Middle East Holidays

Middle East Holidays

Holidays to the Middle East are a journey into a mystical land, with a rich heritage that’s as vast as the sprawling deserts. Here, you can experience everything from towering mountain ranges to enchanting grand palaces, ancient fortresses to bustling souks and the glistening Gulf to yacht-filled marinas. And let’s not forget its sweeping beaches, toasty winters and scorching summers.

Places to stay


Arguably the most glamorous of all the Middle East holidays, Dubai offers a taste of opulence like no other. It’s home to cloud-piercing skyscrapers, including the world's tallest, the Burj Khalifa, and the man-made wonder, Palm Jumeirah island. And if it’s thrills you're seeking, you can sandboard down massive dunes, hop aboard a helicopter or jet ski across the waterfront. 

Abu Dhabi

Dubai’s little sister, Abu Dhabi is the futuristic capital of the UAE, with an equally impressive skyline, but much more traditional Emirati culture. Amidst the steel and glass, you'll discover majestic fortresses and stylish gardens. And for an adrenaline rush, it’s where you’ll find the world's fastest rollercoaster and the Yas Marina Circuit


Oman, ‘Arabia's Jewel’, is packed with history and set in a mesmerising desert landscape. Unearth the emergence of Islam at Bait Al Barandah and Bait Al-Zubair museums. Dive into the azure waters, go whale watching, uncover ancient forts, or embark on off-roading adventures in the desert. That's when you're not basking on glorious beaches.

Ras Al Khaimah

Fancy an off-the-beaten track feel? Ras Al Khaimah is a must. No flashy futuristic skyline here. Instead you'll find dazzling luxury hotels, desert springs, the Shimal tombs, incredible treks on the Jais mountain, and warm waters teeming with exotic fish – a scuba diver's paradise. All just 45 minutes from Dubai airport.


Fujairah, one of the UAE's most historically important areas, invites you to explore ancient villages and coastal bliss. Scout out the oldest mud-brick mosque in the UAE, Al Bidya, or dive into the pristine waters for some of the best snorkelling and diving Middle East holidays have to offer. For a change of pace, venture into the rugged foothills of the soaring Hajar Mountains or wind your way through the Friday Market (open daily). 


The newest up-and-coming hotspot on the Middle East holidays map, though, is Qatar. With a rich 50,000-year history, and thriving capital, Doha. Soak up its vibrant art scene, pop-up museums at Katara Cultural Village, and the must-see indoor canal system at the Villaggio Mall. Or venture through vibrant souks like the Waqif before relaxing on the man-made beaches of The Pearl Island. Perfect for snorkelling, boat rides, and lazy beach days. And don't forget to hop on a traditional dhow boat ride for a bucket-list-worthy experience.  


And last but not least, just a half-hour from Dubai Airport, is Ajman. A laid-back hideaway with powdery white sands, an 18th-century fort and a sparkling coastline. It's the perfect place to kick back and soak up that Middle Eastern heat. 


Map of Middle East

17-43 ℃

You can expect warm winter and scorching summers, from 17°C-43°C most of the year.

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6-7 hours
Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) is the largest in the UAE. With many emirates including Dubai, accessible from Dubai International Airport (DXB). The main airport in Doha Qatar is Hamad International Airport

The Middle East is best for...

The daring: Skydive over the Palm, take on desert safaris in Doha and Abu Dhabi, and high-rise ziplining over Dubai Marina.

Beach hopping: The Middle East offers up some seriously luxurious coastal experiences. Dubai boasts sun-beached beaches like JBR and Kite Beach. Abu Dhabi's iconic Corniche promenade stretches along azure waters. While Qatar’s stunning beaches in Doha offer a serene escape. All share the warm, tranquil waters of the Arabian Gulf, making them unbeatable for snorkelling, watersports and family fun.

Shopaholics: Your heaven awaits in the bustling shopping scenes of Dubai, Doha's Villaggio Mall, and Abu Dhabi. Discover luxury brands like Gucci and Dior or explore vibrant souks for bespoke clothing, fine gold jewellery, and personalised fragrances. Retail therapy at its finest!

Fast facts for the Middle East

Language: The official language across the UAE, Qatar and Oman is Arabic.  English is commonly spoken as a second language and especially used in urban areas like Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi.

Currency: The currency used in the UAE is the UAE dirham (AED). The currency of Qatar is the Qatari Riyal (QAR). The currency of Oman is the Omani Rial (OMR).

Local time: Dubai is 3 hours ahead of GMT/UK time. Abu Dhabi is 4 hours ahead of the UK (GMT+4). Qatar is two hours ahead GMT/UK time.

Fly to: The main airport in Doha, Qatar is Hamad International Airport, the airport in Dubai is Dubai International Airport (DXB), located 6km from the centre. And Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) is 19 miles from the city centre. 

Flight time from the UK: Around 6-8 hours.

Tourist Information: Further tourist information can be found at Dubai’s tourism websiteexperience Abu DhabiVisit Qatar, Ajman Travel, Visit Ras Al-Khaimah, Visit Oman and Tourism in Fujairah

Visa / Health: Before you travel, check the latest advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office for the UAE, Qatar and Oman

Getting around the Middle East

Taxi: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Doha in Qatar can all be easily explored by taxi. Just be mindful that in Qatar you’ll need to make cash payments in Qatari Riyal only. 

Bus: Abu Dhabi has 14 bus routes operating around-the-clock with most fares costing Dhs2 per ride inside the city. Qatar also has an extensive bus service covering all corners of Doha. But you’ll need to pick up a Karwa Smartcard from the airport. Regular buses aren’t the best way to get around Dubai, but the Metro boasts scenic views. It only offers two routes straight through town, so you might still need to grab a taxi to your hotel. 

Car: Renting a car is a great way to get around Dubai, just remember that you’ll need an international licence. 

Water Taxi: Another great way to see the stunning views of Dubai is by traditional water taxi, running from 5am to midnight. 

Bike: Avid bike riders should definitely explore Abu Dhabi on two wheels, especially the tracks along the Corniche and Yas Island. There are also a few dedicated cycle routes around Doha in Qatar. It’s not advised to explore Dubai by bike.

On foot: Walking around Doha, in Qatar and downtown Abu Dhabi during the winter months is a great way to see the city and explore the cultural sights. Just remember to wear your sunscreen. Dubai, however, is almost impossible to explore on foot, but can be easily uncovered by car, taxi or even the traditional water taxi. 

Events in the Middle East

Souq Waqif Spring Festival: When spring rolls around, Doha comes alive with the Souq Waqif Spring Festival. Featuring live music, cultural performances, and art exhibitions - it's the perfect time to soak in Qatari culture.

Dubai Food Festival: Foodies, get ready! This tasty event happens in March. With food trucks, fine dining, and all kinds of gastronomic delights. 

Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: If you're into fast cars and thrilling races, don't miss this one in November. The Yas Marina Circuit hosts the Formula 1 Grand Prix, and it's a weekend of high-speed excitement, live concerts, and all-around entertainment. It's not just for racing fans – it's a big party!

Middle East weather

Temperature: Enjoy average lows of 19°C during winter and average highs of 43°C in the summer. 

Best time to visit?

The weather in the Middle East ranges from warm winters to sizzling summers. The best time to visit is during the cooler months, from November to March. The summers hover around the 40s, which might be a tad too hot for exploring. While spring, autumn and winter sit in the toasty 20s-30s.

Discover the best destinations to visit in Middle East

Why do people go on holiday to the Middle East?

People visit the Middle East for its rich cultural heritage, historical sites, religious significance, diverse landscapes, and unique culinary experiences. The blend of tradition alongside the towering skylines is captivating. 

What is the nicest place in the Middle East?

Dubai boasts extravagant architecture and world-class shopping. Abu Dhabi stands out for its cultural heritage and iconic landmarks like the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Oman offers a diverse landscape, from ancient forts to lush oases. Ras Al Khaimah is an offbeat gem with its stunning mountains and scuba diving. Fujairah boasts archeological sites and pristine beaches, while Qatar is emerging as a cultural hub with its rich history and vibrant art scene.

What not to do when travelling to the Middle East?

It’s always best to brush up on the rules and traditions of the country you are visiting. You can find the UK through the government's latest advice on the FCDO website.

Does the Middle East have nice beaches?

Yes, yes, yes! From the glamorous sands of Dubai's Jumeirah Beach, to the serene coves of Oman, the Middle East’s coastline was made for lazy beach days and thrilling watersports.

When’s the best time to go to the United Arab Emirates?

The best time to visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is during its winter season, from November to April. You can expect sunny days, but it’s not too hot. Summers are scorching, with extreme heat.

Is the UAE a Middle Eastern country?

The United Arab Emirates is a country in the Middle East. The UAE's capital is Abu Dhabi. The UAE has seven emirates, including Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, and Ras al-Khaimah. Oman and Qatar are countries within the Middle East, but are not part of the UAE.