Perched on the Red Sea, Aqaba is a bustling port city with an upbeat holiday vibe. A string of luxury beach resorts dot the coast and make it a mecca for well-heeled sunseekers. Beyond topping up your tan, Aqaba offers a unique glimpse at Jordan’s rich historical narrative. The city has been inhabited since 4000 BC, which means there are some fascinating sites to explore.
Things to Do
Fringed by the sparkling Gulf of Aqaba, the city is a top destination for scuba divers. If you’re a certified diver, don’t miss a trip to Yamanieh Coral Reef where you can swim with friendly sea turtles, playful dolphins and multicoloured schools of fish.
Aqaba’s temperatures rarely drop below 20°C, making it a year-round holiday destination. There are always plenty of water sports on offer at Aqaba’s beach resorts, from snorkelling and windsurfing to jet skiing and glass bottom boat rides.
Aqaba has been settled for over 6,000 years and is home to a handful of beautifully preserved relics. Laced with Arabic inscriptions, the Islamic-era Aqaba Fort was built in the early 1500s. The adjacent Aqaba Archaeological Museum showcases the city’s history, with coins, ceramics and 8th-century stone tablets on display.
If big destinations like Wadi Rum and Petra are on your Jordanian itinerary, Aqaba is a great base. Both are easy day trips, with plenty of tour operators offering both group excursions and private tours.
Hundreds of taxis cruise the streets of Aqaba and are the fastest way to get around. Horse-drawn carriages are a novel way to get from A to B, though they can get hot when the sun’s beating down. Organised tours are the easiest way to reach popular sites like Wadi Rum and Petra. If you’re heading to King Hussein International airport, the drive from Aqaba should take around 15 minutes.