Middle East Travel Guide: The Home of Hospitality

Explore beautiful landscapes, ancient ruins, and the mesmerizing culture of the Middle East!







Backpacking in the Home of Hospitality

With countless enchanting locations, the Middle East is the land of the most hospitable people. Different civilizations and cultures have developed from the Middle East. There are numerous ruins of ancient buildings, historical sights, tombs, and temples in the Middle East that are worth exploring. Through our Middle East Travel Guide, we will walk you through the most popular countries to visit , the best things to do and important things to know while in Middle Eastern countries. We will also delve into the best time to travel to the Middle East and other interesting facts!

There are 18 countries in the Middle East with one external and internal dependencies, two disputed regions, and two UN Buffer Zones. When it comes to the preservation of history and wildlife, the Middle East has numerous locations.

There are 100 World Heritage Sites of UNESCO and several national parks. There are two national parks in Iraq, four in Lebanon, three in Saudi Arabia, four in the UAE, and many more in other countries. You could visit Masada National Park and Ein Gedi in Israel, Mangrove National Park (Abu Dubai), the White Desert National Park, and the Ras Mohammed National Park in Egypt. The official languages include Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, English, Kurdish, Persian, and Turkish.

There are a plethora of places you can explore in the Middle East. You can explore historical sites in Cairo, Esfahan, Istanbul, Jerusalem, and Beirut. Cairo, Tehran, Riyadh, Istanbul, and Baghdad are some of the largest cities worth visiting in the Middle East. 

There are famous rivers like the Nile River and the Euphrates that flow through the countries. The Sahara desert is yet another attraction of the Middle East. Empty Quarters and Peerless Wadi Rum are other spots in the Middle East. You can explore the Byzantine and the Ottoman Relics in Istanbul. You can be mesmerized by the caves, beaches, and ruins in Lebanon. Apart from these locations that emphasize history, you can explore the world's largest skyscraper in Dubai as well.

Featured Middle East Destinations

Popular countries to visit in The Middle East by region

Middle East Travel: Abu Dhabi UAE

The Arabian Peninsula

Located on the Arabian Plate of North-East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula (Arabia) is a region that offers meticulous hospitality and the largest region in the world without a river. It is also a land of rich culture and heritage. Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Yemen, and the Southern part of Iraq and Jordan (including Petra and Wadi Rum) are popular Arab countries worth visiting in the Arabian Peninsula. They are famous for their desserts and urban landscape as well. These countries have a Muslim majority, and the most common language is Arabic. 

Middle East Travel: Egypt


Egypt is a land with a rich history that points back to the ancient Egyptian civilization. There are numerous historical sites with temples, pyramids, and mummies in Egypt. Cairo, the capital of Egypt, has the Giza Pyramid and the Egyptian Museum, depicting Islamic architecture. Hurghada is a location near the Red Sea with several resorts and water sport activities. Luxor is an old city with a plethora of relics pointing back to the rich history of Egypt. Aswan, Alexandra, and Port Said are other places worth visiting in Egypt. You can also come to know about Jewish and Christian history as well from Egypt.

Turkey Middle East


Turkey is an enchanting land that can walk you down the aisle of dreams. With hot air balloons, cupolas, bell towers, thermal hot springs, sun-kissed beaches, ruins, and other landscapes, Turkey is a hotspot for travelers. Istanbul is a city renowned for its rich culture and museums like the Hagia Sophia. You can also visit Izmir to learn about authentic customs and cuisines. Antalya is a destination with turquoise beaches and cliffs. Pamukkale is yet another destination in Turkey and is famously known as "the cotton castle." You can travel to Turkey anytime around the year.

Middle East Travel: Jerusalem Israel

Fertile Crescent

It is a region shaped like a crescent in the Middle East. It includes parts of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Iraq, and Syria. It has the southeast regions of Turkey as well as the Western fringes of Iran. There are countless historical places along with beaches and other scenic destinations in the Middle Eastern Fertile Crescent.

Middle East Travel: Iran

Iran (Iranian Plateau)

Iran has a plethora of monuments embracing the magnificence of Islamic architecture. There are numerous ancient cities, museums, palaces, tombs, and Armenian churches in Iran. The Iranian Plateau is also famously known as the Persian Plateau. You can visit the Domes and Merates of Esfahan's Naqsh-e Jahan Square while in Iran. You can also have a great time at the gardens, bridges, and other palaces during your vacation in the Middle East.

What is the best time to visit the Middle East?

Best time to visit The Middle East

The best time to visit the Middle East is either during the Spring or Autumn season. It is suitable to go on hikes and also to visit ancient sites. The climate is warm and dry. During the summer season, the temperature would be around 40 degrees Celsius. The chances of crowding are high, and prices at beach resorts could be soaring high. The winter season is much better as it is chilly with sprouts of rainfall. It is also the best time to visit Bethlehem. 

Things to know before you travel to The Middle East

Is it safe to travel to the Middle East?

Is it safe to travel to Middle Eastern countries?

Safety in the Middle East depends upon the place you are visiting. Although there are many dangerous places, you can have a safe trip if you travel with caution. Certain parts of Syria, Israel, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, and the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt are prone to terrorist attacks. You can avoid these regions while visiting the Middle East. Road accidents, political demonstrations, pickpocketing, and petty crimes are other main problems confronted by travelers in the Middle Eastern countries. However, some places in the Middle East are pretty safe. For instance, Turkey is a safe country for travelers.

What is the currency in the Middle East?

Currency in The Middle East

In most places in the Middle East, they accept the US dollar. You can always exchange your money from airports, banks, or other exchange centers. There is a fixed exchange rate system in countries like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Lebanon. In Lebanon, the US dollar has greater acceptance. You can always withdraw money from ATMs by using your debit or credit cards. Lebanon, Israel, Palestinian territories, Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf countries accept almost all the international cards. However, Iraq does not take any international cards. So, you would have to exchange your money for the local currency. The official currency of Bahrain is Bahrain Dinar, Qatar is Qatari Riyal, Turkey is Turkish Lira, and Egypt is Egyptian Pounds.

Is tipping in the Middle East normal?

Tipping in The Middle East is encouraged in most places

In most countries in the Middle East, tipping is appreciated. The alternative name for tipping is Baksheesh. As salaries are pretty low in most places, tips can assist service providers. Most top restaurants and hotels in Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, and Palestinian territories accept tips. However, the service providers add a 10 to 15% additional charge to the final bill in some restaurants. In the Arabian Peninsula, tipping is not mandatory. You can round up the bill or provide 10% of the bill as a tip to the person if you find their services excellent. In Jordan, tipping is uncommon. 

Responsible Travel and Tourism in the Middle East

Sustainable Tourism in The Middle East

Climate change and industrialization are two main problems confronted in the Middle Eastern countries. However, many countries are taking initiatives to reduce environmental degradation. There are numerous eco-tourism destinations in the UAE, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, and Oman. Overtourism is an issue faced by many regions in the Middle East. You can help in rebuilding the ecosystem by traveling sustainably and responsibly.

Do I need a Visa for traveling to the Middle East?

Vaccinations to be taken while traveling to The Middle East

The WHO and CDC recommend travelers take their routine vaccines for Measles, Chicken Pox, DTP, Fly, Mumps, and Polio. Most travelers have to get vaccinations for Hepatitis A and Typhoid as well. Hepatitis B, Rabies, and Yellow Fever vaccinations are other vaccines some travelers have to take. Vaccinations also depend upon the country you are coming from and the places you are planning to visit.

Do I need a Visa for traveling to the Middle East?

Visa while traveling to The Middle East

Visa requirements vary from one country to another in the Middle East. It depends on your native country, the country you are planning to visit, and how long you plan to stay. For instance, if you are traveling to the UAE, you need to get a visa beforehand. However, travelers from some countries do not require a visa. For Egypt, one can get a tourist visa for 90 days, which you can not extend. Each country in the Middle East has its regulations for visas. Visiting the official website of immigration would help you get a clear picture.

Things to do in The Middle East to cross off your bucket list

Middle East Travel: Tel Aviv City Trip

Tel Aviv City Trip

Located in Israel, Tel Aviv City in Hebrew means the "Hill of Spring." It has numerous beaches that attract a lot of travelers every year. Metzitzim beach is one of the famous beaches in Tel Aviv City. Apart from the beaches, you can enjoy the mesmerizing views that the city has to offer. Tel Aviv City is also famous for its colorful nightlife. Countless parties are happening every night. 

Several international DJs conduct programs in underground clubs and other places. Tel Aviv City offers an extravaganza for our taste buds as well. Shawarma, Hummus, Falafel, and Shakshuka are some dishes you can have in Tel Aviv City.

Middle East Travel: Gaza Border

Visit the Gaza Border

Gaza is a location where frequent conflicts happen. Though Gaza itself is not a tourist destination, the Gaza border is a place worth visiting. From Israel, you can visit the Gaza strip on an organized 'Gaza Border Reality Tour' to learn more about the Gaza-Israel conflict and the people's daily life in the shade of the wall. On this tour, you will also visit the 'Path to Peace' project

It might not be the first thing on your mind when you travel to Israel, but it’s an impressive and unique thing to do in Israel.

Middle East Travel: Dead Sea, Israel

Floating in the Dead Sea

Located in Israel, the Dead Sea is 434m below sea level. It is the lowest place on Earth. The region has a turquoise lake, historical sites, oases, and a variety of rare animals. The air is oxygen-rich, and its mineral water seems to have healing powers. You can gain health benefits by spreading mineral-rich mud on your body.

You can easily float in the water because of its high salination. However, you have to be careful while swimming in the Dead Sea. Freestyle swimmers can wear Goggles while swimming. You can take a great picture of yourself floating in the water by reading a newspaper or book as well!

Middle East Travel: Petra Jordan

World Wonder Petra in Jordan

It is an ancient city and is also one of the most famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Located in Southern Jordan, Petra is an archaeological site known as the Rose Red City. It was the capital of the Nabataean Empire in the past. 

Petra is one of the seven wonders of the world as well. You can enter the city through a narrow canyon known as the Siq. You can view the buildings carved in caves as you get into Petra. They are called the Treasury. Past the Treasury, you can see the High Place of Sacrifice, the Royal Tomb, and the Monastery. The best way to explore Petra is on foot and hiking some of the trails. I don't recommend riding a donkey. For disabled people, electric buggies are available.

Middle East Travel: Dubai

Dubai Skyscrapers

Being one of the largest cities in the UAE, Dubai has several high risers and other attractions. Around 108 skyscrapers are about 180 m tall. The tallest building is the Burj Khalifa, which is 828 m and has 209 floors. It is also the tallest man-made structure in the world. Burj Khalifa has three different observation decks on three floors. The best time to visit the Burj Khalifa is between three to six pm in the evening. The Marina 101 is the second tallest residential building, which is 425 m tall. Most buildings reach above the clouds as well.

Middle East Travel: Wadi Rum Jordan

Wadi Rum in Jordan

Wadi Rum is a valley surrounded by sandstone mountains and granite rock formations with amazing desert scenes. It's also called Valley of the Moon! Wadi Rum Protected Area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers numerous adventures and excitement to its visitors. You can go walking, camping, skydiving, stargazing, and hiking. In the top region, it offers an excellent view of the Wadi Rum Mountains. The spectacular and beautiful red desert area has also been used as a background setting in many films, such as Lawrence of Arabia, Transformers, The Martian, Aladdin, and Star Wars. Consider sleeping in a sustainable Bedouin camp or opt for a more Luxury Bubble tent to stargaze from your bed.

Middle East Travel: Jerusalem, Israel

Jerusalem in Israel

Being the city of tradition and history, Jerusalem is a land that can take you back to the olden days. Jerusalem is not just a place suited for religious pilgrimages. It is a center of culture and heritage as well. You can go shopping in the old markets of Mahane Yehuda Market. You can also visit the Jewish-Jerusalem neighborhood, enjoy both the old and new city life. Other places to visit in Jerusalem are the Jaffa Road and the Temple Mount, which is the Symbol of Jerusalem. You can always browse back to our The Middle East Travel Guide before traveling to the Middle Eastern countries in case of any clarifications.