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.

Image of Ra D'Arcy Clark
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Amelia, Louise Fitzgerald and Ra are here to help give you the inside track.

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.

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

Top picks for Middle East

Jerash, Jordan

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

The Treasury at Petra

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

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

Israel

Israel

Middle East

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

Where to go

Palm Trees Amidst Rocky Outcrops at Wadi Shab

Oman

Middle East

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

Where to go

Camels, 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

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

Falconry, Dubai

Falconry

Dubai

You can witness displays of falconry if you are staying in one of the two excellent desert hotels, Bab al Shams or Al Maha.

What to do

Petra, Jordan

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

Dubai Sunset Safari

Desert Safari

Dubai

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

What to do

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

Six Senses Dhahab Dhow

Six Senses Dhahab Dhow

Musandam Peninsula

Built in the style of a traditional Omani dhow, Dhahab is the Six Senses Zighy Bay’s latest accommodation and experience venture. A few days spent sailing the Gulf of Oman and Straits of Hormuz on this beautiful boat forms the ultimate addition to a luxury Middle East trip.

Where to stay

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

View over Cairo

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

Dolphin Spotting, Muscat

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

Mosque in 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

oberoi philae spa

The Oberoi Philae

Luxor, Aswan and the Nile

A luxury Nile cruise boat, the Oberoi Philae can be found plying the waters of the Nile between Aswan and Luxor on four or six night cruise itineraries.

Where to stay

Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum

Jordan

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

What to do

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi

Middle East

With an almost guaranteed 300 days of sunshine a year, Abu Dhabi is the ideal winter break destination.

Where to go

Tel Aviv street art

Tel Aviv Art Tours

Israel

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

What to do

candle lit beach

Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa

Muscat

Originally conceived as part of the wider and neighbouring Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah, Shangri-La Al Husn is now hived off as an exclusive resort of its own, with a luxurious standalone spa. Perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the ocean, the hotel is ideal for couples seeking exclusivity and exceptional service.

Where to stay

steam_ship_sudan_cruising

Steam Ship Sudan

Luxor, Aswan and the Nile

Possibly one of the most memorable boating experiences in the world, the Steam Ship Sudan is an authentic 19th century steamer which takes guests cruising down the Nile. With teak decks and oriental opulence to the fore, a stay aboard the Steam Ship Sudan offers a hugely romantic return to the heyday of traditional luxury travel.

Where to stay

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

Garden at The Chedi, luxury hotel in Muscat, Oman

The Chedi

Muscat

The award-winning Chedi is one of the very best hotels in the Gulf Region, home to luxurious guestrooms and suites, some of the finest cuisine in the Middle East and what could be a contender for the world’s longest hotel swimming pool.

Where to stay

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