What should women wear in Jordan?

Are you planning a trip to Jordan and not sure what to pack or what to wear? This article will provide a guide, based on my recent experience, of travelling to Jordan (November 2022). Clearly, I am not trying to address the debate about what women in Jordan should wear in general. But purely, trying to provide guidance on what female travellers should wear in Jordan. During our trip, I saw many female travellers dressing modestly, and many choosing not to. I was surprised by how some tourists chose to dress and can only imagine that they received quite a lot of attention from locals.

  1. How modestly do female travellers need to dress in Jordan?
  2. What should women wear in Amman?
  3. Can women wear a bikini on the beach in Jordan?
  4. What about elsewhere in Jordan?
  5. What should female travellers wear hiking in Jordan?
  6. What should women wear in Jordan in Spring?
  7. What should women wear in Jordan in Summer?
  8. What should women wear in Jordan in Autumn?
  9. What should women pack for Jordan?
  10. Want to save this to read later?

How modestly do female travellers need to dress in Jordan?

I asked the taxi driver this question when I landed in Amman. Of course, I’d researched and packed accordingly, but nevertheless I thought it might be prudent to ask for advice from a local. I wasn’t expecting the driver to laugh and kindly tell me that I wouldn’t be needing a burqa any time soon.

His advice, after he mocked me a little, was always wear clothing that falls below the knee and if you’re visiting the Mosque, then cover up fully (shoulders and hair). People will look at you, he confirmed to me, regardless of what you are wearing. “Everyone looks at everyone in Jordan, its normal” he said.

After spending 3 weeks in Jordan, I think his general rule is a good one. No shorts and short skirts or visible chest, but bare arms and shoulders (to an extent) seem quite acceptable. Much depends on your comfort level and how willing you are to allow a few stares from locals. But, as my taxi driver noted, this will happen regardless of dress code. In my experience, in Amman at least you won’t be chastised by locals, even if you did wear something above the knee. However, in the interest of blending in and travelling respectfully, I wouldn’t recommend this.

What should women wear in Amman?

Amman is quite liberal compared to the rest of Jordan and most certainly other parts of the Middle East. Throughout Amman, I saw many local Muslim women wearing a Hijab but fairly normal Western clothing too. Many were in fairly tight jeans, others in longer dresses. We also saw some women in a full Bhurka and many wearing Abaya.

Heading out of an evening to bars and clubs in Rainbow Street, you’ll see women, even local Muslim ladies, in sleeveless and sometimes lower cut tops and trousers or skirts on the tighter side. Look across any roof terrace bar in Amman, where locals drink whisky until the early hours, and you could be mistaken for thinking you’re in a European city. But women will not step out of the bar without covering up. Layers seem to be key!

By Day: Loose flowing skirts (below the knee) or linen trousers. A t shirt or blouse, or a vest top with a shirt or pashmina to cover your shoulders and chest.

By Night: If you’re heading out to Rainbow Street, you could opt for a longer dress or perhaps a skirt with a top. I’d suggest layering with a jacket or pashmina, something that you could remove once inside the confines of a bar.

If you’d like to read more about Amman – our article here provides a guide for spending a fun 48 hours in the city.

Can women wear a bikini on the beach in Jordan?

It is not recommended that women wear swimsuits or bikinis on public beaches in Aqaba. Clearly, this is a personal choice, but it is not something that is generally thought to be acceptable in Jordan and you would receive a lot of attention. However, there are private beaches in Aqaba wear a western swimsuit or bikini is totally normal.

If you want to sunbathe, we recommend heading to a beach club or booking a hotel with a private beach whilst in Aqaba. We’ve written an article on Aqaba, which includes key information on where you can enjoy a day at the beach (link here.)

As for the evening in Aqaba, or out and about in town, we would recommend that women dress modestly in this area. I went for long flowing maxi dresses with sleeves and a pashmina wrap for added modesty. But, once I was inside a bar in Aqaba, frequented only by tourists, I felt comfortable to take the pashmina off.

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What about elsewhere in Jordan?

In the tourist destinations of Petra, Wadi Rum and The Dead Sea, I would suggest following similar rules for dressing as in Amman. These areas have many Western tourists, many of whom dress modestly and many who choose not to. Personally, I stuck to a fairly modest dress code in these areas but felt that I could be comfortable in shorts in Wadi Rum during the day when I was out hiking and a midi-dress when visiting Petra.

We travelled to North Jordan as part of our trip, including to Jerash, Madaba and Ajlun. In these areas, we saw less tourists than in the South and as such, we received more attention. Subsequently, I chose to wear long and loose dresses or trousers and always cover up my shoulders with a Pashmina. We noticed that most Jordanian women in these areas, with the exception of some in Madaba, were wearing an Abaya and Hijab, rather than Western clothing with a Hijab.

What should female travellers wear hiking in Jordan?

If you plan to hike in Jordan, especially in the heat, naturally you will want active wear suitable for the temperature. Personally, I tailored my hiking outfits depending on when and where I was hiking.

When walking the Jordan trail from Dana to Petra, I felt comfortable enough to wear shorts when it was warm and a sleeveless sports top. I took a similar approach in Wadi Rum when hiking during the day. There are two reasons that I felt it was more appropriate to wear shorts on these hikes. Firstly, there were many tourists on this route – many of whom were wearing shorts and sleeveless clothing. Secondly, it was very hot, and I wanted to be dressed appropriately for the weather and not risking overheating for the sake of modesty.

Conversely, I hiked a portion of the Jordan Trail in the North of Jordan to visit King Talal Dam. On this day, we did not see any other tourists and instead, we hiked through some very rural villages where women were dressed very traditionally. For that reason (despite the heat), I chose to wear long trousers and a top with sleeves.

If you’d like to read more about hiking in Jordan, our articles on the Jordan Trail, Petra (soon to be published) and Wadi Rum may be of interest. For more general advice on the Jordan Trail, the official website can be found here.

What should women wear in Jordan in Spring?

In Jordan, Spring lasts from March until May. This would be a nice time to visit Jordan and you would find hot weather on the South Coast in Aqaba and warm, but not hot, temperatures elsewhere. The North of Jordan has a Mediterranean climate, so early spring may still be cool, especially mornings and evenings.

For women travelling to Jordan, I would suggest packing lots of layers. Linen trousers and maxi or midi dresses with a light jacket or cardigan could work well.

What should women wear in Jordan in Summer?

June, July and August represent the hot and dry season of Summer in Jordan. Temperatures, especially in the South, could be in the high 30s (Celsius) and even up to 40 degrees.

If spending time in the Summer in the beach resorts of Aqaba or the Dead Sea, women can wear shorts, swimwear and short dresses. At least, whilst in the privacy of the hotel or beach club. But elsewhere, we would still recommend that female travellers dress modestly. Very light fabrics to cover the legs and shoulders would be ideal.

What should women wear in Jordan in Autumn?

In Autumn, September, October and November, temperatures start to cool in Jordan. This is particularly noticeable in the mornings, evenings and from Amman into the North of the country. Temperatures in Aqaba and the South will remain high, expect mid to high 20s (Celsius.)

For female travellers, this is a great season for visiting Jordan, in terms of clothing choices. A maxi dress or long, lightweight, trousers are great during the day. In the evening, a dress with a light jacket or even jeans and a top would be perfect.

What should women pack for Jordan?

Here’s what I packed for three weeks in Jordan.

  • Lightweight or Linen Trousers
  • Maxi or midi dresses or skirts – flowy works well
  • T shirts or tops
  • A linen shirt, blouse or light jacket as a cover up
  • A pashmina as an additional cover up
  • Swimming costume
  • A beach cover up, a kaftan would work well
  • A hat if you’re expecting to be out in the sun
  • Sandals and TOMs for walking
  • Hiking clothing – baggy shorts, leggings and a few different top layers

Top Tip – natural and light colours work best. Beige, white and light green are great and can help to keep you cool in the sun. Yellow, rust and red also work well as colour palettes in contrast to the colours of Petra and the dessert if you want impactful photos!

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6 responses to “What should women wear in Jordan?”

  1. Ruth avatar

    I brought a very loose flowy top (and scarf for the heat/sand), whenever I wore it everyone assumed I was pregnant and looked after me very well!

    1. lotuseaters.travel avatar

      This is a great tip! A sure way to get a nice seat and be pampered 😀

  2. Reaseaorg avatar

    Your articles really help me learn about Jordan. I was particularly naive before, so thanks 🙂

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