Travel planning can be daunting! Especially if you have a giant bucket like most of us travellers do…So to help you choose where to go, I called on some of my travel blogging friends for suggestions. They endorsed Middle East travel and sent through some very intriguing recommendations. Check them out and consider adding these top spots in the Middle East to your travel plans this year.

Petra, Jordan
Petra, Jordan – Top Spots in the Middle East

Jerusalem, Israel

Nominated by Jonathan of the Royal Tour Blog, Facebook

I am proud to be able to nominate Jerusalem, Israel as one of the top spots in the Middle East! Jerusalem is a completely unique city. Most people first think of it as a religious hotbed. This is true. Where else can you have the most sacred sites of Judaism and Christianity, and the holiest of Islam outside of Mecca and Medina, and all within a short walk of each other? Pray at the Western Wall of King Solomon’s Temple (dating to well before Christ) with Jews from all over the world, then visit the Dome of the Rock – the site from which Muhammad ascended to Heaven. Walk the Stations of the Cross and see the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to relive the final days of Jesus.

Jerusalem, Israel
Jerusalem, Israel – Top Spots in the Middle East
Credit: The Royal Tour Blog

Leaving the Old City and its markets and alleys behind you, modern Jerusalem also has incredible things for visitors. From Hebrew University on the top of Mt. Scopus, see the entire area laid out before you. Wander Ben Yehuda Street for the best falafel in existence and a chance to haggle in the shops (it is expected so don’t feel bad). Visit Yad VaShem, Israel’s museum to the Holocaust, and the trees planted nearby in honor of non-Jews who risked their lives to save innocents, and explore the renowned Israel Museum for the complete history of both ancient and modern Israel.

A note on safety: it is safe to visit Jerusalem, but be conscious of your surroundings. Police presence is very visible, and both on- and off-duty soldiers can be seen in most places. If the political considerations make you nervous, book group tours through the Old City, which will have security escorts.

Muscat, Oman

Nominated by Emily of Wander-Lush, Instagram

The name alone is enough to conjure visions of dhow boats and humming souqs. The Sultanate of Oman is a modern country by any measure, but great efforts have been made to preserve its Arabian heritage. History and culture that has been paved over in the other Gulf capitals is alive and well here—making Oman one of my favourite destinations and top spots in the Middle East.

You know you’re in Muscat when you smell frankincense burning in every shop, hotel and restaurant. Trays of fresh dates and Omani coffee are constantly thrust upon visitors by wide-smiling locals dressed in white robes and embroidered skullcaps, Oman’s national garb.

Muscat, Oman Credit: Wander-Lush
Muscat, Oman – Top Spots in the Middle East
Credit: Wander-Lush

Mutrah Corniche is Muscat’s most charismatic neighbourhood. The Mutrah Souq is everything you imagine an Arabic marketplace to be—overflowing stores trade in henna, carpets, and antiques. The nearby National Museum of Oman is a great place to learn about the Omani Empire, which once extended all the way to Tanzania. An East African influence can still be felt in the country’s food scene. Muscat’s most impressive house of worship, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, is another must-visit. Once the heat of the day has died down, head to one of the beaches to join in a local game of sand football and watch the sun set over the Gulf.

Muscat, Oman Credit: Wander-Lush
Muscat, Oman – Top Spots in the Middle East
Credit: Wander-Lush

Just off the coast, you can find excellent snorkeling and diving in the Ad Dimaniyat Islands. Ancient forts, lush wadis, mountain villages and the vast Wahiba Sands desert—still home to nomadic Bedouin tribes—are all within driving distance of Muscat.

Istanbul, Turkey

Nominated by Jub of Tiki Touring Kiwi, Facebook

Istanbul, straddling both Asia and Europe has so much to do, you could visit every year and never be bored. The Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia need no introduction a must a visit with their architecture and history, making them recognizable worldwide and Istanbul one of the Top Spots in the Middle East.

The food scene is impressive in Turkey, with ice cream vendors teasing customers young and old with their tricks. You’ll find restaurants open 24 hours a day, serving all sorts of cuisine and if you want a laugh, head to Ali Usta for a durum. Best time ever.

Istanbul Turkey
Istanbul Turkey – Top Spots in the Middle East

There are markets tucked away in all corners of the city, of course, you need to visit both the Spice and Grand Bazaars. The colors, people, smells, and variety of goods will keep you and your senses entertained for a long time.

Football has brought the city together at various times since the three largest Istanbul clubs, Galatasaray, Besiktas, and Fenerbahce were formed in the early 20th century. If you can go along to the game, you’ll get to experience the Turkish showing off their passion with the Besiktas crowd one of the loudest in the world.

The Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar, Istanbul Turkey – Top Spots in the Middle East

In terms of getting around Istanbul, considering the city is divided by the Bosphorus River they’ve made it easy to traverse with regular ferries running from various points on each side (great views included). And with buses, trams, and a subway system you can get around the city with relative ease.

And the cats deserve a mention. The city embraces the cats that rule Istanbul like no other city. Some say the cats own the city.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Nominated by Elena of Passion for Dubai, Instagram

Dubai is one of the fastest developing and innovative cities in the world. A sprawling metropolis offering an endless choice of entertainment options to its residents and visitors alike. Dubai is a city known for the world’s tallest buildings, largest malls, most luxurious hotels and the best of everything. Anything your heart desires can be found in Dubai. New projects are constantly being developed in Dubai, making it the most futuristic city in the world. 
Credit: Passion for Dubai
It is a city that will ignite your sense of wanderlust, not to mention the plenty of Instagram worthy places in Dubai to capture that perfect shot. Dubai is glamorous, luxurious and grand. I nominate Dubai for its high level of hospitality and the most luxurious hotel properties in the world. The leading hotel chains strive to delivered the highest level of service and to cater to the most discerning guests. The luxury hotels in Dubai provide an outstanding experience to its guests not only where accommodation is concerned but in the array of facilities that they offer. From the impressive interiors, to the finest materials and world-class hospitality — Dubai is a city of wonders. 
Dubai – one of the Top Spots in the Middle East
Credit: Passion for Dubai
In Dubai the expectations are set high therefore most of the times the level of service one will receive in Dubai is exceptional and bespoke. Be prepared to be wowed! 


Thulusdhoo and Fulidhoo Islands, The Maldives

Nominated by Chris of Backpacker Banter, Instagram

When I chat to people about my recent trips to the Maldives the first question I usually get asked is how much does the Maldives cost?
And you’d probably be surprised to hear that travelling the Maldives on a budget isn’t impossible! So if you’re looking to explore paradise on the cheap head to some of the local islands like Thulusdhoo or Fulidhoo.

For scuba divers Fulidhoo offers some incredible diving – from drift dives to night diving with sharks and all without smashing your budget. For surfers Thulusdhoo is home to the world famous Cokes surf break – where you’ll enjoy reeling waves and crystal clear waters.
Both island still come with all the tropical beauty you’d expect from the Maldives, but with local meals around $5 and a double room in a guest house around $50 it doesn’t have to break the bank!
This is seriously a fraction of the Middle East’s incredible beauty, culture, and majesty. Which of these spots would you choose for your next adventure?
Top Spots in the Middle East
Top Spots in the Middle East


Top Spots in the Middle East
Top Spots in the Middle East


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Fill My Passport collaborated with other travel writers on this post. All opinions are our own and none was influenced by Fill My Passport.

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