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

Royal Beach Tel Aviv

Royal Beach Tel Aviv

Israel

The 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

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

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

Dubai Sunset Safari

Desert Safari

Dubai

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

What to do

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

Israel

Israel

Middle East

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

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

Jeep, Jordan

Driving Safari

Jordan

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

What to do

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

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

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

The Norman

The Norman

Israel

With apologies to Normans everywhere, the funkiest new luxury hotel in Tel Aviv could have come up with a cooler name. Moniker aside, we are extremely excited about The Norman – great location, iconic Bauhaus exterior (created from two 1920s buildings), Israeli contemporary art adorning the walls and immaculate rooms. Oh, and a rooftop pool.

Where to stay

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

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

Floating on the Dead Sea

Floating on the Dead Sea

Jordan

The lowest point on Earth lies at 1,200 feet below sea level, where the Jordan River empties into the Dead Sea.

What to do

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anantara Al Baleed

Anantara Al Baleed

Salalah & the Empty Quarter

This beach-front oasis is the first luxury hotel in Salalah and the hotel has been designed to reflect Dhofar’s rich heritage.

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

You have been so incredibly helpful and we are enormously grateful - definitely keeping your itinerary for future use and will be recommending you to others

Georgina

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