Driving in Jordan + Car rental tips are a must for those who want to visit the country.
Driving in Jordan is a very popular destination for tourists and business travelers. It offers a lot of attractions, such as the Dead Sea, Petra and Wadi Rum. But it also has some challenges that are important for both business travelers and tourists: parking your car is not easy, there is no public transportation system, driving in Jordan can be expensive and you will have to pay extra if you need to rent a car when you arrive at the country. Driving in Jordan and renting a car in Jordan is an essential part of any trip to the Middle East. This is especially true if you are planning to visit Petra, Wadi Rum, or Aqaba. This guide will help you discover the best places to rent a car in Jordan and get tips on how to drive there safely. A driving in Jordan guide is a good way to get started with renting a car. It’s an easy and efficient way to get around the country.
The Ideal Distances of Driving
When the only goal of a road trip is to accumulate miles, it is no longer enjoyable.
To give you an idea of what to anticipate, we’ve listed some common routes and drive times below:
- Jerash to Amman: 52 km / 1 hour.
- The Dead Sea to Amman: 54 km, 1 hour.
- Wadi Rum to Petra: 112 km, 2.5 hours.
- Petra to Aqaba: 2.5 hours and 130 km.
- Petra to Amman: 230 km/3.5 hours.
The most convenient location to pick up your rental car is at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, which is where most of you who are reading this will be arriving by plane. The cost is also the lowest. It has various international rental vehicle businesses with 24-hour counters inside the terminal and is located 35 kilometers outside the capital city. Along the highway outside, there are also a number of local hire businesses, but they require a shuttle or meet-and-greet service.
Do not Drive at Amman
Here are your greatest options for customizing your driving experience in Jordan around Amman:
- After arriving in Amman, travel into the city for one or two nights by bus, taxi, or private transfer. Return to the airport to pick up your rental after that.
- After arriving in Amman, pick up your rental car, and drive the short distance of 30 minutes to Madaba, your starting point. You may even take a day excursion into Amman from there.
- When you arrive in Amman, pick up your rental car, and drive straight to Madaba, north, or south, saving Amman for later in your trip and after you’ve become used to driving in Jordan.
- Ignore Amman completely.
- Arrive, drive, and enjoy the anxiety and uncertainty of city driving (we don’t advise this one).
The three north-south routes that connect the majority of the locations on your itinerary will be where you’ll spend the most of your driving time in Jordan.
Even if you want to be adventurous, you’ll still spend a lot of time travelling north or south on a combination of these, which makes getting around Jordan simpler and more effective than you might expect. On the typical itinerary, you won’t have to deal with unrealistically long driving days on any given day.
- The King’s Highway | commonly named as Highway 35, albeit that designation is a little misleading in the present day.
It begins at the Ar Rajif interchange with the Desert Highway and travels north via Petra’s Wadi Musa, the Wadi Mujib Dam, and Madaba until merging 280 kilometers later with Amman’s ring roads.
We believe there are some important limitations on when you should truly make a point of travelling along this slow, historic trading road, and we address them further in the next section. This slow, ancient commerce road is frequently mentioned as one of the greatest things to do in Jordan.
- Highway through the Jordan Valley This road, which also goes by the names Dead Sea Highway and Route 65, parallels the Israeli-Palestinian border.
The total trip from Irbid to Aqaba is around 430 km, although you’ll probably only drive a section of it if you plan to float in the Dead Sea and explore the canyon in Wadi Mujib.
- The Sand Highway It begins just south of Amman and travels for more than 300 kilometers all the way to Aqaba and the Red Sea.
This route is also known as Highway 15. As the name implies, the route takes you through some beautiful countryside, and it’s the quickest way to get from the airport in Amman to Wadi Musa (for Petra), the Wadi Rum desert, and the Aqaba dive centers.
As mythical and evocative as the Silk Road, this prehistoric trade route traversed the Biblical Middle Eastern regions and beyond. We found the following article in the Financial Times to be the best one we read regarding its importance and romance: The King’s Highway is Jordan’s historic route through the country (it may be behind a paywall).
It connects famous destinations including Wadi Musa, Shobak Castle, the Dana Nature Reserve, Karak, the “Grand Canyon” of Jordan, and the well-known mediaeval town of Madaba by way of S-bend roads that are among of the most impressive to drive in all of Jordan.
Try not to use Google Maps
When planning your journeys along the King’s Highway, Google Maps (or your alternate GPS) will frequently lead you to or via the multi-lane Desert and Dead Sea Highways because they are so much faster and more direct.
Almost all road signs are in both Arabic and English, therefore you should always:
- Follow posted speed restrictions (even though they can fluctuate quite confusingly).
- Be aware of the speed bumps and checkpoints and slow down accordingly.
- Put your indicators to use.
- Observe any pedestrians or livestock that may be at the side of the road.
- Respect the lane markings and keep your distance from other cars.
- Fasten your seatbelt.
- Avoid drinking and driving.