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5 Things to Know Before Visiting Jordan in Winter

Many people wonder what is the best time to visit Jordan. Jordan is really a year round destination that can be enjoyed at anytime of the year. With that being said, when you are planning to visit Jordan in winter, you will want to read this entire post. Jordan has 4 distinct seasons and winter in Jordan is actually quite cold. The desert of Wadi Rum dips down below freezing at night and snow is not uncommon in Amman and on the desert highway.

When visiting Jordan in winter, you may find that some attractions (mostly hiking ones) only operate seasonally. That is because the winter and early spring brings most of the country’s annual rainfall and flash flooding can cause dangerous conditions in the mountains and streams. 

But do not be put off by Jordan in winter, there are a few benefits for visitors. Since it is the off-season, you might find yourself alone at one of the major tourist sites. I remember when I was in Jerash for the first time, I wondered where everyone was! While hotels do not change their prices a lot in the winter, you might find some deals and you will for sure have more availability when you visit Jordan in winter. 

If you are traveling to Jordan over Christmas break, this is a busy travel period all over the world. Ensure you book your airfare well in advance as well as any tours or hotels. You do not want to miss out on that once-in-a-lifetime visit because everything was sold out, or flight prices skyrocketed, before you had the chance to book! But do not let that discourage you from visiting Jordan over Christmas break if that is the best time for you. You will still see little crowds at this time of year, I just do not want you to miss out if you planned on booking a tour!

5 Things you need to know about Jordan in Winter

 

1. It is off season and crowds should be light or non-existant in Jordan in winter

While I touched on this above, winter is a great time to visit Jordan as it is mostly low season. Apart from Christmas break (which is high season almost all over the world), there are few visitors to Jordan from December – February. 

The low visitors means that you can wander ancient wonders like Petra without tour groups around every corner of the Siq. You will have very little problems getting around and plenty of hotels have lots of availability! If you are visiting Petra in high season, on some nights it is almost impossible to find a room! This is not the case in winter in Jordan! 

As I mentioned above, this does not apply over the Christmas period and you should book any tours or hotels in advance! But other than those two weeks, for most of the winter in Jordan you will have very limited crowds.

 

5 things to know about Winter in Jordan including Petra

Imagine moments like this when you can explore Petra with little or no other visitors in sight! This is something you can expect when you travel to Jordan in winter. As long as you avoid the Christmas holidays (usually from around Dec 23 to Jan 5) you will likely experience plenty of moments like this! You will be wondering “where is everyone!”

2. You do not need to worry about modesty in cold weather

Jordan is a muslim country and conservative dress (for men and women) is mu suggestion for anyone visiting.

I am about to visit Jordan in the summer, and I am WAYYYYYY overthinking my wardrobe. The thought of hiking in pants and long sleeves? Can i wear this dress? Does this show too much cleavage? When you visit Jordan in winter, these thoughts go out the door. Thoughts of, will this jacket be warm enough, do I have gloves, do I have a toque, should be on your mind if you are visiting Jordan in winter.

Something else to take into account when you are visiting Jordan in winter is heating. While hotels should have adequate heating, it might not be central heating. If you are staying in a local home it will NOT be central heating and if you are in a camp in Wadi Rum, book one with a heater!

Many hotels have a single heater / air conditioner in the room that should suffice to keep you warm. If you are in a private home, baseboard style heaters are common, as are portable propane gas and electric space heaters. This usually means that you need to move them from room to room. I suggest you bring warm clothes for wearing indoors.

Camping in Wadi Rum is going to require warm clothes! Many of the luxury tents have heaters, but it is still just a space heater. Bring your long johns and a toque to keep warm as the nights can drop below freezing!

Packing properly for Jordan in Winter is probably the single best piece of advice that I can give you. 

I have told people countless times that a windbreaker is not going to cut it if you are visiting Jordan in February. Ok if you plan on wearing a fleece underneath and the dry cold does not bother you then feel free to prove me wrong. I will continue to suggest down-filled jackets, plenty of layers, warm socks, gloves and toques. You also want something that is waterproof if you do not have a flexible itinerary and end up wandering Jerash or Petra on a really wet day! (my feet have gotten soaked multiple times in Jordan, whether waiting for a taxi, or walking to my car, or just crossing the street!) The drainage in Amman is non-existant which means that the streets turn into rivers as the water going down the hilly streets! 

Winter in Jordan means lots of time for tea

Winter in Jordan means lots of time for tea or coffee in local shops. Enjoy the bedouin hospitality as you warm up by a fire with a sweet cup of tea

 

 

3. Winter in Jordan means the beaches are EMPTY (But COLD)

While it will likely be in the 20s (that is degrees Celcius for my American friends) at the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, you are not going to see summer warmth at the beaches. The breeze can be cool at the beach, even in March and April and the hotel pools are FREEZING all year round (except the heated ones). 

Depending where you are from, you might enjoy the 20-25 degree weather at the Red Sea in Aqaba. Ensure you have sunscreen as even that winter sun can burn! 

The Dead Sea is always warmer than Amman due to its position as the lowest point on Earth and the surrounding hills. I have been there while it has been raining, but it is still definitely warmer than Amman in the winter!  I have a whole post about getting to the Dead Sea from Amman.

5 things to know about Winter in Jordan

These desert landscapes are amazing 365 days a year! However, the Jordan desert of Wadi Rum can drop below freezing at night in the winter.

4. Have a flexible Itinerary when visiting Jordan in Winter

While most of Jordan may be classified as desert, it is actually made up of 4 climate zones with huge altitude variations and microclimates. In the winter, there can be inclement weather, and it is usually seen in advance. Sites like Petra will close if they are expecting heavy rains as the rain water pours off the tall Siq cliffs and a torrent of water ends up running down the Siq. 

It can be dangerous and the flooding in Jordan takes lives every year. 

I highly suggest that if you are visiting Jordan in winter to pack some flexibility into your itinerary if you are not on a fully guided tour. You do not want to get rained out of Petra or even deal with a sand storm in your Wadi Rum Camp

Pay attention to the weather forcasts and check with the front desk at the hotel. Those are the first to places to start to find out if bad weather is expected today, or in the future!

You also want to worry about SNOW! Yes, it can snow in Jordan, especially in Amman, and everything comes to a standstill in the snow. Amman is made up of several hills and when going from A to B you will have to go up or down a hill at some point. Without snow tires, cars just slide. If you are trying to use the desert highway in the snow, be wary of fast moving vehicles who are not driving for the conditions and ensure you are driving for the conditions yourself.  

5 things to know about visiting Jordan in Winter

 

5. Plan for Short Days 

It can get dark before 5pm (around 4:30 at the shortest day of the year) in the winter in Jordan so take that into account when planning your day. If you do not want to be driving in the dark you will have to plan ahead to make sure you are at your destination before dark. 

So what to do with all that dark? There are plenty of great restaurants in Amman to grab a meal. You can also take a cooking class to learn more about Jordanian cuisine. There is a lively coffeeshop / cafe scene in Amman in the evening and you will find plenty of locals who are socializing with a coffee and shisha.  

 

What to do in Jordan in Winter

Visiting Jordan in winter means short days. Spend your evening enjoying traditional Jordanian food like Mansaf!

So what to do in Jordan in Winter

Almost everything is at your disposal when you visit Jordan in the winter. While some hiking trails will be closed and it might not feel like beach weather, there is still plenty to enjoy. 

The Dead Sea in Jordan in Winter

To escape the cold in Amman, when you visit the Dead Sea, you will immediately feel the temperature increase due to its position as the lowest point on Earth and its protection from the surrounding hills

What to Pack for Jordan in Winter

Wondering what to wear in Jordan in winter? You are not the only one! I have been to Jordan in every season and have made a few packing mistakes along the way! 

  • Down Jacket that is ideally waterproof. This is what I suggest to everyone. Down jackets pack really well and they do a great job of keeping the body heat in. Pack gloves and a toque as well.
  • Water resistant shoes. While you can get away with sneakers or running shoes, if possible, bring something that has a bit of water resistance to it. I also pack wool socks. They keep my feet warm and they do not smell!!
  • Water bottle with filter. We use this one and it filters hotel water in the morning meaning we do not need to use bottled water during the day! 
  • Sunglasses are always recommended. With over 300 days of sunshine a year, the breeze maybe cold, but you are likely to have some sunny days while you are in Jordan.

For more things to pack for Jordan and what to wear in Jordan check out this post on What to wear in Jordan. It includes essentials, as well as what to pack for all seasons!

 

 

Jordan Winter Weather 

When planning a visit to Jordan in winter you want to be ready for rain and the possibility of snow. The rainy season begins at the end of November and continues till the end of March. However, in 2018 and 2019 April had above average rainfall. But the rain that Jordan receives is sporadic and it is very unlikely that you will have rain for your whole trip. 

The coldest months of the year are December and January, where temperatures average about 13 degrees Celsius but can drop to around 5 degrees. In areas with an altitude of 1000 meters and above, (such as Amman) there is a chance of snowfall in winter. Petra and Wadi Rum have even been known to receive a skiff of snow. 

Average Amman Temperatures

December ( 5-14°C)

January (5-13°C)

February (6-13°C)

March (9-17°C)

 

 

What to do in Jordan in the Rain

If you have a really rainy day while you are in Amman you may want to adjust your itinerary. Instead of any outdoor activities you might want to consider the Automobile museum (Or if you have kids, check out the Children’s Museum, it is similar to a science center. You can get more info on my post on Amman with kids.)

There are a few giant malls in Jordan, Mecca Mall and City Mall are two of them. 

If you are in Petra and it is raining, listen to the tourist police as they will know if there are any flash flood warnings in the area. 

 

Jordan in Winter Safety Tips 

Jordan is a safe country to visit overall. I have never felt unsafe while there and I use the same cautions that I would when visiting any country.

In the winter in Jordan there are certain extra considerations when it comes to driving. When it is raining be wary of traffic. Cars do not have great tread on their tires so they can easily slip in the rain. In the snow, the city almost shuts down as the hills and twists and turns makes driving almost impossible.

Flash floods are another thing to be mindful of during heavy rains in Jordan. When it does rain, flash floods can be extremely dangerous. Last winter Amman saw terrible flash floods, as did Petra!

Check out this video of the flash flooding in Petra 

 

Here is flooding in Amman

While graphic, these flash floods are usually over very quickly. But it is important to be aware of the dangers of rainfall in Jordan in winter.

 

 

Other reading when planning your trip to Jordan in winter:

I have a complete guide to Jordan on my Jordan Travel Blog page. I suggest you start there (if you have not read it already!). Then read 10 Tips for your Trip to Jordan

If you are a foodie, check out the Best Restaurants in Amman.

What you want to know about Hiking in Jordan

Wondering whether you should rent a car? Check out How to get around in Jordan  and tips for Driving in Jordan. And if you are planning on visiting the country independently, I suggest this Jordan Itinerary

Jordan in Winter

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Jasmin

Thursday 9th of January 2020

Hey, thanks for the information. How warm is it at night at the camps? Is it better to bring my own sleeping bag to feel warm?

Lindsay Nieminen

Monday 13th of January 2020

It depends if you plan to stay in a camp with heated tents (luxury tents). They have full bedding generally, and you can always ask for more! it does get down to almost freezing temperatures. While we never bring our own sleeping bags, we did sleep in our down jackets and base layers during a winter visit!

Caroline

Monday 9th of December 2019

Were you travelling alone during winter? And if so, was it easy to travel solo? I may go there in February, alone, but I'd like to have the possibility to meet some people in the hotels/hostels.

Lindsay Nieminen

Wednesday 11th of December 2019

I have two kids, so im never solo. But often am without another adult. There are opportunities to meet other single travelers in hostels or other typical backpacker hangouts. Traveling solo as a woman is safe. Just use the same precautions you would at home and I suggest you not take any offers from local bedul in Petra for hiking to the caves. Its the same as going home with a stranger. If you would not do it at home. Do not do it in Jordan.

Jogi P

Tuesday 24th of September 2019

Nice video. A perfect glimpse of Jordan. Glad you shared

Kalyan Panja

Saturday 24th of August 2019

What a fantastic article!! Going to Jordan for first time in December….Great tips and we will be there for 6 nights. Can’t wait to plan out each of our days.

Lindsay Nieminen

Saturday 24th of August 2019

awesome! hope you have a good time! Have you had a read of my 5 Day Itinerary? You could add an extra day in Petra or a night at the Dead Sea!

Saurabh

Thursday 8th of August 2019

Thanks for winter tips. Video of the flash flooding in Petra is quite scary

Lindsay Nieminen

Tuesday 13th of August 2019

The flash flood footage is pretty crazy isnt it!