Five reasons to go to Aqaba in Jordan
With Easy Jet’s non-stop flight from Gatwick to Aqaba in November, it couldn’t be easier to reach year-round sun, the Red Sea and rippled sand.
We have just made it easier for those craving winter sun, think day trips to the pink sandstone city of Petra and the sweeping desert-scape of the Wadi Rum.
Stay in Aqaba’s hottest sea-facing hotels and mooch around a city where ancient history and cosmopolitan life collide. Here are five reasons why you should jet off to this Jordanian hotspot:
Using Aqaba as a base, it’s an easy day trip to the rose-hued city of Petra, Jordan’s crown jewel. Nothing can prepare you for its mile long Siq, a narrow gorge of red sandstone which opens out to the Treasury – the iconic image gracing just about every postcard of Jordan. You could spend days exploring what used to be a booming Nabataean metropolis of around 30,000 inhabitants. Today you can see fine masonry from temples to tombs. With the extra time, consider dropping into the lesser-visited Little Petra to admire its cave dwellings and hand painted frescoes.
Follow in the footsteps of T.E. Lawrence across the Wadi Rum. From Aqaba, it’s only an hour’s drive to vast rippled sand dunes. You may not be leading an Arab revolt but you can certainly go camel trekking as Lawrence did or get your kicks on a roaring jeep drive. Why not take to the skies in a hot air balloon and soak up the sheer scope of the desert. Hungry work? Feast on mezze and mint tea in a Bedouin-style tent. The more intrepid may be tempted to spend the night under the stars and wake up to dawn’s amber-red hues. Lawrence never had it so good.
Ayla and the Old Town
Staying in Aqaba puts you in a geographical hotspot from where you can discover the city’s former life as Ayla (Aqaba’s full name is Aqabat Ayla meaning ‘the pass of Ayla’). Today the stone foundations and crumbling columns of this medieval Islamic city brush up against the modern-day city. You can see a mud-brick church dating back to the 3rd century, believed to be the oldest in the world and preserved by the build up of sand. Also in this historic pocket, don’t miss the 16th-century fort, reminiscent of old world Arabia. It sits alongside an excellent archaeological museum displaying Bronze Age artefacts as well as gold coins and ancient ceramics.
Red Sea Coral Reef
Perched on the north-eastern shores of the Red Sea, Aqaba is the gateway to Jordan’s sun, sea and exquisite coral reef. Divers will be treated to schools of fish in kaleidoscope colours and soft vivid coral gardens hanging from the caverns. There are shipwrecks from WWII and even some submerged vintage motorcycles. For those who don’t want to plunge too deep, the coral lies only a few feet beneath the surface so good for snorkellers too.
Sharif Al Hussein Bin Ali Mosque
Feeling inspired? Have a look at our suggested Jordan itineraries, or speak to one of our Middle East specialists about your dream holiday to Jordan.
- Holiday ideas
- Holiday ideas
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