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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Top travel destinations of the Middle East

The Middle East is a region which is generally always associated with conflict and chaos. As a result, most people forget that it is also one of the most beautiful destinations on Earth and offers some of the most charming sights that one can see anywhere in the world. If one can ignore the negative stigma that surrounds the region and can look beyond the misconceptions, the Middle East can actually turn out to be one of the most luxurious, unique and enchanting destinations to see. So whether you are seeking an urban getaway or are looking to immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of the area, whether you seek out enchanting beaches or are on the look out for breathtaking natural beauty, the Middle East has everything that you could possibly ask for. Here is a list of the top 10 travel destinations in the Middle East.

10. Musandam, Oman

The Musandam Peninsula, popularly known as the Norway of Arabia, is known for its dramatic roadways, beautiful villages and magnificent rocky inlets. The unique aspect about Musandam is that the area is quite isolated and is still easily accessible. Some of the most popular things to do in Musandam include watching the dolphins, kayaking into the caves, snorkelling, whale shark spotting and cruising in a private Middle Eastern styled pirate ship.

09. Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech might seem to be a huge nightmare for tourists who like order and stability in their travels. It offers tourists with an array of spice sellers, snake charmers and monkey tamers along with a labyrinth of streets which are extremely difficult to navigate. However, the true beauty of Marrakech lies in its unorganized chaos. From the pink walls of Medina to the white peaks of the Atlas Mountains, from the busy markets of Djemaa el Fna to the azure waters of a hammam, Marrakech is full of some of the most unique experiences in the world.

08. Petra Wadi Musa, Jordan

Petra is an ancient town which is known to be one of the major wonders of the world. The magnificent progress of ancient civilizations has been extremely well documented here and this attracts millions of tourists each year into Petra. No level of planning truly prepares any tourist for the bombardment of sights and wonders that they experience the moment they step foot into Petra. The constructions sit amid vast expanses of an untamed desert and the ancient pathways, old world Bedouin caves and exquisite constructions with doorways and windows are some of the best sights in Petra.

07. Cairo, Egypt

You might be taken aback with the chaotic surroundings of Cairo, but if you give it time and have an open mind, the city somehow manages to grow on you. Cairo might have its fair share of pollution, hawkers, traffic problems and noise, but this pulsating metropolis also offers tourists with grand insights into a bygone medieval era, old world architectures, world famous pyramids which date back to almost 4000 years, priceless antiques and a mesmerizing culture. Some of the best sights in Cairo include the Khan e Khalili, Cairo Opera House, Giza Necropolis, Al Azhar Mosque, the Pyramid of Djoser and the Cairo Tower.

06. Oualidia, Morocco

Oualidia is one of the best places in the Middle East for beach bums and tourists seeking rugged natural beauty. Oualidia is quite unlike the rest of Morocco. You do not find the dusty and crumbling architectures, pestering hawkers and vendors, rusting mopeds or donkeys hurtling towards you carrying rubble filled trailers. What you do get is breathtaking natural beauty, magnificent bird watching chances, exotic beaches, surreal lagoons and modern cliff top villas which are surrounded by beautiful sand dunes.

05. Luxor, Egypt

The city of Luxor finds a place in most lists of the top 10 travel destinations of the Middle East. What makes it so famous all over the world is its grand archaeological sites which exceed all expectations. It is also known to be one of the best destinations in the Middle East for photography lovers and history buffs. Luxor, popularly called the largest open air museum in the world, has been built around the ancient Thebes. It boasts of magnificent temples and splendid monuments which ensure that there is never a shortage of things to see while in the city.

04. Jerusalem, Israel

Despite being written about for most of the 3000 years of its existence, the ancient walled city of Jerusalem will leave most travellers speechless even today. Not only is it extremely beautiful, it is also known to be the spiritual centre of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. The sacred Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Western Hall and the Al Aqsa Mosque are all located quite close to each other and the city is known to have an extremely powerful and moving effect on all tourists.

03. Sharm El Sheik, Egypt

Sharm El Sheik, also known as the City of Peace, offers tourists with exotic postcard worthy beaches which are known to be a haven for beach bums and romantics. However, the true beauty of the city lies in its nutrient rich waters, bizarre sights such as the Yolanda Reef and the SS Thistlegorm, beautiful desert sceneries, rugged terrains and splendid natural beauty. The city is also home to more than 1000 species of animals, making it an excellent destination for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. Those in love with fishes are bound to have a blast checking out the variety of reef sharks, lion fishes and crocodile fishes that call the waters around Sharm El Sheik their home.

02. Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, a city which has one foot that points towards the east and another that points west, is the only city in the world which has been straddled between two continents Europe and Asia. It boasts of an extremely rich history which dates back to more than 2500 years. Having been ruled by a number of dynasties such as the Greeks, Byzantines, Romans and the Ottomans, the city offers the tourists with a mesmerizing blend of ancient cultures and different styles of old world architectures. Some of the best sights in Istanbul include the world famous Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, the Walls of Constantinople, Fatih and Galata.

01. Dubai, UAE

Topping the list of the Top 10 Travel Destinations in the World is Dubai. The city is the most progressive of the 7 Emirates of the UAE. The city has always been popular among tourists for its man made luxuries and extravagant architectures. It boasts of having unique attractions such as the tallest building in the world, a seven star hotel, the largest shopping mall in the world and the highest fountain in the world. Some of the most popular sights in Dubai include the Burj Khalifa, Palm Islands, The Dubai Mall, The Dubai Fountain and The Dubai Marina.

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