Visiting Petra in Jordan is a popular excursion for many visitors to Israel. 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.
Visiting Petra Independently
Travel from Israel to Jordan 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 visa fee for on the spot visits is around $60 per person. 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. 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 organized tour, whilst slightly more expensive, increases the experience and also includes other hard to reach attractions such as Wadi Rum and Aqaba.
Joining a tour to Petra or Jordan
Short day or two day tours depart to Petra from Eilat, in southern Israel, whilst longer three or four day tours are available from Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.
Tours depart every day from Eilat, in Southern Israel, to Petra and Wadi Rum. These tours depart from Eilat because visas are only issued at the Allenby Crossing in advance, and can be issued on the spot at the Wadi Arava Crossing between Eilat and Aqaba (the Jordanian port city). These tours 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 Wadi Rum, and many a tour of the Jordanian city of Aqaba.
At present, there are three main one day or overnight tour options leaving from Eilat to Petra and Wadi Rum:
- Petra day tour. $216 per person. More information and booking.
- Petra two day tour. $299 per person including overnight accommodation. More information and booking
- Petra and Wadi Rum two day tour. $359 per person including overnight accommodation. More information and booking
From Jerusalem and Tel Aviv
Once a week, three or four day tours from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv depart to Jordan. As well as visiting Petra, these tours take in many of the country’s other sites, including Jerash, Amman, Mount Nebo, and Mabada. These include door to door transfers and accommodation.
At present, there are two main three or four day tour options leaving Tel Aviv or Jerusalem to Jordan:
- Petra day tour from Tel Aviv: $315 per person. More information and booking
- Petra day tour from Jerusalem: $399 per person. More information and booking
- Petra and Wadi Rum two day tour from Tel Aviv. $399 per person. More information and booking
- Petra and Wadi Rum two day tour from Jerusalem: $399 per person. More information and booking
- Petra, Jerash, Amman, Mount Nebo, Wadi Rum, and Mabada, three day tour. From $459 per person. More information and booking