A Guide to Traveling from Israel to Petra

Why see one country when you can see two? Israel and Jordan share a border, and it is relatively easy to travel from one country to the other. During your stay in Israel, make a side trip to see Jordan’s top attraction, Petra. There are regular organized Petra tours from Israel and, with some planning, you can also travel independently.

Here are a few of the essential things to know when visiting Petra from Israel. Whether you want to spend one day or several days in Petra, there are organized Petra tours from Tel Aviv and guided Petra tours from Jerusalem. Public buses and rental cards cannot cross from Israel to Jordan, so your choices are limited to an organized tour, crossing on foot, or in a private vehicle.

Israel-Jordan Border Crossings

King Hussein/Allenby Bridge Border Crossing 

(not the best border crossing for trips to Petra)

The King Hussein/Allenby Bridge Crossing is the closest one to Jerusalem and to Amman. It is 5 km east of Jericho, about an hour’s drive from Amman, 30 km from Jerusalem, and a 3.5-hour drive from Petra. The crossing has the longest waiting time and the most rigorous security. A Jordanian visa on arrival is not issued at this crossing so you will have to prearrange a visa via the Jordanian embassy.  Also, Israeli passport holders cannot cross this border.

Related Read: Traveling to Israel? Here are 12 Items you Should Pack No Matter the Season

Getting to King Hussein/Allenby Border Crossing

To get to this border crossing you can take a minivan taxi from Damascus Gate, a private taxi, or a public bus which drops you off about 2km from the crossing.

Crossing at King Hussein/Allenby Border Crossing

Show your passport and visa, pay the exit fee of about 176 ILS, and take a short, shuttle bus ride to the Jordanian side of the border which costs about 5JD plus 1.5JD for each bag. Passengers may cross in their own vehicle (see conditions below).

From the King Hussein/Allenby Border Crossing to Petra

Your only options are a taxi to Amman and from there a bus or taxi to Petra, or a taxi directly from the crossing to Petra. Generally organized tours to Petra do not use this border crossing and it is not recommended for day-trippers to Petra.

Open hours: Daily, Sun-Thurs 08:00-23:00, Fri-Sat 08:15:30, closed on Yom Kippur and Eid al-Adha.

Sheikh Hussein Border/Jordan River Crossing

(Also not the best option for trips from Israel to Petra)

This Israel-Jordan crossing is about 10 km from Beit Sheán. It is used primarily for cargo, but there is also a passenger terminal.

Getting to Sheikh Hussein/Jordan River Crossing

You can get a taxi to the Sheikh Hussein crossing, or take the Superbus, line 16 to Kibbutz Maoz Haim junction which is 1km from the crossing. If you have your own car you can enter at this crossing with your vehicle. Alternatively, you can leave your vehicle on the Israeli side in the adjacent parking lot. The parking is privately owned and incurs a fee.

Crossing at Sheikh Hussein/Jordan River Border Crossing

Visas on arrival are issued at this crossing. It is not possible to cross the border here on a bicycle, or motorbike but it is possible (at all of the crossings) to cross on foot. A shuttle takes passengers from the Israeli border terminal to the Jordanian terminal every 25 min and costs about 5ILS. 

From the Sheikh Hussein/Jordan River Border Crossing to Petra

It will take 3.5-4 hours to drive from this border crossing to Petra. It is also the most expensive option and is not recommended for Israel to Petra trips.

Open Hours: Sun-Thurs 07:00-20:00. Fri-Sat 08:30-18:30. CLosed on Yom Kippur and Eid al Hijra.

 Rabin/Arava Border Crossing

(Most recommended Israel-Jordan border crossing for trips to Petra)

The most common border crossing for travelers and the most recommended for going from Israel to Petra is the Arava Border Crossing, also known as the Yitzhak Rabin Border Terminal. It is situated about 3 km north of Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city. The crossing process can take several hours, including time spent on immigration and customs formalities. 

Getting to Rabin/Arava Border Crossing

Organized tours usually use this border crossing and include an early morning flight from Ben Gurion Airport to Eilat’s Ramon Airport, and from there the tour whisks you across the border, along Jordan’s Desert Highway,  and onto Petra. Another option is to travel overland from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem to Eilat. If traveling independently, without a tour, you can fly to Ramon Airport, take the bus, or drive to Eilat. In addition to tours from central Israel, there are also Petra tours that start in Eilat. These tours will include pick-up at your Eilat hotel or at the airport. 

Once you are in Eilat, get a taxi to the border or drive your own car directly to the border. If you want to use public transport and avoid taking a taxi, take the bus from Eilat’s central bus station to the bus stop “Eilot” and from there, it is a 1.5km walk to the border. 

Crossing at Rabin/Arava Border Crossing

You can cross this border on foot, by vehicle (if you have the correct documentation as listed below), or with a tour. Motorcycles or bicycles cannot cross to Jordan (although you can enter Israel from Jordan on a motorbike). 

If you’ve driven to the border,  there is an empty lot that is used as a parking area. It is not an official parking lot, there is no security, or fee for leaving your vehicle there. Parking on the Israeli side of the border is at the car owner’s own risk.  The fee for crossing the border from Israel is about 109 ILS plus the visa fee. Visas on arrival are issued at this border crossing. 

From the Arava Border Crossing to Petra

Waiting on the Jordanian side of the border you’ll find a gaggle of taxis that can be a little intimidating. The fare for a ride from the crossing to Petra should be about 70D one way. You could get a taxi from the crossing to the Jordanian port city of Aqaba for about 30JD one way, and from there catch a shared minibus taxi to Petra for about 5JD. The shared taxis leave from Aqaba’s central bus station and there is no schedule as they leave when the vehicle is full.  

Open Hours: Sun-Thurs 06:30-20:00, Fri-Sat 08:00-20:00, Closed Yom Kippur,  and Id il Hajira. It is open for vehicle crossings until 19:00.

Traveling Israel to Jordan Visa Requirements 

Before you embark on your journey from Israel to Petra, make sure you check the visa requirements for entry to Jordan. The requirements depend on your passport. Many nationalities can obtain a visa on arrival at the border crossing, but it is crucial to verify this information beforehand. For example, holders of Israeli, Irish, Australian, Argentinian, South African, British, and American passports, can obtain a visa at the border. Holders of passports from Belize, Egypt, India, and other nations cannot get a visa on arrival and must apply for a visa from the nearest Jordanian embassy before setting off on their trip. Note that there is no visa-on-arrival at the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge Border Crossing. 

Applying for a Jordan Visa on Arrival

At the border crossing approach the Visa on Arrival counter. They will ask a few questions about your trip, check your passport, and stamp it with the visa. You will need to show your return-trip ticket, and hotel reservation if you are staying overnight. There is a visa fee of about 40 JOD (about $56) which must be paid in cash. The visa lasts for 30 days and is good for a single entry.

If you are traveling with an organized tour, then the tour operator will handle the bureaucracy for you. 

A Word About the Jordan Pass

The Jordan Pass is a discount card for more than 30 sites in Jordan. In addition, if you spend more than three nights in the country, and are eligible for the visa on arrival, it will also waive the visa fee.  If you are only visiting for a day it will not save you money. A Jordan Pass can be bought online and shown at the border to get a free visa on arrival (for stays of more than 3 days). Before buying the pass calculate if it is worth it, depending on the sites you plan to visit.

Crossing to Jordan from Israel in a Private Vehicle

You may cross the Israel-Jordan border with the following documents:

  • International driver’s license
  • A vehicle registered in your name (or you have a notary power of attorney from the vehicle owner).
  • An English translation of the vehicle registration. 
  • Cars rented in Israel may not cross over to Jordan.
  • Car owners will need third-party insurance and complementary insurance. 
  • It is not permitted for rental cars or taxis to cross between the two countries.

Last Updated on September 28, 2023

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