Top Spots To Visit In The Middle East
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When you mention the Middle East, a lot of people might get a bit sketchy – after all, it’s not an area known for its stability. That being said though, if you know where to go and when, it can be a hugely enjoyable experience that exposes you to unique cultures, beautiful people, delicious food and memorable experiences. The Middle East is a huge, vast area that encompasses everything from Egypt to Iran and even parts of Turkey and the Gulf States, so you have a whole variety of places to choose from. Here’s a list of the top (safe!) spots you should check out in the region.
Egypt, while technically part of the continent of Africa, has a much more Middle Eastern feel. In fact if you had to label the countries of North Africa as something other than ‘African’, it would be Middle Eastern. The countries from Egypt across to Morocco have a distinctively Middle Eastern feel to them, with Egypt being the closest to the actual Middle East. Egypt is home to ancient temples, unique villages and stunning sea life with ample opportunity to see dozens if not hundreds of different types of fish up to and including Great White Sharks. The capital city, Cairo is a bustling metropolis with around thirty million people calling it home, as well as the pyramids. If you’re looking for the ultimate in diving and snorkelling, head to South Sinai where towns like Sharm and Dahab offer sea lovers ample opportunities to go on boat trips or just snorkel and dive from shore. Worried? Don’t be. Egypt and South Sinai are both absolutely safe.
Iran is a beautiful country that has a little something for everyone in terms of beaches, mountains and other scenery. The people here are almost notoriously friendly, often stopping travellers to invite them for tea or even meals with them and their families. The whole experience of being in such a seemingly closed off country can be exhilarating for those who manage to make it here. Don’t miss the beautiful rainbow mosque in Shiraz or camping in the mountains with tribespeople. Tehran is a great spot to explore the culture and cuisine of the big Iranian city, taking time to wander the maze like souks of the city, pausing for tea and sweets with the backdrop of Iranian mountains in the background. If there’s one thing you will find surprising about Iran, it’s the safety, despite what big name, mass media tries to tell you.
Israel is a bit of a contentious destination, what with the problematic treatment of Palestine (which by the way is definitely world visiting if you can deal with the heavy border security and being grilled as to why you’re going to Palestine by Israeli authorities), but at the end of the day, Israel is home to some of the most beautiful religious sites in the world. Considered part of the ‘Holy Land’, Israel is where many of the stories of the Bible take place, including the birth of Jesus Christ at Bethlehem (in what is now the Church of the Nativity), as well as the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the River Jordan (the purported site is marked on maps, and is a great spot to visit by those who just like history or those wanting to be baptised here as well). Tel Aviv is a bustling city with a lot to see and do including impressive beachlife as well as an electric nightlife.
While perhaps considered more of a Gulf State than a country in the Middle East, we still wanted to include Dubai as it’s a common stopover in the region if you’re travelling within the Middle East or further to Africa, Asia or Europe. Dubai is a bit of an interesting one as it’s commonly referred to as a shopping mall in the desert, thanks in part to its numerous hotels, restaurants, luxury apartments and shopping malls all designed to beat the heat. Most famous for its luxury island development shaped like a palm tree in the water, Dubai is a hot spot for some of the world’s most rich and beautiful, and it’s not uncommon to hear of some of Hollywood’s elite vacationing in the area. Not sure what to do in Dubai? Three popular activities include going out on dune bashing safaris in the desert, skydiving over the city or going on fishing trips in the waters surrounding the city.
So if you’re a first timer to the Middle East and you want a cool option for a country to visit, one of these will surely impress you and make you rethink the negative stereotypes that the area often gets in the media. Book yourself a cheap flight to the area with Justfly and come see for yourself just how welcoming and magical the Middle East can really be.