48 Hours in… Amman

Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott April 25, 2014 10
Looking out over Amman at dawn.

Looking out over Amman at dawn.

Thanks to everyone who participated in our “Highlights of Jordan Week” (April 21–27). In co-operation with Visit Jordan, we’ll announce the winner of the  adventure of a lifetime in an upcoming post right here on the Looptail—and on Twitter and Facebook. Stay tuned!

Amman is often the starting point to explore Jordan, and many travelers just transit right through out. But Amman is worth exploring – spend a couple of days to walk its bustling downtown market streets, visit the ancient Citadel and Roman Amphitheatre, and enjoy Jordanian food.

Here are our recommendations on how to make the most of Amman in 48 hours.

The First 24 Hours

VISIT: Go up to the Citadel and walk through thousands of years of history and layers of civilizations. The historical overview you get here not only provides historical context for Amman, but for all of Jordan. Be sure to stop in the Citadel Archeological Museum to see some fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The Citadel is on a hill in the city of Amman, and so it provides great views over the city on a clear day.

Ancient ruins of the Citadel on a hill in central Amman.

Ancient ruins of the Citadel on a hill in central Amman.

VISIT: Take a walk down Rainbow Street in downtown Amman and pop into the different shops and cafes that have opened up here in recent years.

Get your bearings on Rainbow Street in Amman.

Get your bearings on Rainbow Street in Amman.

EAT: For some of the best falafel in town, stop by Al-Quds for a regular or super-sized falafel sandwich. This may make you think of falafel in a completely different way.

VISIT: Wander the streets of downtown Amman below Rainbow Street where you’ll find the hustle and bustle of market streets in a busy city. We really enjoyed dipping into spice shops and just taking in the sensory overload of color and smell. There are also some fun fabric and antique shops in this area.

Sensory overload in Amman’s spice shops.

Sensory overload in Amman’s spice shops.

EAT: Start your meal with hummus and foul (a fava bean dish) at Hashem on Al-Amir Mohammed St. The food is quick, fresh, delicious and also cheap. It’s no wonder this place is teaming with people at all hours of the day.

Foul and hummus goodness at Hashem Restaurant.

Hummus and foul goodness at Hashem Restaurant.

Even if you are stuffed, we encourage you to go across the way to Habibah for a slice of knafeh, a sweet made from a white cheese base with semolina bits baked on top and covered in sweet syrup. Very, very decadent. You can’t miss this place because of the line outside.

VISIT: A famous corner bookstall in downtown Amman just near Habibah. The owner was once a poor kid who didn’t have money for education, so he decided to educate himself with books and eventually set up this shop to sell books to others. Simple and moving.

The bookseller of Amman.

The bookseller of Amman.

The Next 24 Hours

VISIT: The King Hussein Mosque and the market streets in the area are the heart of downtown Amman. There is a fresh market with friendly vendors just behind the mosque that is worth strolling through, sampling dried fruits and nuts as you go.

Busy fresh market behind King Hussein Mosque.

Busy fresh market behind King Hussein Mosque.

Be sure to also take a cup of mint tea on the streets.

Fresh mint tea on the streets of Amman. So good.

Fresh mint tea on the streets of Amman. So good.

EAT: Have a leisurely lunch at Wild Jordan Café (Jabal Amman, 1st circle) overlooking downtown and the Citadel. Be sure to end your meal with some herbal tea made from herbs gathered in Jordan’s Nature Conservancies.

View of Amman from the terrace at Wild Jordan Café.

View of Amman from the terrace at Wild Jordan Café.

This is also the place to learn all about Jordan’s Nature Conservancies throughout the country. A good stop if you’re planning the rest of your trip.

VISIT: Get a taste of ancient Philadelphia – the city that stood where Amman is now over 2,000 years ago – at the Roman Theater close to downtown. The size (6,000 spectators) and strength of it is impressive considering all that it has withstood over the last two millennium. It sometimes still hosts cultural events, so ask at the tourist office if anything is playing during your visit.

Amman’s Roman Theatre of almost 2,000 years.

Amman’s Roman Theatre of almost 2,000 years.

EAT: Pay a visit to Kan Zaman on the outskirts of Amman on the way to the airport. It’s not just a restaurant, but more of a village complex with crafts and exhibitions. The evening buffet provides a good overview of Jordanian food as you can try all the main dishes in one place.

If you’re feeling brave you can get decked out in traditional Jordanian dress. You may feel silly, but you will delight of all the Jordanians walking by.

Getting there

G Adventures runs a number of departures to Jordan encompassing a wide range of departure dates and activities to cater for different tastes. We’re thrilled at the prospect of showing you this enchanting country as you’ve never seen it — check out our small group trips to Jordan here.


  1. Melinda April 25, 2014 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Yet another amazing gadventures tour – once again your travel bug bites :)

  2. Erika April 25, 2014 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    I’ve been to jordan on July 2011 and had the most amazing travel and experience of my life. I felt in love with my guide and just had courage to declare it after our trip when I arrive at home. It was something I’ve never experienced before, he felt the same way and since that day we have been keeping in touch virtually. We both dream that one day we could be together again and live this true love. Inshalah this could the oportunity I’ve been waiting for.
    Fingers are crossed!!!
    Hopefuly I will see my habib again.

    • Gail September 14, 2014 at 10:46 am - Reply

      Oh that is such a nice story. Good luck to you. I hope you meet him again soon!

  3. Samantha Hussey April 25, 2014 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    I have always been intrigued by Jordan. I deeply regret not taking a day trip from Egypt to the ancient city of Petra in 2008. I really hope to visit it soon, and share my experiences on my blog to encourage people to visit such a great place. Your articles are giving me the travel bug and a push to put it on my list!

  4. Marga Driessen April 25, 2014 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    When reading Jordan becomes more and more interesting. Hope to visit this beautiful country once!

  5. Edmond April 25, 2014 at 9:29 pm - Reply

    SOS. Help. Pick me, pick me! Your next winner!!! Show me the money!!! I have always wanted to go see Jordan I heard it is beautiful there. My childhood dream to see it since. It would be a dream come true & means more to me than anyone else to win. :( Starving artist here desperately needs the trip to have fun, feel alive & inspired again. A life changing experience. Top of my bucket list. Thanks for the awesomeness, the contest, & generosity. Dear Santa: I’ve been nice. My X-Mas wish this year is to win this contest!

  6. www.faraweek.org May 12, 2014 at 12:31 pm - Reply

    what a thrilling and fabulous picture of amman! oh my God this is stupendous.. wonderful photoshots :) thanks for sharing Daniel

  7. Jeremy September 6, 2014 at 2:34 am - Reply

    All good suggestions! I would also recommend having a look at both the al-Husseini mosque in the centre of downtown and the beautiful , striking blue-domed King Abdullah mosque. Another food that’s worth trying is the national dish of Mansaf – it’s a lamb dish cooked with fermented yoghurt and spices, and served with rice and almonds. When it’s done right the meat falls off the bone and is delicious!

    Also, a major highlight for me was going to one go the most impressive roman ruins I’ve seen in a place called Jerash – it’s only about 30 mins outside of Amman, and if you’re feeling adventurous you can get there on a local bus

  8. Sandra September 6, 2014 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    I’ve been to Jordan twice now. The first time on a tour with G Adventures. I fell in love with the country immediately. The send time I returned for 14 days and spent the time exploring Amman with a Jordanian friend. It’s a beautiful country with wonderful people.

  9. TR December 19, 2014 at 4:28 am - Reply

    The Royal Automobile Museum was an unexpected delight. I am not a car person or a racing fan – but this museum is impeccably done – an historical trip through Jordan via transportation. I’ve never seen anything like it. It is a must see to any visit to Amman.

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