Irbid jordan

25th February 2024

15 Best Things to Do in Irbid: Uncover Hidden Gems (2023)

Are you looking for the best things to do in Irbid? If so, we’ve got you covered in this blog post. 

Did you know that Irbid, the “City of Gardens,” is a hidden gem nestled in northern Jordan? 

From our past experience of leading group trips here, we can confidently say that Irbid offers a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. 

So, grab your sense of adventure and join us as we uncover the top attractions and hidden gems that make Irbid a must-visit destination. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed!

5 Facts about Irbir

  • Irbid, also known as “Arabella,” is a vibrant city located in northern Jordan.
  • Home to Yarmouk University, Irbid is a renowned educational hub with a rich academic heritage.
  • With a history dating back to the Bronze Age, Irbid boasts archaeological sites like Tell Irbid and Pella.
  • Known for its olive groves and agricultural heritage, Irbid is a major producer of olive oil in Jordan.
  • Irbid’s bustling markets, such as the Souk Al-Hussein and the Friday Market, offer a vibrant shopping experience.

Best Things to Do in Irbid

1. Umm Qais / Qays

Umm Qais, also known as Umm Qays or Qays, is an ancient city in Jordan with a fascinating historical background. The Giordania Museum located there showcases the rich heritage of the region through a diverse collection of artifacts, including sculptures, pottery, and architectural remnants.

Visitors can delve into the city’s past and explore exhibits that highlight the Greco-Roman influence on the area. The museum provides valuable insights into the culture, traditions, and daily life of the people who once inhabited Umm Qais, making it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts.

  • Location: Umm Qais, Jordan
  • Famous For: Rich archaeological site showcasing Roman ruins, ancient theaters, and the Umm Qais Museum.

2. Gadara Fort

Visiting Godara Fort is also one of the best things to do in Irbid. Perched atop a hill in Umm Qais, Gadara Fort stands as a testament to the ancient city’s strategic significance. The fort’s well-preserved ruins offer visitors a glimpse into its military architecture and defensive systems.

As you wander through its walls, you’ll be transported back in time, imagining the soldiers who once patrolled its ramparts. From the fort’s vantage point, breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights, await.

Gadara Fort is a captivating destination that combines historical exploration with stunning natural beauty.

  • Location: Umm Qais, Jordan
  • Famous For: Historic fortress offering panoramic views of the surrounding area and preserving remnants of ancient Gadara.

3. Dar As Saraya Osmanli Museum

Located in Irbid’s city center, Dar As Saraya Osmanli Museum is a hidden gem that unveils the opulent history of the Ottoman Empire.

Housed in a beautifully restored Ottoman-era building, the museum showcases intricate architecture and offers a glimpse into the lavish lifestyle of the ruling elite.

From ornate furniture and traditional costumes to exquisite artwork and historical documents, the museum’s exhibits immerse visitors in the Ottoman era’s grandeur.

Exploring Dar As Saraya Osmanli Museum provides a unique opportunity to appreciate the region’s historical legacy and gain insights into its cultural heritage.

  • Location: Irbid, Jordan
  • Famous For: Ottoman-era museum housed in a restored 19th-century building, exhibiting artifacts and showcasing the region’s heritage.

4. Museum of Jordanian Heritage

The Museum of Jordanian Heritage in Irbid celebrates the rich cultural tapestry of Jordan through a captivating collection of artifacts and exhibits.

From prehistoric artifacts to Islamic art and traditional crafts, the museum showcases the diversity and depth of Jordan’s heritage.

Visitors can explore displays highlighting the region’s ancient civilizations, including the Ammonites, the Nabateans, and the Roman Empire.

With interactive displays and engaging presentations, the Museum of Jordanian Heritage offers an immersive experience that educates and inspires visitors, fostering a deeper appreciation for the country’s rich historical and cultural heritage.

  • Location: Irbid, Jordan
  • Famous For: Showcasing the diverse cultural heritage of Jordan through exhibits featuring traditional costumes, handicrafts, and archaeological artifacts.

5. Gadara Aqueduct

The Gadara Aqueduct, a marvel of engineering from ancient times, once supplied water to the city of Gadara (Umm Qais). Spanning over several kilometers, this impressive waterway utilized the region’s natural terrain, including valleys and slopes, to transport water from springs to the city.

The remains of the aqueduct can still be observed today, showcasing the architectural ingenuity of the past.

Exploring the Gadara Aqueduct allows visitors to appreciate the skill and craftsmanship of ancient engineers and provides a glimpse into the innovative solutions employed to address water needs in antiquity.

  • Location: Umm Qais, Jordan
  • Famous For: Magnificent Roman aqueduct system that once supplied water to the ancient city of Gadara, showcasing impressive engineering.

6. Jesus Cave Bayt Eidis

Jesus Cave Bayt Eidis, situated in the picturesque village of Bayt Eidis near Irbid, is a place of religious significance and natural beauty.

According to local tradition, Jesus and his disciples sought refuge in this cave during their travels. Today, the site attracts both pilgrims and nature enthusiasts. The cave itself, nestled amidst lush greenery, exudes tranquility and invites contemplation.

Visitors can explore the cave’s interior, admire its stalactites and stalagmites, and soak in the peaceful ambiance of the surrounding landscape. Jesus Cave Bayt Eidis offers a serene retreat and a glimpse into Jordan’s religious heritage.

  • Location: Irbid, Jordan
  • Famous For: A cave believed to be a historical site where Jesus sought refuge during his travels, offering a spiritual and serene experience.

7. Pella Archeological Site

Pella, an ancient city located in northern Jordan, is a treasure trove for archaeology enthusiasts. The Pella Archaeological Site unveils layers of history, with evidence of human settlement dating back over 8,000 years.

Excavations have revealed remnants of various civilizations, including the Bronze Age, Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods. Visitors can explore the well-preserved ruins, including temples, theaters, and houses, which provide insights into the daily lives and cultural practices of the people who once thrived in Pella.

The Pella Archaeological Site offers a captivating journey through time, offering a deeper understanding of Jordan’s rich past.

  • Location: Pella, Jordan
  • Famous For: An extensive archaeological site showcasing remains from various civilizations, including Roman, Byzantine, and Umayyad periods.

8. Irbid Natural History Museum

The Irbid Natural History Museum is a fascinating destination for nature lovers and science enthusiasts. Its diverse exhibits showcase the region’s natural wonders, including geological formations, flora, and fauna.

From dinosaur fossils and ancient artifacts to interactive displays on ecosystems and biodiversity, the museum provides an engaging learning experience for visitors of all ages.

Exploring the Irbid Natural History Museum allows you to delve into the natural heritage of the region and gain a deeper appreciation for the environmental diversity and geological wonders that shape Jordan’s landscape.

  • Location: Irbid, Jordan
  • Famous For: A museum dedicated to natural history, featuring exhibits on geology, paleontology, flora, fauna, and the biodiversity of the region.

9. Irbid Archaeological Museum

The Irbid Archaeological Museum is a cultural gem that houses a vast collection of archaeological treasures from the region. Exhibits showcase artifacts spanning thousands of years, from the Paleolithic era to the Islamic period.

Visitors can marvel at ancient pottery, jewelry, coins, and sculptures, offering insights into the diverse civilizations that have left their mark on Irbid. The museum’s carefully curated displays and informative signage provide a deeper understanding of the archaeological significance of the area.

The Irbid Archaeological Museum is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts seeking to unravel the mysteries of Jordan’s past.

  • Location: Irbid, Jordan
  • Famous For: Showcasing archaeological discoveries from the region, including artifacts from ancient civilizations such as the Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines.

10. Yarmouk Nature Reserve

Nestled in the picturesque Yarmouk River Valley, the Yarmouk Nature Reserve is a haven for nature enthusiasts. This protected area encompasses diverse ecosystems, including forests, wetlands, and rocky slopes.

Visitors can embark on hiking trails that lead to breathtaking viewpoints, witness the beauty of seasonal wildflowers, and observe an array of bird species.

The Yarmouk River, with its crystal-clear waters, offers opportunities for relaxation and picnicking. The reserve’s abundant flora and fauna, coupled with its stunning natural landscapes, make it a perfect getaway for those seeking tranquility and a deeper connection with nature.

  • Location: Irbid, Jordan
  • Famous For: A scenic nature reserve known for its diverse wildlife, hiking trails, and stunning landscapes, including the picturesque Yarmouk River.

11. Barqash Forest

Barqash Forest, located near Irbid, is a lush green expanse that enchants visitors with its serene beauty. This verdant woodland provides a refreshing retreat from the bustling city life.

Exploring its trails reveals a variety of trees, plants, and wildlife, creating a peaceful ambiance that invites relaxation and rejuvenation. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely walk, a picnic spot, or a chance to connect with nature, Barqash Forest offers it all.

Its picturesque setting and tranquil atmosphere make it an ideal destination for nature lovers and those seeking a peaceful escape in the heart of Jordan.

  • Location: Irbid, Jordan
  • Famous For: A lush forested area offering opportunities for hiking, picnicking, and enjoying nature’s tranquility, particularly during springtime.

12. Sharhabil Bin Hassneh Ecopark / SHE Park

The Sharhabil bin Hassneh Ecopark, also known as SHE Park, is a hidden gem in the Jordan Valley, offering a unique blend of nature, conservation, and cultural experiences.

This eco-friendly park is set around a serene lake, surrounded by lush vegetation and wildlife. Visitors can enjoy a range of activities such as kayaking, birdwatching, hiking, and camping.

The park also promotes sustainable practices and showcases traditional Bedouin culture, providing opportunities to engage with the local community.

SHE Park is a tranquil oasis that combines environmental stewardship with cultural immersion, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and culture seekers.

  • Location: Irbid, Jordan
  • Famous For: A nature reserve and ecotourism destination featuring hiking trails, birdwatching, camping, and educational programs promoting sustainability.

13. Wadi Arab Dam

The Wadi Arab Dam, located near Irbid, is a remarkable feat of engineering that harnesses the power of water for irrigation and energy production.

This multipurpose dam provides vital water resources for agricultural activities in the region, contributing to the local economy. The dam’s reservoir, with its sparkling blue waters, creates a scenic backdrop amidst the arid landscape.

Visitors can appreciate the scale of the dam and witness its impact on water management in Jordan. The Wadi Arab Dam stands as a testament to human ingenuity and sustainable development in an arid environment.

  • Location: Irbid, Jordan
  • Famous For: A significant dam providing water resources and irrigation to the surrounding areas, contributing to agricultural development.

14. Wadi al Shallala

Wadi al Shallala is a picturesque valley near Irbid that captivates visitors with its natural beauty and geological wonders.

This narrow canyon, carved by water over millennia, offers a stunning landscape of towering cliffs and cascading waterfalls.

Exploring Wadi al Shallala allows adventurers to hike through its rugged terrain, navigate its pools and streams, and revel in the tranquility of the surrounding nature.

The vibrant colors of the rocks, the soothing sound of flowing water, and the lush vegetation make Wadi al Shallala a hidden paradise waiting to be discovered by nature enthusiasts and thrill-seekers.

  • Location: Irbid, Jordan
  • Famous For: A picturesque valley offering hiking opportunities, stunning landscapes, and a chance to explore the natural beauty of the region.

15. Sharhabeel Dam

Situated in the idyllic landscape of northern Jordan, the Sharhabeel Dam is not only a vital water resource but also a picturesque destination for relaxation and recreation.

The dam’s reservoir, with its azure waters reflecting the surrounding mountains, creates a scenic retreat away from the bustling city life. Visitors can enjoy activities such as boating, fishing, and picnicking in this serene setting.

The Sharhabeel Dam offers a tranquil escape where one can bask in the beauty of nature and savor moments of peace and tranquility, making it a perfect destination for leisure and rejuvenation.

  • Location: Irbid, Jordan
  • Famous For: A prominent dam serving as a water reservoir and recreational area, providing opportunities for boating, fishing, and enjoying scenic views.

Best Time to Visit Irbid

The best time to visit Irbid is during the spring and fall seasons, which offer pleasant weather and comfortable temperatures. From March to May, and September to November, the city experiences mild temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor exploration and activities.

During these seasons, the days are generally sunny, and the evenings are cool. This period also coincides with the blooming of wildflowers and the vibrant colors of nature, adding to the visual appeal of the region.

It is advisable to avoid the summer months as they can be hot, with temperatures soaring to uncomfortable levels. Winter can be chilly, but still manageable for those who enjoy cooler climates. Overall, the spring and fall seasons offer the best weather conditions and an enjoyable experience when visiting Irbid.

How to Get to Irbid

1. By Road

Irbid is easily accessible by road, whether you’re coming from within Jordan or neighboring countries. Major highways connect Irbid to the capital city, Amman, and other key destinations. You can reach Irbid by taking a taxi, renting a car, or using public transportation services like buses or minibusses.

2. By Train

Irbid is also well-connected by train. The Hijaz Jordan Railway runs regular services between Irbid and other cities in Jordan, including Amman and Zarqa. The train offers a convenient and scenic way to travel, allowing you to enjoy the landscapes as you make your way to Irbid.

3. By Air

While Irbid itself doesn’t have its own airport, you can fly into Jordan via Queen Alia International Airport near Amman. From the airport, you can either take a taxi or arrange for a private transfer to Irbid, which is approximately a 1.5 to 2-hour drive away.

Alternatively, you can also consider flying into King Hussein International Airport in Aqaba and then traveling to Irbid by road or train.

Where to Stay in Irbid

1. Irbid Plaza Hotel: Located in the heart of Irbid, Irbid Plaza Hotel offers comfortable accommodations and a range of amenities for a pleasant stay. The hotel features well-appointed rooms, an on-site restaurant serving delicious cuisine, and a fitness center.

2. Olive Tree Hotel: Situated in a tranquil area of Irbid, Olive Tree Hotel offers a peaceful retreat with modern amenities. The hotel boasts spacious rooms, a restaurant offering delectable dishes, and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views.

3. Orchid Hotel Irbid: Nestled in a quiet neighborhood, Orchid Hotel Irbid offers a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. The hotel features comfortable rooms with modern furnishings, an on-site restaurant serving local and international cuisine, and a 24-hour front desk.

Where to Eat in Irbid

1. Al Sultan Restaurant: Known for its delicious Middle Eastern cuisine, Al Sultan Restaurant is a popular dining spot in Irbid. The restaurant offers a wide range of traditional Jordanian dishes, including mouthwatering kebabs, flavorful mezzes, and aromatic rice-based specialties.

2. Jasmine Restaurant: Located in the heart of Irbid, Jasmine Restaurant is renowned for its diverse menu and exceptional quality. This family-friendly eatery serves a mix of international and local dishes, catering to various tastes. Whether you’re craving sizzling steaks, fresh seafood, or hearty Jordanian classics, Jasmine Restaurant has something for everyone.

3. Al Quds Restaurant: Al Quds Restaurant is a go-to destination for those seeking authentic Palestinian cuisine in Irbid. With its warm and inviting ambiance, the restaurant offers a menu filled with delectable dishes inspired by traditional Palestinian flavors.

Travel Tips & Suggestions

  • Explore the ancient ruins of Umm Qais for a glimpse into the region’s rich history.
  • Don’t miss the chance to visit the informative and engaging museums in Irbid.
  • Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Irbid’s markets, such as Souk Al-Hussein and the Friday Market.
  • Take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque Barqash Forest for a refreshing nature escape.
  • Experience the beauty of the Yarmouk Nature Reserve with its diverse wildlife and stunning landscapes.

Conclusion – Things to do in Irbid

In conclusion, Irbid offers a diverse array of activities and attractions that cater to various interests. From exploring ancient ruins and archaeological sites to immersing oneself in the vibrant local culture, there is something for everyone in this captivating Jordanian city.

Indulge in delicious cuisine, visit renowned museums, or wander through bustling markets. Nature lovers can explore picturesque landscapes and embark on outdoor adventures.

Whether it’s delving into history, savoring culinary delights, or simply enjoying the welcoming ambiance, Irbid invites visitors to create unforgettable memories and discover the hidden gems of this charming destination.

So, these are the best things to do in Irbid that you should definitely explore while visiting Irbid.

FAQs – Things to do in Irbid

What are the top attractions in Irbid?

When it comes to things to do in Irbid, there are a few must-visit attractions. You can start by exploring the ancient ruins of Umm Qais, where you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. If you’re interested in history, don’t miss the Jordan Museum of Popular Tradition, where you can learn about the rich cultural heritage of the region. For a more relaxed experience, take a stroll through Irbid’s vibrant downtown area, where you’ll find local markets, shops, and cafes.

Are there any outdoor activities in Irbid?

Absolutely! If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Irbid has plenty to offer. One popular activity is hiking in the scenic Yarmouk Nature Reserve, where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and enjoy panoramic views. You can also explore the Ajloun Forest Reserve, a lush green area with hiking trails and picnic spots. Additionally, Irbid is surrounded by picturesque landscapes, perfect for photography or a leisurely drive.

What about cultural experiences in Irbid?

For a dose of culture, Irbid won’t disappoint. Visit the Jordanian Museum, which showcases fascinating artifacts from various historical periods. You can also explore the Yarmouk University Museum, known for its impressive collection of archaeological treasures. Don’t forget to check out the local markets, such as the Friday Market, where you can find traditional crafts, spices, and fresh produce. And if you’re lucky, you might catch a traditional music or dance performance during your visit.

Are there any family-friendly activities in Irbid?

Certainly! Families will find plenty of enjoyable activities in Irbid. One great option is a visit to the Irbid Archaeological Museum, where kids can learn about the region’s history in an interactive and engaging way. Another fun experience is spending a day at Luna Park, a vibrant amusement park with thrilling rides and games. You can also head to one of the city’s many parks and green spaces, like Al-Hussein Public Park, for a relaxing picnic or some outdoor playtime.

Where can I try local cuisine in Irbid?

If you’re a food lover, you’re in for a treat in Irbid. Don’t miss the chance to sample authentic Jordanian dishes at local restaurants and eateries. Some popular local specialties include mansaf (a traditional Jordanian lamb dish), falafel, and kunafa (a sweet cheese pastry). Explore the downtown area and Al-Hussein Bin Talal Street, where you’ll find a variety of dining options, from cozy cafes to bustling street food stalls. Be sure to indulge in some freshly brewed Arabic coffee and flavorful teas as well.

What are some hidden gems in Irbid?

While exploring Irbid, keep an eye out for hidden gems that might not be on the typical tourist radar. Visit Al-Jalil Mosque, a stunning architectural marvel adorned with intricate details and vibrant mosaics. Take a walk through the historic neighborhood of Beit Ras, where you can admire well-preserved traditional houses. For nature lovers, a visit to the nearby Pella archaeological site is a must, offering fascinating ruins and beautiful surroundings.

How can I get around in Irbid?

Getting around in Irbid is relatively easy. Taxis and ride-sharing services are readily available, and they provide a convenient way to travel within the city. If you prefer public transportation, you can utilize the city’s bus network, which connects various neighborhoods and attractions. It’s also worth noting that many of the main attractions in Irbid are within walking distance of each other, making it feasible to explore on foot, especially in the downtown area.

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