The 5 Most Stunning Destinations in the Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is all about superlatives and contrasts. These are the must-see destinations in the magical Orient.
November 1, 2022
Endless sandy deserts and deep green wadis, gigantic skyscrapers and huge mosques, traditional souks and luxurious shopping malls: the Arabian Peninsula is all about superlatives and contrasts. Liberal Bahrain, artful Qatar and traditional Saudi Arabia are equally inspiring as majestic Oman and the famously luxurious United Arab Emirates.
Recommended reading: Everything You Should Know Before Your First Trip to a Souk
Between the past and the present: to this day, traditional dhow sailboats ply in front of Doha's impressive skyline. © Qatar Tourism
With its monumental skyscrapers, the skyline of Doha, Qatar's capital, looks like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. The small country on the Persian Gulf boasts a long coastline, a beautiful corniche and architecturally outstanding museums that hold up to international comparison.
Important pilgrimage site: the Prophet's Mosque in Medina is a stunning structure and the second most important building in Islam. © Unsplash
Saudi Arabia is still largely untouched by tourists – the birthplace of Islam has only been open to visitors from abroad for a few years. The contrast between the high-tech city of Neom and the ruined city of AlUla could not be greater.
A bed in the desert: Magic Camps offer overnight stays in the Wahiba Sands desert – an unforgettable experience. © magic-camps.com
Rugged mountains, crystal-clear seas and green wadis: Oman combines extremely diverse landscapes in a very small area. Despite the burgeoning tourism, the country still has a sleepy appeal. Oman is all about quality of life and education over nouveau riche ostentation.
City of contrasts: scenes straight out of 1001 Nights meet modern metropolitan appeal. © Season Bahrain Bay
The Kingdom of Bahrain is best known for its breathtaking Formula 1 race track. In the Arabian Peninsula, the state has always been popular as a party destination: Bahrain is relaxed and relatively liberal – even when it comes to alcohol.
United Arab Emirates
Hotel of superlatives: the Burj Al Arab in Dubai is considered the epitome of luxury, and not just because of its imposing reception hall. © Burj Al Arab Jumeirah
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) are the foremost destination in the Persian Gulf – in addition to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, there are also fascinating desert emirates like Umm al-Qaiwain or Ras Al Khaimah that are easy to reach and worth the trip.
This article appeared in the Falstaff TRAVEL issue Fall 2022.