Visiting the iconic lost Jordanian desert city of Petra … by bike

INDIANA Jones famously rode here on horseback; in bygone years camel trains might have paused on their journey. But now, adventure seekers can travel to the lost city of Petra by … bike.

Yes, like Indy in father and son film Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade, you’ll be in the saddle – but you’ll be relying on pedal power rather than a faithful four-legged friend.

Working with the Jordan Tourism Board, Exodus Travel has put together a cycling holiday pedalling through olive groves and hilltop villages, along desert roads amid a vast landscape, and visiting some of the world’s most spectacular sites.

If the cycling alone isn’t enough to entice you, then Unesco-badged Petra, a night under the stars in the Wadi Rum desert, or a float in the Dead Sea may well tempt you back into the saddle.

Petra & Wadi Rum by Bike, the headline act in a new tour schedule, will find you staying three nights in four-star hotels, four nights in ‘comfortable’ hotels, and one night sleeping amid the sands in a private desert camp.

There’s five days cycling – full vehicle support is on hand to offer assistance and carry luggage – along roads which are mostly quiet and paved, although five percent are gravel and sand. It’s mainly flat but with some steep climbs and, of course, it’s hot!

The tour starts in Jordanian capital Amman, before heading next day to the ancient Roman city of Jerash and a meeting with the cycling team before getting your bike.

There follows a a ride through the fertile foothills of the Jordan Rift Valley before bus transfer to Madaba, the City of Mosaics, for an overnight hotel stop.

Day three starts with a gentle climb up Mount Nebo, reputedly the burial site of Moses, then downhill to the shore of the Dead Sea, and the opportunity to float in the salt-laden waters.

After a shower, it’s back on the bus for the drive south along the Kings Highway towards Petra where, next day, there’s a full day in which to explore the site, which was rediscovered in 1812.

Day five sees you cycle to north to Little Petra and the Siq Al-Barid, where a temple stands guard outside the miniature siq, believed to have been an important suburb of Petra itself. 

The sixth day requires an early start to beat the heat on a ride via Wadi Araba, passing through Bedouin country to Aqaba on the Red Sea. It’s the longest ride but the scenery is spectacular.

Day seven offers the chance to swim or snorkel from the beach before a transfer and ride out to Wadi Rum for a traditional meal, sweet tea and desert camping under the stars in goat-hair tents.

The penultimate day swaps two wheels for four with a 4×4 desert jeep safari and lunch before transfer back to Amman for a final overnight before returning to the airport for the flight home.

Cycle groups are normally no fewer than five riders up to 18 plus a local leader, and the minimum age is 16. A reasonable level of fitness is needed and cycling experience is preferred.

The holiday includes all accommodation and breakfasts; two lunches and one dinner; bike hire; the services of a tour leader; all transport and listed activities, and arrival and departure transfers.

See for prices, dates and more details.

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