Spend summer in paradise

Dubai is no longer a dream holiday destination – it doesn't cost the earth to make your fantasy holiday a reality

The Alila Jabal Akhdar hotel perches at the top of a dramatic valley

Oman: Green shoots in the uncharted mountains

A new luxury hotel is putting the Jabal Akhdar range's dramatic gardens and gorges - once sealed off as part of a military base - on the tourist map

The ultimate destination

There are luxury resorts, vast shopping malls and exquisite restaurants waiting for you in Dubai, a holiday paradise

Hotting up: the emirate now welcomes a million UK visitors each year

A runway closure and a new room tax are on the way in Dubai

Simon Calder reports on double trouble

Dubai: What's not to like about opulent hotels, glorious sunshine, fine food and glamorous shopping?

Is biggest always best? The stats certainly impress in the emirate, says Charlotte Hawkins

And relax: modern resorts are expanding their spa options
Port of call: Byblos bears traces of its Phoenician past
Biblical passage: Parts of Old Jaffa date back 5,000 years

Show and Tel Aviv: Israel's artistic coastal city

With a paddle in the Med as his goal, Nick Boulos strolls past murals, markets and museums

On a city cycle tour looking towards Jerusalem

A two-wheeled revelation in Israel

From vibrant Tel Aviv to the Negev Desert, Israel's network of bike tracks is growing, says Mark Stratton

The Amman skyline

B&B and Beyond: By the Lemon Tree, Amman

Family drinks parties and an elaborate breakfast spread help to make Matthew Teller feel at home in the bustling capital

Leading light: The 17th-century Blue Mosque and its six minarets dominate the Istanbul skyline

Turkey's finest: Istanbul is the most popular kid on the 21st-century global block

If you want a metaphor for modern Istanbul, look no further than the Marmaray tunnel. It's currently being dug under the Bosphorus to link Sirkeci Station, near the Grand Bazaar, with the ferry port of Uskudar on the Asian shore. The work will take three years to finish; maybe more because workmen keep discovering ancient objects that have to be removed and lovingly catalogued.

Oman oasis: Nakhal Fort

Oman: On the balcony of an ancient land

The most spectacular way to explore Oman's rugged Hajar mountains is to reach for the top, discovers Amar Grover

Jubilation in Jordan: The top of the peak felt like the end-of-the-world - but what a view

The sign said, 'The end of the world'; as did the look on my three-year-old's face. Below us, the dusky pink desert canyons and dimpled, rocky mountains of the Jordan Valley stretched west towards Jerusalem. And somewhere, far, far below the precipice we'd scaled to 'Sacrifice View', a bright blue cap was now swirling away, whisked off my son's head by the sharp wind that greeted us at the summit.

An ill-timed tour of Syria: Amid the ancient sites, an uprising takes root

It was the morning after the UN voted to bomb Colonel Gaddafi out of Libya that I made my way to Gatwick Airport. Hosni Mubarak had fallen as Egypt's leader just a month before. Tunisia had been swept up in revolution, Yemen's Day of Rage was turning into weeks of bloodshed, and even little Bahrain was stirring with protest.

Palestinian dancers perform outside the Church of Nativity

O little town with big ideas: Welcome to Bethlehem

Come all ye tourists: that's the message from Bethlehem, which is having some success in overcoming high unemployment and the Israeli blockade, writes Matthew Kalman

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