In 2022, I have spend 12 days in Jordan. With Petra being the top sight in the country, I was beyond excited to visit this beautiful place. Petra is one of the best-known archaeological sites and potentially even one of the most iconic travel destinations in the whole world. This ancient city, carved into the sandstone cliffs as part of Jordan’s desert, is a place that has been popular among visitors from all over the world for ages. After visiting, I can tell, that Petra should be on your travel bucket list and well, not surprisingly should be part of your Jordan travel itinerary. Read all about how to best spend 2 days in Petra in this article!
As Petra has more to offer than the famous Treasury, I highly recommend spending 2 days in Petra to cover all sights. However, be warned, Petra is bigger than you might think and there is quite some walking involved. Therefore, I will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to best spend 2 days in Petra, including the must-see sights and my favourite places to visit. Petra is suitable for any type of traveller, whether you are into history, hiking, or photography, you will certainly remember Petra forever.
When travelling to Jordan, you can best buy a Jordan pass. The Jordan pass waives your visa fees and offers you entry to multiple sights in Jordan. There are multiple Jordan pass ‘levels’, where the differences are related to the number of days you want to spend in Petra. We opted for the Jordan Pass including three consecutive days in Petra. In the end. Even though we only spent two days in Petra, we liked the opportunity to go back for a quick visit in the morning. A Jordan pass including 2 days in Petra will cost you around 100 euros.
Where to stay
You can best stay in the nearby village of Wadi Musa. We stayed at the Nomads Hotel (75 euros a night), which was a lovely backpacker hotel, however, it is located up the hill. Therefore, we had to take our car when going for dinner. Then do have an amazing rooftop terrace!
If you want to go for more of a backpacker vibe and a hotel where you can also dine and view a nice sunset, I could highly recommend Rocky Mountain hotel (42 euros a night).
If you would like to stay closer to the dining places and even closer to the Petra entrance, it is best to opt for a hotel at Tourism Street. Petra Corner Hotel is a very decent option (115 euros per night) in a perfect location.
Also in Petra, I would recommend adhering to the dress code in Jordan, which means covering your knees and shoulders. Furthermore, be prepared to walk a lot, so wear comfortable shoes. You already have to walk 2 kilometres from the entrance to the Treasury.
Arrive right a 6 am when Petra opens to experience Petra without huge crowds.
When using the front, main, entrance of Petra, you will have to walk about 1 km before reaching the Siq. The Siq itself is already stunning and just looking up and around makes you spot so many details. If you have arrived at 6 am, expect to walk through the Siq for 30 minutes, before you arrive at the famous treasury at 6:30 am.
The Treasury, also known as Al-Khazneh, is one of the most iconic and recognizable structures in Petra, Jordan. Carved into the sandstone cliffs by the Nabateans more than 2,000 years ago, the Treasury is a stunning example of ancient architecture and engineering. This famous sight in Petra is one of the main reasons for tourists to visit and the beauty is unbelievable. I was very happy we arrived early enough to have the opportunity to enjoy the place without too many others. That’s why you have to go here in the early morning on your first day of the 2 days in Petra.
We decided to hike up to the High Place of Sacrifice after we spend enough time exploring and admiring the Treasury to avoid the heat. It was about 30 degrees when we visited in April. Therefore, we didn’t want to save the climb for later that day when the sun would be more intense. The High Place of Sacrifice is a towering peak in Petra, Jordan, that offers breathtaking views of the ancient city and its surroundings. We took about 45 minutes to hike up and along the way you are passing multiple ancient altars and stairs. Generally, the hike up is quite doable, however, we had to ask for the way a couple of times at the different stalls as the directions aren’t very clear. The place itself isn’t too interesting, however, I liked the views!
Online we found an article describing a path from the High Place of Sacrifice to a Treasury viewpoint, which we decided to take. After multiple people warning us that we needed a guide, we still felt that we could do it on our own, as we had a map. After almost getting lost a couple of times, we ran into another couple with a guide and fortunately, we could follow them. Otherwise, I wouldn’t know if we would have arrived safely. Long story short, if you would like to visit a Treasury viewpoint, I would highly recommend you use one of the Bedouin guides to show you the best viewpoints on the Treasury.
There are three main viewpoints on the Treasury. Two are located higher up, whereof one is on the side of the High Place of Sacrifice (the one where we went). The other viewpoint, Treasury from above 2 can be reached when following the path in front of the Royal Tombs. This place is more easily accessible. The final viewpoint can be found easily seen from the Treasury and is located a little bit lower (on the left side when standing with your back to the Treasury).
Visiting one of the viewpoints is very worth it though. I loved seeing the view from above and sipping tea and chatting with the Bedouins.
The Street of Facades is the main street through Petra. When following this street, you will end up at multiple of the main sights in Petra, such as the Roman Theater, Royal Tombs, the Garden Temple and the Great Temple. Along the street, you will find multiple stands with souvenirs and a lot of camels and donkeys walking around. Be kind and just use your own feet when exploring Petra.
When following the Street of Facades, you will automatically run into the Roman Theatre, Royal Tombs and Great Temple, so don’t worry too much about having to see them all. You can’t miss them! Don’t forget to climb up to the Royal Tombs to explore the different tombs, which all look slightly different from the inside and outside. The best moment to visit the Royal Tombs is with sunset, however, we went a bit earlier because arriving at 6 am, means you don’t want to spend your time here until sunset! You can still do that on day 2 of your 2 days in Petra.
After reaching the food stands before taking the road to the monastery (which we did the next day), we walked back and left Petra through the Siq. When we left, we headed to the Cave Bar, one of the oldest bars in the world, when it comes to location. We went during Ramadan, so no cocktails were available. After changing and relaxing a bit at our hotel, we headed to My Mom’s Recipe for dinner, in my opinion, the best restaurant in Petra!
Today, you can leave for Petra a little bit later to start the second day of the 2 days in Petra. We left around 14:00 to head by taxi to the Petra Back Entrance! You can only enter through the back entrance when you already have an approved Petra ticket (which you have to do at the front entrance) and therefore the back entrance is perfect for your second day. The path from the back entrance, leads you in about 1,5 hours of a hike to the Monastery, saving you the 800 steps! As for practicalities, best park your car at the main entrance and take a cab from there, as you will leave Petra from the main entrance.
The hike from the back entrance to the Monastery is beautiful and shows you wide views over the surroundings of Petra. The hike is relatively easy to complete and I would even argue it is not much more challenging than the steps from the front entrance. We only left in the early afternoon, as the Monastery is most beautiful approaching sunset and this allowed us to also see the other parts of Petra around sunset.
I have to admit, maybe the Monastery was even more impressive than the Treasury. It was less packed, is even larger and there are beautiful viewpoints when only walking up a little bit there is a food stand where you can sit down and relax while admiring these amazing views.
After you visit the Monastery and conclude your second day of the 2 days in Petra, you can walk back to the main entrance. This way, you only have to walk the 800 steps down and you explore Petra from the other end, rewarding you with different viewpoints on all the main sights and saying goodbye to the famous Treasury before exiting through the Siq. If you feel like it, you can still walk up to one of the other Treasury viewpoints, where I would advise taking the route from the Royal Tombs (but only when you don’t leave too late and can still make this before sunset!)