From desert-strewn coastlines to tamed, manicured beachfronts, these seven seaside escapes and beaches offer some of the most exciting and relaxing spots in the Middle East.
While travellers and holidaymakers the world over like to laud the beaches of the Caribbean or even Thailand, the Middle East is brimming with idyllic beaches that can just as readily provide a perfect beach getaway. From well-manicured beachfronts to wild desert-strewn coastlines, we’ve decided to list some of the region’s most gorgeous beaches and seaside escapes...
Saadiyat Beach | United Arab Emirates
Lauded for its generous stretches of silky sand and captivating wildlife, Saadiyat Beach is one of the UAE’s most popular spots. Hugging the shores of the cerulean Arabian Gulf, this exclusive expanse of sandy beach boasts palatial hotels, protected sand dunes and rare hawksbill turtle nests - a treasure trove for wildlife enthusiasts and bird watchers.
Dead Sea | Jordan
Float effortlessly in mineral-laden water at earth’s lowest point, 1300 feet below sea level. The soothing waters of Jordan’s Dead Sea are rich in nourishing minerals and chloride salts, which has made it one of the region’s most sought after wellness spots as travellers come the world over to try out the mud’s famous healing properties.
Kélibia | Tunisia
An ethereal daydream, Kélibia’s 300 kilometres of sandy coastline and azure Mediterranean waters meet at the tip of Cap Bon in Tunisia for an atmospheric explosion of baby blue colors. A mere 200 kilometres from Sicily, you could literally see Italy from the ancient Byzantine Fort overlooking the harbor. While you’re there, try some of their 'Muscat Sec de Kélibia', a fruity regional white wine that is considered one of the best in the country.
Jounieh Bay | Lebanon
Rubbing shoulders with Lebanon’s buzzing urban centre, Jounieh Bay sits pretty on the outskirts of Beirut, punctuated with clusters of water-side promenade eateries and luxurious oceanfront resorts. The Mediterranean’s lush green mountains of pine forest intermingle with glamorous waterfront venues, giving Jounieh Bay its distinct cosmopolitan flair.
White Beach | Oman
Home to one of the longest stretches of shoreline in the Middle East, Oman’s 3000 kilometre coastline features everything from well-manicured beachfronts to wild landscapes. The White Beach leans more towards the latter, standing in an arid desert between Muscat and Sur. The untouched site, filled with white clay sand and stone, is protected by ochre valleys and cliffs etched into the sky.
Anfeh Beach | Lebanon
Nestled on the northern coast of Lebanon, just south of Tripoli, this quaint fishing village is nicknamed ‘Little Santorini’ or ‘Anforini’ by locals - a moniker bestowed upon it for its idyllic houses painted white and blue surrounding the water. The beachfront is sprawling with clubs, docks and eateries serving up some of the freshest fish the Mediterranean has to offer.
North Coast | Egypt
While Alexandria once stood as Egypt’s most popular holiday destination in the north, the adjacent stretch of beaches between it and Marsa Matrouh - or the North Coast - is now the country’s most popular summer seaside destination. Boasting some of the most stunning coasts on the Mediterranean Sea, ‘Sahel’ as it’s known by Egyptians, is a 1,000km-plus playground of picturesque blue seas and silky sands. Standing as one of the longest coastlines in all of Africa, the increasing number of top-notch facilities and developments are slowly turning it into a year-round destination.