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By: Annika Wolfe/Arab America Contributing Writer
With the summer travel season just around the corner, many are in search of new and exciting places to visit. The Middle East offers so much to tourists with rich and diverse cultures, delicious food, and phenomenal scenery. Whether you are looking for a relaxing getaway in a lovely setting, exciting extreme sports, and excursions, or checking out beautiful ancient architecture; look no further than some of the best travel destinations the Middle East has to offer! Here are ten Arab cities you should add to your list!
Jerusalem boasts a combination of beautiful ancient architecture and modern features, making it a wonderful summer travel destination. Visit the Dome of the Rock, the Old City Bazaar, the Mahane Yehuda Market, or make a day trip to the Dead Sea!
As the capital of Lebanon and one of the oldest cities in the world, Beirut boasts a rich and diverse history and culture. Walk along the Beirut Heritage Trail and see architecture and art from the Byzantine, Roman, and Ottoman eras. You can also enjoy fantastic shopping, world-class cuisine, and stunning beaches.
Dubai has become a popular vacation destination for many of the world’s elite and wealthy during the past few years; however, it is also accessible to those on a budget. Visit the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, rising above the city at just over 2,700 feet! The city and surrounding area also offer a myriad of extreme sports including sky-diving, hot air balloon rides, desert safaris, an underwater aquarium and zoo, an indoor ski park, and so much more. For those looking to spend their time in Dubai at a slower pace, the city boasts beautiful and luxurious golf courses, spas, and beaches.
4. Abu Dhabi
The capital of the United Arab Emirates is less busy than Dubai but offers just as much in terms of excitement and relaxation opportunities. Immerse yourself in the local culture, try delicious food, and experience all the UAE has to offer. Visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, stay in the Emirates Palace Hotel, or browse the newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi.
The capital of Jordan offers so much to tourists. The beautiful weather, wonderfully hospitable and friendly citizens, and lively local Middle Eastern culture will provide you with a unique and exciting trip. Visit the Citadel or the Roman Theatre near downtown Amman, or take a two-day trip to Petra and stunning Wadi Rum.
Doha features a wonderful blend of modern and old architecture side-by-side. Visit the Pearl of the Gulf, a man-made island with shopping malls, restaurants, and luxury resorts. Or shop and observe the local culture in the Ancient Souq Waqif, a standing market that is over 250 years old! Take a boat ride on a traditional dhow and view the stunning skyline from the Doha Corniche.
Cairo is a bustling city with diverse music, delicious food, and around the clock activities. A trip to Cairo would not be complete without a visit to the Pyramids of Giza, take a day trip and experience the magnificence of the ancient structures. Relax by the Nile River or take a boat tour and experience the natural beauty of the scenery.
While Bethlehem is most well-known for its rich religious history, it has much more to offer to its guests. Visit the Old City and bazaar, the Museum of Palestinian Heritage, or take a quick trip to the Mar Saba Monastery.
Alexandria is the second-largest city in Egypt and has a rich cultural history because of the many civilizations that have held it over the past centuries. Visit the Roman Amphitheatre, Fort Qaitbey, or the new library of Alexandria.
Oman’s capital of Muscat is very similar to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but it has a much slower pace and is less crowded. Take time to stroll through the markets, try delicious food, work on your bartering skills. Visit the Royal Opera House of Muscat, pictured above, the Bait Al Zubair Museum, or the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.