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United Arab Emirates

Jordan is a tiny desert kingdom steeped in rich cultural history, stunning natural landscapes, and relics from countless civilisations three of which are UNESCO World Heritage listed sites. In just over a week visitors can trek red desert sands and the rock formations of Wadi Rum; swim in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea; explore historical sites like Petra, the spectacular sandstone city; and marvel at the best-preserved Crusader fortresses, Roman cities and Byzantine mosaics in the Middle East.

The ancient Greeks, Romans and Ottomans have all left their mark across the country's landscape sometimes leaving behind entire cities like Umm Qais and Jerash, and other times modifying existing settlements with colonnaded streets, ornately decorated churches and impregnable fortresses. Some of Jordan's best Roman 1st century AD ruins can be found at the incredible city of Jerash, a short drive from the capital. The desert castle of Qasr Al-Amra features rich, vivid ceiling frescoes that depict hunting and an accurate representation of the zodiac, while the site at Wadi Rum contains millennia-old inscriptions from ancient tribes.

Petra is the most famous of Jordan's ancient ruins and was recently named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The world-class city of temples and tombs, carved out of rose-coloured rock, was kept a closely guarded secret by local Bedouin until European discovery in 1812. The Siq, the long, dramatic chasm that links the outside world with the ancient city leads visitors to Petra's most spectacular and most photographed sight, the Treasury Tomb. The thrill of arriving upon such an awesome creation has charmed generations of visitors and is especially magnificent at sunset when the rock glows red and orange.

No fewer than 100 biblical sites dot the Jordanian landscape, with Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist and Jesus Christ all intimately tied the land. Religious followers and non-believers alike can visit the brook where Jesus was said to have been baptised; the fortress where John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod; the mountain top where Moses cast eyes on The Promised Land; and the pillar of salt beside the Dead Sea reputed to be Lot's disobedient wife to name but a few.

Culture, history and archaeology aside, Jordan is also an excellent destination for adventurous travellers. Rock climbing, micro-lighting, cycling, mountain-biking, horse and camel-riding and scuba diving are popular alternatives for those wishing to experience the romance and adventure of Jordan's landscape. From the desert sands of Wadi Rum, to lush palm-filled wadis; the salty waters and black mud of the Dead Sea, to the Red Sea's unspoilt coral reefs and shipwrecks: travellers can seek a whole new angle on their holiday and celebrate it!

Although Amman is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world, it is a modern and culturally diverse capital that offers a unique blend of old and new. Luxury hotels, ultra-modern buildings, restaurants, art galleries and hospitable locals comfortably rub shoulders with traditional coffee shops and tiny artisans' workshops.

Thanks to a largely immigrant population, Jordanian food is a fusion of Mediterranean and traditional Arabic cuisine. Here Christians and Muslims co-exist peacefully, enjoying the convivial atmosphere of cooking and sharing food with loved ones. Warm hospitality, fantastic flavours and fresh, local ingredients combine to make Jordan a foodie traveller's heaven. Signature national dishes include Zerb, which is lamb stuffed with oriental rice, nuts and spices, cooked in an underground oven, and served with a Taboon (flat bread soaked in yogurt, and drizzled with honey and ghee); and Kunafeh, a creamy cheese dessert, garnished with sweetened semolina, saffron sugar and pistachios.

Jordan has an extraordinary range of climates. The best time to visit, climate-wise, is in spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). April is probably the best month, when temperatures are warm and wildflowers are in bloom. March can be cold and rainy in the north but is balmy by the Gulf of Aqaba and the Dead Sea. Winter can be surprisingly cold, with snow in Amman not unheard of. Aqaba is the one exception, with average daytime maximum temperatures averaging the low 20s in January.

Click here for our suggestions on events and places to go at various times of year