Welcome to your ultimate guide for a one-day adventure in Petra, Jordan! If you’ve only got a day to explore this ancient city, you’re going to want to make the most of every minute. That’s where my guide on how to spend one day in Petra will come in handy. 

Petra was one of the many stops on my Jordan trip, and even though I only got to stay for 24 hours, it’s still one of my favourite travel memories. 

Petra, also known as the ‘Rose City’, is a marvel of sandstone landscapes and architectural brilliance. 

This ancient city, set amongst cliffs and desert scenery, has a wealth of history that dates back thousands of years.

Every corner of Petra tells a story of the city’s past – the grand Al-Khazneh (The Treasury), the Monastery and royal tombs and intricate carvings

Whether you’re a history buff, fancy yourself as Indiana Jones for the day, or just someone with a passion for beauty (like myself), Petra promises an experience that you’ll carry with you long after you’ve left.

Let’s get some of the practicalities out of the way before I delve into my 24 hour Petra itinerary.

NO TIME TO READ NOW? PIN FOR LATER!

Pinterest pin for 'How to Spend ONE DAY IN PETRA Jordan' with the iconic Al Khazneh façade in the background. Website 'snaphappyspoonie.com' mentioned at the bottom for more information

Full disclosure! See those links below? If you happen to click on one of these affiliate links and purchase something I recommend, I’ll get a small commission (wohoo). Don’t worry, this is at no extra cost to you (in fact, often I’ll have some discounts you can enjoy!). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying sales. You can read my full disclaimer here.

Getting To Petra

Petra, a well deserving UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located in southern Jordan, around 230km (or a three hour drive) from the capital, Amman. 

The two easiest ways to get to Petra from other areas in Jordan are to either book a day tour or hire a driver (which is what we did – although we had our driver for the entirety of our trip, not just the Petra part). 

Alternatively, you can hire a car yourself. You’d want to be sure you’re comfortable driving in a foreign country, though. 

There’s also the option of taking a bus, which is the most budget-friendly option. 

The JETT bus departs from Amman’s North Station at 6:30am and takes around four hours to reach Petra. If you’re heading back to Amman that evening, you’ll need to get the 5pm bus back. The only problem with getting the bus is that you’re restricted with your time and you’d miss Petra by Night. 

If you’re on a tight schedule, I’d recommend either hiring a driver or booking a day trip so you can make the most of your visit.

Here are some of the best day trips you can take from various cities in Jordan:

Powered by GetYourGuide

How Much Does It Cost To Go To Petra?

Let’s take a look at some of the costs you’ll likely come across when visiting the ancient city of Petra. First and foremost, you’ll need to pay an entrance fee to enter Petra. Here’s a quick breakdown of the ticket prices:

Ticket TypePrice (JOD)
One-day pass50
Two-day pass55
Three-day pass60

If you’re only spending one day in Petra, a one-day pass will set you back 50 JOD (around $70). However, if you decide to extend your stay, a two-day pass is just 55 JOD ($77), and a three-day pass is 60 JOD ($85). Clearly, your ticket becomes more cost-effective the longer you stay.

FYI if you already have the Jordan Pass, you won’t need to pay anything extra to enter Petra! 

If you’re coming from the nearby Wadi Musa, a taxi ride to Petra’s entrance usually costs around 5 JOD ($7) each way. Alternatively, you can always walk from most hotels in Wadi Musa, but be prepared for a 20-30 minute walk and remember you have a lot of walking to come in Petra itself!

Once you’re inside Petra, you might want to consider hiring a guide, especially if it’s your first visit. Licensed tour guides will charge around 50 JOD for a group, depending on the size and the itinerary. Make sure you agree on the price beforehand to avoid any surprises!

Petra also offers several transport options for getting around the archeological site, such as horse drawn carriages and donkeys. You’ll have to pay extra for these, but unless you truly can’t make the walk, please don’t hire a donkey to take you up to the Monastery – it was really sad to see. They’re not made to carry us lazy humans. 

Then you need to make sure you account for any meals, snacks, and drinks you’ll want throughout the day. For a typical sit-down meal at a nearby restaurant, expect to pay around 10-15 JOD ($14 – $21) per person.

Drinks and snacks sold inside Petra can be pricier than what you’d find in Wadi Musa, so you might want to consider packing your own supplies if you’re on a tight budget.

Lastly, on the way up to (and down from) the Monastery, there are stalls selling souvenirs and trinkets. While they may seem tempting, keep in mind that many of these items are mass-produced and not actually authentic to the culture or history of Petra. If you do want to buy something, make sure to haggle for a fair price!

Where to stay in Petra

No doubt, you’ll want to find a comfortable and convenient place to rest your head after a long day exploring Petra. Thankfully, there is a variety of accommodation options in and around Petra, no matter what your budget or preference.

For those seeking a bit of luxury, Mövenpick Resort Petra is a fantastic choice, located just outside the entrance to the ancient city. The 5-star hotel has beautiful rooms, a rooftop terrace, and even a pool to cool down in. 

If you’re in the mood for a more boutique experience, Petra Guest House is also right by the entrance of Petra, and offers a more intimate atmosphere.

There are plenty of affordable options for budget travellers too. The Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp is a unique experience where you get to stay in a traditional Bedouin tent, with a few modern amenities. 

For some other options, take a look at Rocky Mountain Hotel or Valentine Inn for a cheap and cheerful stay.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the mentioned options:

Hotel NameCategoryDistance from Petra Entrance
Mövenpick Resort PetraLuxury100 metres
Petra Guest HouseBoutique50 metres
Seven Wonders CampBudget15 km (transport provided)
Rocky Mountain HotelBudget1.8 km
Valentine InnBudget2 km

Staying in nearby Wadi Musa is another option. The town offers a range of hotels, hostels and guesthouses, all within close proximity to Petra. Plus, you’ll have easy access to local restaurants and shops.

 

Tips for Visiting Petra

  • Wear your most comfortable shoes. I’m not kidding when I say there’s a lot of walking to be done there, especially if you go back in the evening to do Petra by night.  
  • Visit in the off-season. Petra can get extremely busy during peak tourist season, making it difficult to fully appreciate its beauty and take good photos. Plus, you’ll avoid the sweltering heat if you go in the cooler months.
  • Get there early. I recommend arriving at the gates around 6 or 7am – you’ll have the place almost to yourself and can take amazing photos without other tourists in them. Plus, you’ll avoid the heat of the day.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks. Exploring Petra takes a lot of energy, so you need to make sure you stay hydrated and, well snacks are always handy! 
  • Don’t be afraid to haggle. When shopping for souvenirs, don’t be afraid to negotiate prices with the local vendors. It’s a fun part of the culture and you might just get a good deal!
  • Take time to admire the details. As you walk through Petra, take a moment to appreciate the intricate details and craftsmanship in the architecture. It’s truly amazing.
  • Be respectful of the local culture. Remember to be respectful and mindful of your actions and words while visiting this beautiful country. 

One Day In Petra

Morning

Early morning is the best time of day to visit Petra, one of the new seven wonders of the world. I would aim to be at the Petra Visitor Centre for 6am. I know that might sound a little crazy (who wants to be up before 6am when you’re supposed to be on holiday?!) but trust me, it’s worth it.

Not only will you get to enjoy without hoards of tourists, you’ll also beat the intense heat of the day.

From the visitor centre, you’ll start your journey by strolling through the Siq, a narrow gorge that leads to the Treasury, one of Petra’s most famous and recognisable buildings.

The walk will take you about 20-30 minutes, although it may take longer, depending on how many times you stop to admire the incredible rock formations and take photos.

Keep an eye out for the iconic Treasury peeking through the narrow gap in the canyon walls – you’ll know it once you see it!

Alt text: "A close-up view of the Treasury at Petra, Jordan, showcasing the detailed Hellenistic architecture, ornate columns, and intricate carvings, with a clear blue sky above.

Once you reach the Treasury, take some time to explore its intricate details and impressive facade. It’s truly a marvel of ancient architecture.

Mid-day

After you’ve taken in the Treasury, it’s time to move on to the Street of Facades around mid-morning. This part of Petra is lined with tombs that look more like grand mansions than final resting places. It’s pretty impressive how these were all carved straight out of the rock.

Walking along, you’ll see loads of these facades, so take your time to check them out. Some have really detailed carvings, and it’s cool to think about the work that went into them.

The Street of Facades in Petra, Jordan, featuring rows of Nabatean tombs carved into the pink sandstone cliff under a bright blue sky.

Next up is the Theatre, which is hard to miss. It’s huge and carved out of the rock, too. They could fit thousands of people in there back in the day. It’s kind of surreal to sit in the stands and just imagine watching a show or something back when Petra was buzzing. Definitely worth stopping and sitting for a bit just to soak it all in.

The ancient amphitheatre in Petra, Jordan, with its auditorium of carved sandstone seats rising in concentric circles, capturing the grandeur of Nabatean engineering.

After the Theatre, keep going until you hit the Colonnaded Street. It’s like the main road of ancient Petra, with columns along the sides.

Row of freestanding sandstone columns along the Colonnaded Street in Petra, Jordan, against a vivid blue sky, showcasing the remnants of ancient commerce and culture.

Walking down this road gives you a real sense of how this place used to be a busy city center. You can see the remains of some old shops and public buildings there too.

Afternoon

After exploring the Treasury in the morning, the next must-see destination in Petra is the Monastery, known locally as Ad Deir. To get to the Monastery, you’ll first need to prepare for a hike that’s a little challenging, but rewarding.

The journey involves climbing roughly 800 steps carved directly into the rock. While the option to ride a donkey exists, I strongly advise against for ethical reasons and the preservation of the site.

The hike to the Monastery takes about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on your pace. This monumental structure is less crowded than the Treasury – many people aren’t ready for the hike. So, this means you’ll have more space to take photos!

It’s similar in design to the Treasury, but much larger. It’s the perfect example of Nabatean architecture.

Breathtaking view from the Monastery at Petra, showcasing the vast expanse of rugged sandstone mountains under a vast blue sky, embodying the serene yet majestic nature of the site.

After you’ve stared at the Monastery’s grandeur for some time, make your way to the viewpoint nearby. Here, you’ll be treated to the best view that stretches across Petra’s rugged landscape and beyond. It’s the perfect spot to take a breather after all those steps!

As you make your way back down, you’ll find various stalls lining the pathway where local vendors sell a variety of souvenirs, from handmade jewelry to traditional Bedouin crafts.

One of the friends I made making my way up to the Monastery bought me a lovely Petra fridge magnet on the way back down!

Evening (Petra by Night)

Petra by Night is a truly unique event. It takes place three nights a week (Monday, Wednesday and Thursday), starting at 8:30 pm from the Petra Visitor Centre. This special tour allows you to see the Siq and the Treasury in a completely different light – literally!

Rows of candles casting a warm, inviting glow at the Petra night event, creating a striking contrast with the dark surroundings and offering a hint of the ancient city’s nocturnal charm.

From the start of the Siq, the path is illuminated by over 1,500 candles, creating a serene and mystical atmosphere. This candlelight guides you towards the Treasury, which is also lit up, casting a warm glow on its iconic facade.

As you reach the Treasury, you’ll be treated to an amazing light show that highlights the intricate details of this ancient wonder. Locals play traditional Jordanian music, which echoes beautifully through the canyon, and tell stories that transports you back in time, sharing the rich history and legends of Petra.

To top it off, you’re offered sweet tea, a gesture of hospitality that adds to the experience.

Petra by Night isn’t just a tour; it’s an unforgettable journey that combines the beauty of nature, the grandeur of ancient architecture, and the charm of Jordanian culture.

Is one day in Petra enough time?

While one day in Petra may not be enough time to see everything this ancient city has to offer, it was definitely enough for my friends and I, and we didn’t feel as though we missed out on too much.

With careful planning and prioritising, you can absolutely make the most out of your one day in Petra and see the highlights of this incredible site.

If you have more than one day, some other  must-see attractions include: 

  • The High Place of Sacrifice
  • Little Petra
  • The Great Temple
  • Byzantine Church
  • The Cave Bar

More Jordan travel guides:

Similar Posts