When you read about magical Petra, you will for sure see beautiful pictures of the Treasury from above. Because there are a couple of viewpoints that allow you to see the most famous monument of Petra from above. Prepare yourself for a bit of a climb and a spectacular view!
Tip: click here for all our blogs about magical Petra, including 25 practical tips and a detailed itinerary for the Monastery from the ‘backdoor’ entrance.
Warning: don’t get a guide
Don’t climb to the ‘viewpoint from above’ with a guide, but hike there yourself. Right at the Treasury dozens of ‘guides’ will offer to guide you to a viewpoint overlooking the Treasury. They mean by climbing, straight up. This way they can get you up in about 15 minutes, but this climb is very dangerous. If you want to make the climb anyway, then please do get a guide and don’t try it yourself. We were told that that last year a tourist had a deadly accident here, as she thought she could manage without the help of a guide.
At the mountain in the back of this photo, we saw guides climbing up with tourists:
A much better option is to make the longer but cooler hike to one of the viewpoints. This isn’t dangerous at all and leads you through the beautiful mountain area of Petra.
There are three places where you can view the Treasury from above (without breaking your neck)
About those viewpoints. There is already a viewpoint in the gorge of the Treasury itself. It is not very high and the view is not spectacular, but it is a fine option if you are short on time. Where can you find the start of the path? After reaching the Treasury from the Siq, you will eventually enter Petra by the main path to the right of the monument. You can find the path to the viewpoint to your right in that bend.
Here you can see this viewpoint (from the higher view point):
More time? Then go for one of the two hikes to the higher viewpoints! Both sides of the Siq have a viewpoint. The hike lasts about 1 to 1.5 hours and is not too exhausting, but make sure you bring some sturdy shoes for it. The view is worth it all!
The left or right view point?
So, on both sides of the Siq, there is a viewpoint. One with a hike starting at the stairs to the High Place of Sacrifice; and one with a hike starting behind the Royal Tombs. Either viewpoints is fine: it’s just a matter of what you want to explore next or before your hike. The Royal Tombs or the High Place of Sacrifice?
The Royal Tombs are definitely a must during your visit to Petra. These monuments are even bigger and more impressive than the famous Treasury. So it makes a perfect combination with the hike to the Treasury from above viewpoint.
The High Place of Sacrifice is also often referred to as a must, but we didn’t find particularly interesting. There is not much to see, although it was an important religious site for the Nabateans. You really need a guide or booklet to get the full picture and to notice smaller details that were crucial for the ancient ceremonies. But the view from this mountain top? Amazing! You can look far over the ruins of Petra from here. The Treasury itself is not visible from here, but up here you get a good sense of how expansive the area is. Another big plus: the High Place of Sacrifice is also the start of another trail down into the Petra area. It is called the the Wadi or Farasa trail and we marked it on our map.
On both viewpoints, locals with a business sense have opened a drink stall. So you can only get to the edge to see the Treasury from above, if you pay them or buy a drink. For only 1 JD We bought a cold drink, we were allowed to enjoy the view as long as we wanted and the owner made a few pictures of us. Worth every penny.
The starting point of the trails
#1 The hike at the High Place of Sacrifice
The stairs to the High Place of Sacrifice are on your left on the main route, not long after the Treasury and even before the theatre. The centuries-old staircases leads straight up and can be quite steep at some points. We believe this start is the heaviest part of the climb. But the view from the climb is beautiful, so make sure to make some stops to take it all in. Our pictures below show the very first steps of this first part of the climb via the ancient stairs and the view from higher up on the Royal Tombs:
At the top of the stairs you should go right for the High Place of Sacrifice, but if you continue straight ahead, you walk towards the viewpoint.
Tip: download the offline map of maps.me to navigate to the view point. Our own map at the top and bottom of this article is also a handy tool to find your way around.
But don’t be afraid to get lost, as we did. We saw beautiful mountain views, met Bedouins, wandered through a gorge with pink flowers and enjoyed spectacular views. To evetually get to the viewpoint as well!
#2 The hike at the Royal Tombs
So we opted for the route via the stairs to the High Place of Sacrifice and not the one at the Royal Tombs. But we did go to the start of it, as it was hard to miss when visiting the Royal Tombs. It’s easy to find. The hike to the top starts just after the Royal Tombs and before for the smaller tomb of the Roman governor Sextius Florentinus. There was even a sign with ‘Treasury from above’ indicating the start. Use our map to find your way the exact starting point!
We heard that similar handy signs are used along the route to the top. Nevertheless the offline map of maps.me could be a usefull tool as well.
This is the viewpoint at the Royal Tombs (on a photo from the other viewpoint):
The ultimate map of Petra
At the Visitor Center at the entrance of Petra, you can take a handy map of the entire area for free. Unfortunately the map is sometimes out of stock, the hikes to the ‘Treasury from above’ are not properly marked and the map is not available online to plan your Petra days. So feel free use our map to find your way through Petra and to the Monastery. Download it offline or print it to use it during your time in Petra!
So we made our own free map for you:
The bold line marks the main road through the area of Petra. This route will lead you from the visitors entrance through the Siq to the famous Treasury and then to the Monastery. This is a long and pretty tough route for just one day, but it is the most popular one. We recommend you to visit the Monastery on a second day and then from the less known ‘backdoor’ entrance to Petra. Read our detailed blog post about this ‘backdoor’ hike here!
We’ve also marked the two viewpoints for the Treasury from above. A thin dotted line shows you the short, steep and dangerous route that a guide would let you climb to the viewpoint. And the off the beaten track trail through the Wadi al Farasa? That’s the thick grey line from the High Place of Sacrifice.
Download our map offline or print it to use it during your time in Petra!