Journaling The Journey

Dead Sea, Madaba and Mt. Nebo – 3 Big Attractions in Northern Jordan

Last updated on January 27th, 2023 at 07:39 am

Dead Sea

We had been looking forward to floating in the Dead Sea together for a really long time.  The drive from Amman was under an hour bringing us to the Crowne Plaza with enough time to dip into the water.  

Dead Sea – Jordan Side

Dead Sea Mash in mud Jordan

There were only a couple of people on the beach which was quite clean and the water was warm (around 25 C even in the middle of November).   

There was a grey mud pit that you could “dip” yourself into or the “magical” black mud located in a small tub at the lifeguard desk – which is considered much better for your skin. 

The trick is to go into the water and get wet, plaster yourself with the black mud, let it dry for at least 10 minutes and then enter the Sea again to wash it off – with a final rinse in the outdoor shower.  Truly a fun experience which we did a few days in a row!

Dead Sea Jordan
Rob “reading a newspaper” in the Dead Sea

Most of the Dead Sea resorts on the Jordanian side are clustered together.  With the Jordanian Dinar being so strong against other currencies it was quite expensive to eat in the resorts – and not practical for me as I couldn’t find much from a vegan perspective. 

We did locate a fantastic little cafe just a 12 minute walk from the Crowne Plaza and next door to the Hilton.  The place is called Pastich Cafe where I found amazing food for a few dollars a plate and Rob was able to have a huge selection of meats and other options. 

It is located in the Samarah Mall – which conveniently also has a small supermarket.  


Madaba - the view from the Bell Tower
Madaba – View from Bell Tower of the Church of St. John the Baptist

Since Madaba and Mt. Nebo were quite close to the Dead Sea we decided to make a day trip and visit both places.  Madaba is an ancient town just 30 km southwest of Amman and 40 km east of the Dead Sea.  It is dubbed “The City of Mosaics”. 

In many respects Madaba is a typical East Bank town which differs in one major aspect: underneath almost every house lies a Byzantine mosaic.

Many of these mosaics have been excavated and are on display in the town’s museum, but it is estimated that many more lie hidden waiting to be discovered.

St. George Greek Orthodox Church Dead Sea Mt Nebo Madaba Jordan
St. George Greek Orthodox Church 

Madaba’s chief attraction – in the contemporary Greek Orthodox church of St. George – is a wonderfully vivid, 6th-century Byzantine mosaic map showing the entire region from Jordan and Palestine in the north, to Egypt in the south. 

The churches of Madaba are not included in the Jordan Pass, but are only 1 JD/person.

Madaba Archaeological Park - Tree of Life mosaic Dead Sea Mt. Nebo Jordan
Madaba Archaeological Park – Tree of Life mosaic

The Madaba Archaeological Park preserves the mosaic-rich Church of the Virgin Mary and artifacts from the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic eras.  It is a wonderful museum and really worth the visit.  

Mt. Nebo

Mt. Nebo view Dead Sea Northern Jordan
Mt. Nebo View

Our next stop on the way back to the Dead Sea was Mt. Nebo – an elevated ridge (about 710 meters above sea level).  It is believed to be the place where Moses was granted a view of the promised land.  On a clear day you can see Jerusalem and Jericho. 

Mosaic Dead Sea Madaba Nt Nebo Northern Jordan attractions
Mosaic Mt. Nebo

According to Christian tradition it is thought that Moses is buried on Mt. Nebo.  We were lucky to arrive when there were no tour buses.  The panoramic views and positive energy on this quiet mountain top is worth the visit. 

There is a modern church on the site which houses some spectacular Byzantine mosaics.  Even though this site is one of the very few which is not part of the Jordan Pass the 4 JD/person was truly worth it.  

Wrap Up – Dead Sea, Madaba and Mt. Nebo in Northern Jordan

Petra and Wadi Rum are the usual attractions for most visitors to Jordan.  However, I suggest that you add the Dead Sea, Madaba and Mt. Nebo to that list of places to visit.

Have you been to any of these fabulous places in Jordan?  What was your favorite? We would love to hear from you!


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