It is possible to have a great time traveling in the Middle East and to broaden your horizons at the same time. Of course, much of the appeal of these countries is to do with their long histories, but going there does not mean that you have to spend all your time looking at ancient ruins! Here are some ideas for a fun-filled trip to the Middle East in 2014:
[Also see our travel article “Four Distinct Travel Destinations in Turkey“]
Not many countries have a greater history than Turkey. Travelers can visit Troy, explore the remains of the Hittite Empire, goggle at the fabulous Roman remains, or spend an entire holiday just scratching the surface of the long and violent history of Istanbul. Don’t worry, there are loads of other things to do – beach holidays on the Aegean Sea, horse riding and water sports in Cappadocia, visits to the east with its views out over the cradle of history: you can’t really get bored in Turkey! It need not cost you the earth, either. As it becomes ever more popular as a destination, so niches for the budget traveler are developing.
United Arab Emirates
[Also see our “Travel Profiles on Dubai and Abu Dhabi“]
The UAE, especially its largest city, Dubai, is another astonishing place. It’s as if the future has been constructed in the desert, a brilliant metropolis with the biggest and best of everything you could possibly imagine. Dubai has been called the shopping capital of the Middle East and it has the world’s biggest shopping mall as well as the world’s tallest skyscraper (the Burj Khalifa). There are also the astonishing artificial islands, one of which is home to the world’s only seven star hotel. If you want to escape from the future for a while, you can plunge into the famous old souks, take a trip in a dhow or explore the desert. Don’t forget to visit the Dubai Miracle Garden, the world’s largest flower garden, while you’re there!
[Also see our travel article “Ten Days in Egypt“]
Sure, you can’t go to Egypt without visiting the Pyramids and the Sphinx and the Valley of the Kings. It’s pretty much a given that you’ll take a ride on a camel and cruise for at least a little distance down the Nile. The more adventurous of you might also like to join an organized excursion exploring the vast, still and mysterious desert regions. If you prefer a more relaxing break involving beaches and resorts, then look to the Red Sea coast. Egypt is the sort of place that can continually delight visitors on the cheap.
If you like exploring, then Oman is definitely the place for you. Hire a 4X4 and head out into the desert and fairly soon you will find unspoiled beauty at its grandest; a sight that moves the soul as much as it delights the eye. Head to the famous sand dunes of Wahiba for a day out you’ll never forget! When you’ve had your fill of the desert’s magnificent solitude, you can head back to Muscat, explore the gorgeous beaches of Sur, or see the turtles nesting at Ras Al-Jinz. There are all sorts of places to stay in Oman: see here for Oman Hotels.