Middle East Travel Guide
Middle East is extraordinary, mysterious and simply a must visit due to a plethora of attractions – ancient and modern, historical and cultural. The birth place of world’s three main religions, many Middle East Travel destinations are centered around religious Meccas (including the real Mecca) that attract millions of travelers seeking not only entertainment but also serenity and spirituality that could only be achieved in the sacred land.
Middle East travel attractions are not the only things that leave many visitors breathless, the landscapes are equally arresting ranging from arid deserts with majestic sand dunes spanning for hundreds of miles to gorgeous palm trimmed coastlines of the Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Arabian Sea, and the Persian Gulf, to bustling metropolises of skyscraper concrete jungles of oil rich metropolises. Middle East is diverse and offers a dizzying array of cultural, historical and hedonistic pleasures that could not be experienced anywhere else in the world. Setting on Middle East travel adventure is like living in a Thousand and One Nights fairy tale with the modern twist.
Our Middle East travel guide below provides you with some of the most popular destinations in this incredible part of the world. Before we start, a word of warning about visiting certain countries in the Middle East. While some destinations like UAE are extremely safe for foreign travel, extreme caution should be exercised or travel avoided altogether when visiting other countries like Iran, Iraq or Syria with high instances of social and military unrest. Please check USA travel advisory boards before purchasing airline tickets to some destinations. In addition, please be advised that some countries in the Middle East adhere to strict Islamic laws that all citizens and even foreign visitors must adhere to. Failing to obey might land you in jail, might result in a hefty fine or deportation. Public nudity, public affection, adultery, homosexuality, alcohol consumption and drug possession are one of the worst crimes one can commit in the Islamic world. Please respect the laws of the country you are planning on visiting to insure the ultimate enjoyment of your vacation.
The Holly nation of Israel is one of the most popular destinations for leisure and religious visitors seeking to explore its breathtaking beaches, biblical and historical sites and most definitely its culture that influenced just about any nation in the world. Despite its holiness, many Middle Eastern countries fail to politically recognize the nation of Israel and might even refuse your entry if you hold an Israeli passport or simply once had a visa issued by Israel. Unfortunately, due to old territorial disputes certain areas of the country are unsafe for visitors; please check USA travel guide advisories before traveling to these areas. Jerusalem has been a tourist destination for thousands of years and rightfully so due to city’s status of a museum in the open air. Anywhere you cast a glance you will find remnants of country’s timeless culture and history deeply wedged in the cradles of three world’s main religions. The city is divided into its West Bank that is mostly Israeli territory and its southern side with the strong Palestinian influence. Walk along the narrow streets of the Old City of Jerusalem, visit the West Wailing Wall, and pay a tribute to country’s greatest site the Dome of the Rock, the sacred Mosque. Christians, Muslims and Judaists will find peace and serenity in one of the warship sites in the city. Visit the oldest part of the city, the Kidron Valley, the city of David and the majestic Zion Mountain with famous Kind David Tomb.
Jordan is one of Middle East favorite biblical destinations brimming with holy sites and one of the most significant religious cities of Petra, one of the 7 Wonders of the World, along with Jesus’s Baptism site at the Jordan River and biblical Mount Nebo opening spectacular Holy Land vistas. But this modern country offers so much more than its historical attractions, especially in its westernized capital city of Amman. For those keen on country’s exotic environment, Wadi Rum desert experience should not be missed along with the Dead Sea shoreline excursions.
Turkey is a unique destination for just about any traveler offering unsurpassed experiences perfectly balanced between Old World traditional and ultra modern urban experience. This is also a country with incredibly rich history, great battles, and the cradle of the Ottoman Empire based in the Topkapi Palace. Istanbul is by far the most popular city to visit in the country according just about any travel guide boasting great Mediterranean, Sea of Marmara, Aegean and Black Sea resorts, historical sites and the most famous market place the Grand Bazaar where tourists can buy anything from leather goods, Turkish sweets, jewelry and, most importantly, get in touch with the Turkish way of life. Once a Christian cathedral which was later converted into a mosque, Hagia Sophia is now a must see museum commemorated to the riches of the Ottoman Empire. And, of course, Sultan Ahmed Mosque is another highly coveted attraction and one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world. But wait, there’s a lot more to do and see like taking a cruise along the Bosphorus Strait and seeing incredible beauty of Turkey from the Sea and one of the oldest Egyptian Spice Bazaars.
United Arab Emirates with its capital in Abu Dhabi is one of the richest oil pumps in the world brimming with luxury, modern day comforts and all kinds of hedonistic pleasures set at the stage of the most exotic Middle East travel destination. Dubai immediately comes to mind with you decide which city to visit in this gem of a country, also one of the safest places for foreign travelers since tourism is the second greatest contributor to their GDP after oil. Every hotel seems to have been created to be sheikh worthy and if you add a dizzying selection of top notch restaurants and shopping venues, you will be left with one luxurious city to come to. Moreover, Dubai is a crown jewel of the Persian Gulf with a bounty of powdery sandy beaches and endless water based activities. But one of the most favorite among tourists is definitely desert dune cruising opening spectacular desert views and picture perfect moments. Apart from hedonistic and consumerism pleasures of the country, visitors can satisfy cultural curiosity by visiting Dubai Museum, Jumeirah Mosque and the Heritage Village in Shindagha District. A word of wisdom for foreign travelers is to respect local customs by not publicly expressing mutual attraction, walking around drunk in public or openly consuming alcohol on the streets. Special rules apply if you visit UAE during the Holly month Ramadan and these must be respected to avoid landing you in jail. Women are advised to not wear revealing garments outside of the hotel environment and limit bikini wear to the beach.
We hope that our Middle Eastern travel guide has provided you with knowledge and inspired you to visit one of alluring destinations that this part of the world holds.