Middle East holidays have grown in popularity over the years as the countries in the region strive to attract more western tourists, relaxing certain rules and creating burgeoning, ultra-modern cities packed with luxury hotels, the finest restaurants and top-quality shopping.
Dubai remains the biggest attraction in the United Arab Emirates and is a popular stopover point for those travelling on to other destinations such as the Maldives – expect Michelin-starred cuisine, soaring skyscrapers and thrilling desert safaris.
Abu Dhabi is another beloved spot, home to the oft-photographed Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (complete with an enormous Persian carpet and crystal chandeliers), theme parks, beaches and the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Saudi Arabia is another Middle East holiday destination home to unique historical sites, the famous Red Sea and sunny beaches.
There’s also Qatar, the capital city of which (Doha) offers excellent surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing options, jet skiing, and countless other great watersports as well as beaches, high-end shopping and beautiful dunes to explore.
The country also boasts the UNESCO World Heritage Site the Al-Zubarah Archaeological Site as well as a number of great ancient forts, mosques, and settlements, some dating back to almost 2000 BC.
Many cruise lines offer cruises to the Middle East, often tying them into trips to Malta, Egypt, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka among others.