Got any plans for the holidays?
If not, AMEinfo will give you a tour of the top 7 Middle East destinations where you can spend 2017’s most festive season not far from home.
According to Wego.co.ae, the travel search website and mobile application for travellers living in the Middle East, Dubai retains its top spot as 2017’s most popular festive destination for regional vacationers.
“Dubai offers some of the most extravagant malls on earth, as well as luxurious hotels and miles of unspoiled beaches,” it said in a statement.
Here are AMEinfo’s top 7 destinations in the MENA region for this season?
Top 7 festive season destinations in the MENA region
Dubai has a variety of tourist attractions, including Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world, Palm Islands, Dubai Marina, The Dubai Fountain and the Dubai World Trade Center to name a few.
“Festivals, lifestyle, dining, sun, islands, and beaches are the most popular travel experiences for MENA travelers and Dubai offers all of that and more,” said Mamoun Hmedan, Wego Managing Director for MENA and India.
Dubai will host a variety of activities this season. According to Whatson, an international media network, the St. Regis Dubai Gardens is one example. They are once again transforming into an exciting winter wonderland for the 2017 festive season.
Cairo is among the countries in the MENA where you can enjoy a festive Christmas. Hotels all over Cairo celebrate by hosting concerts for well known Egyptian singers and divas. Cairo Opera house hosts Christmas concerts and a variety of plays.
The Egyptian Museum in the centre of town is a must see, with its countless Ancient Egyptian art crafts, as is shopping at the Khan al-Khalili bazaar. No trip to Cairo would be complete, for example, without a visit to the Giza Pyramids, as reported by Wikitravel, a travel guide.
Lebanon’s buzzing capital Beirut ranks eighth on Wego’s list, compared to the tenth spot it occupied in 2016, as a result of its friendly vibe and beautiful historical landscape that celebrates diversity, according to a statement published by the search website.
Beirut hosts a variety of events on this occasion ranging from festive concerts to Christmas markets and more.
Among the very popular activities in Lebanon in winter is skiing in some of the country’s popular skiing resorts in Faraya and Fakra.
Amman has risen to claim forth spot on the list, compared to 2016 when it was in the fifth position, according to Wego. “The destination is becoming increasingly popular due to its numerous historical and cultural sites. Travelers can get a taste of authentic Jordanian culture, from coffeehouses and bazaars to Roman ruins and awe-inspiring museums,” it said.
According to On the Go Tours, a travel platform, the most attractive destinations in Jordan include Petra one of the world’s most incredible archaeological sites, and recently voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Other attractions include Jerash, Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea and Aqaba.
The kingdom is witnessing a very big improvement following its plan to open up by implementing 2030 Vision and pushing ahead with cultural reforms.
Tourist visa would be issued for the first time ever and the government would use online technology to make applying for visas easy.
The tourism map includes trips to King Fahd’s Fountain, also known as the Jeddah Fountain, is the tallest of its type in the world with seawater ejecting approximately 200m above the ground and can be seen from around the city.
Also, there is an enriching experience at the National Museum of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh showcasing the history of people, religion and government in the kingdom.
If you want to have a traditional Christmas experience stay in a bigger city like Marrakech, Agadir, Fez, or Rabat. Of all these places Rabat is where you’ll find the most sense of the holiday due in large part to the number of foreign people who live and work there, according to Marocmama, a travel website focused on Morocco.
Hotels and restaurants in bigger cities also will typically offer Christmas menus and sometimes special events related to the holidays.
Anyone wanting winter sun at Christmas, but without having to travel half way around the world, should strongly consider Oman, according to Original Travel, a travel platform.
“The capital, Muscat, is home to several of the finest beachfront hotels in the Middle East, each perfect for either families (the Shangri-La Barr al Jissah) or couples (the Chedi or the Al Bustan). It’s perfectly possible to spend a relaxing winter week at any of the above, but that would be to miss out on Oman’s serendipitous mix of landscapes and fun ways in which to explore it,” it says.