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Make the most of the long weekend this Eid-al-Adha by visiting one of these stunning locations, all of them located just a short journey from Dubai.
Eid-al-Adha is the second Eid of the year, and the Festival of Sacrifice is considered holier than the Eid-al-Fitr holiday that comes after Ramadan.
With Eid-al-Adha expected to fall on August 20–21 this year, it could be a long weekend of at least four days for private and public sector workers in the UAE. Make the most of the consecutive days off after the weekend and book a trip to one of these locations, all located four hours or less away from Dubai.
Oman is famed for active breaks that allow guests to take advantage of nature, with barbecues on boats by sunset and sleeping under the stars at night with the stunning backdrop of the Hajar Mountains. If you’re feeling adventurous, try speedboating, kayaking, snorkelling, fishing or water-skiing. You can also check out some of the often-forgotten sides of Oman, which include Haffa, Sanat, Lima, Khor Kabahl and Khor Habaleen.
Highlights include the Bimmah Sinkhole, the Empty Quarter (a desert that covers parts of Saudi Arabia and the UAE) and the Royal Opera House. Stay at the Ritz Carlton Al Bustan Palace; or health-conscious travellers can opt for Six Senses Zighy Bay for a relaxing experience that will mean you won’t return to Dubai feeling worn out and overindulged.
With restaurants and 450 shops, including the Central Dates Market, plus the Assalam Museum and the Beautiful Names of Allah exhibition, there’s a lot to do in the city of Medina. It’s where Prophet Muhammad is believed to be buried, and where he received instructions to change the direction of prayer towards Mecca.
Hajj pilgrims in one of the holiest parts of the world can celebrate Eid-al-Adha overlooking the Holy Haram near the King Fahd Gate at the Makkah Millennium Hotel and Towers, which is expecting 15,000 guests from around the globe this year, from France, Australia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Egypt, Turkey, the UK, US and GCC. Alternatively, you can rest your head at the Mövenpick Hotel or Rove Hotel.
While some other areas of the country can take longer to reach from the UAE, Rajasthan is perfectly located for a long weekend. The area boasts beautiful temples, colourful markets, incredible wildlife, pretty villages to explore and stunning views of the Aravalli Range of mountains that are home to traditional townhouses and mansions (hovelis). Visitors should explore the 230-year-old warrior fort on top of a granite hillock, where you can also check in for a stay (it’s otherwise known as the Alila Fort Bishangarh). For smaller budgets, try Shahpura House in Jaipur or Rawla Narlai, a restored royal retreat from the 17th century.
With its wonderful fortresses, museums and religious building such as monasteries, churches and cathedrals, Georgia is an architecture lover’s dream. It’s also known for being friendly on the wallet, so stop by a few small cafés and dive bars, or spend the extra cash at the market in this country on the border of Europe and Asia. The former Soviet republic is also home to Black Sea beaches and the Georgian National Ballet. Try taking a sulphur bath (similar to a Hammam) and stay at the cool Rooms Hotel in Tbilisi or Fabrika Tbilisi, a former sewing factory that’s been converted into a hostel.
Wander around the Egyptian Museum and the old bazaars in Cairo for a long weekend in the North African country. The city is also home to the Cairo Tower, which offers panoramic views to help you take it all in.
To wake up close to the famous River Nile and buzzing city centre each day, book a stay at the InterContinental Cairo Semiramis or the Marriott Mena Hotel for proximity to the pyramids. Including Zamalek, Maadi and downtown, Cairo has a broad range of neighbourhoods to explore according to your budget.
Sri Lanka is so diverse: wildlife safaris, beach vacations and even exploring tea plantations can all be on the itinerary, depending on where you are based. South of Colombo, the coastal area invites guests to discover the old canal and spice plantations of this country with a colonial history. Architecture fans will enjoy the monumental historic site of Richmond Castle, while those who enjoy being by the water will want to stay where the Kalu Ganga River meets the Indian Ocean.
The AVANI Kalutara Resort or Anantara Kalutara Resort are great options. Alternatively, rent a villa in Unawatuna and chow down on homemade local curries, stay in the jungles if Ella or roam around temples in Kandy all day before heading back to a boutique hotel.
The ultimate romantic destination doesn’t have to be a honeymoon destination. Guests who want to get involved with water sports can be just as satisfied as those who have spa treatments and fancy meals. The Maldives are separated into atolls, some including several resorts and others being private islands. Choose The Residence Maldives, Falhumaafishi, for the brilliant activities available, including diving at the PADI 5* Dive Centre surrounded by unspoiled coral reefs.
Alternatively, the colourful and 60s-themed Finolhu is the place for party people, with the 1 OAK Beach Club constantly hosting big events and attracts a large celebrity following. Fly into Male and get transferred by boat or seaplane to individual resorts from there.
For those on smaller budgets, a trip to somewhere close to home is a great idea. The new Al Seef neighbourhood of Dubai is a long stretch of beach that helps make up Dubai Creek. There are 90 restaurants and 350 retail outlets there from the people who brought us The Beach JBR and CityWalk areas.
Visitors can explore the beaches of Jumeirah, and the Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall are just 15 minutes away in Downtown Dubai if you’re staying at Zabeel House by Jumeirah; alternatively, Rove Hotels have branches in Dubai Marina (famous for its cluster of skyscrapers), Downtown Dubai (where you can see the Dubai Fountain) and various other locations.