From the desert's wild, waving plains of sand to the call to prayer five times a day, we love holidays in the Middle East for their utter contrast with our lives back home. From the 2,000-year-old city of Petra to the 828-metre-high sail-shaped Burj Khalifa in Dubai; perhaps here more than anywhere else, ancient history and time-honoured traditions stand side-by-side with outlandish plans and ambitious progress.
With Bedouin tribes, otherworldly rock formations, and mammoth sand dunes reaching up to 300 metres in height, the Middle East's vast deserts are an incredible backdrop to your holiday. Choose between camel treks, Arabian nights under the stars in a Bedouin tent, or the thrills of dune bashing and 4x4 or quad bike safaris.
The Middle East's ancient ruins and architecture are crowned by Jordan's incredible rose-red city of Petra, carved from the sandstone 2,000 years ago. The region is strewn with historic mosques like Abu Dhabi's 82-domed white marble Sheikh Zayed Mosque, as well as quiet mountain villages that feel like time has stood still, where life adapts to the dry, rugged scenery that surrounds it.
From gleaming skyscrapers to eclectic markets, holidays in the Middle East are enriched by the region's fascinating cities. Soak up the sun on the Red Sea beaches of laidback Aqaba. Hunt for treasures in Muscat's Muttrah Souq. Feel the luxury in the sleek malls of Dubai. Stand in front of 5,000 imaginary spectators in Amman's Roman theatre. And tour the incredible opulence of Abu Dhabi's Emirates Palace.
Golden coastline, craggy canyons, arid deserts, and unique waters; Middle East holidays feature scenery to make you gasp and sigh in equal measure. Sink into the world-famous Dead Sea, or try to, as the thick salt content makes it possible to float on the surface. Dive among the undiscovered corals of Oman, Aqaba, and Fujairah or follow Lawrence of Arabia through the lunar landscapes of Jordan's Wadi Rum Desert.