The Middle East is easily one of the most beautiful areas of the world, filled with a wealth of untouched natural beauty and some of the richest ancient history to be found anywhere across the globe. Winter sun is an increasingly popular excuse for a seasonal getaway, but have you considered taking a winter break and escaping to the Middle East?
This part of the world is usually pretty quiet during the winter off season, so it is the perfect time to get out there and explore some of the most stunning sights the region has to offer. The Middle East boasts some of the most varied holiday destinations in any region. From the pyramids of Egypt to the cityscape of Dubai, there are plenty of attractions and things to do and see which will suit every personal preference.
There is no need to worry about the weather, either, as the average temperature in the Middle East is a comfortable 19 degrees C in December – much more manageable than the unbearably scorching highs which are normally recorded during the peak summer period.
Do your research; always observe local customs, and travel off the beaten track for the best way to see the hidden gems that these countries have to offer visitors. It is always worth doing plenty of research into the areas you plan to visit before you travel, as this part of the world requires particular caution when visiting. However, that is no reason to have to stay away, as there are still plenty of open and accessible areas that the region has to offer. Take advantage of the quieter nature of the Middle East in winter, and have yourself an experience of a lifetime!
Best Holiday Destinations In The Middle East You Must Visit
#1. Explore Egypt
Egypt has some of the richest and most famous history and heritage of anywhere in the world. It has also been one of the most popular holiday destinations for many years. If you are interested in history and archaeology, Egypt is one Middle Eastern country not to be missed. With structures and architecture descending from one of the oldest civilisations which ever existed, this is the perfect chance to experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the Pyramids of Giza and the Valley of the Kings in the off-season when there will be fewer tourists about.
Egypt also has some outstanding natural wonders to show off to tourists. The most notable of these is the infamous River Nile, the longest river in the world. The Nile flows through 5 North African countries, though it is most commonly associated with Egypt because of the vital role it played in sustaining the ancient Egyptian civilisation. One of the best ways to experience the river’s beauty is by going on a guided Nile cruise.
#2. Journey Jordan
Another country with a rich history, Jordan is a perfect accompaniment to the beauty of Egypt. The country is crammed full of fascinating archaeology and architecture, featuring some extremely well preserved ancient cultural delights. One of its star attractions is the captivating ‘Lost City’ of Petra, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. For some history, a little further off the beaten track, try a visit to the village of Umm el-Jimal, the best preserved Byzantine town in the region.
Of course, no visit to Jordan would be complete without a trip to the Dead Sea. A hypersaline lake and also the lowest point of elevation on land in the world, the Dead Sea is truly remarkable and is well worth a visit.
#3. Traverse Turkey
Istanbul is one of the richest cultural cities in the world today, with ties to the ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Persian empires. It is a cosmopolitan city and is a definite must-see for history buffs and those who appreciate culture alike. Istanbul is home to the iconic Hagia Sophia and the stunning Topkapi Palace.
We would advise caution and plenty of research before planning to mark certain areas of Turkey as your next holiday destinations, but with careful consideration, there is no reason for the beauty of Turkey to be missed out on.
#4. Navigate Northern Israel
While tensions are high surrounding conflict in southern regions of Israel, take time out to stay safe and visit more northerly areas. Northern Israel boasts some gorgeous national parks, as well as a plethora of holy religious sites and history. Historic churches and bustling, vibrant local markets are commonplace here, and really allow you to get to grips with the culture and heritage of the country.
The city of Nazareth is also well worth a visit. Famous for being the ‘Arab capital of Israel’ as well as the city where Jesus spent his childhood, according to tradition, it is undeniable that Nazareth is a city steeped in history.
#5. Discover Dubai
For those who prefer fast-paced city life, Dubai is one of the perfect holiday destinations. A contemporary, incredibly affluent city, Dubai is the ultimate ultra-modern place to visit. The tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, dominates the skyline and the famous Palm Islands are not to be missed. The dancing Dubai fountain is a tourist favourite, and the Dubai museum features plenty of local history.
The city is also excellent for shopping – spend a day in the luxurious Dubai Mall or wander through the Souks (markets) alongside the Dubai Creek.
An enduring spirit
Although these countries are great winter holiday destinations, certain Middle Eastern countries like Syria still experience harsh winters. Falling temperatures and snow can be difficult to deal with at the best of times, but just imagine how much harder that becomes for displaced or homeless Syrians.
For many Syrians, the severe winter weather is just the latest addition to a long line of problems and difficulties that they have to face every day. A recent charity appeal to assist those living in Syria was set up to help them to cope with the tough winter weather.
It is stories like this, of perseverance, helpfulness, and enduring spirit, which show us the real essence of these people and the countries that they live in.
Of course, these are just a few suggestions, as we have barely scratched the surface of what the Middle East has to offer. For a rich, varied holiday experience jam-packed with diverse history and culture, make your winter getaway a trip to the Middle East!