We'll be visitng Israel in December and would like to visit Petra also. I've read that it's a day trip from Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. I'd hate to travel from Calif. to Israel and not take the time to see Petra...I've heard it's spectacular. Has anyone done this day trip? Suggestions? Recommendations? Any info appreciated. Thanks!
We took a 4 day trip from Israel to Jordan. It was a small tour group, about 8 of us and we booked it in Israel. Jordan was wonderful. I liked Amman very much, interesting Roman ruins there, and Petra was (and still is) spectacular. A day trip seems a very short time to me but if that's all you can manage it will be worth it to see Petra.
In addition to any advice you get here, look at the TripAdvisor Israel board, as that seems to be the busiest online Israel information source. On the right of that page, I see that "Visiting Petra from Israel" is on the Top Questions About Israel list.
We did it as an add on to a tour of Israel. Yes, it is spectacular. We flew from Tel Aviv to Eilat. The next day we traveled by bus several hours to Petra, walked in and saw the sights, and then bused to Amman. It was a long day but worth. There are hotels right there by Petra and we wished we could have stayed night to allow for more time in the site. I don't know the distances, but as a day trip from Jerusalem it seems really long. Have a great trip.
Petra is spectacular and not to be missed. Several years ago we took a trip from Jerusalem with a few hour stop in Petra then on to Amman. It was a long, long day ending well after midnight. If I were there again, I would spend the night in a hotel at Petra. As someone mentioned, the crossing at the Allenby
bridge can take awhile.
The logistics aren't in your favor. The best is to take a 6 a.m. flight from the small Tel Aviv airport called Sde Dov to Eilat. Both Arkia and Israir have several flights a day. There are one day tours that you can get from Eilat or you can do it on your own but you would have to arrange transportation on the Jordanian side of the border crossing - easy enough - and I'd highly recommend doing it in advance. Then take an evening flight back to Tel Aviv. It's a short taxi ride from hotel to Sde Dov airport and also from Eilat airport to the border crossing. If you take a tour, they would meet you at the airport and take you back there afterward. Petra is about a 2 hour drive from the border. If you don't fly, it's a 5 hour bus ride from either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem to Eilat. The border crossing near Jerusalem (King Hussein crossing, aka Allenby Bridge) is mainly for Palestinians. The waiting time (in both directions) can be very long. It is unpredictable. They do not issue visas there, so you would need to obtain a Jordanian visa in advance, probably before you leave California. There are no organized tours that take this route, so you'd have to arrange for transportation from Jerusalem to the border and from the border to Petra. Petra is more than a 2 hour drive from the border, perhaps 3 hours.
Thank you all for these suggestions. I think we'll arrange a tour of just Petra and make it a day trip. I'd like to see more of the area, but our primary reason for the visit is Israel. Can't wait to see Petra!
Allison, I visited Petra and the Dead Sea in April. It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen and I have been to the Grand Canyon. I believe I read that it is cold during the timeframe you are talking about and therefore, not a good time to visit Petra. I think there is also concern about flash flooding during that time. So make sure you contact the local tourist agency.
It probably won't be warm in December - lucky you (it's often in the high 90's or more in the summer). It will probably be sunny and warm-ish during the day. By the time it starts to get cold, you'll be well on your way back. There is rarely any rain in early December.