When wintertime comes about, we typically think of the glistening snowy peaks of Aspen and Mount Fuji, the bustling Christmas markets of Frankfurt and Vienna, or the dazzling decorations in London and New York City.
However, while the Middle East might not be the most customarily thought of location for a winter holiday, it is a perfect period to visit the region as the weather is much cooler.
Many people would be surprised to know that you’d be able to find some incredible slopes in the Middle East, and Lebanon is the place to head to for some skiing action. In Faraya, the slopes are gentle and vast, which gives you not only an excellent terrain to ski on but also perfect for soaking in some terrific views.
The village of Bcharré sits in the Qadisha Valley, which promises the most stunning and dramatic views of the mountainous settlement. On top of the beautiful sights, Cedars Ski Resort is another great reason to visit too. Here, you can find more challenging slopes, nestled amongst the majestic Cedar trees Lebanon is famous for.
Fujairah is one of the UAE’s most popular destinations for the locals, but still is sort of a secret when it comes to international visitors. It has stunning beaches where you can snorkel and the imposing Hajar Mountains that’s perfect for hiking and camping. Fujairah should not be overlooked, especially with its affordable prices.
Renowned the world over, the Dead Sea is one of the most iconic natural formations in not just the Middle East but the world. Sitting 430.5m below sea level, the Dead Sea has an incredibly high concentration of salt, allowing people to float effortlessly on the waters while nourishing their skin with the nutritious mud and taking in the incredible views all around.
Sandwiched by the mountains and the sea, Muscat’s views are nothing short of spectacular. With an elegantly restrained urban life, but one richly steeped in culture and heritage, the city is remarkably fascinating to explore. It’s also a perfect base for hikes in the Hajar Mountains, which are pleasantly cool during wintertime.
A city that needs no introduction, Dubai and its soaring skyscrapers, ultra-luxurious resorts and hotels, endless attractions and activities, and of course, the pristine beaches. Come wintertime, beach season would be in full swing. While there may not be any (natural) snow, the cooler temperatures make it perfect for being in the outdoors.
Another skyscraper packed city of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, has breathtaking architecture like the opulently grandiose Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. There’s also adrenaline-pumping activities at the Warner Bros World. Then, of course, there’s the astonishing Louvre Abu Dhabi housing priceless artifacts with majestic landscaping and water features. All perfect for exploring during a chilly winter climate.
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One of the most treasured UNESCO World Heritage Sites in existence is the archaeological marvel of the ancient city of Petra. You can walk through the narrow, snaking Siq, where you’ll be dwarfed by the imposing canyon, and end up at the exquisite Al-Khazneh. You can also marvel at the colossal Ad Deir and the remarkably preserved Qasr al-Bint. With the expanse of the site, take at least two days to fully revel in its wonder, perfect with the cool winds of winter.