Earth : Asia : Middle East : Jordan : King's Highway : Madaba
Madaba  is a small town in central Jordan located south of the capital Amman on the King's Highway, some 10 km from Hesban. A town with a long history, Madaba is best known as the location of the "Madaba Map", a 6th century mosaic depiction of Jerusalem and parts of the Holy Land.
Madaba is approximately 10% Christian (Catholics & Greek Orthodox). Much of the traveller and pilgrim infrastructure is run by the Franciscans however.
Madaba is about a half hour from Amman. There are frequent minibuses each way (about 500 fils each way). A taxi is a good option, especially if you're in a group. The cost depends on your bargain abilities but it can go from JD 8 - 12. If you are coming into Madaba from Amman, make sure you get off the bus on the "Kings Highway" before getting to the bus terminal as it is now located east of the town and you'll need a taxi to get to the centre.
There seem to be buses only to Amman. For all other places, you may have to take a taxi.
The city is also only 25 Km from Queen Alia International airport, making it the ideal place to start and end your trip to Jordan. Hotels may charge 17 JD for an airport pick up.
Madaba is a very small city, one can easily get around by on foot. Although a taxi from downtown to the bus station is a good idea (about JD 0.5 - 1). Taxis traveling within the city do not use the taxi metre the car is equipped with, but operate at a standard fare of 0.65JD per trip. Make sure you agree on this price with the driver before hopping on.
Very good quality and cheap rugs. There are places where you can have them made on order if you have the time to wait for them. Excellent mosaics and great Dead Sea products.
There are many little falafel and kebab places, some better than others. Ayola's is a great coffee shop that welcomes tourists. They have very good sandwiches and excellent fruit shakes. It is the place to ask for a sheesha and people watch. Newly open Chili Ways offers decent hamburgers and fast-food at very reasonable prices.
Haret Jdoudna is one of Madaba's finest eateries and is located in the centre of the city along the main street. Within a restored Late Ottoman house, this restaurant features the best of Jordanian fare along with a cozy atomosphere that is welcoming at all times of year. Offers excellent Lebanese-style mezze, Arabic-style barbecue "Mashawi", and Italian pizzas. The restaurant also offers shishas. Sit on the rooftop patio at sunset for an enchanting experience watching the sun go down as you listen to the call to prayer from the numerous minerets nearby.
King Mesha restaurant also offers lovely ambiance, friendly service and delicious food for very reasonable prices. It is located very near the Madaba Archaeological Park and the museum.
A very nice new rooftop restaurant is on the top floor of the Mariam hotel. They do open buffet dinner for JD 8 only and the view to the city is very nice. Also they do have a pool side bar they serve sandwiches, wine and beer. You don’t need to be resident of the hotel to use the restaurant or the bar.
Since there are a lot of Catholics in Madaba, alcohol is widely available. There are a lot of liquor shops in town. Buy it here for your trip to Petra and Wadi Rum. There are no alcohol shops in Petra or Wadi Rum.
There are two excellent, reasonably-priced hotels in Madaba directly across the road from each other - Mariam Hotel and Salome Hotel. Great service, good prices (about JD 30 for a double with breakfast included), and great service from the owners. They help with guides, directions, renting cars or taxis. Otherwise try the Black Iris hotel or the 3-star Madaba Inn Hotel (located opposite the Church of the Map).
For a luxurious stay try the New 4 stars BEST WESTERN Grand Hotel Madaba, two blocks from Mohafaza circle and a 10 minutes walking from st. George church. Rates starts from 80$
The Black Iris Hotel has clean non-smoking rooms, approx 30JD for a double room. Offers tours to nearby areas including Mount Nebo and the Dead Sea.
The Mariam hotel is one of the best 2 star hotels in Jordan with 57 rooms and a large outdoor swimming pool, restaurant and bar, as well as a meeting room for work shops. The room rate is about 43 US$ for a double room with open buffet breakfast. Their new rooftop restaurant is excellent.