Are you wondering if visiting Petra with kids is a good idea? We had many doubts whether to visit Petra with our 4-year-old son. We wondered if our son will appreciate the intricacies of the Treasury or the Monastery, or he simply complains about the heat or beg for ice cream?
It turned out that there was nothing to worry about. Our son loved Petra, and we are convenient that visiting Petra with kids is a wonderful idea.
There’s something undeniably mesmerizing about Petra, with its infamous rose-red sandstone cliffs and ancient ruins that seem to stretch on for miles. It’s no wonder that this “Rose City” in Jordan is often at the top of many people’s bucket lists.
We’ve got the ultimate guide to visiting Petra with kids – full of tips, tricks, and activities that will make your trip smooth and unforgettable.
From horse rides to Bedouin tea, from hidden trails to amazing views, we’ve got you covered.
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Is Petra suitable for kids?
Are you wondering if traveling to Petra with kids is a good idea? Definitely
The truth is, taking children to Petra can be a daunting prospect, but with a bit of planning and some insider tips, it can also be a rewarding and unforgettable experience for the whole family.
This ancient city in Jordan is a wonder of the world, with its impressive architecture, rock-cut tombs, temples, and amphitheaters. But visiting Petra with kids can be a little tricky if you don’t know what to expect.
Read on to discover everything you need to know about traveling to Petra with kids.
Getting to Petra
From Amman, the capital of Jordan, it is around a three-hour drive to Petra, and a rental car is an excellent option for those who want the flexibility to stop along the way. We have booked a private transfer from Amman.
Alternatively, there are buses that leave from Amman every day, but the journey can be a little more unpredictable and longer.
Once you arrive, you can make your way to the main entrance of Petra on foot, or hire a horse-drawn carriage to add some extra fun for the kids. To make the most of your trip, it’s best to arrive early in the morning, as the site can get busy later in the day.
Petra with Kids: Basic Information
First things first – getting there.
Petra is located in southern Jordan, and you can reach it by plane, car, or bus. If you’re coming from Amman, the capital city, it’s about a three-hour drive.
Once you arrive, you’ll need to purchase a ticket at the Visitors Centre (tickets: 90 JOD / 50 JOD). And here’s a hot tip – if you’re staying in a hotel nearby, you can enter the site via a special gate that skips the Visitors Centre queue.
We purchased Jordan Pass online, so we just waited in the queue to grab the free tickets.
Okay, now that we’re in, let’s explore. Petra is a massive site, and there are some things you shouldn’t miss.
- The Treasury, also known as Al-Khazneh, is the iconic image of Petra, and for good reason. It’s breathtaking.
- You can also check out the Monastery, which is a bit of a hike, but worth it.
- And the Siq, the narrow gorge that leads to Petra’s main entrance, is a unique experience in itself.
Introduction to Petra
Petra is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and is a UNESCO World Heritage site, attracting millions of visitors each year. With so much to explore and discover, it can be overwhelming to plan a trip to Petra with kids.
There’s no shortage of activities for children in Petra, from the adventurous hike up to the Monastery, to the fun camel rides and donkey rides, and the mesmerizing night tour of Petra lit up by thousands of candles.
Your kids will be awed by the ingenuity of the Nabataeans, and their curiosity piqued by the stories and legends of ancient Petra.
The stunning Treasury is the highlight of Petra, and your kids will love playing Indiana Jones as you walk through the winding streets and staircases leading to the tombs and temples carved into the rock.
As you make your way deeper into the city, the Monastery awaits, one of the largest and most impressive buildings in Petra.
Your kids will love the challenge of hiking up the 800 stairs to the Monastery, and the view from the top is a reward in itself. But Petra isn’t just about ancient history; there are plenty of fun activities for kids as well.
There are also plenty of local Bedouin guides who can take you on a camel or horse ride through Petra, sharing stories and legends of this ancient city.
Activities in Petra for Kids
Let’s start with the horses. There are horse carriages that can take you from the Visitors Centre to the Siq entrance, which can be fun for the little ones. Your kids will love the silly antics of the donkeys and camels, and the romantic horse-drawn carriages are a great way to see Petra in style.
Indiana Jones Trail
Another must-do for kids is the Indiana Jones Trail, which is a hidden pathway that leads to some lesser-known parts of Petra. And of course, there are camels – because no adventure is complete without a camel ride.
While exploring Petra with kids can be a bit of a challenge, there are numerous hiking options within the site that are suitable for all ages and abilities. Whether you plan to hike the Siq, which is a natural pathway that leads to the Treasury, or the Monastery, which is one of Petra’s most iconic monuments, there’s plenty of hiking options to choose from.
Bedouin Tea Ceremony
How about a Bedouin tea ceremony? The Bedouins are the indigenous people of Petra, and they have a special relationship with the site. You can join them for a traditional tea ceremony, where they’ll share stories and insights about Petra’s history and culture. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try some Bedouin bread – a delicious staple of the desert.
Petra by Night
Before you leave, make sure to check out Petra by Night, a magical experience where the site is illuminated by candlelight. And if you have time, explore the surrounding area – there are plenty of other ancient sites and natural wonders to discover. Petra is an adventure for the whole family, offering a unique blend of history, culture, and fun activities.
Little Petra (Siq Al-Barid)
Little Petra is a miniature version of Petra is a great place to start your adventure, as it’s less crowded and more compact. Kids will love exploring the rock formations and caves, and there are plenty of easy hikes to embark on.
For a more hands-on experience, you could also try booking a Petra walking tour led by a local guide who can point out all the best spots for kids to learn about the city’s history. If your children are up for a bit of a challenge, don’t miss the hike up to the Monastery.
Petra with Kids: Learning Resources
Looking for an exciting, budget-friendly family trip to Petra? While most people associate Petra with adventurous treks and steep admission fees, there are plenty of family-friendly activities that won’t break the bank.
Start by checking out the learning resources specifically tailored for kids: the Petra Visitor Center offers a free audio guide for children that is both educational and engaging. Designed as a scavenger hunt, it encourages kids to explore the site and learn about its history at their pace.
The visitor center also offers an interactive map that lets kids map out their itinerary, and a series of color-coded trails that are easy to follow.
For hands-on learning, try Petra Kitchen’s family cooking class, where your kids can learn to prepare traditional Jordanian dishes while bonding with local families.
Additionally, Petra’s Animal Aid program lets kids meet and feed the donkeys and other animals who live and work in the site’s steep terrain.
Even the seemingly mundane act of walking through Petra’s Siq can be turned into a learning experience – encourage your kids to look out for the ancient Nabataean carvings and inscriptions along the way.
Best times to visit Petra with Kids
While the site is open year-round, it’s no secret that the best time to visit is during the winter months, from November to March.
The temperate climate makes it comfortable to explore the vast expanses of the site, minus the scorching heat that can make the experience less appealing during the hotter months. However, if winter travel is not possible, there are still ways to make the most out of your trip.
Avoid visiting during the peak summer months of June to August, as the heat can be unbearable, and the crowds can be overwhelming, leading to long waits and queue times. Shoulder seasons, like April, May, September, and October, are also ideal as the weather is milder, and the visitor traffic is considerably lower.
However, it’s essential to note that the waters of the Siq (the narrow gorge leading to Petra) floods during the rainy season, so it’s crucial to check weather conditions before making the trip.
Petra with Kids: Safety Tips and Precautions
Embarking on a family vacation to Petra is an undoubtedly incredible experience that offers timeless memories for everyone involved.
However, as with any adventure, exploration of Petra can have some potential mishaps, which means safety precautions are important.
Before delving into the Petra travel itinerary, make sure to double-check the safety tips and precautions beforehand.
- Always keep an eye on children and keep them close, especially in crowded areas like the ruins of Petra.
- Dress appropriately for the wear and tear of the terrain and the hot sun.
- Bring plenty of water and snacks to keep hydrated and energized.
- Make sure everyone in the group gets plenty of rest to avoid exhaustion and avoid overexertion.
Taking some basic safety measures can help ensure that your Petra adventure is enjoyable and unforgettable.
Where to Stay in Petra with Kids?
If you’re planning a family trip to Petra, one of the most challenging aspects can be finding the right place to stay, especially if you want to make Petra kid-friendly. Fortunately, there are plenty of accommodation options available that cater to families with children of all ages.
Hostels and camping sites
For those traveling with young children or seeking a budget option, hostels and camping sites are excellent alternatives. They offer simple and straightforward accommodation options, ranging from basic tents to more robust cabins with shared amenities like showers and restrooms.
If you prefer more comfort and privacy, then there are countless mid-range hotels to choose from, where you can expect clean rooms, excellent services, and moderate pricing.
However, suppose you’re seeking something more upmarket, then you should consider staying at one of the luxury resorts around Petra. These establishments offer a wealth of amenities and services, making them the perfect places to enjoy with the whole family. They provide kids’ clubs, play areas, and babysitting services, so you’re free to explore the site without any disruptions. At these resorts, you can enjoy your vacation while your kids have fun with new friends and make unforgettable memories.
Where to Eat in Petra with Kids: Family-friendly Restaurants
Are you planning a family-friendly adventure in Petra? Then you’ll want to know which restaurants in the area cater to both adults and children. Luckily for you, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Whether you’re looking for authentic Middle Eastern cuisine or something more familiar, Petra has you covered.
One standout restaurant is Basin, which is conveniently located at the entrance to Petra. Here, you can sample traditional Jordanian dishes such as mansaf, a lamb and rice dish, or try your hand at making your own pita bread.
- Al-Wadi Restaurant
Another great option is Al-Wadi Restaurant, which offers a more upscale dining experience. Here, you can savor delicious mezze platters, grilled meats, and fresh salads, all while enjoying stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Petra: Tips for Navigating Crowds
Petra is undoubtedly one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world, and it can get overwhelming with so many people clamoring to see the iconic Treasury, Monastery, and other wonders.
Follow these expert tips for managing the crowds and make the most out of your Petra tours for families.
- Try to plan your visit during the low season, which falls between November (this is when we went there) and March. The temperatures are cooler, and the crowds are much smaller, giving you ample room to breathe and explore.
- Consider purchasing the Jordan Pass that includes the entrance fee to Petra and other attractions in the country. It allows you to skip the lines at the ticket booth and go straight to the entrance gate, saving you time and hassle.
- Once inside Petra, make sure to start your day early, preferably at the crack of dawn, when the gates open. You’ll have the advantage of witnessing the first rays of sunlight illuminate the red sandstone cliffs, and the early morning light will make for great photos. Moreover, the crowds are not as thick in the early hours, and you can enjoy the peaceful ambiance of this historic city.
- Petra has many hidden trails and overlooks that offer stunning views from above, and they are less crowded than the main paths. You can beat the crowds by exploring Petra’s offbeat areas and lesser-known attractions. For example, hike to the High Place of Sacrifice for a breathtaking panoramic view or visit the Lion Fountain, which few people know about.
Petra with Kids: Closing thoughts and recommendations
In summary, traveling to Petra with kids can be a challenging but incredibly rewarding experience. There are few places on Earth that elicit the same sense of awe and wonder as Petra, and watching as your children’s eyes light up in amazement is a truly unforgettable experience.
However, it’s important to plan ahead to ensure that everyone is comfortable and safe throughout the trip. From selecting the right accommodations and packing essential gear to creating an itinerary that meets the needs of your family, there are many factors to consider when traveling to this iconic destination.
Nevertheless, with a bit of preparation and a lot of patience, your trip to Petra is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that your family will remember for years to come. So, why not take the plunge and embark on a journey that will ignite your curiosity, inspire your imagination, and awaken your sense of wonder?
Traveling to Petra with kids may be challenging, but the rewards are boundless.