A symbol of grandeur, culture, history, and potential business opportunities, the Middle East has emerged as a top tourist destination over the past few years. The Middle East geographical region is formed out of 18 countries, of which 13 are Arab nations, making it an Arab hotspot for business and tourism.
Tourism in the Middle East significantly contributes to the economy of several countries. According to the Middle East tourism statistics, the region reached 83% of the pre-pandemic levels in tourist arrivals after Qatar hosted the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Several colossal events and festivals are hosted in countries like UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.
The Middle East is vast; magnificent desert vistas, extraordinary events, enormous retail malls, and newly constructed skyscrapers are just the tip of the iceberg. In this blog post, we'll take a virtual trip through the region by discussing some of the notable Middle East top destinations that you should visit.
There are hardly any instances where Dubai and the Middle East are not mentioned in the same sentence. The capital of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai, is like a gateway to modern civilization. Multiple times ranked first as the most visited tourist destination in the world, Dubai gained notoriety in the 1980s as a place with several economic opportunities. Dubai has become a famous travel destination for being home to the world’s largest mall and tallest building. Dubai has changed over time from being a significant oil producer to a center for globalization. What makes Dubai one of the best places to visit in Middle East is that its visitors can look forward to exciting vacation activities, including skydiving, desert safaris, watersports, world-class shopping, and much more when visiting Dubai.
- Top Attractions: Burj Khalifa, Desert Safari, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Mall, Dubai Creek.
- Best places to Stay: The Palm Hotel, Ritz Carlton, Dubai, Grand Millenium Business Bay, Taj, Dubai, JW Mariott, Dubai, Anantara Downtown Dubai.
- Ideal Visiting Period: November to March (Avoid going during the summer months)
What is better than relaxing and rejuvenating in the Turkish Baths of the capital of Turkey itself? But the city is much more than just one refreshing escapade with steam baths. Situated between the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Istanbul is the cultural bridge to both continents. With so many cultural influences from the West and the East, Istanbul is not considered one but a blend of many. A sophisticated tribute to its past, Istanbul’s cultural spots like Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace became tourist favorites even before the word tourism wasn’t so significant in the country. In Istanbul, you will indeed find the 21st-century chaos and innovation but also get a chance to find calmness in 19th-century European architecture.
- Must visit attractions: Hagia Sophia Mosque, The Blue Mosque, Rumeli Fortress, Basilica Cistern, Sultanahmet District, Beyoglu.
- Best places to stay: Romance Istanbul Hotel, Demiray Hotel & Spa, Raffles Istanbul, Pera Palace Hotel, Tomtom Suites.
- Best time to visit: April to June & September to November.
One of the best places to visit in Middle East is Petra, situated in Jordan. The city's ancient infrastructure carved into a red cliff makes this place a must-visit attraction, giving the town the 'rose city' title. Petra's old buildings and infrastructure make it a UNESCO World Heritage site. Recently proclaimed as one of the world's new seven wonders, the city of Petra offers its tourist several explorable experiences. Tourists often spend 2-3 days at this iconic destination to explore the ancient lands of Jordan and go home with deep insights into the history of Petra.
- Main Attractions: Royal Tombs, High Place of Sacrifice, The Treasury, Monastery, Siq (canyon), The Great Temple.
- Best time to visit: March to May
- Best places to eat: The Basin Restaurant, Aloe Vera Restaurant, The Cave Bar, Falafel Time, Elan Restaurant.
This list will only be complete if we mention the FIFA 2023 World Cup host. Doha is a futuristic multicultural metropolitan that is an iconic blend of innovation and Arab traditions. From ultra-luxurious shopping escapades to the iconic Doha Skyline, Doha's travel and tourism experience is unparalleled. Besides colossal modern attractions, Doha offers various cultural experiences like museums, historic spots, mosques, and heritage villages.
- Main Attractions: Museum of Islamic Arts, Villagio, National Museum of Qatar, The Corniche, Museum of Illusions, State Grand Mosque
- Best time to visit: December to February
- Best Places to eat: La Spiga by Paper Moon, Al Hubara Restaurant, Al Nahham, Spice Market, Atrium Lounge
Cairo is one of the few destinations that will expose you to Egypt’s thousand-year-old heritage—highly recommended for those obsessed with ancient historical tourism and exploration. Over the years, Cairo has emerged as a center point of global historic tourism by acting as a gateway to the ancient world. Attractions like The Great Sphinx, the Pyramids of Giza, and the famous Egyptian Museum attract tourists worldwide to visit Cairo. Come here for ancient art exploration, cultural education, and camel safaris.
- Main Attractions: The Great Sphinx, Pyramids of Giza, Egyptian Museum, Khan El Khalili Bazaar, Nile River
- Ideal visiting time: Between March to April
- Best places to eat: Lobby Lounge, Noble House, The View Restaurant, Culina, Solis
The Middle Eastern region epitomizes how culture, modernity, and tradition can coexist. From the skyscrapers of Dubai and Doha to the grand cultural and ancient attractions of Istanbul and Cairo, every destination in the Middle East has something unique to offer. So, what stops you from visiting the most iconic places in the Middle East? Book your tickets, pack your bags, and engage in wanderlust!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. In which middle eastern city was the FIFA 2023 World cup hosted?
A1. The city of Doha in Qatar hosted the FIFA World Cup in 2023.
Q2. Where is the tallest building in the world located in the Middle East?
A2. The tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa, is located in Dubai, UAE.
Q3. What are some of the oldest monuments in the Middle East?
A3. The Great Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza came into existence almost 4500 years ago and are considered one of the oldest monuments of the region.
Q4. Why is Petra called the ‘rose city’?
A4. The UNESCO world heritage site of Petra is called rose city because of the red colored stone buildings.
Q5. What are the best months to visit Istanbul?
A5. The months between April to June are the most ideal months to visit the Turkish capital.