Best Countries to Visit in Middle East: 6 Most Beautiful Destinations

No time to read now? Click here to download as a PDF.

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.

best countries to visit in Middle East

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:

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. 

Related9 Essential Safety Tips for Cheap Hotels in Karachi, Pakistan

Before we begin, I’d like to invite you to download my FREE Bucket List Planner Worksheet. It’s a fillable, printable resource you can keep handy whenever you hear about great destinations. It will help you prioritize your dream vacations, and you’ll be more organized when your top destinations are in plain sight. That way, you’ll always have a trip to look forward to!

1. Tel Aviv, Israel 

Tel Aviv Isreal | Enjoy Travel Life

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.  So, you’ll find plenty of highly-rated beachfront hotels here.

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.

Related: Romantic Tel Aviv Vacation: Find the Best Stays & Couples Activities

2. Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt 

Sharm El Sheikh Egypt | Enjoy Travel Life

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!

RelatedClick here to read more about beginner mistakes to avoid in Egypt.

3. Dubai, United Arab Emirates 

Dubai UAE Middle East | Enjoy Travel Life

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! It’s all the more stunning when you book a hotel near the Burj Khalifa.

You’ll also want to plan a visit to Palm Jumeirah, a set of artificial offshore islands in the shape of a palm tree. Staying here is a unique ad delightful experience.

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 Turkey Middle East | Enjoy Travel Life

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 

Muscat Oman Middle East | Enjoy Travel Life

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. You’ll find excellent hotels in Muscat for your home-base.

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 Ruins | Enjoy Travel Life

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 a good hotel within 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.

Jackie Gately at the beach

About Jackie Gately, editor-IN-CHIEF

I'm Jackie Gately, your travel confidante and the creative force behind Enjoy Travel Life, awarded the "Best Casual-Luxury Lifestyle Blog (USA)" in Travel and Tourism by LUXlife Magazine for four consecutive years.

With 25 years of published expertise, I'm a seasoned writer, editor, and photographer curating inspiring travel guides and lifestyle tips for empty nesters. I hope to kindle your spirit of exploration, encouraging you to overcome obstacles and turn your dreams into reality.

Learn to minimize your pre-travel angst and maximize the joy of exploration with insights from my experiences. Let's make every adventure a celebration of this exciting phase of life! 

Follow my social channels for more inspiration.

Next Steps

For more travel insights to the Middle East, read these articles next:

Don’t forget to save this article for later on Pinterest!

beautiful countries middle east pin | Enjoy Travel Life