Is one day in Petra enough?
One day is enough time to see all of the main attractions of the Lost City of Petra. This complete one-day Petra guide will help you to make the most of your visit.
As a bonus, you will find a map of Petra with trails and all of the mentioned places at the end of this post.
You will also find tips for the best time to visit Petra, how to not get scammed in Petra, what are your eating and drinking options in Petra, or where to stay in Petra (Wadi Musa).
Petra, the ancient city carved into red cliff faces, is hidden in the rocky mountains and canyons of Jordan and its origin dates to 5th century BC. Petra is called the Lost City because it was unknown to the world for hundreds of years until its discovery in 1812 by a Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. Until then, only Bedouins were inhabiting Petra.
Petra is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list and is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
Today, Petra is the most visited tourist attraction in Jordan. Almost 800 000 tourists visited Petra in 2017.
What are the main attractions in Petra?
Petra offers hundreds of sites to explore, and lots of others are waiting to be discovered. But certainly, there are some highlights of Petra.
The best places in Petra to see are:
- Royal Tombs
With this itinerary, you will visit all of the main attractions in Petra.
The 1.2 km long Siq with its high orange walls is simply breathtaking.
The Treasury is one of the most photographed and visited places in Petra. Tourists are not allowed to go inside.
This guide will tell you how to get to the Treasury viewpoint for even better photos.
The Theatre was carved into the side of the mountain by the Nabateans and enlarged by the Romans later.
The western cliff of the Khubtha mountain hides some majestic tombs. Don't skip them, you can go inside!
The Monastery is located at the very end of Petra. Definitely worth the walk. It's forbidden to go inside.
Hiking trails in Petra
There are four major trails in Petra that will take you to its main attractions:
- Main Trail
- High Place of Sacrifice Trail (Wadi al Farasa Trail)
- Monastery Trail (Ad-Deir Trail)
- Treasury Viewpoint Trail (Al-Khubtha Trail)
Except for the Main Trail, all of the other trails are officially rated as hard. I rate them as moderate since I don't consider hiking uphill as hard. Especially when the trails are well maintained, and there are no obstacles. If you can walk without any problems, it will be moderate for you too.
The Main Trail is the most crowded trail with attractions such as the Siq, the Treasury, the Theatre, the Colonnaded Street, or the Great Temple. It begins at the Petra Visitor Centre and ends at the old Museum and The Basin Restaurant by Crowne Plaza. The terrain of the Main Trail is mostly flat with no steps or obstacles to climb.
With this one day Petra itinerary, you will not walk the Main Trail straight in a row, but you will take side trails.
- Length: 4 kilometers (one way)
- Duration: approx. 1 hour and 20 minutes (one way) without stops
- Difficulty: easy
- Color on the map: yellow ◼
High Place of Sacrifice Trail (Wadi al Farasa Trail)
The High Place of Sacrifice Trail, also known as the Wadi al Farasa Trail, begins with stairs right after the "Why Not Shop" and ends at Qasr al-Bint (Temple of Dushares). This trail will take you to the High Place of Sacrifice offering an astounding view of Petra, the Lion Monument, the Garden Temple, the Roman Soldier’s Tomb, or Qasr al-Bint.
- Length: 3.5 kilometers (one way)
- Duration: approx. 1 hour and 30 minutes (one way) without stops
- Difficulty: moderate
- Color on the map: blue ◼
Monastery Trail (Ad-Deir Trail)
The Monastery (Ad-Deir) Trail begins at the Basin Restaurant by Crowne Plaza and ends at the Monastery (Ad-Deir). Expect lots of stairs.
- Length: 3.2 kilometers (return)
- Duration: approx. 45 minutes to the Monastery and 25 minutes back without stops
- Difficulty: moderate
- Color on the map: green ◼
Treasury Viewpoint Trail (Al-Khubtha Trail)
The Treasury Viewpoint (Al-Khubtha) Trail begins shortly before the Royal Tombs and ends at the Treasury Viewpoint. Along this trail, you can visit the majestic Royal Tombs – the Urn Tomb, the Silk Tomb, the Corinthian Tomb, and the Palace Tomb. Also, there will be several viewpoints from the top of the hill. You will climb a lot of stairs again.
- Length: 3.4 kilometers (return)
- Duration: approx. 45 minutes there and 30 minutes back without stops
- Difficulty: moderate
- Color on the map: red ◼
One day Petra itinerary
How to spend one day in Petra?
This one-day Petra itinerary will take you to all of the main attractions and the best viewpoints in Petra.
You will walk about 18 kilometers. Start as early as possible to have enough time to enjoy all of the places. You should leave Petra before dark. If you are quite fit and able to climb stairs, then you will easily make it.
In March, we did this route starting after 8 AM and finishing at 5 PM. See the route itinerary on the map at the end of this post.
First part: The Siq and the Treasury
You will begin your hike at the Petra Visitor Centre in Wadi Musa. During the first part of this trail (950 m), you will walk through Bab as-Siq (Gateway to the Siq) where you can see the Obelisk tomb.
The next part will take you to the famous and stunning Siq (1.2 km). It's a 3–12 meters wide corridor with its walls reaching up to 182 meters. Enjoy the shade if you are visiting Petra during a hot day.
At the end of the Siq, you will see the Treasury through the narrow canyon. Take a short break and appreciate the magnificent Treasury (also known as Al-Khazneh).
There is a chance you will be approached by local guides offering you to take you to an epic view of the Treasury, but refuse their offers. The thing is there are two viewpoints. One is directly opposite the Treasury (on the left side when you get out of the Siq) – the way there is officially inaccessible for tourists and might be quite dangerous. But they will happily take you there for some money.
This Petra guide will show you how to get the Treasury Viewpoint – located on the right side when you get out of the Siq. For this viewpoint, you do not need any guide, the trail is safe, and you don't have to pay anything.
After the Treasury, the Street of Facades begins. You will walk this street for 390 meters, and you can explore some tombs and houses around.
When you reach the open area, you will see toilets and small shops on your left. Turn left behind the "Why Not Shop" and take the stairs leading to the High Place of Sacrifice.
Second part: Hike to the High Place of Sacrifice
The first physical test of the day begins here on the stairs. You will climb a lot of them! The first part of this trail (1 km) goes up a canyon and will take you to the High Place of Sacrifice. When you reach a small stand with souvenirs, turn right.
After a while, you will find yourself at a crossroad with a signpost, and you will see a small tea/coffee house on the left and two obelisks behind you on the left. Turn right where a few other steps await you. Just before the end of the stairs, there is a fork, and it doesn't matter which path you take. You can make a loop or walk there and back the same way, but the High Place of Sacrifice is on the west side of the ridge.
Continue further where a reward in the form of an epic view of Petra awaits you. Have a rest and enjoy the scenery with a tea you can buy at the Bedouin tent there.
Head back to the crossroad and continue straight. You will start descending towards Wadi al Farasa, and after 600 meters you will have the Lion Monument (the Lion Fountain) on your left. After another 200 meters, you will get to the Garden Temple followed by the Roman Soldier’s Tomb, the Garden Triclinium, and the Renaissance Tomb.
Shortly after the Renaissance Tomb and after leaving the canyon, more trails will be available. It doesn't matter which one you choose as far as you keep walking northwest – they will lead you to Qasr al-Bint and the Main Trail.
When you arrive back to the Main Trail, it will be probably around noon. If you didn't bring your own food, you can eat at one of two restaurants – Nabataean Tent Restaurant (packed lunch for 7 JOD, lunch buffet for 10 JOD) or The Basin Restaurant by Crowne Plaza (lunch buffet for 17 JOD). If you are not hungry, you will have a chance to get a sandwich at the Monastery for 3 JOD.
Third part: Hike to the Monastery
Another stair challenge of the day. Head north of the restaurants (there was no signpost) – you will get to a canyon and first stairs after 270 meters. After another 120 meters, you can take a short detour to the Lion Triclinium. Just walk in the small canyon behind the signpost.
When you reach the Monastery, you can take a rest at a nearby café with a view of the fabulous monument and have some tea, coffee, snacks, or fresh juice for reasonable prices (3 JOD for sandwich, 3 JOD for fresh juice, 2 JOD for tea/coffe).
After the rest, walk towards the west to visit epic viewpoints of the Monastery and surrounding mountains. It will take you 5 to 10 minutes to hike to the first one with a view of the Monastery. This viewpoint is located on a rock and is marked with a "The Best View" sign.
The next viewpoint with a view of a canyon is located more to the west on the edge of the canyon and is marked with signs such as "Wadi Araba View," "Grand Canyon view," or "Do Not Miss This Spectacular View."
You will be able to see Israel and Palestine from both of the viewpoints and enjoy tea from local Bedouins.
It's time to head back. Prepare for traders saying you promised them to buy something on your return.
Fourth part: Walk through the Petra City Centre
You will pass the restaurants and will walk the Colonnaded Street. Visit the Great Temple and the Nymphaeum on the way to the Royal Tombs and the Al-Khubtha Trail. You can also make a short detour to the Temple of Winged Lions and the Byzantine Church, which are located on the hill to your left.
It is less than 1 kilometer to get to the beginning of the Al-Khubtha Trail and the Royal Tombs area.
Fifth part: Hike to the Treasury Viewpoint
After your walk through the city center of Petra, you will have the Royal Tombs in front of you. Visit the tombs now or after the hike to the Treasury Viewpoint.
Regardless, follow the path along the Royal Tombs to the north, where you will find the stairs leading to the top and to the viewpoint. It is around 500 meters from the Main Trail to the beginning of the stairs. You don't need any guide for this trail or to pay an entrance fee. This is your last stair mission of the day!
The section with the stairs (around 600 meters) is most exhausting and will take you 20–30 minutes to reach the top. Various viewpoints are accessible during this hike, and you will be able to see the whole city center of Petra and the Theatre.
A few signposts will help you to navigate there, but the trail is pretty straightforward with almost no chance to get off the path. The last part of the trail is slightly downhill so don't get confused by this. There will also be several lookouts of the Treasury, but from the angle.
When you reach the end of the ridge, there will be a Bedouin tent with the "The Most Beautiful View In The World" sign. The Bedouins will be happy to have you there, chill and take photos, but in return they want you to buy a cup of tea, coffee, or a cold soft drink for 2 JOD. This is the best place to take photos of the Treasury from above. You can also ask them to use their back door to get to a lower platform below the tent.
Now you need to return back to the Main Trail the same way you came here.
Sixth part: Back to Wadi Musa
Pass the Royal Tombs again and head to the last sight of this itinerary – the Theatre.
From there, you will walk the Main Trail back to Wadi Musa. It is 2.8 kilometers long walk from the Theatre to the Visitor Centre, and it will take you around 1 hour.
When is the best time to visit Petra
The best time to visit Petra is early morning to avoid the crowds. And you want to enjoy the Siq and the Treasury without people, especially if you want to take beautiful photos. Petra opens at 6 AM, so begin your walk as early as possible. We started our hike after 8 AM, and it was already crowded, mainly in the front of the Treasury.
During hot summer months, the early start will help you to avoid the heat for a while.
The best months to visit Petra are March to May and October to November, so you escape the coldest and hottest months. Moreover, during winter, raining may cause some parts of Petra inaccessible or flash floods. But if you don't mind cold and want to enjoy less crowded Petra, head there in winter.
We visited Petra in the middle of March, and the weather was sunny and quite hot.
Opening hours of Petra
Petra is open to tourists daily throughout the year.
Petra has opening hours for two seasons:
- summer: 6 AM to 6 PM, leave before 7 PM
- winter: 6 AM to 4 PM, leave before 5 PM - please note that one of my readers mentioned (February 2023) Petra is opening at 6:30 AM while the official websites still state 6:00 AM
Petra by night
Petra by night runs every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. You start at 8:30 PM at the Petra Visitor Centre and get back at 10:30 PM.
Petra entrance fees
How much is the entrance fee to Petra? It depends on how long you will be in Jordan and on how many days you want to spend by exploring Petra.
Jordan Pass (at least 4 days in Jordan)
If you are visiting Jordan for at least 4 days (3 nights) and planning to visit Petra, the Jordan Pass is a must. It waives the tourist visa fee and includes entrance to Petra and to over 40 other attractions in Jordan such as Jerash, Wadi Rum, or the Karak castle.
The tourist visa fee for Jordan is 40 JOD and the price for one day ticket to Petra is 50 JOD (if you stay for at least one night in Jordan). You will save 20 JOD with the Jordan Pass. Buy you Jordan Pass online prior your arrival to Jordan!
The price of Jordan Pass varies depending on how many days you want to spend in Petra:
- 70 JOD – 1 day visit to Petra (Jordan Wanderer)
- 75 JOD – 2 consecutive days visit to Petra (Jordan Explorer)
- 80 JOD – 3 consecutive days visit to Petra (Jordan Expert)
Less than 4 days in Jordan
If you are staying for 3 days (2 nights) and less in Jordan, the entrance fees to Petra are as follows:
- 50 JOD – 1 day entry to Petra
- 55 JOD – 2 consecutive days entry to Petra
- 60 JOD – 3 consecutive days entry to Petra
Buy the tickets to Petra at the Petra Visitor Centre, online booking is not possible nor necessary.
Entering Jordan via the South Wadi Araba Crossing Border (Eilat – Aqaba)
Already too confusing? Well, the Jordanian officials prepared even more complicated solution for those crossing the Eilat – Aqaba border.
If you travel to Jordan from Israel, enter via the South Wadi Araba Crossing Border (Eilat – Aqaba) and stay in Jordan for 2 consecutive nights, you will get free visa and pay 50 JOD entrance fee to Petra. You might end up paying 10 JOD departure tax when leaving Jordan via South Wadi Araba Crossing border, but the information on this differs (you might not pay anything). For more information, read about crossing the border from Eilat to Aqaba via South Wadi Araba Crossing Border and this discussion on TripAdvisor.
One day visit to Jordan
If you are taking a short one day trip to Jordan without an overnight stay, for example, a one day tour to Petra from Israel, you will pay 90 JOD to enter Petra.
Petra by night
The entrance fee for Petra by night is 17 JOD. It's not included in your day ticket or Jordan Pass.
Buy the ticket at the Petra Visitor Centre or at your hotel. There is no daily limit (March 2019).
You also have to show your day ticket or Jordan Pass to get in for Petra by night.
How to get to Petra
The closest airport to Petra is in Aqaba. It is 125km away, and it takes about 2 hours by car. Lowcost airlines providing flights to Aqaba are Ryanair, easyJet, and seasonally also Norwegian. Flights to Amman are cheaper and more lowcost airlines are available – Fly Dubai, Laudamotion, Norwegian, Pegasus Airlines or Ryanair. Amman airport is 205km far from Petra, and it takes about 3 hours by car.
If you do not want to rent a car, your best options are JETT buses. Cheaper minibuses are available, but the schedule is not fixed. Lastly, you can use a taxi, which can be convenient when traveling in a group.
In the case of minibuses, you should always ask locals or your hotel to confirm the departure time and to book your seat.
Rent a car in Jordan
Renting a car in Jordan is your best option since Jordan does not have good and frequent public transportation.
We rented our car with Sixt via Rentalcars (2 drivers included in the price). We were not pushed into any additional insurance or upgrades, and they also didn't try to charge us for any already existing scratches after the drop-off.
Free parking is available at different parking lots near the Petra Visitor Centre. Find them on the map at the end of this post.
From Amman to Petra by bus
JETT bus from Amman to Petra departs daily at 6:30 AM from the JETT bus station in the Al-Abdali district and arrives in Petra at 11 AM. The price is 11 JOD. It seems you can buy the one way ticket only in their mobile app (Android, iOS) or at JETT offices in Amman.
Alternatively, you can take a minibus from the South bus station (Wihdat bus station) in Amman for 7 JOD. They should operate the route Amman – Petra every hour between 6 AM and 4 PM, and depart when full. So it might happen you will need to wait for more passengers, pay for the empty seats, or the minibus will not leave at all.
From Amman to Petra by taxi
You may try to get Uber to Petra the price should be about 70 JOD. Otherwise, there will be taxi drivers willing to drive you to Petra. It should cost around 80 JOD, but the price depends on your haggling skills.
From Aqaba to Petra by bus
JETT bus from Aqaba to Petra is also available. It departs daily at 8:00 AM from the JETT office in Aqaba and the price is 12 JOD. You can book this bus ticket online, or at their office.
Minibusses to Petra departs from Aqaba bus station between 6:30 AM and 12 PM. As in the case of Amman, they leave when full too. The price should be 1.85 JOD.
From Aqaba to Petra by taxi
The price for a taxi from Aqaba to Petra should be around 40–50 JOD, but again, it depends on your haggling skills.
From Wadi Rum to Petra by bus
JETT provides a bus connection between Wadi Rum and Petra for 12 JOD, and you can buy the ticket online. The bus departs at 10 AM from the Wadi Rum Visitor Centre.
A minibus is also available, it should depart at around 9 AM from Wadi Rum Village, and the price is 10 JOD.
From Wadi Rum to Petra by taxi
Taxi from Wadi Rum to Petra should cost you around 30–40 JOD.
Organized tours to Petra
Tours to Petra are the best option if you do not want to drive in Jordan or deal with public transportation. You will easily find tours to Petra from Amman, Aqaba, or Israel.
The company JETT also provides tour (return) trips to Petra, and you can book it online. From Amman and Aqaba for 18 JOD, Wadi Rum – Petra – Aqaba for 18 JOD and many more.
Where to eat and drink in Petra
There is many small shops and stalls selling drinks and snacks inside Petra. The price for a bottle of water is usually 1 JOD and for other soft drinks and snacks 2–3 JOD.
There are two restaurants in Petra. Both are located in the Basin area at the end of the Main Trail.
- Nabataean Tent Restaurant – smaller and cheaper restaurant offers a lunch buffet for the price of 10 JOD or packed lunch for 7 JOD.
- The Basin Restaurant by Crowne Plaza – the price for lunch buffet is 17 JOD, drinks not included.
Save money and prepare your lunch and snacks before visiting Petra.
Tea and coffee are available at almost every Bedouin tent or stall. The price is usually 2 JOD. If the Bedouins invite you, a tip may be expected.
Scams in Petra
Petra is a safe place to visit. You may run into several scams and con artists in Petra. Don't let this stop you from visiting this ancient city. If you are unsure about any situation, contact the tourist police in Petra (find the locations on the map).
Al-Khubtha Trail (Treasury Viewpoint) scam
There have been reports Bedouins will block your way and ask you to pay them (tens of dinars) so you can hike the Al-Khubtha Trail – the trail that leads to the Treasury overlook. Don't pay them anything, they have no right to ask money for this hike, and the trail is accessible free of charge to anybody. We didn't encounter this scam.
In case this happens to you, the nearest tourist police office is located opposite the "Why Not Shop."
Bedouin romance scam
Some girls might become a target of Bedouins trying to seduce them to take advantage of them later. That includes sex, marriage and asking them for money. But remember that not every Bedouin has bad intentions.
Free horse ride in Petra
You will be approached by horse handlers telling you the horse ride is included in your ticket. What they won't tell you is a tip is more than expected after the ride (even 10 JOD). If you refuse to pay, they won't be happy at all.
Happy hours, big discounts and the best prices – typical lies to attract less experienced tourists. Don't forget to bargain.
On your return from the Monastery, vendors will be telling you that you promised them to buy something on your way back. They won't forget to add they are honest and truthful so you should keep your word.
Where to stay in Petra (Wadi Musa)
Before or after one day in Petra, it is convenient to stay for one night in Wadi Musa – the city next to Petra. There are many options for accommodation in Wadi Musa – hostels, guest houses, hotels, or luxurious hotel resorts like Petra Marriott Hotel or Mövenpick Resort Petra.
We stayed at the Petra Capsule Hostel, which is probably not the type of hostel you are used to. Your bunk bed is actually a capsule, and it is pretty cozy. Each of the capsules is for one or two persons, has its own light, power outlets, and if you are lucky, a big window overlooking the city. But don't worry, you will not share a capsule with a stranger. Private rooms are also available.
If you are looking for some unique accommodation in Petra, go for Petra Bubble Luxotel, which is located 7 kilometers north of Petra. Each bubble has air conditioning which is a must for such a type of accommodation.
Another often recommended place to stay in Petra is Rafiki Hostel with very good reviews. They offer dorm rooms and private rooms.
The rules prohibit overnight stays in Petra. Yet, Bedouins offer overnight stays in their caves in Petra. You can find their offers on Couchsurfing and Airbnb. But this might not be the best decision for solo traveling girls.
Save money and prepare your lunch and snacks before visiting Petra.
Free Petra map with trails
I created a map of sights, viewpoints and trails in Petra on Google Maps. It will help you to navigate inside Petra and follow the itinerary.
The Petra map includes:
- trails in Petra
- sights in Petra
- the best viewpoints in Petra
- toilets in Petra
- restaurants in Petra
- some tea/coffee spots in Petra
- tourist police posts in Petra
- free parking in Wadi Musa
- hotels and hostels in Wadi Musa
View a larger map by clicking the enlarge button in the top right corner of the map. Can't see the map? See it here.
There is also Lonely Planet Jordan travel guide that covers Petra and describes its history and sights.
How to view the Petra map in Google Maps on your phone
This free Petra map will be handy for navigation in Petra. You can view it in your Google Maps on your iPhone or Android phone.
You need to have Google Maps installed on your phone (Android, iOS).
- Log in to your Google account in your web browser.
- Return to this page and click the star next to the map name. It will save the map into your maps.
- Open the Google Maps app on your phone (you need to be logged in to your Google account).
- Tap the menu icon > Your places > Maps (swipe to the left in the top menu).
- Select Petra map with trails.
Can I use the Petra map offline?
If you have previously loaded the map online in your Google Maps app, then yes, you will be able to use the Petra map offline.
Is Petra on your bucket list? I hope this complete one-day Petra guide will help you with your trip. Let me know in the comments if you have any question!