The spectacular sandstone ruins of the ancient city of Petra warrant much more than a single day of exploration. With some 800 temples, tombs and boulevards, there’s a lot to see in this UNESCO World Heritage site, and we’ve put together some suggestions on how to make the most of three days in Petra.
Day 1: Petra all-stars
Start your explorations of this legendary city with a walk down the Siq, a narrow path carved into the cliffs that serves as the gateway to Petra. Anticipation naturally builds along this three quarter-mile (1.2-kilometer) walk, and your first glimpse of the ancient city will be of the Treasury, the ornate facade most associated with Petra.
Spend the remainder of your first day taking in Petra’s most famous sights: the Theater, Byzantine Church and some of the Royal Tombs. This first day is a great time to take a guided tour of the city and get some background on its history and culture.
Day 2: Dig deeper
Now that you’ve seen the highlights of Petra and snapped those first pictures, it’s time to head back and explore at a more leisurely pace. On your second day, return to the ancient lost city and enter some of the tombs, hike up to the Monastery for sweeping views or do some shopping for souvenirs at the stalls in the Outer Siq. Other area hikes include the somewhat strenuous climb to the High Place of Sacrifice or a guided trek to the Mountain of Aaron (Jabal Haroun).
Day 3: Beyond Petra
On your last day in the area, take some time to head further afield. Possible day trips from Petra include excursions to Little Petra, the beautiful desert valley of Wadi Rum, or Kerak, where you can explore its famous Crusader citadel. For a more beach-centric day, consider heading to the seaside resort town of Aqaba for a little relaxation.