The Middle East has some of the most interesting architecture, richest history, and the largest cities in the world. Unfortunately, it also deals with the misconception that the entire area is unsafe. While it is true that parts of the Middle East must be avoided based on the political climate, the same can be said for many other countries. As long as you know where to travel to and you plan your trip safely and accordingly, visiting a variety of the area’s countries and cities are truly the experience of a lifetime. Check out some of the safest and most interesting places you can visit in the Middle East.
Photo by Artem Beliaikin
1. Esfahan, Iran
The Islamic architecture in Esfahan, Iran is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. All over the city, giant domes and sharp geometric shapes create truly impressive buildings in one of the most historical cities in the Middle East. The city’s history doesn’t mean it lacks modern commodities, though. Esfahan, which largely houses scholars and intellectuals, provides shopping, dining, and technology pursuits as well. Spend the day visiting mosques and bridges and the evening checking out local venues.
2. The Nile, Egypt
Chances are you’ve heard about the Nile, the river in Egypt, since elementary school. While the political climate in the country has historically been unsteady, today it is safer than ever to visit. When you travel the path of the Nile River, you’ll have the opportunity to stop at many interesting places along the way. The Pyramids of Giza, the Valley of the Kings, and many more well-known attractions, not to mention hidden gems, are discoverable along the way. Luxor and Aswan are also safe spots, especially if you prefer to travel alone and without a tour guide.
3. Manama, Bahrain
If you love big cities and have an interest in international finance, you can’t skip Manama, Bahrain. Manama offers locals and tourists alike a combination of modern skylines, strong financial interests, and traditional Bahraini culture. Explore the city’s own World Trade Center or Financial Harbor Towers, check out the unique yet contemporary architecture, or find traditional culture by having lunch or dinner at the Bab-Al-Bahrain Market. Of course, Bahrain economics is so strong right now that you may even find yourself wanting to invest!
4. Dhofar, Oman
The Middle East has some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, and Dhofar, Oman, is proof of that. The coastline stretches from the Yemeni border to South Oman and features untouched beaches with turquoise water and breathtaking seaside cliffs. The area is remote but safe, making it the perfect choice for travellers who like random road trips, camping alone, and truly being at one with nature without modern interruptions.
5. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Located in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is modern, rich in culture, and highly secure for travellers. If you want to go the tourist route, check out attractions like the world’s tallest structure, Burj Khalifa at 160 floors high. Do you love to shop? Dubai Mall offers a variety of experiences, but be sure to stick around for the nightly show at the dancing Dubai Fountain. The city’s museum offers a comprehensive look at the area’s history, while The Markets offer a more traditional shopping experience. If you’ve ever wondered what big city life is like in other countries, visiting Dubai is one way to find out.
When travelling in the Middle East or any other region with political unrest, the key is to keep yourself informed, plan your travel accordingly, and stay vigilant when you’re on the ground. Avoid travelling alone, especially if you’ve never been to an area before, and use tour guides when you can. Keep track of political climates and travel advisories before and during your trip and change plans if needed. Overall, international travel to any of the above areas is safe as long as you strive to respect the countries, cities, and their cultures.