09:00 It’s a city that’s friendly, filled to the brim with culture and pushes boundaries through its edgy art scene.

Start your first day exploring its throbbing downtown area (King Faisal Street) where street vendors and market salesmen jostle for space, and shout “welcome to Jordan” as you pass.

It’s littered with stalls selling clothes and knick knacks.

10:00 Hungry? Grab a doughy manakeesh (flat bread sprinkled with herbs) from a street food stall. It will set you back about 20p and keep you going until lunch. 

11:00 Walk towards the Grand Husseini Mosque, built in 640AD. Though non-Muslims are not allowed to enter, its proud Ottoman pointed turrets and pink-and-white stone facade are well worth a picture.

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12:00 Crane your neck up and you’ll see columns on a hill, almost piercing the sky’s blue roof.

This ancient structure is what’s left of the Temple of Hercules. It’s been standing here for more than 1000 years and sits on The Hill of the Citadel (Jebel al-Qala’a, entrance approx £1.70). Climb up the hillside to get a better look.

13:00 This injection of culture may have left you craving sustenance, so venture down the hill by foot to Cairo Restaurant (Al-Malek Talal Street, +962 06 462 4527).

Mixed groups should go straight to the family room (for men and women) where they’ll serve you hearty portions of mutton stew and shish tawooq (skewered chicken).

The adventurous can also taste some boiled goat’s head – really, it’s delicious. Meals here only cost around £2.

15:00 Time for a really eye-popping sight, so amble over to the Roman Theatre (Downtown, +962 06 465 1742 entrance approx £1). It was carved right into the hill in about 169-177 AD and can seat up to 6000. Climb the tall steps to the top for spectacular view across the city.

17:00 Finish your day by resting those aching legs at the Al Pasha Turkish Bath (1st Circle). Take a communal dip with the locals in the hot water pools or work up a sweat in the sauna.

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09:00 Modern Amman offers an entirely different flavour and is becoming renowned as a bubbling art hub in the Middle East. For brekkie, try hipster hangout Books@Cafe (First Circle) where you can sit in the sun on the terrace, sip on a ‘Nantucket Blend’ iced coffee and take in a view of rustic downtown.

11:00 Cute boutiques have popped up all over the west of the city and Rainbow Street is definitely worth a gander, with its boho-chic coffee shops and indie fashion labels.

12:00 For Arabian art fixes, try Ras Al Ain Gallery (Ali Bin Abi Talib Street) or the Zara Gallery (Grand Hyatt hotel, Hussein Bin Ali Street), which regularly show pieces by talented modern Jordanian sculptors and painters.

13:00 Being a predominantly Islamic city, bars are scarce, but drinking is legal (though drinking in public in daylight hours is illegal). Rovers Return (Ali Nasouh al-Taher Street, offers liquid comfort for homesick visitors to Jordan. They also do a mean lunch, including fish and chips or seafood curry. 

15:00 From here, venture into the desert. Ahl Al Kahf (Village of Rajib, Abu Alandaa, £4.50 taxi ride away) or the ‘Cave of the Seven Sleepers’ is a seven-mile ride out of central Amman and a significant holy pilgrimage site.

This cave relates to a passage in the Quran about seven young Christian men who hid here to avoid being captured by Romans.

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Supposedly, they slept here for hundreds of years and awoke in another time. Inside the Byzantine stone structure is a collection of bones and walls with bizarre etchings of stars with eight points.

18:00 Jordanians love to eat, but only the hip and trendy frequent the Cantaloupe Gastro Pub (10 Rainbow Street), a glam addition to the city’s dining scene with its sleek decor and sophisticated dining room.

Enjoy a glass of wine with their grilled Angus beef and chicken burgers for dinner, freshly barbecued to order. 20:00 Do what the Arabs do of an evening for the finale of your trip – get stuck into a shisha-smoking session.

Grappa (+962 06 465 1458, Abdul Qader Koshak Street) is a trendy place to blow puffs of hubbly bubbly fumes into the night, and the apple flavour is fabulously fruity.

Not a smoker? Just keep on eating then, as the rich chocolate fondant is heavenly.


Return tickets from London to Amman from £324 with Turkish Airlines


Photos: TNT; Thinkstock