Ajlun, a city in Northern Jordan, is famous for its castle. The archaeological site is popular for tourists. The surrounding hills are cooler and have more trees than elsewhere in Jordan, making it a pleasant area to spend a day or two.
Buses from Amman leave from Tabarbour (Mahata Shamal) Bus Station to 'Ajloun whenever they are full. Your best bet is early in the morning, around 08:00 as they become more scarce as the day progresses.
'Ajloun is not a very big town, the bus will drop you off in the center and in order to get to the castle, which is clearly visible from the town perched on a hill, you can either walk the 3 km or take a taxi there. If you plan to travel to Jerash afterward, consider hiring the taxi driver for the full day, or at least make arrangements for the taxi to wait for you or pick you up at a designated time to transport you back to the Aljun bus station. Make sure you set a price in advance.
- 1 Ajlun Castle (Rabadh Castle). An Islamic fortress, built during the period of the Crusades. The castle is located on the top of a mountain just outside the small city of Ajlun. The castle is an interesting maze of passages and levels, and offers a wonderful view of the surrounding area, northwestern Jordan, and off into Galilee.
The castle was built in 1184-1885 AD and was one of the few fortresses built to protect the country against Crusader attacks from both the west and the north. It also controlled the area around it, including another of its major objectives, to control the iron mines in the area. The castle is one of the best preserved and most complete examples of medieval Arab-Islamic military architecture.
Ajloun Castle dominated the three main routes leading to the Jordan valley and protected the trade and commercial routes between Jordan and Syria, it became an important link in the defensive chain against the Crusaders, who, unsuccessfully spend decades trying to capture the castle and the nearby village.
From the top of the castle, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the Jordan Valley and the highlands of north Jordan. Excavations have recently identified a church that was built on the castle site in the earlier Byzantine period, while restoration and conservation works have made all areas of the castle accessible and safe for visitors. It is recommended to bring binoculars, also, the scenery is promised to be beautiful and as much a part of the reason to visit Ajlun Castle as the castle itself! 3 JD.
- 2 Mar Elias. Apr-Oct 08:00-19:00 , Nov-Mar 08:00-16:00. The site of two very old churches and the reputed area where the prophet Elijah was born. 3 JD.
- 3 Ajlun Nature Reserve. A 13-km² protected forest run by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature. The reserve features multiple hiking trails of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty. 7 JD.
In case you are staying over night in Ajlun, you can hike most of the sites here. Make sure to have a good map or GPS.
The hotels have restaurants, and serve food and drinks.
- 1 Qalet Al Jabal Hotel, Castle St, Halawa Crossing, Aljun. Main local hotel for foreign tourists, since you can book it on Booking.com. An old-style hotel with 50s decor (the wood-panelled and plant-filled dining room is quite a sight, although the outdoor terrace is a much better place to eat) and balconies with sweeping views, including castle glimpses. Nothing special but makes for a peaceful getaway. 28/38 JD single/double.
- 2 Aljun Hotel. 28 JD.
Take a bus from 'Ajloun to Jerash, while still having plenty of time to spend at Jerash. Ajlun and Jerash make a good combination day; however, most buses travel from Ajlun to Jerash and not the other direction. From Ajlun Castle to Ajlun take a taxi.