One of the most fascinating and regions on earth, the Middle East, is full of contrasts, wonders and mysteries, waiting to be discovered. Since some of the world’s biggest religions have originated in this area, the rich cultural heritage can not only be experienced within the countless historical sites, but through the atmosphere, the colours and the tastes that you encounter when travelling there. Exploring the Middle East is much more than dwelling on ancient civilizations. Whether you’re looking for Breath-taking landscapes, bustling markets, luxurious resorts vibrant night life or a mix of all these elements, the wide variety of options does not leave any wishes unfulfilled. So where to start? These are the top ten destinations to experience unique, Middle Eastern vibes.
One thing that can be said about Dubai with absolute certainty is this: It is nothing like anything you’ve seen before. The most populous city of the United Arab Emirates is truly a place of superlatives. The biggest mall, the tallest building and the first indoor mountain resort are only a few examples of the numerous world records it holds. Considering the fact that all these luxury resorts, pristine beaches and extravagant entertainment facilities are located in the middle of a desert makes the experience all the more breath taking.
Cairo’s main attraction, the pyramids of Giza, are perhaps the world’s most infamous landmarks. Along with the Sphinx, the Keops pyramid and numerous other monuments, they serve as an awe inspiring symbol for the capabilities of mankind. The modern metropole of Cairo is home to a highly diverse population which never ceases to thrive and bustle, inviting visitors into a dazzling cultural experience.
- Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is a melting pot of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean beauty paired with modern trends and innovations. The culinary variety of traditional specialties, fresh gigantic salad bowls, and international cuisine is celebrated by locals and tourists alike. In the midst of the hustle and bustle, you can take a stroll through quiet neighbourhoods with white, Bauhaus style buildings that give Tel Aviv its second name, “White City” and are recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage site.
Nestled right between Asia and Europe, Istanbul has been the focal point during various periods in history. The colourful mix of styles and influences presents itself noticeably in the variety of architectural styles, not to mention the diversity of scrumptious foods. A visit to the grand bazar, one of the oldest and largest markets in the world, is a feast for the senses and a truly unforgettable shopping experience.
Contrary to popular belief, there is a whole lot more to the ancient desert city of Petra than the infamous façade which has been featured in the Indiana Jones movie. The entire archaeological stretches over 260 square Kilometres (100 square miles) of stone-cut architecture, which merges into the natural rock formations and takes you on a magnificent time travelling journey to the time when the Nabateans beat the odds of nature and constructed these majestic monuments, now known as one of the new seven world wonders.
If you’re looking for a place to relax and unwind, indulge in the carefree, slow paced vibes of the easternmost island of the Mediterranean, you should definitely not miss out on a trip to Cyprus, and especially its most peacefully serene town, Paphos. During both the Roman and the Greek empire, Paphos was the Capital of the island, and is therefore bestowed with an stunning array of historical sites. The city has been selected as European Capital of Culture 2017.
It goes without saying that Jerusalem is one of the most extraordinary cities on Earth, having being viewed as sacred by all major monotheistic religions for many centuries. Visiting the Temple Mount and the Al Aqsa Mosque, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Wailing Wall and many more historical sites of great significance will make history come alive in the most compelling way. Many visitors are surprised to discover the charm of modern day Jerusalem, which adds a vibrant, urban flair to the city’s ancient monuments.
The ancient desert city with its opulent temples and monuments has brought the very word to life which now describes wealth and abundance: Luxury. Now other destination in the region boasts such a vast collection of well-preserved land marks. Its location on the bank of the Nile creates a mesmerizing contrast between the rocky desert landscape and lush green vegetation. Your visit to Luxor holds the promise of an unforgettably magical getaway.
The picturesque coastal city of Antalya has it all: Historical sites from ancient periods of Roman, Greek, Byzantine and Ottoman rule, marvellous beaches, where you can enjoy magnificent sunsets, caves and waterfalls waiting to be explored and a wide selection of trendy venues that promise to exceed every expectation of an enjoyable night out.
The history of Amman dates as far back as about 7 thousand B.C. Many civilizations and empires have regarded it as a central point of trade and culture. Besides visiting the ancient monuments such as the Amman Citadel, the King Abdullah I Mosque and the Roman theatre, Amman offers excellent opportunities for discovering authentic Jordanian culture. The locals are known to be very welcoming, which makes the experience all the more worthwhile.