Aqaba “Red Sea”
The prime junction for land and sea routes from Asia, Africa and Europe.
Situated on the southern tip of Jordan, approximately 4 hours from the capital of Amman, Aqaba is a beach town with Jordanian appeal. Equipped with the local watering holes, to water sports, and a historical flair for those looking to revisit the past Aqaba is a delightful complement to the metropolitan appeal of Amman.
Aqaba is a fun place. It is a microcosm of all the good things Jordan has to offer, including a fascinating history with some outstanding sites, excellent hotels and activities, superb visitor facilities, good shopping, and welcoming, friendly people, who enjoy nothing more than making sure their visitors have a good time.
But perhaps Aqaba’s greatest asset is the Red Sea itself. Here you can experience some of the best snorkelling and diving in the world. The temperate climate and gentle water currents have created a perfect environment for the growth of corals and a teeming plethora of marine life. Here you can swim with friendly sea turtles and dolphins as they dart amongst the schools of multi-coloured fish. Night dives reveal the nocturnal sea creatures, crabs, lobsters and shrimp, as they search for a midnight snack.
With its wealth of other attractions, Jordan’s splendid Red Sea resort is often overlooked by modern-day visitors. But apart from being a delightful place for discerning holidaymakers, this is actually a great base from which to explore various places of interest in southern Jordan.
There are several dive centres in Aqaba. All offer well-maintained diving equipment, professional instructors, and transport by boat to a variety of dive sites.
For those who prefer to keep their feet dry, all the deep sea wonders can be viewed through a glass-bottomed boat or by submarine, or you can just relax under the sun on the resort’s sandy beaches. Plus, of course, there are plenty of other water-sport activities available, as well as an extensive and interesting Marine Park.
From as far back as five and a half thousand years ago Aqaba has played an important role in the economy of the region. It was a prime junction for land and sea routes from Asia, Africa and Europe, a role it still plays today. Because of this vital function, there are many historic sites to be explored within the area, including what is believed to be the oldest purpose-built church in the world.
Aqaba International Airport is situated just 20 minutes from the town centre and services regular flights from Amman as well as from several European cities. From the town centre, the borders of Israel, Egypt’s Sinai and Saudi Arabia are no more than a 30-minute drive.
Aqaba archeological museum
The Aqaba Archaeological Museum is located in the Aqaba house of Sherif Hussein Bin Ali, the museum was opened to the public in 1990. Presently it houses an important collection from the Islamic site of Ayla, dated to the Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid and Fatimid periods, thus representing the Islamic periods from the mid-7th to the beginning of the 12th century AD.
Arab revolt plaza
Your tour of Aqaba’s historical sites culminates at the Great Arab Revolt Plaza. This huge square is a great space to relax and enjoy the views of the middle beach, and as such is considered an ideal escape for visitors. The importance of the Plaza lies in its historical value.
Souq by the sea
This event is held every Friday evening in Aqaba and features over 50 local artisans, live music, and authentic food and drinks. Join in on the fun for an unforgettable experience!
Sharif hussein bin ali mosque
The mosque was named after Hussein bin Ali who was the Sharif and Emir of Mecca from 1908 until 1917. Known as the initiator of the Arab Revolt, Al Sharif Hussein Bin Ali stood against the increasingly nationalistic Ottoman Empire during the course of the First World War.
Excavated in the mid-19th century and dating back to the first Islamic period, Ayla is the surviving remains of an old Islamic society located in the center of Aqaba. Built in 650AD tourist can get a firsthand look at the magnificence of the Islamic empires of centuries past.
4th century roman church
During the Byzantine period, a great deal of construction took place throughout Jordan. All of the major cities of the Roman era continued to flourish as the regional population grew. As Christianity expanded across this region in the fourth century, churches began to sprout up across Jordan.
From this growing Christian scene came one of the most exciting discoveries in recent times, where archaeologists in Aqaba have unearthed what they believe to be the world’s oldest church, from the late 3rd Century AD. It is slightly older than the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, both of which date back to the 4th Century. It has since been back-filled with earth for protection.