These Top Summer Destinations Are Only 5 Hours Away

Your ultimate summer getaway is closer than you think…

Whether you like to travel with a significant other or as a family with young, restless children, chances are that your ideal vacation involves a flight that is quick to take you to your palm-fringed island paradise or city break.

Living in a place that’s as well connected to the rest of the world as the UAE means that there’s no need to fret if you’re not a fan of long flights. Here are five destinations that are a short flights away and offer unforgettable getaways.

1. TURKEY – Otherworldly landscapes and history

Istanbul straddles both Asia and Europe and offers an interesting concoction of the old and new. On the one hand, you have the historic Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque, untold stories in the underground Basilica Cistern, whirling dervishes performing mystical Sufi ceremonies, and ancient hammams. On the other hand are chatty carpet sellers in the Grand Bazaar, mischievous dondurma ice-cream sellers on Istiklal Caddesi, designer boutiques and art studios in Galata, and well-dressed locals enjoying nightlife in Beyoglu.

Venture further and the fairytale landscapes of Cappadocia await. Here, a hot-air balloon ride offers jaw-dropping views over oddly-shaped smooth rock towers, cave cities, and rock-cut churches. Stay overnight in a cave room in the family-run Koza Cave Hotel for an experience you’re unlikely to forget.

2. JORDAN – Bucket list-worthy travels

If you’re looking to be swept away by a once-in-a-lifetime experience that includes ancient Unesco World Heritage sites, desert landscapes, epic adventures, and laidback cities with some of the friendliest people in the world, don’t think twice before booking a trip to Jordan.

Amman offers plenty to keep you busy for a couple of days – the ancient Roman Theater, the Amman Citadel that includes the Temple of Hercules, the Byzantine Church and Umayyad Palace, King Abdullah Mosque with its magnificent dome and blue mosaic tiles, and the city’s many Instagram-worthy umbrella staircases.

To relax, spend a few hours floating in the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, possibly with a mineral-rich mudpack on. Stay at the luxurious Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea, rise early, and walk into the Dead Sea from the hotel’s beach to find it all to yourself. The hotel spa offers several treatments using Dead Sea minerals.

No trip to Jordan would be complete without a visit to Petra, the ancient rose-colored rock-cut capital that is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Walking through the Siq, a narrow gorge with high walls, to arrive at the intricate facade of the Treasury, is the closest you might get to the feeling of time travel. To see Petra after sunset, take a Petra by Night Walking Tour.

3. CYPRUS – Gorgeous beaches and Mediterranean cuisine

If you’re craving a bit of Mediterranean sun, then head to Cyprus for picture-perfect beaches and plenty of watersports for when you need to get active on your vacation.

Copyright 2018 Matthew Shaw.

Whether you’re into glamorous party beaches, family-friendly beaches, secluded beaches tucked away into secret coves, or wild, rugged coastlines, Cyprus will not disappoint. There’s Makronissos Beach in Ayia Napa that is great for swimming; not far away is the white-sand Nissi Beach with family-friendly facilities; Konnos Bay with calm waters; Episkopi, where limestone cliffs and strong winds attract kitesurfers; and isolated and wild Lara Beach that is a nesting spot for turtles and offers plenty of privacy. If you’re short on time, explore the beautiful west coast and swim and snorkel on this 6-hour cruise from Paphos.

Stay at the serene and luxurious Parklane Resort and Spa in Limassol, which is set in tranquil gardens of olive, citrus and palm trees, with one indoor and three outdoor pools (including an adults-only option), a private beach, spa and many restaurants.

Away from the coastline, you’ll find charming cobbled villages where locals are engaged in crafts such as pottery; lush forest trails; ancient ruins; and Byzantine churches. A fascinating mix of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences, Cypriot cuisine is a true feast – think light mezze, fresh seasonal produce, and succulent slow-cooked meat dishes.

4. NEPAL – Mountain views and cultural sights

While the mighty Everest might be what draws most adventurers to Nepal, this Himalayan gem has much to offer, even if you’re not into extreme adventures.

Culture and religion are an integral part of everyday life in Nepal, and what better place than the crumbling old towns to experience it all? Spend a few days exploring the Durbar Squares of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Patan, all Unesco World Heritage Sites, home to temples, palaces and museums built in the red Newari architectural style. For deeply spiritual experiences, visit the Bodhanath and Swayambhunath temples, close to Kathmandu city. Stay at the boutique heritage Dwarika’s Hotel, which is set in a quiet area outside bustling Kathmandu, complete with traditional architecture and design, a swimming pool, and spa with Ayurvedic treatments.

When in Nepal, you must head into the mountains, even if it’s for a bit of soft adventure. If you’re not into hiking, take a scenic flight to see the spectacular Mount Everest and other Himalayan peaks up close. The lakeside city of Pokhara offers easy access to hiking trails ranging from day trips to multi-day hikes. From kayaking and rafting to paragliding and bungee jumping, this region is an adventurer’s playground. In the south, on a safari in Chitwan National Park, expect to see rhinos, tigers and more.

5. MALDIVES – Sun, sea and pure bliss

If your idea of the perfect holiday involves hours of lying on the beach with the only “work” being the one you do on your tan, then a Maldives getaway should be on your cards this summer. Home to the most spectacular beaches on the planet, Maldives, an archipelago of around 1200 islands, promises a holiday that’s filled with the bluest waters you’ve ever seen and soft white sand, some of which actually makes its way to Dubai’s most luxurious beachfront resorts.

With each high-end luxury resort on its own private island, expect to be pampered like never before – think overwater villas, private butlers, romantic candlelit dinners on secluded beaches, private pools, and rejuvenating beachside massages. Escape from reality in an overwater villa at Soneva Jani, complete with a private pool outdoor shower, dining on the roof, and a curved slide to cool off on hot afternoons.

This is also a great place to explore the underwater world, whether it’s going snorkeling or diving in the crystal clear waters to see the vibrant marine life.


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Dubai Delights: Top Things to Do and Experience During December

Festive Dubai Delights.

Welcome to the enchanting realm of Dubai in December, where the cityscape comes alive with festive cheer and dazzling experiences. In this guide, we’ll uncover the top activities and events that make Dubai a must-visit destination during the magical month of December.

1. Festive Wonderland at Global Village:

Immerse yourself in the vibrant Global Village, transformed into a festive wonderland with dazzling lights, international cuisines, and cultural performances that capture the spirit of the season.

2. Glittering Nights at Dubai Miracle Garden:

Witness nature’s artistry at Dubai Miracle Garden, where millions of flowers bloom in captivating designs. During December, the garden transforms into a twinkling paradise, offering a surreal and romantic experience.

3. Skiing in the Desert at Ski Dubai:

Embrace the juxtaposition of skiing in the desert at Ski Dubai, an indoor ski resort. Experience the thrill of winter sports and snow play, providing a unique and surreal adventure in the heart of the Middle East.

4. Dubai Shopping Festival Extravaganza:

Indulge in a shopping spree at the Dubai Shopping Festival, where world-class retail therapy meets entertainment. Discover unbeatable deals, cultural performances, and a vibrant atmosphere that defines the city’s festive spirit.

5. New Year’s Eve Spectacular:

Ring in the New Year with a bang at the iconic Burj Khalifa fireworks display. Join the celebration at various venues across the city, where the skyline transforms into a canvas of breathtaking fireworks and festivities.

Dubai in December is a sensory delight, offering a unique blend of cultural richness, festive celebrations, and unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re seeking winter wonderlands in unexpected places or immersing yourself in the extravagance of shopping festivals, Dubai has something to captivate every traveller’s heart during this magical season.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes Dubai in December special for tourists?

December in Dubai offers a unique blend of festive celebrations, cultural events, and pleasant weather. Explore the top activities and experiences that make it an ideal month for travelers.

Are the December festivities family-friendly?

Absolutely! Dubai’s December festivities cater to all age groups. From the magical atmosphere at Global Village to family-friendly events during the Dubai Shopping Festival, there’s something for everyone.

What should visitors know about celebrating New Year’s Eve in Dubai?

Discover tips and recommendations for experiencing the iconic New Year’s Eve celebration in Dubai, including prime viewing spots for the Burj Khalifa fireworks and other festive activities across the city.


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