented a small car in Jordan through Budget and paid around US$210 or 175 Euros for 7 days of rental. The car had a low excess/deductible of 350 JOD as Budget purchases basic insurance for their fleet, and we did not have to stop and pay any tolls in Jordan. Click here to check current car rental rates in Jordan!
Looking for the best prices for rental cars around the world? Click here to book your rental car in Jordan. Bookings can be cancelled or amended if your plans change!
You can start this itinerary in either Jordan or Egypt – think of it as doing a loop around Jordan and a separate loop around Egypt. To travel from Jordan to Egypt you can take a short 1.5-hour flight between Amman and Cairo. Our return Jordan to Egypt flights between Queen Alia International Airport in Amman (airport code: AMM) and Cairo International Airport (airport code: CAI) cost approximately US$250 or 210 Euros per person via Royal Jordanian Airlines (EgyptAir also flies direct flights between the two countries).
I do not recommend taking the ferry from Jordan to Egypt (or vice versa) unless you are traveling to Sharm El-Sheikh or Dahab in Egypt as the ferries travel between Nuweiba in Egypt and Aqaba in Jordan. This particular itinerary does not include traveling to Sharm El-Sheikh or Dahab and if you take the ferry you will need to take an additional flight to and from Cairo. Based on previous research the ferry timing can be iffy and often gets into Egypt in the middle of the night.
Day 1: Land in Amman
Fly into Queen Alia International Airport in Amman and pick up your rental car. Kick off your 2 days in Amman by checking into your hotel before hopping into an Uber to visit Amman Citadel, one of the most incredible archaeological sites in the country.
From there, stroll downhill for 10 minutes until you get to the dominating Roman Theatre dating back to the 2nd century. If you have enough time, visit the King Abdullah I Mosque, an iconic landmark in Amman that can host up to 10,000 people.
For dinner, head to Rainbow Street, a vibrant neighborhood featuring a number of restaurants. For snacks and a glass of wine with a view, head to Cantaloupe Gastropub. Click here for more Amman travel tips!
Where to stay in Amman: I recommend staying at the Amman Rotana, a luxury hotel on the outskirts of Amman’s city centre and a stone’s throw from the King Abdullah I Mosque. The hotel offers incredibly spacious rooms with a beautiful view of the city, free valet parking, a rooftop pool and a number of in-house restaurants. Make sure you get a room rate that includes breakfast. Click here to check availability at Amman Rotana, or check out some other highly rated hotels in Amman!
Day 2: Explore Jerash
On day 2 in Jordan, venture out to explore the ancient ruins of Jerash, a Roman city dating back to the 3rd century B.C.
Jerash is a 45-minute drive from Amman and is one of the best day trips for history lovers. Set aside no less than 2-3 hours to visit the various landmarks within Jerash on foot – don’t miss the Oval Plaza, the Temple of Hercules, the Sanctuary of Artemis and the North and South Theatres.
After your visit to Jerash, hop back in the car to tour the Al Ma’Wa for Nature and Wildlife Sanctuary. The animals are rescued from poorly-run zoos in neighboring war-torn countries and the illegal animal trade in the region. Animals are returned to their native country if they can be returned to the wild and animals are desexed when they arrive so they do not breed into captivity. You can e-mail Al Ma’wa ahead of time to schedule a 1-hour tour of the sanctuary at 12 JOD per person.
Day 3: Drive to Petra via Shobak and Um ar-Rasas
Head south towards Wadi Musa (the closest town to Petra) from Amman. The drive will take just over 3 hours but there are 2 quick pit stops that you should make on your way, the first being Um ar-Rasas (or Um er-Rasas), a UNESCO World Heritage Site and archaeological site about an hour away from Amman.
This site began as a Roman military camp and grew to become a town from the 5th century; today, it features ruins of churches and military camp – don’t miss the mosaic floor of the Church of Saint Stephen.
Another must-visit attraction on your way to Petra is the Shobak Castle, a towering Crusader fortress perched on top of a mountain. Including these 2 quick detours, you should be able to get from Amman to Petra in less than 4, 4.5 hours.
Once you’ve arrived in Wadi Musa, check into your hotel (I recommend the Petra Marriott) and either settle in for the night, or if you’ve timed your trip properly you can attend “Petra By Night”, an evening show hosted in front of The Treasury 3 times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday; it is an incredible way to see part of the rock city and starts with a candlelit walk along the entire Siq to the Treasury!
Where to stay in Wadi Musa: We loved our stay at the Petra Marriott, a 5-minute drive away from the Petra Visitor Centre. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, and some even offer a stunning view across the valley. The sunset view from the pool can’t be beat, so grab a seat (and a bottle of beer) in the late afternoon. Click here to see current rates and availability at Petra Marriott, or head on over here to see some other highly-rated hotels in Wadi Musa.
Day 4: Explore Petra Archaeological Park
Get an early start and head to Petra Archaeological Park first thing in the morning when it opens. Petra Archaeological Park covers an area of 264,000 square meters…it would take weeks to explore the entirety of the complex, but if you only have 1 day in Petra then don’t skip the Siq, the Treasury and the Royal Tombs.
If you’re feeling ambitious you can trek 800 steps over to the Monastery or Ad Deir, one of the largest monuments in Petra. You can click here to read more about visiting Petra.
Day 5: Visit Wadi Rum
On day 5 in Jordan, head south for 1 hour towards the vast open desert of Wadi Rum. The 74,000 hectare protected area was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011 and features narrow gorges, sandstone arches, towering cliffs, rock carvings and previous archaeological remains. Its unique landscape has been used as a backdrop in a number of Hollywood hits including The Martian, Aladdin and Lawrence of Arabia. Make sure you go on a jeep safari in the desert, and ask your guide if you can stay for the sunset!
Where to stay in Wadi Rum: We stayed in a “Martian Dome” at Sun City Camp, one of the first luxury camps in Wadi Rum. The air-conditioned rooms are spacious with a transparent panel at the front for stargazing, and each of the tents have en-suite bathrooms. Glamping in the desert comes with a hefty price tag, and you might not feel that the experience is worth the (fairly significant) nightly rate – ultimately, this is for you to decide! Read more about what I thought of glamping in Wadi Rum. The camp also offers traditional Bedouin tents if you are after a more “authentic” desert experience. You can check current rates and read more reviews here, or explore the other options for glamping in Wadi Rum.
Day 6: Swim in Aqaba
Aqaba is a port city in the south, and a popular resort destination for travellers visiting Jordan. Aqaba is approximately 1 hour away from Wadi Rum by car. The coast is teeming with vibrant marine life in the Red Sea and is one of the best diving and snorkeling destinations in the world. Spend the day soaking up the sunshine and going for a dip!
Where to stay in Aqaba: We loved our stay at Hyatt Regency Aqaba Ayla Resort in Aqaba – everything is brand new, stylish, and the facilities and hospitality are top notch. You can make use of the hotel’s man-made private beach, multiple pools and fitness centre. Click here to check current rates at the Hyatt Regency Aqaba or head on over here for more hotel options in Aqaba!
Day 7: Float in the Dead Sea
On your last full day in Jordan, drive northbound from Aqaba to the Dead Sea region in just over 3 hours. Though Aqaba has an international airport and you could technically hop straight on a plane to go from Aqaba to Cairo (via Amman), the flight prices are pretty extortionate for this route and rental car companies also charge a hefty one-way fee. For this reason, we chose to drive back towards Amman and the Dead Sea so that we could drop the car off at the pick-up location.
The Dead Sea is located only about 50 minutes away from Amman. It is a salt lake that sits over 400 metres below sea level, and the mineral-rich water allows you to float weightlessly – it’s pretty much impossible to sink! Many hotels will also offer mud from the Dead Sea that you can rub onto your body – the mud is known for being extremely soothing and makes your skin silky smooth.
Where to stay at the Dead Sea: We stayed at the Hilton Dead Sea Resort for 1 night, though it is also possible to stay in Amman and do a day trip to the Dead Sea instead. There aren’t a ton of hotel options in this area, and the Hilton was one of the higher-rated properties with private access to the Dead Sea, a swim-up bar and a handful of dining facilities. The location can’t be beat, but we experienced some inconsistency in the staff service at the hotel. Some other guests echoed the experience, but others found the staff to be helpful – I guess it’s all down to the luck of the draw. They are also extremely strict and forbid guests from bringing any food into the property. You can click here to check out other guest reviews and current rates, or head on over here for more options in the Dead Sea region.
Day 8: Travel to Cairo
There are multiple flights between Cairo and Amman every day, and we hopped on an afternoon flight from Queen Alia International Airport to Cairo. The drive from the Dead Sea region to the airport should only take about 50 minutes to an hour.
I recommend budgeting an extra 20-30 minutes to return your rental car – we left the hotel a little late and were cutting things close at the airport. Thankfully, the guys at Budget were understanding and let us jump the queue to quickly sign off on the remaining paperwork and run to the check-in counter.
We landed in Cairo in the evening and were met by a representative from Your Egypt Tours, the luxury tour company we used for our 1 week in Egypt. They organized all land transport by private van, booked our Nile cruise and provided experienced Egyptologist guides. Using a tour agency in Egypt is the easiest way to explore the country. Begin your Egypt trip by exploring some of the key highlights and landmarks in Cairo, the capital city.
On your first day in Cairo head to Giza to see the Great Pyramids and Sphinx, visit the burial chamber of King Teti and earliest pyramids in Sakkara (or Saqqara), stop at Memphis (the first ancient capital of Egypt) and visit a Papyrus Museum.
Where to stay in Cairo: Check yourself into the Marriott Mena House for a view of the pyramids and exceptional hospitality. The hotel used to be the site of the old palace and is located right next to the entrance to the great pyramids of Giza. Check out current rates and availability at Marriott Mena House; alternatively, click here to check out other highly-rated accommodation in Cairo!
Day 9: Tour Old Cairo
On your second day in Cairo, head to Cairo Citadel and visit the Mohamed Ali Alabaster Mosque, wander through the streets of the Khan el Khalili Bazaar and check out some important Coptic churches and landmarks including The Hanging Church.
During the warmest part of the day when the sun is out in full force, hide in the shade and visit the Egyptian Museum. The incredible museum houses over 120,000 Egyptian artifacts including the treasures of the tomb of King Tutankhamun and a room full of mummified pharaohs. Read this article for more ideas on how to spend 2 days in Cairo.
Day 10: Head to Aswan
Get up bright and early (perhaps a little too early) for the dawn flight from Cairo to Aswan. The short 90-minute flight takes you to Aswan in southern Egypt, a city that has historically been strategically important as well as a commercial gateway. Aswan is home to the High Dam, a structure that not only protects the country from annual floods but also provides irrigation water and electricity for the whole of Egypt.
It is also the current site of the Philae Temple of Isis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was once submerged below water, dismantled piece by piece and later reassembled.
Important: Aswan is also where you can board your Nile cruise. For many Nile cruise ships, you need to board either on a Monday or Friday – many ships embark on their journey from Aswan on Mondays, or from Luxor on Fridays. For this reason, you will need to time the rest of your trip accordingly!
We boarded our Nile cruise in Aswan and spent the early evening on its top deck and getting some rest in preparation for the next day of sailing and sightseeing.
Day 11: Sail on the River Nile to see Kom Ombo and Edfu
After our first night aboard the Nile cruise, we sailed northbound nearly 50 kilometres and docked in Kom Ombo in the early morning to visit Kom Ombo Temple. The temple was dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile-headed Egyptian god, who was associated with fertility as well as protection from the Nile floods.
After the morning excursion, we hopped back on board and sailed another 60 kilometres towards Edfu to explore Edfu’s Temple of Horus. This was probably one of the top highlights for me during our time in Egypt – the temple features striking hypostyle columns, intricately decorated outer walls and a stunning black granite statue of a falcon at its main entrance.
Following the temple visits, we set sail towards Luxor and spent the next 3-4 hours leisurely cruising up the river Nile. Make sure you find out what time the ship will approach the Esna Lock, a lock that allows ships to pass from the higher level of water to a lower one, and make your way to the top deck to watch the lock in action!
Day 12: Visit Luxor
Luxor is also known as the “City of Palaces” and served as an important religious and political epicenter in ancient Egypt; today, the open-air museum spans the east and west banks of the river Nile and is home to precious remnants from the golden age of pharaohs and queens.
There is plenty to see and do in Luxor, so conserve your energy and plan your sightseeing strategically as the city is a few degrees warmer than Cairo and there is minimal shade at the various landmarks. I recommend spending your first day in Luxor by exploring the West Bank where you’ll find most of the monuments and tombs for the dead. These include the Colossi of Memnon, the magnificent Valley of the Kings, and Hatshepsut Temple at Deir el-Bahari.
Day 13: Explore more of Luxor and return to Cairo
On day 2, wander around Luxor’s East Bank and visit the Karnak Temple complex, Luxor Temple and the Avenue of the Sphinxes. The temples are some of the best preserved in the country and feature striking hypostyle columns, colossal statues of pharaohs and unique statues of sphinxes (some of which are even ram-headed!). Read more about what to see and do in Luxor by clicking here!
When we visited Egypt in 2019, you could either take a late afternoon flight from Luxor to Cairo at approximately 6 PM, or hop on an early morning flight at midnight, 6 AM or 7 AM. We opted for the evening flight back to Cairo and spent the night at the Le Meridien at Cairo Airport for an overnight layover. Alternatively, you might want to stay overnight in Luxor and fly back to Cairo on day 14 of this 2 week itinerary to catch your flight out of Egypt.
Day 14: Depart Egypt
On your final day in Egypt, fly out of Cairo International Airport or hit up some additional landmarks that you might have missed the first time around! Either way, Your Egypt Tours will organize airport pick up and drop off via private chauffeured car.
3 weeks in Egypt and Jordan
Have more time and want to explore more of Jordan and Egypt? You might want to consider spending 10 days in Jordan and visiting the Dana Biosphere Reserve, Wadi Mujib and Umm Qays, or extending your time in Petra by a night or two. You can also spend 10 days in Egypt by adding on Abu Simbel and Alexandria to your Egypt itinerary. Alternatively, avid divers should head to Hurghada or Sharm el Sheikh to explore the rich underwater ecosystem in the Red Sea.
I hope this 2 week Jordan and Egypt itinerary gives you a better idea of how to structure your trip! Ready to plan your Egypt and Jordan tour? I’ve written a few other guides containing even more travel tips for these two countries.
Read more about visiting Egypt here:
- 16 Essential Things to Know Before Traveling to Egypt
- Highlights of Egypt: A 7 Day Egypt Itinerary for First Time Visitors
- Experience Egypt: How to Spend 2 Days in Cairo (And What to See Besides the Pyramids)
- Discover the City of Palaces in Egypt: 6 Incredible Things to Do in Luxor
Read more about visiting Jordan here:
- 11 Things You Should Know Before You Travel to Jordan
- Jordan Pass Review: Is It Worth Purchasing?
- Highlights of Jordan: A 7 Day Jordan Itinerary for First Time Visitors
- 5 of the Best Things to Do in Amman (For Culture, History and Wildlife Lovers)
- Visit the Ruins of Jerash: The Best Preserved Ancient Roman City in Jordan
- A Practical Guide to Visiting Petra in Jordan (And What to See Beyond the Treasury)
- Glamping in Wadi Rum, Jordan: Are the Bubble Tents Worth It?
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