Every country in the region promises stirring historical landmarks and provides attractions worth anchoring your visit around. A choice of spectacular landscapes could similarly determine your route through the region, with Turkey, Jordan and Egypt the highlights. If Red Sea diving and snorkelling appeal, it has to be Egypt (and, to a lesser extent, Jordan and Israel), while camel trekking is possible in both Jordan and Egypt. Turkey has the most beautiful beaches, while travellers for whom food is the main event will want to spend most of their time in Turkey and Lebanon.
The country’s Nile Valley is an extraordinary open-air museum to Egypt’s glorious past, while the waters off Egypt’s Red Sea coast rank among the world's premier diving and snorkelling destinations. Elsewhere, Egypt’s landscapes possess stark, desert beauty.
Iran is a friendly, hospitable country with some of the Middle East's most decorated mosques and other religious architecture, the magnificent ruins of Persepolis and engaging, bazaar-filled cities such as Shiraz, Yazd and Esfahan.
Israel & the Palestinian Territories
Sacred ground to the three great monotheistic faiths, Israel and the Palestinian Territories are modern countries grafted onto a deeply spiritual land. Visit peerless Jerusalem, cool Tel Aviv and vibrant Ramallah, with fabulous water sports and hiking elsewhere.
In the heart of a tough neighbourhood, Jordan is a travellers' oasis, home to an extraordinary ancient city (Petra), the region's best desert scenery (Wadi Rum) and splendid snorkelling offshore from Jordan's sliver of Red Sea coast.
From Phoenician remnants to the fantastic Roman ruins at Tyre, from a rugged Mediterranean coast to the interior's snow-capped mountains, Lebanon packs a lot into a very small area. Beirut in particular is a world-class culinary destination.
Turkey is where the Middle East meets Europe, literally so in İstanbul, one of the most beautiful cities on earth. Elsewhere, expect first-rate attractions including breathtaking Cappadocia, an exquisite turquoise-hued coast, Roman Ephesus and soulful Mt Nemrut.