Things to do in Aqaba

Things to do in Aqaba

After a spectacular trip to Jordan’s most important attractions such as Petra, the Dead Sea, Amman, and Wadi Rum, we couldn’t wait to have some days to just relax! Luckily there is Aqaba! 

Aqaba is the only coastal city in Jordan and the largest and most populous city on the Gulf of Aqaba. 

With its beaches, world-class diving sites, and laid back mood, Aqaba has got it all to be a place to hang out for a couple of days and just relax! 

In this post, you will find our favorite things to do and plenty of tips for your trip to Aqaba. 

How to get there

You can get there easily by bus or car from Petra and Wadi Rum. Another option is by plane, Aqaba has an international airport that is connected to Europe thanks to low-cost airlines. Flights to Aqaba can be very cheap. 

When to visit

April to June and September to November is the best time to visit. The daily temperature is around 30°C and the water is the warmest and clearest during these months.
 
June to September is the hottest time to be in Aqaba with temperatures often reaching 50°C.
 
December to March is usually not popular for diving as the water temperature drops below 18°C but it’s still a good time to visit other places in Jordan. 
 

Where to stay

We stayed at the Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay. This resort is located just 15 minutes from Aqaba’s city center. The hotel provides shuttle services to get to Downtown Aqaba. 

The resort boasts a spa, a dive center, gorgeous pools, a private beach, and much more. 

We enjoyed our stay, everything was perfect; friendly staff, beautiful views, and the pools are just out of this world! 

Snorkeling and Diving

Aqaba is world-famous for its top diving and snorkeling sites. Located on the coast of the Red Sea, Aqaba attracts divers from around the world that want to enjoy its gorgeous underwater world. The coral reefs here are clean and colorful. If you don’t like to snorkel or dive you can also take a glass-bottom boat tour. 
 
You can book diving and snorkeling activities at one of the many diving centers in downtown Aqaba or at your hotel. 

Aqaba Castle

Aqaba Castle is an impressive fortress built by crusaders in the 12th century, destroyed in 1187 and rebuilt in the early 16th century. The fortress served as a strategic base for overthrowing the Ottoman Empire. Over the centuries that is was in use, pilgrims and travelers would come seeking safety and lodging in the safety of the fort.

Within the complex is a prison, execution chamber, pigeon keep, and horse stables.

The Aqaba Castle is open from 8 am – 6 pm daily, and the entrance fee is 3JOD per person. If you have the Jordan Pass the entrance is free. 

Close to Aqaba’s Castle, you can find the Aqaba Archaeological Museum. This museum serves as the best introduction to the city’s long history. Originally built as a palace for Hashemite dynasty founder Hussein Bin Ali, it houses a collection of Bronze Age artifacts dating back to 4000 BC.
 
Aqaba Archeological museum is open from 8 am – 5 pm from Sunday – Thursday and from 10 am – 5 pm on Friday and Saturday. The entrance fee is included in the ticket from Aqaba’s Castle and the Jordan Pass. 

Public Beaches

There are a couple of public beaches in Aqaba.  We went there during the weekend and the beach was fully packed and dirty. Women have to be fully clothed on public beaches. 

Another option to enjoy a day at the beach and relax is the Berenice Beach Club. The Berenice Beach Club is located 15 minutes from Aqaba’s downtown and offers a diving center, a private beach, restaurants, several pools, water activities, and entertainment. The entry fee is 10JOD and includes a towel, sun loungers, and discounts on water sports. 

Sherif Al-Hussein bin Ali Mosque

Named after the leader of the Arab Revolt of 1916, and the present king’s great grandfather, the grand Sherif al-Hussein bin Ali Mosque is the most remarkable place of worship in the city, and one of the its most visually striking pieces of architecture. First built in 1975 and renovated and enlarged in 2011, it stands out due to the whiteness of its stone, the intricacies of its minaret and its line of graceful arches.
The Sherif Al-Hussein bin Ali Mosque is open daily and there is no entrance fee.

The Beach Promenade 

The Beach Promenade of Aqaba, known as the corniche is the perfect place for long strolls along the sea and for people watching. Several merchants sell sweets and local goods. We loved walking here in the evening.

Shopping in the Old Town

There is no better place to soak up the lively atmosphere of souks than in downtown Aqaba. Here you can find herbs, spices, colorful stained glass lamps, hookah pipes, clothes, .. all sold at low prices. We loved hanging out here during the evening. 

Souk by the Sea

Souk by the Sea is a night market held every Friday in downtown Aqaba. It was established by World Associates, a non- profit organization offering support, education, and leadership training to citizens of Jordan, and aims to create opportunities for local artisans and producers to showcase their products. 

Here you can find hand-made sand bottles, bags, jewelry, and clothing. Food stalls line the market and live entertainment is provided by local musicians. 

Try Sayadieh Fish

You should absolutely try the typical dish from Aqaba.  Its sea bass served in a tasty sauce with caramelized onions and peanuts. They usually serve it with rice or fries. We had a delicious Sayadieh fish at Captain’s Tourist Restaurant. 

We also recommend Khubza & Seneya, there arayes are worth trying. You should also try a za’atar pizza at Baba Za’atar before leaving Aqaba. 

If you are looking for the perfect place to relax and wander around souks than Aqaba is the place for you. 

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