The Middle East seldom comes to mind when we think about winter holiday destinations. With the exception of Dubai, the Middle East pretty much never makes it to anybody’s itinerary or dream holiday list.
Given that the weather in summer can be merciless, the winters are actually quite pleasant and offer a perfect escape from the brutal snowfalls and chilly winds, and who knows – you might even stumble upon a genie hiding in plain sight!
Here are some of the most beautiful Middle East destinations that are ideal for a winter vacation.
As one of the 7 wonders of the world, Petra deserves a top spot on our list. The historic city has an awe-inspiring backdrop of pink-tinged, rugged cliffs and gorgeous monuments hewn into the rock. These rock carvings also give Petra its prized “Rose Red City” title.
Start your journey with the stunning Wadi Rum - first featured in the Lawrence of Arabia. With towering mountains in every direction, sprawling flame-tainted deserts, and ancient Bedouin history, it is a wonderful spot to explore the best of Petra and marvel at the rock formations.
The Treasury at the Siq, Wadi Musa, Dana Biosphere Reserve, Street of Facades, and the royal tombs and temples are some of the top sightseeing spots in the city. Petra also has a number of hiking trails with spectacular views. The city lights up at night with the Petra Night Show where the top tourist spots are lit up by candles.
All the best things come in small packages – and Kuwait is no exception. The small country can be explored in just a day or two but there are several reasons why Kuwait should be on your dream destinations list.
The gorgeous country is a crown jewel of the Middle East. With breezy and delightful weather in winter, visitors enjoy the cool and comforting coastal breezes drifting in from the sea. The pearly white sand beaches are home to clear waters, and the stunning Kuwait City skyline makes a perfect backdrop to the sun-kissed shores.
The famous landmark, the Kuwait Towers, look stunning in the evening sunset. Visitors also enjoy visiting a variety of theme parks, Failaka Island, and exploring the archeological sites and old souqs with a dreamy Arabian touch. If you enjoy shopping, it is a perfect destination to go all out on your shopping list as tax-free shopping allows you to spurge without worry.
Just like K-dramas, Turkish dramas are also rapidly gaining popularity. If you are behind on your soap operas, we are here to tell you that Turkey is one of the best travel destinations during winter. The beautiful city of Istanbul is its capital and holds immense charm and splendor with mystical ambiance and colorful architecture.
The city is filled with traditional and historic monuments, local handicrafts, the famous Turkish hammams promised to soothe your aching muscles, and scrumptious Turkish kebabs and sickly-sweet louqmat for a delectable gastronomic experience.
The key sightseeing spots include the Hagia Sophia Museum, Bosphorus Canal, The Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, and Topkapi Palace Museum. The stunning canal view will leave you in awe, and the romantic vibes of the city make it perfect for honeymoons.
Known for its gorgeous landscapes and delightful weather, Salalah is a beautiful city in Oman that’s well worth a visit. The best time to visit this lively city is during its distinct Khareef (monsoon) festival in autumn. With romantic rainy days, the city sparkles in greenery with its many springs and waterfalls making the mountains gleam and shine.
Explore the architectural beauty of the Sultan Qaboos Mosque. Stop by for prayers and you are sure to have an other-worldly experience under the shining chandeliers and mesmerizing wall patterns. Salalah has lovely waterfalls including Wadi Darbat, Ayn Khor, Ayn Athum, and Ayn Gogub that are asight for the sore eyes.
You can enjoy a variety of water activities from tranquil boating experiences to exciting water splashes at the Mughsail Blowholes. The land of Frankincense is a UNESCO World Heritage Site including Wadi Dawkah, Sumharam Old City, Al Baleed, and Wubar.
Visit the Fazayah beach to have a joyful picnic with the friendly camels, or have an adrenaline-pumping sand-bashing experience at Rub Al Khali.
The mighty pyramids need no introduction. Set on the Nile River, Cairo is a megacity filled with enthralling historic beauty with museums, mosques, and iconic pyramids that boggles the mind. Giza is perhaps the most visited spot in the city.
Housing the Giza Pyramids Complex which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the marvelous beauty of it can only be absorbed bit by bit. You will also find the famous Great Pyramid of King Khudu, the biggest and oldest statue in the world – the Sphinx, and the house of mummification – the Valley Temple.
Cairo Egyptian Museum in Downtown Cairo is another great spot to stop by with a majestic exhibit including the Tutankhamun Galleries. Al-Azhar Mosque flaunts marvelous architecture, and the enchanting Coptic Cairo (Old Cairo) hides many mysteries in its twisty laneways.