The Jordan Trail, running from the grassy hills of the north down to the rocky desert of the south, is among the most varied and spectacular 400 miles in the world.
Each twist in the road brings unexpected sights; a tree filled with goats, shooting stars breaking up the pitch-black night sky, the turquoise majesty of the Red Sea. And, of course, there is Petra, one of the wonders of the archaeological world, a dust-red city carved into the very rocks. Established in 312BC, it has become Jordan’s most visited attraction, the Middle Eastern equivalent of Peru’s Machu Picchu, one of those things you really have to see to fully believe.
The Trail recently reopened after extensive redevelopment and expansion, now running from Um Qais in the north to Aqaba in the south, offering 40 days of trekking for intrepid adventurers. Guided tours are available, although more competent hikers will be able to tackle the route using GPS and a decent pair of walking shoes. And while this area of the Middle East may raise alarm bells, the entirety of the route is well beyond the 6km zone around the Syrian border the FCO recommends travellers avoid (for a full list of travel advice on Jordan go to gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/jordan). More cautious travellers can opt to forgo the north altogether and concentrate on the Red Sea/desert/Petra section of the trail, which is where the best snaps for the folks back home will come from.
The full trail takes in 52 settlements, with accommodation a combination of Bedouin-style tents and local spare rooms (very few people tackle the full 400 miles, however). The latter is a real selling-point, giving you a chance to try super-authentic local food and get to know more about Jordan’s people and their culture.