The Middle East abounds with stunning scenery and glorious history. Plus, the architectural wonders and the vibrant culture, make the Middle East an exotic part of the world.
The rare beauty of the region will likely overwhelm you at first. Since there is an immeasurable amount of destinations that will captivate you, we list just a few places that characterize the Middle East.
You must start somewhere, so why not start with these 5 wonders of the Middle East!
The Dome of Rock, Israel
From amongst the quaint buildings of Jerusalem, the Golden Dome shines. The magnanimous dome radiates from the center of the holy city. Plus, the Golden Dome lies within the larger sacred site, Haram Al-Sharif.
Furthermore, the foundation stone, a highly revered artifact, is kept inside the dome.
This octagonal enigma is built in a splendid Byzantine style. It is befitting that a building with such religious important glows splendidly, truly demonstrating the rich cultural heritage of the Middle East.
Musandam Fjords, Oman
The Norwegian Fjords are acclaimed throughout the world for their unique charm. However, the Middle East has its own share of Fjord glory. In the Strait of Hormuz (Musandam, Oman), the rocky cliffs give way to the bright turquoise blue water.
There are numerous quaint villages perched on the rocky terrain of the Musandam Fjords. You can visit the nearby coastal towns; you can even go scuba diving and experience the diverse underwater wildlife.
Mysterious wonders in Egypt beckon us to visit. When we travel to hot deserts with impressive ruins, we are awed by the history and energized by the sun.
Painted with ancient images, Luxor is a canvas. The ruins of buildings, stunning mosques, and holy temples are just some of the ancient portraits depicted here.
The landscape is an open-air museum that displays the rich past of the country. One of the ancient displays is the Karnak Temple, an intricately carved monument made from sandstone.
You can also visit the tombs of famous kings and queens in the valley. For example, the sheer magnificence of Tutankhamen’s tomb alone creates an unforgettable experience.
Sheik Zayed Mosque, UAE
When we talk about the Middle East we speak of wealth, culture, and religion. Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) ticks all three boxes.
Recently constructed, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture. It oozes with the opulence of enormous effort and care.
The gorgeous Persian design, integrated with a modern touch, makes for the incredibly rare beauty. Spectacular pools of water reflect the pearly interiors and glittering chandeliers.
Step into the heart of Islamic culture by visiting the Sheik Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi.
The dry winds whisper into your ears the story of the long-gone city. Maybe we are getting too melodramatic, but Petra will do that to you. Golden pools of sands and a dangerous canyon define the ancient town of Petra.
Tombs and buildings carved into the sandstone predominate the landscape. Ages ago the Nabatean Kingdom inhabited Petra. Now only the “Pink” sandstone cliffs remain.
The rose-colored city overflows with stunning temples, such as Al Khazneh, as well as tombs and buildings. A visit to Petra will turn the pages of time and transport you to an older age in the exotic Middle East.
If you are an adventurous soul in the mood to travel off the beaten path, check out our top 40 exotic places to visit in the world. These 40 unique or unusual places have made it to the top of our adventure travel destinations list.
Bay of Kotor, Montenegro
Also known as Boka, this marvelous bay attracts numerous travelers with its emerald waters and picturesque mountains.
The shore is spotted with beautiful medieval towns, such as Perast, where you can stop for a meal and interact with locals.
The lost city of Petra, which rises out of the cliff between the Red and the Dead Seas, still holds many secrets.
It has several tombs and carved structures, which spread across its sandy landscape. The big blockbuster “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” was filmed here.
The enchanting Gozo Island is a part of the Maltese archipelago. It is one of the top diving destinations in the Mediterranean region. Gozo also boasts of mystical backwaters, historic forts, and amazing panoramas.
Great Blue Hole, Belize
This submarine sinkhole is present on every diver’s bucket list. Even if you are not a diving enthusiast, it is still worth visiting for a breathtaking view.
Amer Fort, India
Because of its majestic structure and architecture, Amer Fort is a prime example of Mughal and Hindu cultural influences.
The fort is constructed of red sandstone and white marble. It consists of courtyards, palaces, halls, and gardens.
The razor sharp vertical rocks provide a truly magnificent view. It is surprising that wildlife can even exist in this place.
You can hike around the bizarre pinnacles of limestones and observe different kinds of birds and lemurs.
This place has no roads, and the only way to get to the Nepalese village is through a series of footpaths. On the way, you can admire the views of Mount Makalu, the world’s fifth-tallest peak.
Pisco Elqui Valley, Chile
Surrounded by fabulous Andean mountains, this village has perfect weather all year round. It is wonderful to camp here and gaze at the stars in the night sky.
This region offers caves, clefts, pinnacles and pointed rock formations, known as “fairy chimneys.” Numerous volcanic eruptions formed a surreal moonscape. This area is Turkey’s most visually striking region.
Con Dao, Vietnam
The Islands of Con Dao offers fascinating hiking and exploring opportunities, as well as empty coastal roads, deserted beaches, and a chance for observing the wildlife.
Con Dao National Park, which protects Vietnam’s most important sea turtle nesting grounds, occupies most of the area.
The Cook Islands
There is a popular opinion that the Cook Islands are the best-kept secret in the Pacific Ocean. The 15 islands boast perfect climate and exotic beauty all-year-round.
Isle of Skye, Scotland
The misty Cuillin Hills offer stunning sceneries, beautiful hikes, and spectacular photo opportunities. From the Isle of Skye, you can enjoy these beautiful rolling hills.
Mount Rainier, Washington
This is one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes. On a clear day, you can watch the mountain from many points in the area.
However, for a more up-close experience, you can walk through the alpine fields, hike the massive glaciers and see waterfalls cascading around nearly every bend.
Mount Roraima, Venezuela
This place serves as the natural border between Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana. It is a truly extraordinary natural geologic formation. The area inspired Conan Doyle’s “Lost World” and “Avatar.”
Cano Cristales, Colombia
Called the “Liquid Rainbow,” this Colombian wonder is a must-visit place if you travel to South America. It is probably the most beautiful river in the world.
The best time to visit is from July to November. During these months, the river is full of colors: green, blue, black and red.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
It is the world’s largest salt flat, and it is utterly breathtaking, especially after a rain when they create a mirror effect. In the center, the salt is about 10 meters thick.
It is a scenic natural wonder, which consists of sedimentary rock and water flowing from two distinct mineral springs.
This destination is full of picturesque sand dunes, surrounded by clay pans. The most surreal attraction in the region is the Deadvlei, where the dead acacia trees contrast the white shiny salty floor of the pan.
Would you like to stand at the “Hell’s Door”? Derweze is a giant illuminated hole, rich in natural gas, in the middle of the Karakum Desert. The crater has existed for over 40 years now, and the flames have been burning ever since. There is no plans to put this fire off.
Icehotel, Jukkasjarvi, Sweden
Are you afraid of the cold weather? Jukkasjarvi lies approximately 124 miles above the Arctic Circle and hosts the Icehotel, though only during the winter months.
The hotel is almost entirely made of ice, including beds. There is also a church, a hall, and a bar, where glasses are carved from ice.
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
This destination offers the most exotic hike in the United States. These unique landforms are the tallest dunes in the country and rise to over 700 feet in height. However, if you hike up to the top, you will get the reward of panoramic views of endless dunes.
Dean’s Blue Hole, Bahamas
The name “blue hole” comes from the bright blue color, which you can see from above the hole. Dean’s Blue Hole is the deepest in the world. Its depth is around 600 feet.
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives
The restaurant is located 16 feet below sea level. The sides and the roof are made of clear glass, which allows guests to observe the sea life, while they dine.
Pamukkale Thermal Pools, Turkey
Multiple natural hot springs cascade down and fill these thermal pools with water. The place is not just great for relaxation, but also offers a breathtaking view. So, don’t forget your camera!
Aleutian Islands, Alaska
The Aleutian Islands are not a destination for beach-lovers and sunbathing enthusiasts. This is a place for exploring nature, and it is a real paradise for adventure lovers!
One of the most remote places in Alaska, these islands boast of abundant wildlife, harsh climate, stormy seas, and active volcanoes. While there are a few settlements on larger islands, you’ll probably still meet more animals than people here.
Arashimaya Bamboo Forest, Japan
This place is just filled with famous tombs and temples. Close to the “Moon Crossing Bridge,” the forest is definitely worth exploring.
Tanzania is one of the best places to go on a safari. It is also home to Mount Kilimanjaro. Make sure to visit the Tarangire National Park, one of the last undiscovered jewels of Africa.
There are very few people in the world who haven’t heard of this place. Now abandoned, the city of Pripyat once housed thousands of families. The families of the plant workers were forced to leave after the 1986 disaster.
There are numerous striking photos of the ghost town on the Internet. Besides the crumbling houses and rusty machinery, there is a new side of the city.
In 30 years, Pripyat has been overtaken by lush greenery and transformed into a forest. The area is open for tours nowadays, though only with authorized guides. It is almost entirely radiation-safe.
Castle Stalker, Scotland
Castle Stalker is one of the most intriguing tourist spots in Scotland. The strange mountainous setting and historical design make the destination very attractive to travelers.
Today, Castle Stalker remains under private ownership, but visitors can visit during the summer season. Even though it may be difficult to get to the island, the area is definitely worth visiting.
Road to Tusheti, Georgia
Tusheti is a region in northeast Georgia, located at 5,413-14,740 ft above sea level. Such altitudes gave rise to captivating scenery. Because Tusheti is on the northern slopes of the Caucasian Mountains, it is challenging to arrive there.
The road to Tusheti is one of the most dangerous roads in the world. It lies on mountain slopes and goes up 9,842 ft over the gorges of Tusheti. So, if you are up for a little adrenaline rush, you should take a drive up to this road.
Holy Meteora, Greece
Although most tourists visit Greece in search of the sea and beach relaxation, somewhere above 400 meters lies an unforgettable sightseeing opportunity.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site, Meteora, is situated on a 60-million-year-old rock formation. In Greek, Meteora means “suspended in the air,” a fitting name for this destination. Even if you are not into pilgrimage sites, hiking to the Meteora would be an unforgettable travel experience.
As an easier plan, you can take a bus or a rental car up to the top, and enjoy the spectacular sunset from the specially designed viewing point.
When you hear Peru, you probably immediately think of Machu Picchu. However, not many people know about the breathtaking natural setting of Vinicunca. It is a haven for hikers, although you should be in good physical condition, as the trek is rather challenging.
Getting to the location takes at least six days depending on your speed, but it is totally worth it! Each of the mountain peaks in this area is covered in wide lines of pastel blue, intense red, green, pink and yellow.
Thanks to the bright coloration they are known as the Rainbow mountains.
Lake Kaindy, Kazakhstan
Being almost a century old, the deep blue Lake Kaindy is not easy to find in the Kungey Alatau Mountains. Even though getting there is not easy, it is certainly worth visiting. When you arrive at the lake, you will see dozens of dark brown trunks rising from the water.
Also, the color of the water varies from glimmering blue to alpine green. These features make the place a genuinely surreal wonder hidden in the deep forests.
When you arrive at Alberobello, a small town in Southern Italy, and see the long series of small dimensional houses, you will surely think you are in a fairytale hobbit’s world.
Looking rather fragile, Trulli (specifically-built tiny roundhouses), is surprisingly over five centuries old. Locals, as well as tourists, still live there.
Nyaung Ohak, Myanmar
Another fairytale destination lies right next to Lake Inle in Myanmar. It is an impressive series of history sightseeing objectives, which won’t leave anyone indifferent.
Nyaung Ohak offers a unique combination of history, complex architecture, and nature, and it is surely worth the effort.
Uluru Waterfalls, Australia
The Uluru rock formation is over 600 million years old, which makes it one of the oldest in the world. Due to the climate conditions of the region, it only rains a few times during the year.
However, those who are lucky to visit after the rain, are amazed by the beauty of the water show. The large quantities of water run from the top of the rock, creating an illusion of numerous small waterfalls.
Also, the wet rocks change their color and turn from gray into various shades of red, dark red, and brown.