Whenever I think of Middle East Tours or a vacation to the Middle East, I think of bread, spices, raisins, and exotic meat dishes, ancient ruins, sand dunes, and mosques. I do believe though those misconceptions often overshadow how beautiful this region really is. Instability in some regions hasn’t helped, often dwarfing the area’s rich history and culture. Yet, the Middle East remains one of the most fascinating parts in the world, with much to offer to the adventurous spirit.
Here are five of the best holiday destinations in the Middle East that you should add to your list:
Without a doubt, Turkey is one of the fascinating places to visit in the Middle East. The capital city, Ankara, intertwines modernity with culture, and this is an excellent place to try some of the famed Turkish delights. The city of Istanbul boasts beautiful architecture in the form of palaces, churches, and mosques. If you were fascinated by the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires during history class, this is an excellent chance to relieve that lesson, only in a more realistic way.
It is not often that UNESCO designates a whole city as a heritage site, but that is exactly what happened in Mardin. Located in South-Eastern Turkey, Mardin features historic buildings made of sandstone, including a mosque constructed in the 12th century and one of the oldest monasteries in the world.
The resort city of Antalya is a must-visit for its gorgeous beaches and green mountainsides. Located on the Mediterranean coastline, Antalya invites you to explore its old quarter or simply lie on the beach. Of course, there is no leaving Turkey without visiting Ephesus, one of the most famous cities of the Roman Empire, and home to the Temple of Artemis.
Oman is a mixture of culture, history, and modernity. The capital city Muscat is a port city surrounded by natural beauty ranging from mountains to deserts. Here, you can experience the old such as the souks and fish market at Muttrah Quarter, to contemporary Islamic designs in the Sultan’s Palace. You can also check out the Museums displaying Omani arts, crafts, and culture. About an hour and a half away from Muscat is the Hawiyat Najm Park. This park is famous for the Bimmah Sinkhole, a gorgeous piece of nature featuring blue waters surrounded by limestone walls. Here, you can dip your feet and have little fish nibble away at all your dead skin. Nothing says pedicure with a view like this place.
To learn more about ancient Oman, head off to Birkat Al Mawz, where you will encounter a prehistoric village. Here, you will wind through the ruins which remain intact, catching a glimpse of how villagers lived hundreds of years ago. For a bit of excitement, adrenalin & adventure, take part in ‘dune bashing’ or driving across the dunes at Wahiba Sands. After all, the Arabian Desert is one of the most quintessential parts of Oman.
The Middle East is a hotbed of culture, history, and mind-boggling architecture. Egypt naturally comes to mind when considering great places to visit in the Middle East owing to its fascinating pyramids, museums, ancient ruins, arts, crafts and a luxurious Egypt Travel Packages. The most popular destination in Egypt is the Pyramids of Giza that date back to 2560 BC. These Pyramids are an architectural mystery that modern-day engineers are still working to understand. Standing near the pyramids is the famous Sphinx, a limestone statue with the body of a lion and the head of a human. It is believed to have been modeled after Pharaoh Khafre, who ruled at the time of its construction.
Other than the pyramids, Egypt has numerous museums where you can view an extensive display of artifacts, ancient manuscripts, statues, and coins dating back thousands of years. Most of these items are from different influences the ancient Egyptians interacted with, including Greek, Roman, and Islamic persuasions.
No trip to Egypt is complete without a Cruise in the Nile. A trip between Luxor and Aswan will allow you to take in Egypt’s historical aspects while being pampered in luxury & style. Some of the places you should expect to drop in on during your cruise include temples such as the Luxor Temple, the ruins of ancient Nubia, alongside visits to the local markets.
Similar to most of the Middle East, Jordan is another culturally rich country that also features ancient monuments, seaside resorts, and modern cities. The capital city of Amman is a split between modern architecture and ancient ruins. Some of these ruins include the ancient Roman Temple of Hercules and a stone amphitheater from the 2nd century.
The ancient city of Petra is another must-see destination. Dating back over 2000 years, this city located in a deep valley has been the site for numerous movies, including Indiana Jones. A walk from the Siq to the Treasury is one of the highlights here, so don’t miss it.
The next stop in your holiday has to be the Dead Sea located along Jordan’s eastern border. Also known as the Salt Sea, this is the lowest point on earth. Because of its salinity, you can actually float on the water. Definitely one of the more surreal aspects of this world!
Finally, a trip to Jordan would not be complete without an adventure at the Wadi Rum Desert. Whether you go on a day trip or spend the night with the local Bedouin tribe, the ‘valley of the moon’ will leave you at awe with its calmness and sense of open spaces.
Israel has a fascinating history teemed with religion. Many Christians believe that Jesus Christ walked its paths, making it a bucket list item for pilgrimages. Whether you are drawn by religion or adventure, Israel has something for everyone.
The old city of Jerusalem is home to the Wailing Wall, the remaining part of the Jewish Temple, and a holy site for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This city is divided into quarters and features seven gates and a museum where you can learn about its fascinating history.
Another must-see site in Israel is the UNESCO Heritage Site of Masada, a fortress built by King Herod in 30 BCE. Its ruins are well preserved as are other areas around it, including baths, watchtowers, and even a synagogue. A climb to the top of Masada reveals a breath-taking view of the Moab Mountains and the Dead Sea.
The modern city of Tel Aviv is vibrant and cosmopolitan. It boasts beaches, buzzing nightlife, and fantastic cuisine. Coming from the quiet towns of Nazareth and Old Jerusalem, Tel Aviv might shock you, but it is the perfect ending to a fantastic holiday.
So there you have it, some of the greatest holiday destinations in the Middle East to consider Stay safe & enjoy your journey in the amazing sites, great weather & heart-warming hospitality of the Middle East.