The Middle East has been inspiring tourists to visit for hundreds of years. The combination of rich history, incredible food, and varied culture naturally attracts those looking for adventure. Whether you’re interested in visiting Egypt, exploring the sights of Jordan, or taking a shopping tour around the United Arab Emirates, there are plenty of things to see, do, and experience on a Middle Eastern holiday.
If you’re thinking about booking a holiday soon, take a look at these top five reasons why people choose to visit the Middle East.
1. To explore world-famous attractions
The list of world-famous attractions in the Middle East is seemingly endless and, thanks to economic development in the region, it’s growing all the time. When you’re on a holiday in the Middle East, there are plenty of top attractions to visit in Dubai, sights to see in Qatar, and much more.
Petra is a popular ancient attraction, drawing in hundreds of thousands of visitors per year. The spectacular structure, located in modern-day Jordan, was hewn from rock more than 2,000 years ago by the ancient Nabateans to provide access to the Incense Route.
The pyramids and temples of the Nile Valley are other popular destinations. You can view the Great Pyramid at Giza or travel up the Nile on tours to see the stepped and bent pyramids.
Other world-famous attractions that are popular with many tourists include:
- The Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building
- The Wailing Wall in Jerusalem
- The bazaars of Istanbul
- Cappadocia in Turkey, a region of spectacular rock pillars and geological formations
- Wadi Rum in Jordan, a sort of Middle Eastern Grand Canyon where camels roam
- The rock tombs of Mada’in Salah in Saudi Arabia, one of the Middle East’s least-known destinations
- The Roman ruins of Baalbek in Lebanon
2. To discover new foods and delicacies
The Middle East is also well-known for its spectacular food. Perhaps the best-known dish is hummus, a blend of chickpeas, sesame seed paste, lemon, salt, garlic, and, sometimes, a dash of cumin. Restaurants and street food merchants serve it with toasted flatbreads for dipping alongside other vegetables.
The Middle East is also famous for falafel, a mixture of chickpeas, flour, onions, and spices. Restaurants regularly serve it as an appetiser or as part of a mezze ‘sharing’ platter for groups.
Tabbouleh is another favourite for tourists to try on their Middle Eastern holiday. This dish is made of bulgar (or cracked) wheat combined with parsley, mint, and vegetables, often served on a large lettuce leaf. Residents in Turkey, Jordan, and Iran eat it either as a light snack or healthy lunch.
You may also encounter Baklava on your travels. This rich dessert combines traditional Middle Eastern flavours, such as rose water and orange blossom with sweet syrup. As it takes a long time to prepare, your best bet is to purchase it ready-made.
If tourists want to taste Middle Eastern specialities and delicacies in some of the best restaurants the region has to offer, there are many fabulous restaurants to visit in various locations. On a trip to the United Arab Emirates, tourists can explore the amazing food that Dubai has to offer and even enjoy some fine dining in Dubai as well.
3. To relax and unwind on fabulous beaches
Exceptional beaches are another reason why tourists flock to the Middle East. Egypt, for instance, plays host to Dahab beach, an area that was once a peaceful coastal town. Here you’ll find cafés, restaurants, a range of accommodation, and plenty of dive shops.
If you’re flying to Tunisia, be sure to check out Djerba Island. It has miles of white-sand beaches and offers a unique combination of Berber, Jewish, African, and Arab cultures. During your visit, you can experience horseback riding or visit one of the many local museums.
Those heading to Dubai should check out the Jumeirah Beach. It’s an impressive tourist destination (thanks to the spectacular hotels that flank it), offering warm waters and calm seas. It is also close to all of the city’s world-famous attractions.
There are many beautiful beaches for tourists to explore on a holiday to the Middle East, whether it’s for a long weekend away or a relaxing two-week holiday. Whether you’re looking for family holidays to Dubai, or a cheap holiday to Egypt, Brightsun.co.uk have plenty of great Middle East holiday destinations for you to choose from on their website.
4. To immerse yourself in Middle Eastern culture
Middle Eastern culture is among the most culturally diverse and interesting in the world. If you are travelling to the United Arab Emirates, be sure to check out the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Completed in 2007, this is a central place for Islamic culture and features beautiful stone murals and architecture.
Those wanting to visit Doha, the capital of Qatar might want to check out the Museum of Islamic Art. Here you’ll find 1,400-year-old jewellery samples, ancient woodwork, textiles, metalwork, and original manuscripts from the Islamic world.
You can also explore the fascinating ancestral birthplace of the Bedouin tribes in the Wadi Rum Protected Area. Here you’ll see the dramatic natural beauty and witness traditional herders going about their lives, living in goat-hair tents.
5. To delve into its interesting history
Another great reason why tourists visit the Middle East is to explore its rich and interesting history. Middle Eastern history has influenced the entire world. The region is the birthplace of three of the world’s most dominant religions, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, with all their stories playing out in real locations throughout the region (many of which you can visit).
Troy on Turkey’s Aegean coast is one of the best places to go for a history lesson. The city, first occupied during the Bronze Age, is the site of the Greek siege, immortalised in Homer’s Iliad in the 12th or 13th century BC. You may also want to visit Karnak near Luxor in Egypt. This beautiful complex features many pylons, obelisks, and kiosks with the Great Temple of Amun as its centrepiece.
Lastly, Old Jerusalem is a holy place for Christians, Jews, and Muslims. It offers winding streets and multiple holy sites, including the world-famous Dome of Rock, built in the 7th century.