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17th May 2024

8 Best Things to Do in Aqaba: Experience Life-Changing Adventure (2023)

Are you ready to uncover the best things to do in Aqaba, the jewel of Jordan?

From ancient castles to mesmerizing marine parks, we’ve got an adventure-packed blog post just for you.

From our past experience of leading group trips here, we’ve discovered the most captivating attractions and insider secrets that will make your visit truly unforgettable.

So, get ready to dive into crystal-clear waters, soak up the rich history, and immerse yourself in the culture of Aqaba.

5 Interesting Facts about Aqaba

  • Aqaba boasts a history dating back thousands of years, serving as an important trading port for civilizations such as the Egyptians and Nabateans.
  • The city’s strategic location at the northern tip of the Red Sea has made it a vital maritime hub throughout history.
  • Aqaba is home to stunning coral reefs teeming with diverse marine life, making it a paradise for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts.
  • Sharif Hussein Bin Ali, the Great Arab Revolt leader and the ancestor of Jordan’s Hashemite royal family, hailed from Aqaba.
  • Aqaba’s coastal landscapes are complemented by majestic mountain ranges, offering breathtaking views and outdoor adventure opportunities.

Best Things to Do in Aqaba

1. Aqaba Castle

Aqaba Castle, also known as Mamluk Castle or Aqaba Fort, is a historic fortress located in Aqaba. Dating back to the 14th century, the castle offers a glimpse into the region’s rich history. Its strategic location on a hill provides panoramic views of the city and the Red Sea.

Visitors can explore the castle’s well-preserved rooms, passages, and courtyards, and learn about its role in defending Aqaba against various invasions throughout the centuries. The castle serves as a cultural and historical landmark, offering a fascinating journey into the past for history enthusiasts and tourists alike.

  • Location: Aqaba Castle is situated in the heart of Aqaba, Jordan, overlooking the Red Sea.
  • Timings: The castle is open to visitors daily from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Famous For: Aqaba Castle is renowned for its historical significance and impressive architecture. It offers a glimpse into the city’s rich heritage and the stories of battles fought in the past.

2. Aqaba Marine Park

Aqaba Marine Park is a protected area in the Red Sea dedicated to the conservation of marine life. The park boasts vibrant coral reefs, diverse fish species, and other marine organisms. Snorkeling and diving enthusiasts can explore the park’s underwater wonders, witnessing the breathtaking beauty of colorful corals and encountering a variety of marine creatures.

The park also aims to educate visitors about the importance of preserving the marine ecosystem through awareness programs and eco-friendly practices. Whether you’re an experienced diver or a novice snorkeler, Aqaba Marine Park offers an unforgettable experience in a pristine aquatic environment.

  • Location: Aqaba Marine Park is located along the coast of Aqaba, Jordan, adjacent to the Red Sea.
  • Timings: The marine park is open daily from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM
  • Famous For: Aqaba Marine Park is famous for its vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life. It is a paradise for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts, allowing them to explore the underwater world and witness the kaleidoscope of colors beneath the crystal-clear waters.

3. Sharif Hussein Bin Ali Mosque

The Sharif Hussein Bin Ali Mosque is a significant religious site located in the heart of Aqaba. Named after Sharif Hussein Bin Ali, the Hashemite leader during the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire, the mosque stands as a symbol of religious and historical importance.

Its impressive architectural design and ornate decorations showcase a blend of Islamic and traditional Jordanian elements. Visitors can admire the mosque’s grandeur, explore its serene interior, and witness the devout worship of local Muslims. The mosque is not only a place of prayer but also a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Aqaba.

  • Location: Sharif Hussein Bin Ali Mosque is situated in [location], Aqaba, Jordan.
  • Timings: 7AM – 8 PM
  • Famous For: Sharif Hussein Bin Ali Mosque is renowned for its stunning architecture and spiritual significance. It showcases the deep-rooted religious traditions of the city and offers a serene atmosphere for prayer and contemplation.

4. Ayla

Ayla is a modern waterfront development project located in Aqaba, offering a unique blend of residential, commercial, and entertainment facilities. Situated along the shores of the Red Sea, Ayla boasts a marina, luxury hotels, restaurants, retail outlets, and recreational spaces.

The development incorporates traditional Jordanian architectural elements, creating a charming and inviting ambiance. Visitors can enjoy strolling along the marina promenade, savoring delectable cuisine at waterfront restaurants, or indulging in water activities such as sailing and jet skiing. Ayla provides a modern and cosmopolitan experience in the midst of Aqaba’s natural beauty.

  • Location: Ayla is a prestigious waterfront development located in Aqaba, Jordan.
  • Timings: Ayla is accessible throughout the day, allowing visitors to indulge in various activities and experiences.
  • Famous For: Ayla is famous for seamlessly blending contemporary living with historical charm. It offers a unique combination of shopping, dining, and leisure opportunities, allowing visitors to experience modern luxury in a serene waterfront setting.

5. Al-Ghandour Beach

Al-Ghandour Beach is a picturesque stretch of shoreline in Aqaba, known for its pristine sands and crystal-clear waters. The beach offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city, providing a serene environment to relax, soak up the sun, and enjoy the gentle sea breeze.

Visitors can take leisurely walks along the shore, go for a refreshing swim, or simply unwind on the soft sands. The beach is equipped with facilities such as beach clubs, loungers, and umbrellas, ensuring a comfortable beach experience. Al-Ghandour Beach is a perfect spot to rejuvenate and appreciate the natural beauty of Aqaba.

  • Location: Al-Ghandour Beach is situated in [location], Aqaba, Jordan, along the coastline of the Red Sea.
  • Timings: The beach is open for visitors throughout the day, allowing them to enjoy its natural beauty and amenities.
  • Famous For: Al-Ghandour Beach is famous for its soft sands, turquoise waters, and stunning views. It offers a range of water sports activities and serves as a tranquil getaway for relaxation and sunbathing.

6. Aqaba Aquarium

Aqaba Aquarium is a fascinating attraction that offers a captivating glimpse into the marine life of the Red Sea. The aquarium showcases a wide variety of fish species, coral formations, and other aquatic creatures, providing an educational and interactive experience for visitors of all ages.

Through carefully designed exhibits, visitors can learn about the delicate balance of marine ecosystems and the importance of conservation. The aquarium also features touch tanks and feeding shows, allowing visitors to engage more closely with marine life. A visit to Aqaba Aquarium offers a unique opportunity to explore the wonders of the Red Sea’s underwater world.

  • Location: Aqaba Aquarium is located in Aqaba Special Economic Zone Aqaba, Jordan.
  • Timings: The aquarium is open to the public from 9AM to 4PM.
  • Famous For: Aqaba Aquarium is renowned for its diverse collection of marine species, including colorful fish and graceful sea turtles. It provides an educational and immersive experience, allowing visitors to gain a deeper understanding of the underwater ecosystem.

7. Archaeological Site of Aqaba Church

The Archaeological Site of Aqaba Church is an ancient complex that dates back to the early Byzantine period. Excavated ruins reveal the remains of a basilica-style church, residential buildings, and a courtyard. The site provides valuable insights into the early Christian history of the region.

Visitors can explore the archaeological remains, marvel at the architectural features, and imagine the daily life of the early Christian community. The site also includes a small museum displaying artifacts found during the excavations. The Archaeological Site of Aqaba Church is a captivating destination for history enthusiasts and those interested in ancient civilizations.

  • Location: Ar-Rashid St., Aqaba, Jordan
  • Timings: The site is open for exploration all day and night.
  • Famous For: The Archaeological Site of Aqaba Church is famous for its ancient ruins and artifacts, offering insights into the city’s historical significance. It provides a fascinating glimpse into the civilizations that once thrived in the region.

8. Aqaba Bird Observatory

Aqaba Bird Observatory is a haven for bird lovers and a vital research center for avian conservation. Located in Aqaba’s unique geographical position along the Rift Valley flyway, the observatory attracts a wide variety of migratory birds during their seasonal journeys. Bird enthusiasts can observe and study these beautiful creatures in their natural habitats, as the observatory provides ideal conditions for birdwatching.

The site is equipped with observation towers, hides, and educational facilities to enhance the birdwatching experience and raise awareness about bird conservation. A visit to Aqaba Bird Observatory offers a unique opportunity to appreciate the rich birdlife of the region while supporting conservation efforts.

  • Location: Aqaba Bird Observatory is located near Al-Salam forest, Aqaba, Jordan.
  • Timings: The observatory is open during 8AM to 3PM.
  • Famous For: Aqaba Bird Observatory is a haven for bird enthusiasts, allowing them to observe migratory birds as they journey through the region. It serves as a sanctuary dedicated to the preservation and study of avian species.

How to Reach Aqaba

1. By Road

Embark on an exhilarating road trip to Aqaba, enjoying the scenic vistas along the way. Accessible via well-connected highways, the city offers convenient access for travelers seeking to explore its treasures.

2. By Train

While Aqaba doesn’t have a train station, you can still reach the city by train via connecting routes. Plan your journey accordingly, taking advantage of the railway network to embark on an exciting adventure to Aqaba.

3. By Air

For a swift and convenient arrival, book a flight to King Hussein International Airport, located near Aqaba. Multiple airlines operate regular flights, ensuring easy access for visitors from various destinations.

Best Time to Visit Aqaba

Aqaba’s climate is characterized by warm, sunny days throughout the year, making it an appealing destination regardless of the season. However, the period between March and May and September and November offers the most pleasant temperatures, ideal for outdoor exploration and underwater activities.

Places to Stay in Aqaba

  1. Movenpick Resort & Residences Aqaba:
    Located along the shores of the Red Sea, the Movenpick Resort & Residences Aqaba offers luxurious accommodations and stunning views of the sea. With its spacious rooms, elegant design, and a range of amenities.
  2. Kempinski Hotel Aqaba Red Sea:
    Situated in the heart of Aqaba, the Kempinski Hotel Aqaba Red Sea offers a blend of luxury, elegance, and impeccable service. The hotel features well-appointed rooms, a private beach, a spa, and a selection of dining options.
  3. InterContinental Aqaba Resort:
    Overlooking the Gulf of Aqaba, the InterContinental Aqaba Resort provides a luxurious and memorable stay. The resort boasts stylish rooms, a private beach, multiple swimming pools, and a variety of dining options. Guests can unwind at the spa, engage in water sports activities, or simply relax in the serene atmosphere.

Places to Eat in Aqaba:

  1. Ali Baba Restaurant:
    Located in Aqaba, Jordan, Ali Baba Restaurant is a popular dining spot known for its delicious Middle Eastern cuisine. The restaurant offers a warm and inviting atmosphere, with indoor and outdoor seating options. From flavorful mezze platters to aromatic grilled meats and seafood, Ali Baba Restaurant serves up a variety of traditional Jordanian dishes.
  2. Red Sea Grill:
    Situated along the shores of the Red Sea in Aqaba, Red Sea Grill is a renowned seafood restaurant offering breathtaking ocean views. The restaurant specializes in serving freshly caught seafood, including a variety of fish, shrimp, and lobster. With its relaxed ambiance and attentive service, Red Sea Grill provides a memorable dining experience.
  3. Rakwet Arab:
    Rakwet Arab is a charming restaurant located in Aqaba, Jordan, that combines traditional Jordanian cuisine with a modern twist. The restaurant’s menu features a range of innovative dishes inspired by local flavors and ingredients. From hearty stews and grilled meats to creative vegetarian options, Rakwet Arab offers something for everyone.

Travel Tips & Suggestions

  • Check visa requirements: Verify visa requirements for your nationality before traveling to Aqaba.
  • Pack appropriate clothing: Pack lightweight and modest clothing suitable for the warm climate of Aqaba.
  • Stay hydrated: Keep hydrated and drink plenty of fluids due to the hot and dry weather.
  • Apply sunscreen: Protect your skin from the sun by applying sunscreen with a high SPF.
  • Explore the Red Sea: Take the chance to snorkel or dive and discover the beauty of the Red Sea’s coral reefs and marine life.

Conclusion – Best Things to Do in Aqaba

Aqaba offers a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that will leave you awe-inspired. From exploring the ancient Aqaba Castle and the Sharif Hussein Bin Ali Mosque to diving into the vibrant marine life at Aqaba Marine Park, this destination has something for everyone.

Embark on a road trip or catch a connecting train to reach Aqaba, or opt for a convenient flight to King Hussein International Airport. With warm weather year-round, the best time to visit is between March and May or September and November. Immerse yourself in the wonders of Aqaba, where adventure and serenity await.

FAQs – Best Things to Do in Aqaba

What are the best things to do in Aqaba?

Aqaba offers a plethora of exciting activities to indulge in. From exploring the ancient Aqaba Castle and the mesmerizing marine life at Aqaba Marine Park to immersing yourself in the rich history of Sharif Hussein Bin Ali Mosque, there’s something for everyone. Don’t forget to relax on the picturesque Al-Ghandour Beach and visit the Aqaba Aquarium to witness the wonders of the underwater world.

What are some nearby places to visit from Aqaba?

Venture beyond Aqaba’s borders and explore the breathtaking landscapes of Wadi Rum, known for its majestic rock formations and desert adventures. Don’t miss the chance to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site Petra, a remarkable ancient city carved into rose-red cliffs.

When is the best time to visit Aqaba?

Aqaba’s warm climate makes it a year-round destination. However, the most pleasant temperatures can be experienced between March and May or September and November. These periods are perfect for outdoor exploration, snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters, and enjoying the underwater activities that Aqaba has to offer.

Is Aqaba suitable for a family vacation?

Aqaba offers a wide range of family-friendly activities and attractions. Children can explore the historical Aqaba Castle, have fun at the Aqaba Aquarium, or enjoy a day of sun, sand, and water sports at Al-Ghandour Beach. The city’s warm climate and welcoming atmosphere make it an ideal destination for a memorable family vacation.

What are the popular hotels or accommodations in Aqaba?

There are several popular hotels and accommodations in Aqaba that cater to different preferences and budgets. Here are a few options worth considering:
1. Kempinski Hotel Aqaba
2. Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba
3. InterContinental Aqaba Resort
4. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Aqaba
5. Mövenpick Resort & Residences Aqaba

Are there any recommended restaurants or food experiences in Aqaba?

Aqaba is known for its vibrant culinary scene, offering a range of delightful dining experiences. Here are a few recommended restaurants and food experiences to try in Aqaba:
1. Ali Baba Restaurant
2. Fish Market Restaurant
3. Tala Bay Restaurants
4. Al Qantarah
5. Cedar Pride Floating Restaurant
6. Local Street Food

Can you suggest any local markets or shopping areas in Aqaba?

There are various local markets or shopping areas in Aqaba such as Gold Souk, Aqaba Souk, Friday Market, The Boulevard and many more.
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