The Middle East can have a bad rap when it comes to safety, and while there are some real concerns over security issues in certain parts, there are still many places in this wonderfully diverse region where it is completely safe to travel to (given that you are prepared and well read-up before travelling). From the glitz of Dubai to the bustling cities of Palestine, here are the safest places to travel to in the Middle East for next year:
Northern Palestine and Israel
The cities of northern Palestine, such as Nablus, Ramallah or Bethlehem, are completely safe and beautiful places to experience the vibrant Holy Land, with a blend of ancient Christian history, Palestinian cuisine and Arab hospitality. The cities of Nazareth and Haifa in northern Israel are also stunning places to experience both the spirituality and solemn beauty of the land. Both areas in this complicated region of the Middle East are safe despite a tumultuous history because of their location in the north and is the perfect place to explore the complexities and beauty of the Middle East.
Despite its somewhat shaky relationship with the surrounding Gulf countries, within the country of Qatar, it is extremely safe and it remains one of the easiest places in the Arabian Peninsula to travel to as an outsider or solo traveller. The people of Qatar enjoy a surprisingly good relationship with their government, so there won’t be the danger of protests as seen in neighbouring Bahrain or Eastern Saudi Arabia. Once in Qatar, you can enjoy the dynamic capital of Doha, bask in the Arabian Sea along the coastline or indulge in delicious local Qatari food known for its spices and cinnamon.
United Arab Emirates
Famous for its sparkling cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the UAE enjoys one of the highest numbers of tourists per year, around 15 million, and remains one of the safest places in the entire Middle East region. Dubai houses the biggest mall in the world, the tallest building in the world and so many other “world’s best” labels – so it’s hard not to want to see what all the fuss is about. Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s most popular destinations for tourists, won’t disappoint with their mix of luxury and tradition, international scene, local culture and delicious food from all over the world to satisfy even the pickiest of travellers.
Tucked away on the edge of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman was long hidden from tourists because of its quietness and humble cities and towns. This is changing, however, as more and more travellers are discovering the dazzling beauty of Oman’s nature and the vibrant hospitality of Omani people. Oman remains one of the safest places in the Middle East with an extremely low crime rate and is becoming famous for its stunning coastline, vibrant wadis and colourful culture and traditions.
Jordan, with its captivating capital of Amman and magnificent history in Petra, remains one of the most popular places for travellers with a sense of adventure in the Middle East. With no major political problems in the capital and high stability, Jordan is a safe place to travel to for those who want to visit the heartland of the Middle East. From its mouthwatering food stalls to its famous deserts, from the bustling marketplaces to towering Roman ruins in the city centre, and from the stunning nature of Wadi Rum to the ancient history of Petra, Jordan has something for everyone.
Alexandria and Northern Egypt
While Cairo and the Sinai Peninsula suffer from horrendous occasional terror attacks, the northern Mediterranean coastline and city of Alexandria remain safe havens in Egypt. Famed for its French, Greek and Jewish influences, the city of Alexandria remains a tourist hotspot for both Egyptians and travellers from around and outside the Middle East. Enjoy the splash of the Mediterranean Sea and sun, indulge in the aromatic food and experience a whole other side of Egypt in this safe and dynamic part of the country.
A small corner of the enormous Arabian Peninsula, Kuwait is known for its safe communities and streets, making this one of the biggest hotspots for expats and immigrants to move to in the Middle East. The capital of Kuwait City, although small, offers a wide variety of vibrant mosques, bazaars and shops along its breezy corniche. Travellers also come to Kuwait to learn about its history and importance at the strategic edge of the Arabian Sea, and after travelling to this colourful small country, most travellers leave with a whole new appreciation for local Kuwaiti history and culture.