Travel means many different things to different people. For some, it’s simply the practice of putting some space between us and the responsibilities of work and home. An opportunity to relax somewhere sunny, enjoy good food and refreshing drinks and a more gentle pace of life for a week or two. For others, however, travel represents an opportunity for adventure and immersion in another culture. The chance to embrace unfamiliar sights, sounds, tastes and smells and show their children the beauty in the exotic. For these adventure-hungry travellers, it’s not always enough to explore the treasures close to their doorstep. They want to travel to far flung lands rich in natural beauty, historical interest and idiosyncratic charm.
And if you’re looking for a unique and truly special holiday destination, look no further than the middle eat. The birthplace of civilisation, this part of the planet is known for its rich history, stunning scenery and welcoming locals. Here are some unforgettable holiday destinations in the Middle East which should go on any adventurer’s bucket list…
Jordan is arguably one of the most quintessentially Middle Eastern countries on the planet. While a small country, it is known internationally as a business hub with a thriving economy and highly skilled workforce. It is also, however, home to a wealth of treasures for holiday makers. Those who book Jordan Tours 2020 will find themselves exploring stunningly beautiful desert and mountain terrain, encountering lost cities and ancient ruins as well as the biblically famous Red Sea.
The country is full of sites of historical and religious significance for both the Christian and Islamic faiths. Take a look at the Al-Maghtas ruins, believed to be the site at which Jesus Christ was baptised. The nation is also dotted with shrines of the prophet Muhammad’s companions such as ‘Abd Allah ibn Rawahah, Zayd ibn Harithah and Muadh ibn Jabal.
Another popular tourist attraction is the Ajlun Castle built by the famous Muslim Ayyubid leader Saladin in the 12th century AD during the wars with the Crusaders.
Okay, so this one isn’t technically part of the Middle East. Although situated in North Africa, the (mostly) French-speaking country is often considered a part of the Middle East due to its strong cultural and historical ties to the area which is why it’s often known ads MENA (Middle East and North Africa).
Tunisia offers a number of great attractions from trekking the Sahara desert on the back of a camel to visiting some of the legendary locations from the Star Wars film. Visit Nefta which served as the Lars homestead for the 1977 original movie, or the island of Djerba which doubled as Tatooine in The Phantom Menace.
Of course, we can’t have a conversation about the Middle East without talking about Dubai. One of the Middle East’s most impressive cities with giant gleaming towers of glass and steel, Dubai is has a friendly and welcoming attitude towards Western tourists and a wealth of luxurious hotels.
While Dubai may be best known for its sense of metropolitan opulence and huge skyscrapers (like the Burj Khalifa which featured in Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol) the city also has its share of rich history. Take a look at the Dubai Museum, found inside Al Fahidi Fort. The fort is one of the emirate’s oldest structures and the museum is home to some of the nation’s most ancient and historically important artifacts.
Dubai is one of the safest and most family friendly cities in the UAE with extremely high standards of everything from law enforcement to food safety.
Although it is the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi loses a great deal of tourism to the smaller Dubai. However, there’s a great deal to fall in love with in Abu Dhabi. Historically rich and rich in beautiful architecture, Abu Dhabi boasts a wealth of man made wonders including the stunning Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Emirates Palace. Lovers of the natural world will want to check out the stunning Yas Island which is an absolute haven for animal lovers. The island is home to a range of indigenous animals including Arabian oryx, Somali ostriches, deer gazelle, deer and even reticulated giraffes, as well as stunning aquatic creatures including dolphins and sea turtles.
Lovers of theme parks won’t want to leave without visiting Ferrari world (home of the world’s fastest rollercoaster) and the new billion dollar Warner Bros. world which is home to all kinds of characters from DC comics, Looney Tuned and Hanna Barbera.
As you can see, the Middle East has a diverse range of wonders to excite all kinds of visitors!