Located where the Jordan River flows from the Sea of Galilee into the Dead Sea, the Jordan River Baptismal Site (also known as “Bethany Beyond Jordan” or the Yardenit Baptismal Site) is one of the world’s most important sites of Christian pilgrimage. It's where John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ.
More than a half-million tourists and pilgrims flock to the holy site each year, both to visit the historic destination and to be baptized in its hallowed waters. There are 12 baptismal pools, quiet prayer areas, and a waterfront promenade from which to watch the baptisms.
It’s possible to visit on a half-day tour from Amman or a full-day tour from Jerusalem, often combined with nearby sites, such as Nazareth, Tiberias, and the Sea of Galilee.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Admission to the site is free but there is a rental charge for baptism robes, which must be worn for baptisms.
- The last baptism ceremony is held one hour before closing.
- Visitor facilities include changing rooms, hot showers, a gift shop, and a kosher restaurant.
- Dress modestly in clothing that covers your arms and legs and remove your shoes when entering the prayer areas.
- The site is wheelchair accessible, with handrails and ramps leading into the river.
How to Get There
The Jordan River Baptismal Site is located on the west bank of the Jordan River, close to where it meets the Sea of Galilee, around 6 miles (10 kilometers) east of Jericho. There is no public transport to the site, so you will need to join a guided tour or arrange a private taxi.
When to Get There
The site is open daily, except Sundays, and Saturday is normally the busiest day. The best time to visit is during the spring or summer months (May–September) when the warm weather is ideal for a baptism, but it’s possible to visit and be baptized all year-round.
Touring the Holy Land
The Holy Land is one of the world’s most sacred regions, and pilgrims travel from all around the globe to discover the biblical lands. Along with the Jordan River Baptismal Site, the most important pilgrimage sites include Jerusalem, home to the Monastery of the Cross, Mount Zion, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; Bethlehem with its Church of the Nativity; Nazareth, described in the New Testament as Jesus’ hometown; and the Sea of Galilee.