skip to Main Content
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages
The Highlights Of A Week Long Bike Trip In Jordan

The Highlights of a Week Long Bike Trip in Jordan

Jordan, a safe and peace-loving country is often referred to as the Switzerland of the Middle East. While it’s surrounded by noisy neighbours including Iraq, Syria, Saudia Arabia, Israel and the West Bank, don’t let that deter you from visiting. Over the 10 days I was in the country I never felt unsafe for a second. You can expect to be greeted by a warm Welcome to Jordan almost every time you meet someoneexcept for the folks who can’t crack a smile at customs.

Why go to Jordan for a bike trip?

Jordan is probably not the first country that comes to mind when you think of a bike trip. In fact most of its nine million plus inhabitants don’t ride bikes. And yet it’s a wonderful country to explore on two wheels. The numerous high-calibre sights like Jerash, Petra and the Red Sea are easy to see in a week. Jordan, for comparison’s sake, would fit into an area about the size of southern Alberta. So distances are manageable. It’s also got some of the best hills I’ve ever cycled – cue the descent to the Dead Sea. I spent a week hopscotching the length of the country – cycling from highlight to highlight with Exodus Travels. 

First stop on our bike trip: Jerash and the Jordan Rift Valley

John and I joined 15 other cyclists, primarily from England on the bike trip in Jordan. We met in the capital city of Amman but didn’t start cycling until we’d paid a visit to the ancient city of Jerash. It’s a massive site with an incredible number of ruins – right beside the modern city. You need a couple of hours at a minimum to explore this ancient Roman town.

You can spend hours exploring the phenomenal ruins in Jerash

You can spend hours exploring the phenomenal ruins in Jerash

The biking for the day started a short distance outside of Jerash. It gave us a taste of the hills and the shape of the roads. Who knew Jordan had such relief? While the bike ride was easy, primarily because it was mostly downhill, it did grab your attention from start to finish. You had to keep one eye on the road looking for gravel and potholes and the other on the landscape. The rift valley is lush compared to southern Jordan and beautiful with a mix of wildflower-covered hills and small villages.

Hilly cycling outside of Jerash

Hilly cycling outside of Jerash

Enjoying the quiet backroads cycling somewhere near Jerash

Enjoying the quiet backroads cycling somewhere near Jerash

Pretty cycling with a sag vehicle ready to pick up anyone who wanted to stop

Pretty cycling with a sag vehicle ready to pick up anyone who wanted to stop

To Mount Nebo and the Dead Sea

The day started with an easy 7 kilometre bike ride to Mt Nebo, reportedly the burial places of Moses. The views from the top are terrific. Looking out at the twists and turns the road takes from Mt Nebo, I get an inkling of what’s coming next. The bike ride to the Dead Sea ends up being one of the most fun descents I’ve ever done. Have you ever dropped 1140 metres or 3740 feet over a fairly short distance? Altogether a magnificent ride!

Further Reading:

Check out What it’s Really Like to Visit the Dead Sea in Jordan if that’s a place that you’ve been curious about visiting. 

For a more detailed look at The King’s Highway that includes Mount Nebo read JORDAN – The King’s Highway: Mount Nebo, Madaba, Umm Ar-Rasas, Kerak.

The road from Mt Nebo you see in the photo is the one we get to ride

The road from Mt Nebo you see in the photo is the one we get to ride

While there are some climbs they never feel onerous

While there are some climbs they never feel onerous

I think the sign means steep hill ahead

I think the sign means steep hill ahead

We pass nomad camps on the bike ride to the Dead Sea

We pass nomad camps – with curious people coming to check us out on the bike ride to the Dead Sea

Extremely fun bike ride to the Dead Sea

Extremely fun bike ride to the Dead Sea

First time I've shared a road on a bike with a camel

First time I’ve shared a road on a bike with a camel

Dead Sea float - a cool thing to do but you don't want to stay in the water for more than 15 minutes

Dead Sea float – a cool thing to do but you don’t want to stay in the water for more than 15 minutes

On the third day of our trip we visited the ancient city of Petra. There’s no time for a bike ride if you want to do the site justice. 

Read: Why You Should do the Hike to the Petra Monastery

The Petra Monastery in all its glory

The Petra Monastery in all its glory

The Bike Ride to Little Petra

While it was a short 20 kilometre bike ride to Little Petra from Petra – it sure was fun and the landscape was stunning. Most of the biking took us on flat roads past crazy rock formations. From the highway it’s a short spur road to arrive at Little Petra. 

Little Petra was thought to be a suburb of Petra – but an important one. Three open areas are connected by a 450 metre canyon. While there are a couple of sellers around and a few tourists, it is far quieter than Petra. I loved the place. Interestingly it is included in Petra’s inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You could get speed on the descent so the ascents were never hard on the bike ride to Little Petra

You could get speed on the descent so the ascents were never hard on the bike ride to Little Petra

Superb landscape for a bike ride

Superb landscape for a bike ride

Very few cars on the road to Little Petra

Very few cars on the road to Little Petra

Very few cars on the road to Little Petra - with hardly a tourist in sight

I loved Little Petra – hardly any tourists but the temples are in the same vein as Petra

The beautiful ruins of Little Petra from a cave that has painted frescoes from 1AD

The beautiful ruins of Little Petra from a cave that has painted frescoes from 1 AD

Not the sweetest sounds that comes out of the rababa - the one-stringed instrument

Not the sweetest sounds that comes out of the rababa – the one-stringed instrument

The phenomenal bike ride to Aqaba

The 50 kilometre bike ride towards Aqaba takes us through scenery reminiscent of parts of the dry US southwest. I personally love this arid landscape with its crazy rocks, colours, textures and vistas. It was a superb day on the bike with lots of hills. You were either going up or down. There were lots of smiling faces and people grinning ear to ear, especially on the descent.

Lots of hill climbing on the way to Aqaba

Lots of hill climbing on the way to Aqaba

Sometimes you just have to walk your bike

Sometimes you just have to walk your bike

The ride on this lonely road took us by several nomad camps

The ride on this lonely road took us by several nomad camps

Reaching the high point of the day on bikes

Reaching the high point of the day

Our group at the top of the biggest hill on the way to Aqaba

Our group at the top of the biggest hill

Crazy winding descent on the road you can see - so much FUN

Crazy winding descent on the road you can see – so much FUN

The final descent of the day on the way to Aqaba

The final descent of the day

The bike ride to Wadi Rum – and the last day on the bikes

Running into a camel on the road would have been a cool thing to do on the bike ride to Wadi Rum. Unfortunately camels were in short supply, but the Arabian desert scenery was not. The bike ride today – after a morning swim in the Red Sea looking across to Egypt and Israel, was an easy, flat 25 kilometres. We stopped a couple of kilometres short of our camp for the night in Wadi Rum. Trying to get anywhere in deep sand is no way to end a bike trip.

Read: An Overnight Stay in a Wadi Rum Camp in Jordan 

I loved the Trek bikes that Exodus providedI loved the Trek bikes that Exodus provided

I loved the Trek bikes that Exodus provided

On the look out for camels on the way to our Wadi Rum camp

On the look out for camels on the way to our Wadi Rum camp

I much preferred swimming in the clear water of the Red Sea over the Dead Sea

I much preferred swimming in the clear water of the Red Sea over the Dead Sea

Some things to know about a bike trip with Exodus Travels

  • The bikes Exodus provides are excellent. There is always a support vehicle, a police car and the bus with you on the bike ride. The police are used to keep cyclists safe as Jordanian drivers don’t have a lot of experience with people like us. We were a real novelty! A bike guide – an international Jordanian bike racer in our case, and a bike mechanic are all part of what you get too.
  • All you need to bring is a helmet, bike gloves and the wherewithal to do some hill climbs.
  • At the beginning of the trip everyone throws in some money for lunches, snacks and tips for places you visit so there is always food and drinks around. At bike stops we’d have fresh dates, fruit, nuts and usually some sort of baked good, often in packaged form. 
  • The guide that accompanies the bus is Jordanian and knows the lay of the land. He was excellent at suggesting what food to eat and helping with restaurant choices in the places we stayed. In Aqaba he put us onto an ice cream shop that offered the most beautiful cones I’ve ever seen.
Beautiful and delicious ice cream cones in Aqaba

Beautiful and delicious ice cream cones in Aqaba

  • Hotels used by Exodus run from basic to good with the best one by far in Aqaba. If you’re looking for luxury this is not the trip for you. But there are some places in Jordan where there isn’t a lot of choice.
  • March is a great time to visit Jordan. It’s comfortable for cycling – not hot, though it can very cool in the evening, especially in Wadi Rum.

For more information about this trip and others visit the Exodus Travels website.

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

Highlights of a week long bike trip in Jordan

A big thank you to Exodus Travels for hosting my trip.

 

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 57,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. Hi!

    I’m thinking about doing this trip next spring. What time did you go to Petra? Did they take you in the early morning before the crowds arrived? And did you visit again at night?

    1. @Kate We went to Petra the minute the doors opened. People filtered in and it was busy at the Treasury but then people really spread out. Not bad at all.I didn’t visit at night but some of our group did. Some liked it, some found it too touristy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Close search

Cart