The Middle East offers desert experiences par excellence, from driving across the swirling sands of the Sahara Desert to an overnight stay among the rolling red dunes of the Arabian Desert. If you’re after sand of a different grain, however, there are also some supercool coastlines to discover. Read on for a roundup of the best beaches in the Middle East...
Tel Aviv, Israel
There’s something special about city beaches, and Israel’s capital has them in spades (sorry). Wander through the Bauhaus city past an LA-style boardwalk (complete with beefcakes in open-air gyms), and excellent al fresco eateries, and walk along glorious beaches until you end up in the bustling bazaar of the old (like, 7,000 years old) port of Jaffa where you can browse colourful stalls and seek out the perfect gifts to take home.
Kempinski Ishtar Dead Sea, Jordan
After a tour of the many highlights of Jordan, such as Petra and Wadi Rum, enjoy some R&R by the Dead Sea. Granted, the beach itself is not the best, but there are some lovely luxury hotels in the area with tree-lined pools overlooking the waters of the Dead Sea. And what’s not to like about floating effortlessly on water at the lowest point on Earth, some 1,300ft below sea level?
Saadiyat Beach, Abu Dhabi
Boasting five miles of perfectly white, family-friendly sand Saadiyat Beach definitely deserves one of the top spots when it comes to the best beaches in the middle east. There are two very decent hotels just a stone’s throw away (the Park Hyatt and the St Regis Saadiyat Island) and the area is also home to protected nesting grounds of rare hawksbill turtles – perfect for wildlife lovers.
Jumeirah Beach, Dubai
Away from the skyscrapers that frame much of Dubai’s shoreline, the entirely natural and entirely public Jumeirah Beach is a fine white sandy haven in a rare low-rise part of the city. Stretching along the coast, south of the city’s historic district, this is a lovely place to relax, unwind, and watch the sunset with views out to sea unrestricted by artificial islands.