With 310 days of sunshine every year, there's far more to Jordan than the world-famous Petra - although no trip is complete without a visit to the rose red city.
There are two seas to dip your toe into - the Red and the Dead - as well as stunning nature reserves to explore, the desert which was home to Lawrence of Arabia, the Roman ruins at Jerash and Biblical history around every corner, all packed into a country the size of Portugal.
Starter for 10: Jordan
But if you get the chance, head out to the desert and enjoy a night in a Bedouin tent. Mzied's camp, at Wadi Rum, is right out in the desert, so after a traditional meal and some Bedouin music, you can sleep under the stars. Accommodation and a tour cost from around £35 per night, depending on what you include. Do bear in mind that temperatures get very cold overnight during the winter months though.
The best way to explore is by camel, slow enough to appreciate the landscape but less effort than walking, although you can also opt for a 4WD tour as well. Contact the visitor's centre to arrange a guide, who'll show you everything from the precarious rock bridge to how to spot lizard tracks, and traditions of life in the desert.
Hidden for centuries under the desert sands, until a young Swiss explorer discovered the secret of the ancient carved city in the 19th century, there's far more to explore than just the Treasury though. As well as the carvings of camels along the Siq, the hillsides are home to tombs, a temple, a theatre and other ruins, some dating back to the sixth century BC. Finally, the carved facade of Monastery may not be as famous but is worth the 800-step climb. If you want to spend longer than a day, you can head further afield to the High Place of Sacrifice, as well as some early Christian churches.
You can get tickets for one, two and three days (around £18, £23 and £27 respectively). Try to arrive early in the morning or towards sunset to avoid the tour groups.
One theory is that it was a map for pilgrims, while others believe it showed Moses' view of the promised land – which you can replicate at the nearby monastery on Mount Nebo, where he is believed to be buried, making it a site sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims. Madaba is around 30km from Amman.
Further north, between Dana and Rummana, you can try something equally rugged, if slightly drier, with a walk along the cliffs and into the gorge which extends from the Rift Valley in Africa, and which is home to protected wildlife. Still further north comes one of the country's biggest surprises at Ajloun, with miles of leafy green oak and pistachio forests, and various hikes including the Prophet's Trail, stopping at Mar Elias where Elijah was reputedly born. Visit www.rscn.org.jo for more information, some of the reserves are closed during the winter months.
In the Ajloun reserve, you can choose to follow the Soap Maker's trail, which takes you to one of the workshops where local women create olive oil soap, before finishing in the village for lunch with a family.
Or try a glass at the Haret Jdoudna restaurant in Madaba, near to where the grapes are grown.
If you can't get to each of the reserves, head to the Wild Jordan centre in Downtown Amman which has a selection of handmade crafts from around the country.
Before you take your dip, smear yourself from head to toe in Dead Sea Mud, let the minerals do their work and enjoy getting a thoroughly natural spa treatment. Temperatures around the Dead Sea can get punishingly high during the summer, so time your float for early morning or sunset. Stay in the air-conditioned chalets at the Mujib Reserve, where you have a view over the water and can walk down for your swim.
Royal Jordanian flies from London Heathrow to Amman, with return flights costing around £479, including taxes. BMI also flies from Heathrow to Amman, with return flights costing around £463 return, including taxes.
Virgin Holidays' new Worldwide Journeys has an eight-day tour, Jordan with a difference, priced from £1,470 including flights. On The Go tours has several tours visiting Jordan, including the six-day Passage to Petra from £499, and the eight-day Totally Jordan, from £679, both excluding flights.
If you've held a driving licence for at least one year, it will be accepted for car rental in Jordan, if you want to explore solo.
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