The best times to visit Petra are during the shoulder seasons of spring (March to May) and fall (September to November), when the days are relatively long and you can avoid soaring summertime temperatures. You’ll also evade the cold and sometimes heavy rain (or even snow) of December and January, which can lead to flooding within the city.
If you do plan to visit in summer, stick to early mornings or late afternoons, when the sun is not as strong (temperatures some days can exceed 100 degrees)—and use plenty of sunscreen, wear a hat, and carry ample water. Early mornings and late afternoons are also good times to evade some of the city’s inevitable crowds—and take great photos. Petra is open for candlelight tours on some (cooler) weekday evenings.
Another thing to consider when planning your visit to Petra is Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting that falls on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. While visitors to Jordan aren’t expected to fast, it’s polite to refrain from eating and drinking in public.
The only way to explore Petra is by walking or on camels, horses, or donkeys, so be sure to wear sturdy shoes and know that you’ll be relatively exposed to the elements. Once inside, it’s also worthwhile to hire a guide. Many locally raised Bedouin guides are extremely knowledgeable about both the ancient city’s history and the surrounding area.