Jordan Weather, climate and geography

Weather & climate

Best time to visit

Jordan is a year-round destination. Even in high summer (June-August), Amman and most areas around the country are not excessively hot, chiefly due to the moderating influence of altitude – Amman stands around 850m (2800ft) above sea level. Similarly, Petra enjoys an elevated position – around 1,100m (3600ft) above sea level, so here, too, although days in summer can be hot, nights are often rather chilly. For Petra, as well as decent walking shoes – the only way in and out of the ruins is by a moderately testing walk over stony ground – also bring something warm for the evenings, even in summer. In winter, Petra can be very cold, with rain and even snow.

The Jordan Valley and the Red Sea coast around Aqaba is warm during winter (December-February) – a pleasant relief from the chill elsewhere – but extremely hot in summer (June-August). In the Eastern Desert, the winter can be bitterly cold and dry and the summer intensely hot. Some high-altitude areas, such as Ajloun, Dana and Petra, can receive snowfall in winter. Rain falls in many areas across the country on higher ground between October and March.

Required clothing

Lightweight clothes are advised between May and September. Thick winter clothes are essential for winter and a warm layer is necessary for cool summer evenings. Rainwear is advisable from November to March.

Geography

Jordan borders Israel (and the Palestinian National Authority Region), the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. At 400m (1,300ft) below sea level, the Dead Sea, in the northwest of Jordan, is the lowest point on earth and one of the country's most distinctive features; the Red Sea, to which Jordan has a narrow access at Aqaba in the southwest, is teeming with life.

The River Jordan flows into the Dead Sea, and there are plans to build a canal - the Two Seas Canal (or the Dead-Red Canal) - that would link the Dead Sea to the Red Sea. Capital Amman perches above the Dead Sea Depression, at a height of 800m (2,625ft), surrounded to the north by undulating hills, and by desert escarpments to the south, on which graze the sheep and goat herds of nomadic tribes.

Jordan's northeastern flank is flat desert sprinkled with oases, while the spectacular southeastern desert is characterised by wind-eroded forms and brightly coloured sandstone cliffs.

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