Balqa Governorate:
Fertile mountains and unique landscapes


With its fertile Gilead mountains, a slice of the Dead Sea coast, and two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Balqa Governorate is one of Jordan’s most unique areas of outstanding beauty. Get your adventure on.

Balqa Governorate at a glance

  • Destination in the north of Jordan with access to the Dead Sea and two UNESCO Mixed World Heritage Sites.

  • Jordan Trail and Jordan Bike Trail in the eastern part of the region.

  • Great canyoning possibilities
  • Local experiences: Get to know the local community via cooking local dishes, making local crafts, agricultural experience, hadab and pottery making.

Balqa is one of the smaller governorates of Jordan located in the western part of the Kingdom. Administratively, the coast of the Dead Sea belongs to this governorate and you can access this wonder of nature via Balqa. The governorate is also home to the fertile Gilead mountains. The mountains of Gilead have an actual elevation of up to 1130 meters, but their apparent height on the western side is much greater, starting at 224 m below sea level in the Jordan Valley. It’s great for climbing, hiking, and biking, and both the Jordan Trail and the Jordan Biking Trail run through this region. Wasfi Al Tal Forest is stunning – a well-maintained trail sweeping through hills covered by pine trees. And very easy to reach from Amman (25 min drive). 

There is some excellent canyoning in the Balqa Governorate. For instance, Wadi Manshaleh is a challenging canyon stretching over five kilometers with eleven abseils ranging from ten to fifty meters. But there are many more. 

“Wadi Manshaleh is a challenging canyon stretching over five kilometers with eleven abseils”
Salt, Jordan, April 2022. Salt is a hillside town near Amman, Jordan. Its significance as an Ottoman Empire trading hub is reflected in its Ottoman architecture. The early-20th-century Abu Jaber mansion, now the Historic Old Salt Museum, has Italian frescoed ceilings. An Ottoman mosque overlooks Hammam Street with its food market. The Jordan Trail is a 675 kilometer long-distance hiking trail along the length of Jordan. The trail traverses diverse landscapes and is a journey through history. Encounter local hospitality, peel through the different layers of culture, taste the varied cuisines, encounter locals while walking, and spend your nights in their home-stays. Photo by Frits Meyst /

Salt trading routes

Balqa’s capital As-Salt was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2021. As-Salt is an ancient salt trading city on the old main highway from Amman to Jerusalem. The Romans, Byzantines, and Mamelukes contributed to the town’s growth. Still, at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, when the Ottomans established a regional administrative capital in Salt and encouraged settlement from other parts of their empire, Salt enjoyed its most prosperous period. The Archeological Museum in Salt tells the story of Jordan valley & the Balqa region. It features many artifacts from different eras found across the region. One more tip on As-Salt: don’t miss Hamman Street when visiting As-Salt, as it has some great street food for you to discover.

“As-Salt is an ancient salt trading city on the old main highway from Amman to Jerusalem”

Balqa is considered one of the richest geographical areas in Jordan in terms of its plant diversity. A total of 527 species belonging to 296 genera and 61 families have been recorded. 

Balqa also has a massive historical ring to it. That’s because Balqa historically referred to the entire area of the eastern plateau of the Jordan Valley as early as the 7th century. At that time, Heraclius’ brother Theodore fought an early campaign against the Arabs on the approaches to southern Syria. The south part of Balqa was known as the Plains of Moab during biblical times. Nowadays, it’s adventure that rules in Balqa. 

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