Welcome to the Middle East

A hot, arid climate, with desert making up a vast majority of the region. With 17 countries and approximately 60 languages it is a diverse area rich with culture and tradition. Islam is the largest religion, but Judaism and Christianity (which originated there) are also well represented.

Natalie Hensby

I recently travelled with a friend to Dubai en route to Africa. At the recommendation of another friend and our travel agent we extended our three-hour stopover in Dubai to 40 hours.

The United Arab Emirates is spread out over desert and coastline and it is comprised of seven emirates. Ranked fourth in the world for oil resources, the UAE has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and one of its cities, Dubai, is one of the hottest tourist destinations in the world. As with many up and coming places, the UAE is a mashup of old traditions and modern culture.

Before you head off on your Arabic holiday to Qatar, there are a few things to know that will make your trip easier:

Qatar shares its borders with Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf, so this Middle Eastern country is an incredible mix of beautiful water views and sand dunes and desert excursions. Thought to be the newest Dubai for its oil-rich glitz and glamour,

Just off the coast of Istanbul in Turkey are the islands that are commonly referred to as the Princes’ Islands. While there are nine of the islands in total, only six are inhabited and open for visits — and only four are popular tourist destinations.

With the laid-back, colorful, Mediterranean-lifestyle in Antalya, you can enjoy fresh seafood on a sun-drenched deck while the wind whips through your hair and you look out to the turquoise sea. Though you’ll find great dishes at many restaurants in Antalya, here are the top three spots where you are guaranteed a flavorful and enjoyable experience.

Antalya was once considered the gateway to the Turkish Riviera. Today the city stands on its own as an attraction in its own right, but the history and classical beauty remains. If you are travelling to Antalya you won’t be able to escape the magnificent museums and castles that are peppered throughout the city—not that you would want to. Get ready to experience superb exhibitions and gaze at ancient wonders when you explore Antalya’s museums and castles.

How do you know which direction to walk for the train station when you can’t even read the language on the street signs!? How are you supposed to get to that big palace outside of the city when it doesn’t seem that the metro station runs there? Also, how do you navigate the metro station? How exactly are you going to get to your hotel? These are questions that will no doubt be at the front of your mind as soon as you make it through customs. Save yourself the headache and panic and follow this guide before you claim your baggage.

You’ll know where to start when you see it. Kaleici is the historic city centre of Antalya and you’ll want to start your journey at the main square, marked by an old stone clock tower. This is a perfect place to simply sit, have a quick breakfast or lunch, take in the sights around you, and then head out to the other main attractions through Kaleici.

Travelling to Turkey will provide an exciting mixture of history past and present, Eastern culture and Western culture, urban and rural. When exploring ancient ruins has satisfied your craving for education and history, and you are ready to relax under the sun, you won’t have to look far. With many beautiful beaches and enchanting scenery to surround yourself, Turkish beaches will sate your need for both excitement and tranquillity.

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