Visiting Petra from Israel is a popular excursion for many visitors to the country, with many tour options readily available, making the journey quick, easy, and straightforward. Petra, ‘the lost city’ is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, famous for its incredible architecture carved into the reddish rock by the Nabateans. There are excursions and tours to Petra from Israel every day, and whilst it is possible to travel by public transport and independently, these are recommendable.
Joining a tour to Petra from Israel
One day or two day tours depart every day to Petra from Israel, with daily departures from Eilat, Israel’s most southern city, as well as from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The highlights of Petra are included in all tours to Petra from Israel
Tours depart every day from Eilat to Petra and Wadi Rum. These tours depart from Eilat because the journey to Petra from here is pretty fast, and the transfer process at the Arava Boder Crossing is quicker and cheaper than at other borders (note that crossing is only possible at the Allenby Crossing near Jerusalem if you have a pre-issued visa, so tours do not cross here). These tours to Petra from Israel are fully guided and are door-to-door with transfers on either side, and a much simpler traveling experience than independent travel, plus more sites, with most tours including the magnificent desert at Wadi Rum, and many also touring the Jordanian city of Aqaba.
At present, there are four most popular one day or overnight options for tours from Eilat to Petra and Wadi Rum:
Many of the tours to Petra from Jerusalem include the capital of Jordan, Amman
From Jerusalem to Petra, there are a growing number of tour options, some of which cross into Jordan via the Northern (Bet Shean/Sheikh el Hussain Crossing) and others via the Eilat Border Crossing.
From Tel Aviv
Wadi Rum’s stunning desert landscape is a feature of many longer two day tours to Jordan
From Tel Aviv to Petra, many people opt for a one day tour, however, there are great options for overnight tours which can offer an amazing experience.
For families or larger groups, private tours to Petra can offer a custom-made experience which is unrivalled in terms of flexibility. When it comes to larger groups, a private tour to Petra does not necessarily mean a more expensive experience than going with a group. More information about private tours to Petra can be found here.
Traveling to Petra Independently
The Monastery at Petra
Travel to Petra from Israel independently is possible by crossing one of the three open borders between the two countries. The border crossing at Eilat (Wadi Arava Crossing) and Beit Shean (Jordan River Crossing, in the north) issue Jordanian visas on the spot, whilst the central (Allenby Bridge) crossing, between Jerusalem and Amman, only accepts pre-issued Jordanian visas. Independent travelers can find that waiting times can be long, and public transportation tricky to coordinate, meaning taxis are the simplest way to get from the nearest town, Eilat or Beit Shean. The border tax is around $65 per person at Eilat, and the Northern crossing at Beit Shean. Visas are not charged for most nationalities. On the Jordanian side, public transportation and taxis are cheaper than Israel.
Some tourists do travel independently between Israel and Jordan. There are a limited number of day tours leaving from Amman, and private taxis from Amman to Petra cost around $75, and then visitors will take a guide at Petra. But it’s important to bear in mind that the entrance fee at Petra is pretty hefty (approximately $130 for a one day visitor to Jordan), meaning that a tour costing $216 is a pretty good value option. The issues that are encountered include long transportation times, delays at the borders, and often a loss of quality on the tour because pre-booking a great guide in Jordan can be tricky. As a result, most visitors opt for an organised tour, whilst slightly more expensive, increases the experience and also includes other hard to reach attractions such as Wadi Rum and Aqaba.