Karak Castle – Exploring a Crusader Fortress

About Karak Castle

Karak Castle was one of the most important fortresses built by the Crusaders in the 12th century. It is one of many castles in Jordan and a top tourist historical site. It is located in the center of Jordan along the King’s Highway. You may overlook it easily on an itinerary to Jordan, but you should consider visiting the castle. The views from the top hill are magnificent and the site is in good condition. When approaching Karak you will see fields and a lot of green. When you reach the city you will see that the castle is at the center of Karak. The houses stand strong on the surrounding hills, with the castle on top. It is a great location for exploring old ruins and seeing a very different corner of Jordan.

How to get there and what to do

The castle lies in the middle of Jordan along the King’s Highway. You can of course also reach it from the Desert Highway and that is the faster option. The King’s highway however is Jordan’s most scenic route. You will make your way south from Madaba, and pass by Wadi Mujib Dam, and can also take a side trip to Um Ar-rassas. Mukawir is another castle, a bit less impressive and also further off, near to the Dead Sea.

After that, you will reach Karak castle. Walking around the ruins is really nice. We went in February before Covid-19. Although it was pretty warm, it was extremely windy. However, we had blue skies and amazing views from the hilltop. There are a few steps you need to climb but it is not too exhausting. If you go up, you have a great view of the main building. From there you can walk around freely and also explore some of the rooms below ground. You can emerge yourself in life some 800 years ago. It is also a great site to take kids.

What to do nearby Karak Castle

Let’s be honest, it is not like that Karak is a bustling town and that there are many things to do. However, you should consider hiking some of the valleys in the region. You will be surprised by their beauty and the fact you can see this type of nature in Jordan. There is Wadi Karak, a beautiful valley, easy to walk with lovely flowers blooming in spring. Be prepared to get wet feed though. You also have two other valleys in the region that are all accessible from the Dead Sea Highway at the southern tip of the Dead Sea. Wadi Numeira, also named Petra with water, surprises with amazingly colored walls and Wadi Al-Hasa, one of the most remote valleys that even hides a natural beauty. If you are up for it, you can even go for a 2-day hike including camping.

A Family sitting on the wall of ruins of the Karak Castle in Jordan
Family at Karak Castle, Jordan

What next and where to stay

If you make your way further South you will pass Tafilah, can visit Shobak Castle, then Dana Biosphere Reserve, and eventually will reach Petra. At some point, the King’s Highway will merge into the Desert Highway from where you can reach Wadi Rum and Aqaba.

For some ideas where to stay have a look at Jarajreh Apartments/ Hotel near the center of Karak City. If you make you way towards Petra and you are up for staying at a campsite, then consider Dana Village Camp-Wadi Dana Eco camp. If you want to stay at a beautiful Bedouin Camp near Petra, then I can recommend Seven Wonder Bedouin Camp in Little Petra. It is about 10 minutes drive from Petra visitor center. It is also perfect, if you would like to embark on the Petra backdoor hike.

For more inspiration on what to do and see in Jordan read my article on The Best Places and Experiences in Jordan and when to go or discover 10 Things to do in the North of Jordan. If you love adventures then check out Wadi Mujib with Wild Jordan. If you are on your way back north along the Dead Sea highway consider a stop at The Oasis by the Dead Sea – Al Numeira Environmental Association.

 

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Kerak, Jordanien

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