We arrived at the site (Bethany Beyond the Jordan, 🎟️ 12 JOD) around 4 pm, and it was closed already, so we just parked off the road behind some bushes. In the morning, we took a covered walking trail that meanders past ancient steps down to the original water level and the sparse archeological remains of 5th-century Byzantine churches – a few mosaics are all that’s left today. Further along, a golden-roofed Greek Orthodox church stands near a wooden platform that leads to the murky Jordan River, which here is little more than a creek lined with reeds. The site is believed to be where Jesus of Nazareth was baptized by John the Baptist. Despite signs warning against getting baptized in the river or even getting close to it, you’ll see Christian pilgrims doing exactly that.

This is the only place civilians can touch the Jordan River in Jordan, as the remainder runs through a military no-man’s land. Across the river is the Israeli-run complex of Qasr Al Yahud in the Palestinian Territories, which is usually much busier than the Jordanian side.

Parking location – Bethany Beyond the Jordan: 31.845992N 35.578155E (🚻)