If there's one positive to come from the recent tension between the West and the Islamic world, it's a renewed fascination with the Middle East. While Africa can claim to be the cradle of mankind, the Fertile Crescent incorporating latter day Israel and Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran remains the place where sophisticated societies first evolved.

Why we think you’ll love it

  • An often misunderstood region, the Middle East is endlessly fascinating, culturally unrivalled and home to some of the finest hotels anywhere in the world.
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Our guide to holidays in Middle East

That the three great monotheistic world religions also sprung from the region only adds to a heady sense of cultural significance.

And what a lot's on offer. Aside from some of the most glorious Islamic architecture to be found anywhere, there are well-preserved Roman sites stretching the length of the Mediterranean Coast, shopaholic sating souqs, excellent luxury hotels and romantic riads, and yes, some lovely beaches as well. We've visited them all and believe strongly in the power of comparison that allows us - which city has the best souqs, Marrakech or Istanbul? Tough one, but Marrakech wins, and we can tell you about our favourite shops in the depths of those souqs. Which ancient city is more of a must-see? Petra in Jordan or Leptis Magna in Libya? If you had to choose, it has to be Petra, but both should feature on any wishlist of future travels.

Quite frankly no-one knows the Middle East and North Africa like we do, and we look forward to talking you through the best this wonderful region has to offer.

Did you know

  • The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque holds the world record for the largest dome, boasting the world's largest chandelier
  • Abu Dhabi is one of the wealthiest states in the world
  • Emirates Palace houses 1,002 chandeliers, the heaviest of which weighs 2.5 tons

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Original Highlight

Personally, the highlight of my Middle Eastern diving adventures to date has been our private desert, mountains and diving safari in Oman. Quite simply an epic trip.

Neill, Original Traveller

More helpful tips

Top picks for Middle East

Albergo

Albergo

Lebanon

Located in the heart of old Beirut in the district of Achrafieh, the Albergo is one of Beirut’s finest places to stay, and by far the best heritage hotel.

Where to stay

Albergo
Jumeirah Beach Club

Jumeirah Beach Club

Dubai

The luxurious suites, each with its own Jacuzzi and private balcony or garden, are housed in Polynesian-style low rise buildings, set amidst the landscaped gardens.

Where to stay

Jumeirah Beach Club
Egypt

Egypt

Middle East

Egypt is rightly famous for its extraordinary ancient world heritage: the pyramids and Sphinx at Giza and the temples of Luxor and Abu Simbel are among the world’s great cultural attractions.

Where to go

Egypt
Alma Hotel & Lounge

Alma Hotel & Lounge

Israel

In the running for best boutique hotel in Tel Aviv, the Alma Hotel & Lounge sits pistachio pretty in the heart of Tel Aviv’s famed Bauhaus White City district.

Where to stay

Alma Hotel & Lounge
Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa

Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa

Dubai

The resort was designed to resemble a Bedouin encampment, and overlooks open plains and dune belts, with the Hajar Mountains in the distance.

Where to stay

Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa
Royal Beach Tel Aviv

Royal Beach Tel Aviv

Israel

The brand new Royal Beach Hotel is the first large luxury hotel in Tel Aviv since way back in 1999. It was well worth the wait.

Where to stay

Royal Beach Tel Aviv
Jerash

Jerash

Jordan

One of the finest preserved Greco - Roman cities in the Middle East and within easy reach of Amman, it truly is a place to let your imagination run wild and to lose yourself in history.

What to do

Jerash
Desert Safari

Desert Safari

Dubai

Explore wadis and the desert in a 4x4 expedition with an expert guide.

What to do

Desert Safari
Jordan

Jordan

Middle East

For a small country, Jordan packs an impressive punch in terms of history, culture and scenery, and the proximity of its key sights makes a holiday to Jordan ideal for the time-pressed traveller.

Where to go

Jordan
Lebanon

Lebanon

Middle East

Back with a vengeance, Beirut is the ultimate party town, and there's plenty more to do besides in Lebanon from skiing to cultural sites.

Where to go

Lebanon
Dubai

Dubai

Middle East

Shop the souqs and the malls, stay in a luxury hotel and enjoy water sports and a desert safari.

Where to go

Dubai
Mamilla Hotel

Mamilla Hotel

Israel

Just because a city is ancient in the extreme doesn’t mean the accommodation there needs to be, and the funky Mamilla Hotel in Jerusalem is a contemporary case in point.

Where to stay

Mamilla Hotel
Petra

Petra

Jordan

Petra was carved from pink sandstone cliffs by the Nabataeans some two millennia ago, and left undisturbed until its rediscovery in 1812.

What to do

Petra
Diving Oman

Diving Oman

Oman

Oman has some excellent and – relatively – unspoilt diving along long stretches of its coastline, and there are sure to be new dive sites discovered in the coming years.

What to do

Diving Oman
Beresheet Hotel

Beresheet Hotel

Israel

The beautiful but stark Negev desert was once somewhere to observe from the window of an air conditioned car on route to Eilat and the Red Sea, but the opening of the Beresheet Hotel in 2011 has changed all that.

Where to stay

Beresheet Hotel
Bab al Shams

Bab al Shams

Dubai

The resort is styled as a traditional Arabian fortress, with the rooms located in clusters of two-storey buildings around the atmospheric complex.

Where to stay

Bab al Shams
Israel

Israel

Middle East

It's time to visit one of the most vibrant destinations in the Middle East.

Where to go

Israel
Iran

Iran

Middle East

Yes, seriously. Set aside your misconceptions and consider visiting one of the most fascinating countries on the planet.

Where to go

Iran
Tel Aviv Art Tours

Tel Aviv Art Tours

Israel

In celebration of Tel Aviv’s flourishing art scene our Expert-Led Art Tours taking travellers off the typical tourist trail on an intimate exploration of the city’s underground art scene and emerging cultural offerings.

What to do

Tel Aviv Art Tours
Le Gray

Le Gray

Lebanon

Gordon Campbell Gray's hotel in Central District has created a real buzz in Beirut and is a real vote of confidence in the city's rebirth.

Where to stay

Le Gray
Oman

Oman

Middle East

A wonderful destination combining beautiful beachfront properties and dramatic mountain and desert landscapes to explore.

Where to go

Oman
Driving Safari

Driving Safari

Jordan

After seeing the sites of Amman, explore the King’s Highway with a knowledgeable driver or guide.

What to do

Driving Safari
Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum

Jordan

Explore the vast, hugely romantic swathes of desert made famous by 'Lawrence of Arabia'.

What to do

Wadi Rum
Dolphin and Whale spotting

Dolphin and Whale spotting

Muscat

The waters of the Arabian Gulf are home to a staggering number of dolphins and migrating whales.

What to do

Dolphin and Whale spotting

Our enthusiastic experts are seasoned travellers with the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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