Middle East Travel Guide

The term ‘Middle East’ was coined by the British in the 19th century and also represents a political, as well as a geographical, term by separating the West from the East. The Middle East proper is situated in between the western part of Asia and North Africa.

The chief countries/regions of the Middle East are: Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Yemen. They range from the tourist-heavy enclaves of Egypt and Dubai to the war zones of Iraq and parts of Palestine.

The borders of the Middle East are also not set in stone, with Turkey being a prime example of a country with both Middle Eastern and European tendencies. Most countries of the Middle East, however, are Muslim majority, apart from of course Israel, which is largely Jewish.

For travelers, the Middle East is an extraordinary place to visit, with its numerous ancient cities and deep-rooted culture. Egypt is a major Middle Eastern destination, famed for the Pyramids at Giza on the banks of the Nile near Cairo.

Dubai, one of the seven emirates of the UAE, is also hugely popular; a desert city with a great tourist infrastructure that includes fine beaches, shopping, dining, and hotels. Turkey is also a major tourist draw in the Middle East, with its ancient culture, bustling markets, beautiful temples and mosques, and Mediterranean beach resorts.

Arabic is the main language of the Middle East, and is also widely spoken in Israel as its second language. English is also generally spoken in the most popular tourist areas.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the main hubs for flights into the Middle East, both of which hail from the UAE. Flights from these cities to elsewhere in the Middle East are frequent with good international connections. You can also get to most countries and regions in the Middle East from many major European cities.