Are you planning to visit the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site Petra in Jordan, wondering if it’s possible to cover and see everything? The answer is definitely yes. And everything is so easy and smooth. By visiting Petra on your own, you can get there whenever you want, choose where to go first, roam freely inside the sight and discover everything at your own pace.

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Things to Know Before Visiting Petra on Your Own

Best time to visit Petra on your own

The best time to visit Petra is during the spring months, between March and May, and between September and November in the fall months. This is because the temperatures are pleasant during the day, the chances of rain are low, and the days are longer, meaning enough time to explore.  

It gets freezing during winter, and you might experience instant floods or even snow. Hiking is not an option, and the best you can do is walk through the narrow dim until you reach the Treasury, take some photos, and return. Worse, the site can be closed for a while, and visiting Petra might be hazardous. So make sure to avoid this season. 

The summer months are scorching, making even breathing difficult. Hiking under the burning sun is not a good idea for sure, so avoid the summer. 

How can you get from Amman/Airport to Petra?

The easiest and most obvious option would be renting a car and discovering the country on your own terms. Traffic is accessible outside the big cities, and you’ll be driving through empty highways or scenic mountain drives. Sometimes, you’ll get on some bumpy roads, but nothing dramatic. Parking is easy and free. And fuel is also cheap. Check out the best rental deals HERE.

Or you can book a taxi or transfer. Find the best rates HERE

Another way to reach Petra is by bus. Take the JETT bus, which is more luxurious than the local buses. The trip takes around four hours. 

Do you need travel insurance in Jordan?

We never leave home without travel insurance designed to cover our expenses if something goes wrong. If you’re still on the lookout for travel insurance for your trip to Jordan, I highly recommend HEYMONDO, a trusted insurance provider for leisure and business trips, backpackers, long-term travelers, and digital nomads. Their travel insurance protects against theft, flight delays, injury, illness, cancellations, and much more.

How many days do you need for visiting Petra on your own?

Petra is enormous, and there is so much to see! When buying the Jordan Pass, you’ll have to choose from three options: visiting Petra in one, two, or three days. Depending on your type of holiday, the eighter option is acceptable, although I would highly recommend visiting Petra on your own in two days! 

But you can see almost everything in just one day. Just be at the main entrance first thing in the morning, at the opening hours, to avoid the masses and experience most places alone.

One day in Petra 

You can discover the ancient city of Petra on your own in only one day, but you’ll have to get to the visitor center first thing in the morning, do a lot of walking around the area, and get out by closing time! This might be the best way to visit Petra if you are short on time.

Go through the Siq in total silence and be prepared to be amazed by the magnificent Treasury. The groups won’t be there yet, so you’ll have the whole place only to yourself. 

Then, follow the path to the Royal Tombs and hike up to the Treasury viewpoint around noon, when the light hits perfectly. It’s not a challenging hike but a longer one. I’ll talk about it later in this article. Also, it is the perfect spot to have a packed lunch while enjoying the beautiful view. 

After that, hike to the most beautiful and quiet part of the site, the Monastery. Here, you’ll have time to admire this gorgeous masterpiece by serving a cold drink on the nearby terrace. 

Remember, visiting Petra and Little Petra is not possible in one day. No need to worry; you may stop at Little Petra on your way to Aqaba or Amman on the next day.

Two days in Petra 

If you choose to visit Petra in two days, you can split those days between visiting the Treasury and hiking to the viewpoints on day one and getting to the Monastery on day two. The trail until the Royal Tomb will be the same every day, but you will have more time to absorb and understand the beauty of the place without time pressure. 

You then have plenty of time to visit Little Petra during the afternoons. 

Three days in Petra

The excitement of visiting Petra on your own in three days wears off a little, but if you want to hike more remote trails, then you’ll have plenty of time to do it in three days. 

Plan for the first two days to visit the Monastery, the Royal Tombs and the Treasury viewpoints and for the third day, explore the off-the-beaten paths to discover more distant tombs, such as the Aaron’s Tomb.

You’ll also have plenty of time to drive to Little Petra and spend a couple of hours discovering the site. 

In the evening, join the incredible light show at Petra by Night! 

The Treasury is one of the things you can't miss while visiting Petra on your own

Do you need a Guide for Petra?

Depending on your expectations, you might or might not need a guide. If you stick to the main trails and pick up the information from the internet or guidebooks, you should be fine. But if you want to discover the off-beaten parts of Petra, a guide would be a good idea. 

If you don’t feel like discovering Jordan independently, guided tours can take you to the best places. I have selected some of the best for you based on the number of reviews and value for money. Be sure to check them out.

Discover the highlights of the historical city of Petra on a private day trip to the archaeological site from Amman. BOOK YOUR GUIDED TOUR TO PETRA FROM AMMAN HERE

Or visit the ancient rock-carved city of Petra on a 2-day tour from Amman. Float in the mineral-rich water of the Dead Sea and discover the beauty of Wadi Rum by spending the night in a Bedouin camp. BOOK YOUR 2-DAY GUIDED TRIP FROM AMMAN TO PETRA AND DEAD SEA HERE 

Donkies in Petra

The stairs leading to the Monastery

Why should I purchase the Jordan pass? 

The Jordan Pass is a sightseeing package that includes the cost of the tourist visa and the entrance to over 40 tourist attractions, such as Wadi Rum, Petra, Kerak Castle, the Citadel of Amman, and Jerash. However, some popular sites, such as Mount Nebo, Wadi Mujib, or Petra by Night, are not included in the Jordan Pass. 

You can choose one of three packages: Jordan Wanderer, Jordan Explorer, or Jordan Expert. The only difference between the three is the number of consecutive days you plan to spend at Petra: one, two, or three days. The number of attractions you get free access to is the same, over 40. 

Is it worth it? Think about that: even if you only get to visit Petra, you would still save money by purchasing it. The more tourist attractions you visit, the more it is worth it. 

BUY YOUR JORDAN PASS HERE

Where to stay in Petra? 

Aqaba and Amman are far from Petra; therefore, I wouldn’t recommend visiting Petra on your own on a day trip. You’ll be exhausted by the time you get to the ancient city and you’ll most likely walk through the Siq and see the Treasury only. 

Instead, head to Wadi Musa, the closest city to Petra, and spend at least two nights. There are many options, so there is no need to worry. 

You can stay close to Petra’s entrance, close to downtown, or stay at a luxury hotel outside the town. We chose a boutique hotel for our stay in central Wadi Musa, only to try different restaurants in the evenings. Well, I’m a foodie; what can I say?

Tip. Visiting Petra on your own is a full-day activity, so make sure to arrive the night before at Wadi Musa, enjoy a delicious dinner and go to bed early. 

Get an eSIM before the trip

Because phones have become our most important devices, it’s necessary to have a data connection as soon as you step foot in a different country. Your home data plan might only work if you paid for a much more expensive package, finding wifi connections in airports or train stations might be tricky, and seeking a local store to buy a SIM card might be exhausting. Forget all of that!

You just purchase an e-SIM, install it on your phone, and activate the plan when you’re ready to use it. Getting out of the plane and instantly connecting to data was a game changer for me. I didn’t have to waste time standing in line to get a local SIM card or finding a wifi connection to book a taxi to reach my hotel.

If you ask me, getting an e-SIM is a quintessential part of traveling. There is no physical installation and no long-term commitments. And the best part is that you can always top up or purchase a new plan through the app. Pretty convenient, right? You can get an e-sim card with AIRALO.

How do you dress when visiting Petra on your own?

When looking at pictures of Petra, you may notice beautiful girls wearing dresses or skirts with sandals. While this makes the perfect photo at Petra, it’s not the outfit you’re aiming for. Why? Simply because Petra involves a lot of hiking. 

Of course, if you enter Petra to see the Treasury only and return, then wear your best clothes since the path is flat. But, if you want to explore more and understand the beauty of the place, wear your comfortable clothes! 

Grab a hat and a scarf, as you will get a lot of sun exposure at Petra. 

A pair of sneakers will do the work, so there is no need to pack heavy hiking boots. Instead, you can wear your lovely dress with your favorite sneakers and get incredible pictures. 

I am all for exploring, so I picked some long-sleeved shirts and my cozy Arabic pants to keep me away from the heat while visiting Petra! Along with a hat, a pair of sneakers, and my rucksack, visiting Petra couldn’t have been more enjoyable!   

girl walking through the Siq on the way to the Treasury in Petra

Do you also get some Indiana Jones vibes here?

What to expect from visiting Petra on your own 

There is so much to see and do, so be prepared for a full day of walking! While you may have seen pictures of donkeys, horses and camels carrying tourists around, I highly recommend against taking advantage of this opportunity. The animals are fragile and kept and fed in precarious conditions, so don’t encourage this type of tourism. 

Another thing to keep in mind is the local guides offering their services. They can be pushy, misbehaving, and sometimes even aggressive. I am not trying to scare you; I tell you to be vigilant, ignore them and let them be. It’s so simple. The cautiousness of the tourists visiting Petra should be one thing that the Jordan authorities should pay more attention to! 

Depending on the time of the visit or the time of the day, prepare to face the heat. Hiking under the scorching sun can be challenging, so make sure to bring a lot of water and wear a hat and long sleeves. You can easily find people selling water and refreshments along the way, so there is no need to panic if you don’t bring enough. 

Camel waiting on the Colonnades Street

Is the terrain suitable for a wheelchair or the elderly?

I knew I wanted to answer this question since I saw a couple with the husband in a wheelchair, and they were a little bit lost while trying to get some pieces of information. 

The terrain in Petra is pretty rough and varies in difficulty, and a regular wheelchair would have significant issues getting to the Treasury. However, there are some paved paths along the way. 

The only option would be riding golf carts from the Visitor Center, but those are not wheelchair accessible. So, the person should be carried on a golf cart, and the wheelchair should be stowed in the back. Consider paying around 100 USD for the two people in a golf coach.

Are you elderly and afraid you might not get to the Treasury due to the steep terrain? Don’t be! The path to the Treasury is smooth and well-maintained; just wear some sturdy shoes and don’t rush! You can even explore Colonnaded Street and the Hadrian Gate. To get to the Royal Tombs, you’ll have a few steps up, but manageable. The only part I wouldn’t recommend is getting to the Monastery. There are many steps involved, and it’s pretty far from the entrance. 

A Complete Guide to Visiting Petra on Your Own. The Best Places to See in Petra

There are many things to see and places to go, and visiting Petra on your own can be overwhelming. Of course, you won’t see everything as the area is enormous, with many trails and hiking routes. But one or two days of Petra will give you a glimpse of this unique UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you follow my itinerary, you will be able to say that you saw the best places Petra has to offer!

The entrance to the Lost City of Petra 

First thing, if you want to have the Treasury for yourself, you’ll have to get up early. Unfortunately, you won’t be serving breakfast at your accommodation on this day. However, that’s not a problem since almost every host will pack a breakfast box you can carry. 

Find out Petra’s opening time and be there first thing in the morning. Usually, it is 6 a.m. There is plenty of free parking if you’re not staying close to the entrance and wondering where to leave the rental car.

By the time we got there, it looked like a ghost city, and somehow, we got the impression that everything was closed. The merchandisers were not there, and we hardly noticed the man sitting inside the ticket office near the main gate. So finally, embarrassed, we asked him if it was open, and he was like yes, of course, what do you think? So we showed him the Jordan Pass, he gave us the proper tickets, and we got inside the Lost City. It was so quiet and serene, no one around except us. I will never forget that feeling!

standing in front of the entrance to Petra, before opening time

Make sure to wake up early and be at the gates at the opening time!

Getting to the Siq

To reach the Treasury, you have to walk on a smooth path approximately 2 kilometers from the Visitors Center. The first part is wide and open, with sightseeing on both sides. The most famous structure is probably the Obelisk Tomb.

Admiring the Obelisk Tomb on the way to the Treasury

The Obelisk Tomb

The Siq

Soon, you’ll reach The Siq, a narrow and beautiful 1.2-kilometer-long natural gorge! Don’t hurry; take time to observe the colors, listen to the silence, and feel the energy of the place. If a stray dog greets you, don’t freak out. They are used to people, and the only thing they are looking for is some food.

girl and dog walking in Petra

making friends along the way

The Treasury 

At the end of the Siq, prepare to be amazed by the most brilliant view: the Treasury! The 40-meter-tall symmetrical building carved into the sandstone with detailed ornaments is the most famous attraction in Petra. 

However, the name is misleading, as this wasn’t a treasury but a tomb for a Nabatean king, also known as Al-Khazneh. Sculpted in the first century, the Treasury is decorated with mythological figures and Nabataean deities.

The entrance leads to the tomb of the Nabataean King Aretas III, also a place of worship. Unfortunately, you can’t go inside, but you’ll have enough time to take photos of this magnificent place. 

Don’t forget to head to the rock on the right-hand side of the Treasury for the best Instagram photos 🙂 

I won’t forget that moment: the Treasury in front of us, the stillness of the area, the lack of people, the magic! That’s what should motivate you to get out of bed so early.

We were lucky to have this place for about half an hour before locals showed up. They call themselves Bedouins, and I doubt they have anything to do with them. They use make-up to get that Bedouin feeling and they can be very pushy and annoying. Very!

the best photo spot of the Treasury in Petra

The best photo spot of the Treasury

The first viewpoint of the Treasury, accessible with a guide only for a fee

If you have already been impressed by the Treasury, it’s time to head to one of the viewpoints for a better view. There are two viewpoints of the Treasury, one accessible with a guide only for a fee and the other one free to access, but it requires more time.

On the left-hand side facing the Treasury, the first viewpoint is only accessible with a local guide for a cost. It is the shorter but more challenging and steeper way. 

Don’t try to get there on your own because the locals can be very territorial and aggressive. There are daily conflicts between tourists and so-called guides, and the police do nothing about it. And what intrigues me the most is that this viewpoint is off-limits, but the Jordan Tourism Board shares photos from this prohibited place all the time. 

Anyway, if you choose to go to this viewpoint, consider hiring a guide and paying around 15 JOD per person. The local guys will approach you as soon as you get to the Treasury. Even if they convince you the hike takes only 10 minutes, keep in mind that it will take longer to get up there. And beware of the slippery rocks. I’ve seen people literally crawling on their hands and knees on those rocks.

Street of Facades

Once you’ve finished admiring the Treasury, you can join the Street of Facades, lined with souvenir shops and the famous stone toilet on your right-hand side. It’s the last toilet until you return from the second viewpoint of the Treasury, so make use of it! You can also buy water or enjoy the breakfast box on one of the benches here. 

Street of the Facades

The Royal Tombs

After this short break, turn right after the shopping stalls. Don’t look for signs, as the so-called Bedouins erased those to make finding the path harder. Instead, follow the stairs, and you’ll bump into the gorgeous Royal Tombs.

Almost as impressive as the Treasury, the Royal Tombs are easy to reach. One next to the other, the four tombs have detailed facades carved into the rock, similar to the Treasury. 

Palace Tomb, Silk Tomb, Corinthian Tomb, and Urn Tomb are some of the best reasons for visiting Petra on your own. If you’re spending more than one day in Petra, you can hike to every tomb and take your time to discover everything.

The Royal Tombs seen from the Colonnaded Street

The Royal Tombs view from Colonnaded Street in the late afternoon when the light hits perfectly!

The second viewpoint of the Treasury, accessible without a guide and free

To get to the second viewpoint of the Treasury, you’ll need to get to the Royal Tombs first. This viewpoint is more accessible than the first viewpoint, but it takes a little bit more time. If you would love to get to one of those viewpoints and you’re not short on time, go to see this one, as it’s the most beautiful one, in my opinion!

Continue following the path, passing the Royal Tombs and climbing the stairs. You’ll be on the Al Khubta Trail now. Depending on your fitness level, the trek takes around 30 minutes.

girl admiring the views over the valley of Petra

Incredible views over the valley in Petra and also over the Theater

The views along the way are incredible, and from the top, you will be able to witness the whole valley of Petra and the gorgeous Treasury! Don’t worry about getting lost, just follow the path and look for the Treasury. You can’t miss it!  And you might be the only one there! The only disadvantage is that you’ll have to walk the same route back; however, it will be easier. 

Once you’ve made it to the top, you can witness the Treasury from the rocks in total silence! It was well worth it, don’t you agree?

girl watching the Treasury from the viewpoint in Petra

The view over the Treasury once you reach the top is impressive for sure!

Once here, you will spot a tent with the best view of the Treasury. Step inside the small Bedouin tent and enjoy the views from here. It’s totally worth it! Pay the owner some respect by buying something from his shop and enjoying the fantastic views! We opted for a delicious tea and spent more than an hour here!

girl admiring the Treasury from the Viewpoint in Petra

Amazing view over the Treasury from the Bedouin tent! The hike was so worth it!

Colonnaded Street

From the second viewpoint, follow the same path until you reach the Street of Facades once again. You might need to use the toilet once again or buy some refreshments or local delicacies. From here, the Street of Facades turns into Colonnaded Street, the main shopping street of Petra. Its name comes from the remains of the Romans, who took control of Petra in 106 AD. 

Here, you’ll find a few restaurants where tourists take a break before returning to the entrance or starting climbing to the Monastery. You’ll also meet many Bedouins trying to convince you to get on a donkey, horse, or camel. I highly advise you not to, as those animals are mistreated! 

girl walking on the Colonnaded Street in Petra

The High Place of Sacrifice 

As the name suggests, it is a spot where they used to carry out sacrifices. There are several steps to climb to reach this place, but the trail is well-marked, and it takes around 30 minutes to ascend to the top. Once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with fantastic views over Petra! 

girl climbing the stairs to reach the Treasury viewpoint

The Monastery (AD-DEIR) 

Ad Deir is one of the most iconic monuments in Petra. Its main purpose is still unknown, but it’s speculated to have been a royal tomb at first and, later, in the Byzantine period, a church.

From the Royal Tombs, you’ll have a 2-3 hour return walk(4.5 kilometers) through the lost city, and some climbing is involved (800 steps). The views along the way are impressive, but the Monastery is absolutely stunning, so make sure not to skip it! While it is doable on day one (together with the second view of the Treasury), you can leave this hike for the second day! 

The Monastery is breathtaking and just as impressive as the Treasury. In my opinion, even more beautiful. Even though the hike up is not easy, it is a must for everyone visiting Petra and Little Petra. Climbing the 800 stairs to the Monastery took approximately one hour, but it can be longer depending on your fitness level. 

Fortunately, not many decide to reach the Monastery, and the chances of being alone here are high. The path is lined with souvenir shops, and the views along the way are impressive. You can sit in a Bedouin tent and have a refreshment if you feel tired.

Once you reach the last stairs, prepare to be amazed! The Monastery is even wider and higher than the Treasury! 

incredible view over the Monastery

Incredible view over the Monastery in Petra

There is a lovely terrace nearby where you can sit, savor a refreshment in total silence and admire the best view of the site!

girl having a refreshment while admiring the gorgeous Monastery in Petra

The best place in Petra to have a refreshment while admiring the gorgeous Monastery!

The best views of the Monastery 

Are you looking for the best insta-photo of the Monastery? Above the restaurant, you’ll spot a rock and maybe people waiting in line to get the famous photo.

We were alone at the Monastery, so we didn’t have to worry about people, but the smell inside the small cave was awful. Why? Some donkeys decided to rest in the shadows before our visit and felt inspired to leave their marks.

If you’re looking for a better view of the Monastery, away from the crowds, you’ll spot a sign pointing in the direction of the best view. Actually, several paths say that it will lead to the best viewpoint. It’s up to you which one you choose and there is only a short hike uphill! If your legs are still working, hike there for more incredible scenery!

the Monastery seen from a nearby cave

Monastery to Little Petra 

The hike from the Monastery to Little Petra is called the Back Door to Petra or Petra’s back entrance. However, this hike is not easy, and the path is not marked. You might need a guide to take this trail or research online before venturing. Keep in mind that from Little Petra, you need a ride back to Wadi Musa, so hitchhiking shouldn’t be an issue as the locals are friendly and always willing to help. But there is an easy way to visit Little Petra; I’ll talk about it briefly. 

Great Temple and Hadrian Gate 

The walk from the Monastery to the main path is now easy, with no hiking involved. On your way to the exit, you can use the toilets or have a refreshment. 

Once you get back to Colonnaded Street, you’ll have time to notice the Great Nabataean Temple, built in 100 BC, the largest freestanding building in Petra. Here you’ll glimpse the Hadrian Gate also, or better said, the remaining pillars of the gate. Take some time and snap some photos.  

Hadrian Gate in Petra

Aaron’s Tomb

Unfortunately, we skipped one of Petra’s holiest places from our itinerary, Aaron’s Tomb. The hike takes around 6 hours, and the views are amazing. But to get there, a guide is highly recommended. Although I’ve read that hikers from different parts of the world go on this hike without a guide, I assume it is something we could have mastered on our own, also. 

The Treasury, on the way out

You can’t leave Petra without admiring the Treasury for the last time! This image will stay with you forever! At the end of the day, you’ll be exhausted but extremely happy to have visited the ancient city of Petra!

girl admiring the Treasury in Petra

The best view over the Treasury remains the one from the narrow gorge

Petra by Night 

Petra by night is a special event that is not included in the Jordan Pass or any other day ticket. Held every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 8:30 p.m., you need to buy a different ticket. This is a unique way to see Petra, but the presumptions are different. Some described it as a magical event, while others found it commercial, as locals were highly vocal and annoying. 

You’ll walk one mile from the entrance in the dark. Once you get to the Treasury, they’ll deliver a site presentation while locals play instruments. After this show, the lights are turned on to highlight the Treasury.

As we’ve witnessed the Treasury at different times of the day, we wanted to see Petra by night also. And we choose not to care about others anymore. So, we found a cozy spot to see the lights and admire this incredible masterpiece!

many lights making a special moment at Petra by Night

Little Petra

Everyone has heard about Petra in Jordan, but did you know there is a similar ancient city called Little Petra, which is only 6 kilometers away from the town of Wadi Musa? It is another incredible place to see in Jordan and is well worth visiting!

Excavated in the 1950s, Little Petra remains one of the oldest villages in the Middle East, a testament to human civilization’s early beginnings. Now, Petra and Little Petra are considered one of the modern seven wonders of the world.

Here are a few things to know about this place:

There are no entry fees, so don’t fall into the trap of paying someone who asks you to. The site is easy to roam around and less crowded, so you don’t need a guide to explore. You don’t need much time to visit this tourist attraction but make sure to wear comfortable shoes. The site is small, and you can visit it in one hour and a half on your way to/from Aqaba.

The Siq al Barid leading to the Treasury is much narrower and shorter than Petra’s siq; it only measures 400 meters. After some rock climbing, you can reach a panorama terrace where you can enjoy delicious tea and buy some souvenirs. The stone-carved structures and the landscape are impressive.

It is possible to reach Petra from here, but the hike is 6 kilometers long and not well signposted.

Find out more from my article: HOW TO VISIT LITTLE PETRA IN JORDAN. EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOUR VISIT

Little Petra, one of the hidden gems of Jordan

Interactive Map of Visiting Petra on Your Own

Underneath, you’ll find a customized map that includes all the locations you will visit in Petra. Just open this article on your phone and click on the frame in the upper right corner of the map. The Google Maps app will open, and you can check all the details. I hope it helps!

Jordan Related Posts

If this is your first time in Jordan or the Middle East, and you want to gather more information about this incredible country, check out my articles: 

USEFUL THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE TRAVELING TO JORDAN

THE BEST TIPS FOR SWIMMING IN THE DEAD SEA

HOW TO VISIT LITTLE PETRA IN JORDAN. EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOUR VISIT

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