Amman is the buzzing capital of Jordan. Odds are high that when visiting Jordan, you’ll be flying to Amman. I would recommend spending 24 hours in the capital to get a first taste of Jordan and to visit the main sights. To me, it didn’t disappoint. The food we had at Hasham was probably one of the best meals in Jordan and it is always nice to gain a first impression and learn some bits about the country before travelling around to other places. This Amman City Guide highlights my main recommendations on how to spend your 24 hours in Amman, Jordan. When in Amman, we stayed at Battuta Hostel.
The Jordan Museum gives you a first impression of the country and its history. It tells you about the nomadic lifestyle that is still present in parts of the country but also highlights broader topics on energy, politics and demographics. Note that the museum is closed on Tuesdays and Fridays and the entry fee is 5 JD (~7 euros).
Rainbow street is one of the most famous streets in Amman, and generally, quite a tourist street. This, however, makes that there are quite some nice restaurants and bars available in the area. It’s a colourful street and worth exploring. If you have the opportunity, explore it once during the day and also pay a visit by night. During the day, the colourful aspects of the street will be more present, while the liveliness of the street will show mainly during the evening.
Places to visit are for example Books@Cafe (e.g. breakfast or a coffee), Sekrab (for a drink), Al Quds (for a falafel sandwich) or Wild Restaurant (a western restaurant with a view).
After catching up on a bit of sleep (we arrived in Amman in the middle of the night), the first place we went through was Books@Cafe to have our breakfast. Expect a touristic place, but it is the perfect location to get used to the Jordan kitchen and atmosphere. A perfect place to start the day!
Time for one of the main sights in Amman. Head to the Roman Theater and get a taste of Amman’s History. The Roman Theater is free to visit with the Jordan Pass (which I would recommend if you are visiting Jordan as also Petra is included and it waives your visa fees). The Roman Theater is still used in the summer period for different dance and theatre shows, however, there was no show at the time we were in Amman. Also, the square in front of the Roman Theater is quite lively and we took some time to just take in the Amman atmosphere by playing a little game of Yahtzee.
Next to the Roman Theater, you’ll also find the Odeum of Amman, which is a smaller theater.
The Citadel is probably the main sight in Amman. You’ll have the best light in the evening, however, it closes around 18:30 (in summer), so don’t be too late. You can take a taxi, or walk up to the Citadel. We did the latter and I would recommend it, as you’ll be rewarded with some nice street art and views over Amman. However, be aware, the Citadel lies on the highest hill of Amman. The Citadel is the overarching name for several sights that can be found, such as the Temple of Hercules and Ummayad Palace. The entrance to the Citadel is 3 JD, however, also the Citadel is included in your Jordan Pass.
This one won’t cost you much effort if you are already at the Citadel. The Citadel rewards you with great views over Amman. If the place itself wouldn’t be the reason you would want to visit, then definitely still head up to grasp Amman from above.
Hashem is the best restaurant in Amman! This was quite an experience, but a great one to get to know the Jordan kitchen. As we were visiting during Ramadan, we arrived at the restaurant slightly before sunset and waited together with many locals before food was served. They start walking around, serving different kinds of food, where you can just say yes or no on whether you would like it. It all is very quick and more of a cafeteria setup for getting your food. You can enjoy a delicious dinner before they will do some quick calculations on what your head and pay. No worries, it won’t cost a lot.
Looking for a more fancy place in Amman and fancying a drink, District Rooftop bar is the place to be. If you can and the weather allows, reserve an outside spot for views over the city.
Of course, take your time and do as much as possible per foot if you can. Amman is a great place to explore, especially Rainbow Street and the Downtown area. Enter little alleys and enjoy the city buzz.
If you have more time to spend, definitely add in a day trip to Jerash. Jerash is an ancient Roman city and one of the best-preserved Roman cities outside Italy. You can rent a car and visit the place yourself or book a day tour from Amman. Check out my visual impression to explore why it’s worth a visit here. Check out my full photographic guide to Jerash here.