If you’re a world traveler—or aspire to be one—chances are the Middle East is on your radar. But which are the best countries to visit in Middle East?
Well, that all depends on what you like to do.
To help you plan your first trip to the Middle East, we’ve highlighted 6 beautiful destinations. That way, you can decide which of the best middle east countries to visit first.
But trust us, you’ll want to see them all in your lifetime. Continue reading to plan an amazing trip to the Middle East.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated in August 2023 to keep the information up to date.
Editor’s Note: Whenever you travel out of the country, check with your embassy for travel advisories.
CONTENTS – In this article, you will learn about six beautiful destinations to visit in the Middle East, including:
- Middle East Travel Overview
- Tel Aviv, Israel
- Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Muscat, Oman
- Amman, Jordan
- Final Thoughts on Best Middle East Countries
- Next Steps
Travel Overview: 6 Beautiful Destinations To Visit In Middle East
The Middle East is a region often surrounded by an aura of prejudice.
But one thing is certain: more and more travelers choose to explore this fascinating corner of the world.
In fact, recent estimates confirm that tourism in the Middle East is growing steadily year after year. This region is expected to reach 150 million visitors per year by 2030.
It is not difficult to understand what are the reasons that push millions of tourists to visit the most popular destinations in the Middle East.
Whether you are interested in ancient archaeological sites, natural wonders, beautiful beaches or lively cities, you will surely discover which one is right for you in these beautiful middle eastern countries.
Unfortunately, many travelers do not consider visiting this region.
But it is a large area with a very diverse group of countries. They stretch from the border of Pakistan, through the Arabian Peninsula, to the eastern countries of North Africa.
More than a few nations within this region are safe to visit. You’ll discover unforgettable sights and tourist attractions. You can even book Air Arabia flights online today.
Read on to find out what are the 6 destinations we suggest for your first trip to the Middle East.
1. Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel Aviv, Isreal is a perfect destination for combining a beach holiday with one in the city.
Often compared to Rio de Janeiro, Tel Aviv is both a cosmopolitan city and a seaside destination.
The city winds along the coast, so you will never stray too far from the sea. Tel Aviv is also known as “The White City” because so many of the buildings are painted white!
During the day, beach lovers populate the beach.
This is perfect for sunbathing and water sports. In the evening it comes alive with beach volleyball games and lights.
It is a fairy tale sight, coming from the beach bars.
Since there are few historical sites to visit in Tel Aviv, you can indulge yourself without hesitation by delighting your palate.
You’ll want to explore the myriad of cafes, street food, and cocktail bars, here.
Be sure to visit the Imperial Cocktail Bar when you go. It’s small, so don’t forget to book in advance. It was voted the best in the whole Middle East!
This vibrant, youthful city is one of the World Heritage Sites, too. Other attractions for you to check out include the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and the ancient port town of Jaffa.
2. Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, is a popular destination for snorkelers and divers.
The sun, sea, and beaches of Sharm El Sheikh are unparalleled in the Middle East.
That’s because the exclusive Egyptian beach resort is located on the shores of the Red Sea. It offers some of the best opportunities in the region for snorkeling and diving.
In fact, the water is so crystal clear and you will be amazed by the colorful coral reefs and all sorts of tropical fish.
Many hotels also offer diving lessons, which are ideal for first-time divers. This under-water beauty is not to be missed!
Sharm El Sheikh also has more to offer than its beautiful transparent waters.
You’ll find most of those attractions concentrated in the Na’ama Bay area. That’s a lively hub where you can indulge in shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
Of course, if you’re going to be in Egypt, you must find time to visit the Valley of the Kings, cruise the Nile River, and visit other popular tourist destinations in this beautiful country. Make sure to visit The Egyptian Museum, too. It’s is the oldest archaeological museum in the Middle East.
It’s really no wonder Egypt tends to be one of the top destinations on most people’s bucket list!
3. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai is a perfect destination for lovers of glamor and glitz.
If what you are looking for is luxury, Dubai is the place for you.
With its soaring skyscrapers on the Persian Gulf and giant shopping centers, this futuristic city is second to none.
This destination is so beautiful, it’s among the most photographed cities in the world.
Here, you can pass the time dividing between brunches and relaxing by the pool in immaculate luxury hotels.
But if you have the time and desire to push yourself under the surface of modernity that covers the city, you will find plenty of history and culture to discover.
Head into the old town and get lost in the incredible Gold Souk. That’s the gold market, where you can watch locals and tourists bargain over the price of goods.
Believe it or not, you can allso find free things to do in Dubai to offset this luxury travel destination.
Make sure you have enough time to dedicate to a desert excursion, too. You can climb the sand dunes aboard a 4 × 4 vehicle for a taste of adventure in Dubai.
Finally, don’t miss the chance to spend a magical night camping under the stars. It’s positively dreamy!
Other popular attractions in Dubai include the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain – two beautiful and popular places not to be missed!
You’ll also want to plan a visit to Palm Jumeirah, a set of artificial offshore islands in the shape of a palm tree.
Depending on your schedule, you might also visit nearby Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. This is ideal if you’re planning road trips from Dubai.
Abu Dhabi is about 87 mile (140 km) south west and well worth the drive. Catch a glimpse of the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Mosque. For a real taste of luxury accommodations, stay at the Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental.
Related Post: 2 Day Dubai Itinerary
4. Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul is a perfect destination for sightseeing and shopping.
Straddling Asia and Europe, the bustling capital of Turkey is the ideal place for your first time in the Middle East.
In Istanbul, you can easily switch from admiring the sophisticated mosques of the old city to sipping cocktails on the terrace of a trendy bar. Of course, you’ll want to schedule time to see the Grand Mosque of Istanbul (Büyük Çamlıca Camii), the Hagia Sophia, and the Blue Mosque.
The Topkapi Palace Museum Complex is one of the best places to immerse yourself in rich culture while overlooking the Marmara Sea (at Seraglio Point).
In addition, if you are staying in these parts, a visit to the famous bazaars of Istanbul is a must. The Grand Bazaar is the largest and most stocked of all.
You can get lost (in the best way!) browsing over 4,000 shops that wind their way through more than 60 streets in this beautiful city.
Arm yourself with nerves and get ready to haggle on the price. This is true whether it’s for clothes, jewelry, spices, or household items.
It’s all negotiable!
And if you have enough time while you’re in Turkey, head over to Cappadocia for the famous hot-air balloon rides.
Tip: It might also be a good idea to buy an extra suitcase to take all your purchases home.
5. Muscat, Oman
Oman is a perfect destination for lovers of less touristy places.
Squeezed between the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, international tourists have taken note of Oman in recent years.
This small state is being favored by the most seasoned travelers, with good reason.
In Oman, you won’t find world-famous attractions like those in Egypt or the glitzy luxury of the UAE. But that’s exactly what makes it a must-see destination. It’s a bit off the beaten track. From the terraced orchards of Jebel Akhdard to its rich history, you’ll enjoy exploring the oldest independent states in the Arab world.
So, if you’re looking for a more authentic taste of the Middle East, this is the destination that’s right for you.
Start your journey in the capital, Muscat, and then explore the surrounding nature.
The country boasts spectacular landscapes, rugged mountains, unexplored deserts–and even a Grand Canyon.
Plus, there are over 1,860 miles (3,000 km) of coastline bordering the Indian Ocean, full of secluded beaches and great snorkeling and scuba diving spots.
For these reasons and others, some travelers argue Oman is the best destination to visit in the Middle East. It’s certainly among the most breathtaking places!
6. Amman, Jordan
Amman, Jordan is a perfect destination for those who love nature and ancient civilizations.
Long a favorite destination for adventurous backpackers and history buffs, Jordan is the right choice for those who want to visit historical sites in abundance.
Base yourself in the capital, Amman, and dedicate time to exploring the ancient ruins of the Romans.
You’ll want to intersperse your excursions with delicious dishes based on falafel, humus, and baklava.
Speaking of exploration, you are just an hour’s drive away from the Dead Sea. You’ll never forget the experience of floating in these mineral-rich waters over 1300 feet (400 meters) below sea level.
If you have time, venture south to visit the ancient city of Petra. The Petra Moon Hotel is a perfect place to overnight, just about 165 yards (150 meters) from the entrance gate.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most extraordinary archaeological sites in the entire world. It owes its fame to being partially carved on a rock face.
Wadi Rum, also known also as the Valley of the Moon, is four hours south of Amman, but a great take. There, you’ll experience a surreal environment among rock formations, red dunes, and ancient Nabatean inscriptions.
Final Thoughts on Best Countries to Visit in Middle East Destinations
The Middle East is a region rich with history, culture, and an incredible beauty that any world traveler will love.
It’s easy to see that any one or more of these beautiful countries deserves a place high on your bucket list!
They are among the best middle eastern countries – and truly fascinating parts of the world.
For more travel insights to the Middle East, read these articles next:
- Ultimate Dubai Beaches Dress Code: What You Need To Know
- What To Do In Dubai For A Week: The Best Tours You’ll Love!
- Adventure in Dubai: An Exciting Guide for Adventurous Travelers
- Affordable Dubai: 5 Budget-Friendly Ways To Spend Time As A Family
- The Best Way to Spend 2 Days in Dubai
- 5 Things To Do in Dubai for Free
- Abu Dhabi Itinerary with 5 Incredible Must-See Attractions You Should Visit
- Premium Nile Cruise Cost Guide For the Ultimate Journey In Egypt
- 7 Top Tourist Destinations In Egypt, Ranked: Best Places to Visit
- Planning a Trip to Egypt? Dodge These 10 Embarrassing Travel Mistakes
- Turkey Online Visa Application: How to Apply for a Turkey E-Visa
- How To Have Best Stones Collection: Discovering The Purple Jade! (Turkey)
Don’t forget to save this article for later on Pinterest!
When to Visit 36 Dreamy Destinations
You will instantly receive the FREE Month-by-Month Destination Guide