An enchanting land with so much more than just sun and sand, the Middle East has a wealth of world-famous attractions ranging from medieval markets, momentous mosques to vast deserts and remote oasis.
The Middle East is a region in Afro-Eurasia, and the countries that come under the Middle East are UAE, Oman, Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, and Yemen.
The beauty and aura of Middle Eastern countries are breathtaking. If you are thinking of planning your holiday there, go through our recommendation list before planning your itinerary. Here’s the list of the best countries and destinations to visit in the Middle East:
Petra tops the list of best places to visit in the Middle East. This stunning archaeological city of Jordan attracts travelers from all over the world. Petra is a world heritage site by UNESCO and is the former capital of the Nabataean Kingdom. While exploring Petra you must visit Al Khazneh (the Treasury), Al Deir Monastery, Colonnaded Street, Qasr Al-Bint, and Royal Tombs.
Best time to visit: March to May and September to November
No list of Middle East destinations is complete without Egypt. Also known as ‘The City of a Thousand Minarets’, Cairo showcases myriads of mosques, palaces, pyramids, and minarets. Visiting the ancient wonders of Egypt is the same as following a path carved by the Greeks, Romans, Medieval Pilgrims, and Egyptologists.
The city welcomes thousands of tourists every year because of its gorgeous architecture, buzzing markets, cafes, etc. The must-visit attractions are Giza Necropolis also known as The Giza Pyramid Complex, Egyptian Museum, Khan-el-Khalili, and the Pyramid of Djoser, etc.
Best time to visit: March to April and October to November
Nizwa is an ancient city in the Ad Dakhiliyah region of Northern Oman. It is situated on plains characterized by seasonal rivers and palm plantations. Amidst all the modernization, Nizwa managed to preserve all its rich culture and traditions. Nizwa is mainly known for Nizwa Fort, a castle with a huge cylindrical tower built in the 17th century to defend the city’s position on a major trade route. This historical city looks more like a fairytale where flying carpets, handicrafts, and magicians are a reality. While visiting this city on your vacation, don’t forget to go to Nizwa Fort, Nizwa Souq, and the Falaj Daris Park.
Best time to visit: September to March
Famous for its unique rock formations, Cappadocia is a beautiful region in central Turkey and is famous for its fairytale scenery, remarkable rock pillars and cones, and hundreds of hot air balloons that fly high in the sky during the sunrise each morning. Cappadocia is the hikers’ favorite place with diverse hiking trails and ancient valleys.
A visit to this place is a must-do if you want to see the extent to which nature has been artistic in this area. Cappadocia also offers exciting nightlife and shopping experiences to all kinds of travelers including families, couples, and backpackers.
Best time to visit: April to October
Jebel Jais (UAE)
Surrounded by Hajar Mountain Range, Jebel Jais is the highest peak in the Ras Al Khaimah (aka RAK city, ruled by Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi) in the UAE with its summit at 1,934 meters above sea level. The mountain presents stunning sunrise and sunset views.
The best part about visiting this place is now they have recycled and redesigned cabins to align with the sustainable mandate of Ras Al Khaimah’s mountain attractions. The cabins have been set up between the ultimate mountain setting for adventurers, outdoor enthusiasts to curate experiences in the new era of travel. These cabins are specially designed for smaller groups and have strict safety protocols and social distancing measures in place and must be the ideal experience during the pandemic.
Best time to visit: January to April
Al’Ula (Saudi Arabia)
Al’Ula is a land of history, mystery, and historical remarks. This masterpiece city is situated in the Medina Region in Northwestern Saudi Arabia covering an area of 29,261 square kilometers. Dating back to the 1st century BC, this place used to be an important trade and commerce center just like Petra. Al’Ula is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for being the second-largest Nabatean capital (the largest one is Petra). Some of the things found in the city are related to antiques, inscriptions, and tombs dating back to the time before Islam when civilizations like Minean and Lihyanite used to reside in the city. The name Al’Ula was given to the city during the Islamic era, and before that, it was known as Dedan. The major centers of attractions in Al’Ula are – Hegra, Jabal Alfil (Elephant Rock), Al’Ula Museum, Al Diwan, etc.
Best time to visit: November to February
Doha is the capital city of Qatar and is famous for its spectacular buildings, beautiful museums, monuments, heritage markets, and amusement places. Labeled as one of the 7 New Wonder Cities of the World, Doha is a premier Gulf city with an impressive skyline. It is developing both economically and socio-culturally with all the luxurious amenities with low crime rates, especially towards foreigners. Doha’s vast shopping malls and glittering architecture have no shortage of things to keep visitors occupied. The key attractions in Doha are – Museum of Islamic Art, Katara Cultural Village, The Pearl Qatar, Souq Waqif, and the National Museum.
Best time to visit: October to April
Beirut is the largest and capital city of Lebanon with plenty of places to visit. It is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. From the magnificent mosques to the young bustling neighborhoods of Achrafieh and Gemmayzeh pulsating with nightlife and parties, the city has everything for everyone. The famous attractions are the Sursock Museum, the National Museum of Beirut, the Martyr’s Square, and Raouche Rocks – for an amazing sunset view.
Best time to visit: April to May and September to November
We hope that this list of soul-pampering places to visit in the Middle East will make you rethink planning a trip to this enchanting land with impressive archaeological finds, beaches, hiking areas, and spectacular architectures. And if you have been to any, don’t forget to share your experiences with us!