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Middle East

Expert Middle East travel guides and holiday advice

This diverse region is one of staggering contrasts: there are the hyper-modern, gleaming skyscrapers of Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE, and then there are history-steeped archaeological sites, such as Petra and the Pyramids. Traditional souks offer a glimpse at how business has been done for hundreds of years, while futuristic cities like Neom in Saudi Arabia provide a window into the future. Landscapes range from the sweeping desert-scapes of Qatar and the majesty of the River Nile in Egypt to the lofty High Atlas Mountains in Morocco and the Red Sea splendour of Jordan. Looking for winter sun? Beach resorts abound in hotspots including Tunisia. Read our expert guides to get inspired for your next trip.

Popular destinations in the Middle East

FAQs about the Middle East

Dubai and UAE

The United Arab Emirates consist of seven Emirates but the main ports of call for tourists are Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The former is the UAE capital, and is increasingly cultivating reasons to visit that are the envy of the Gulf, with grandstanding museums and indoor theme parks. Dubai, meanwhile, is dripping with superlatives: home to more than 20,000 millionaires, the city is both futuristic and deeply traditional, and brilliantly bizarre experiences lie all around – swimming with sharks and skiing in a shopping mall are everyday occurrences.


Egypt, a link between northeast Africa and the Middle East where ancient landmarks meet the capital Cairo’s lively hub of culture and culinary delights, is on the rise as a tourism hotspot, particularly popular for winter sun. Scorching beach resorts such as Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada, the Nile River and a treasure trove of Unesco World Heritage sites, from the Pyramids of Giza to the tombs of pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings, await holidaymakers.


Jordan punches well above its weight with things to do on holiday. There are archaeological marvels such as the “Rose City” of Petra to explore, hot springs to take a soak in, and wildlife reserves to wander. The country’s rich history shines through, whether you’re peeping at a 6th-century mosaic map or walking around one of the six Crusader castles. If it’s beach resorts you’re looking for, the southern coast overlooks the Red Sea, while Amman offers a city combining modernity and ancient ruins.


Visitors to Qatar can take advantage of recent cultural openings in the capital, Doha – including the fascinating structures that house of the National Museum and the Museum of Islamic Art – along with a host of new hotels. The presence of significant historical sites, from souks to centuries-old forts, and natural beauty, such as desert dunes and strikingly blue seas, makes Qatar an enjoyably diverse tourist destination.


So far untouched by mass tourism, Oman has preserved much of its nature and heritage without getting stuck in the past; cities such as Muscat and Salalah have added modern Islamic architecture to existing streets populated by mosques, souks and traditional houses. The country also possesses some of most diverse geography in the Arabian Peninsula, from spectacular mountain ranges to seven desert oases and vast expanses of desert.

The Middle East's best sights

  1. Petra, Jordan

    Jordan’s most-visited tourist attraction also goes by the name the "Rose City" in honour of the pink sandstone cliffs it’s carved into. Dating from 300BC, the famed archaeological site consists of tombs and temples, including the magnificent 45m-high Al Khazneh, a temple with an ornate, Greek-style façade.

  2. Burj Khalifa, UAE

    The Emirate of Dubai is home to a raft of superlatives, including the world’s tallest building: the Burj Khalifa. This soaring skyscraper, completed in 2009, reaches a total height of 829.8m – just over half a mile. Visitors can experience the staggering views by booking tickets for At The Top, the tower’s observation deck.

  3. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

    The Giza pyramid complex in Egypt is home to the only one of the seven wonders of the world that still exists: the Great Pyramid. It also boasts the Pyramid of Khafre, the Pyramid of Menkaure and the Great Sphinx, all of which were built during the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of ancient Egypt, between around 2600 and 2500 BC.

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