Some Westerners are now of the opinion that the Middle East is now somewhere to be crossed off their list of travel plans. And while political, religious and social tensions may make that true of certain countries there is still a large portion of the region that is perfectly safe to travel to and that offers sights and experiences that cannot be found anywhere else. Here is a little about some of those must visit cities:
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai sees itself as a city of the future but even in the present it is spectacular. Filled with the biggest and most impressive of hotels, malls, restaurants and attractions Dubai has become the kind of go to holiday destination for Europeans that the Costa Del Sol once was and an increasing number of North Americans are discovering its unique charms as well.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
The capital city of the UAE is Abu Dhabi, but it had been living in the sophisticated shadow of Dubai, in the minds of tourists at least, for years. That is all changing however as the capital makes a concerted bid to compete with its flashy neighbor. Set on a group of beautiful islands it has the landscapes and beaches and the attractions are building up slowly, with new versions of the Guggenheim and Louvre museums opening and a slew of stylish luxury hotels being completed every day.
Visiting Jerusalem is, in many ways, like stepping back some 3,000 years in time without having to leave the comforts of 21st century life completely behind. In many ways it is the spiritual centre of the world, held holy to the three great monotheistic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but no matter what your religion there is something uniquely magical about exploring this ancient city that should not be missed.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel Aviv is a surprise to many first time visitors who are not quite ready for how vibrant and cosmopolitan it is really is. Buzzing with activity 24 hours a day it is reminiscent of New York, Miami or Rio, offering the best in cultural, gastronomical and all around partying action for those from all walks of life.
Luxor houses the Egypt that many people dream of visiting. That is the Egypt filled with ancient ruins, with the tombs of great Kings and Queens and steeped in history that goes back so far that it is hard to imagine the world even being that old at times. For many the thrill is that it is their history textbooks brought to life in front of their eyes and a visit to Luxor is the culmination of a lifelong ambition.
All of Jordan is a magical and often mysterious place but all of that comes together most beautifully in the ancient city of Petra. Hewn from the rocks themselves Petra is a city unlike any other in the world and a visit here is a once in a lifetime experience few ever regret.