The Middle East is one of the cradles of human civilization, home to three large religions and uncountable human-made landmarks, some of the worldwide famous. However, it is also filled with a huge variety of landscapes, sceneries, and natural wonders.
For these reasons, it is a popular destination among travelers and adventurous people. Some countries have a well-developed travel industry however others are still in the first stages of the tourism industry. Because some middles east countries are rich (or extremely rich) and others have internal safety issues, most of the Middle East has high travel costs.
Nonetheless, It still has large stretches of almost untouched nature with some of the most beautiful and impressive natural wonders of the World. Many are very well-known, while others are still gaining fame. They include canyons, waterfalls, deserts, national parks, lakes, coral reefs, and many others.
We tried to include all the main regions and as many countries as possible in these natural wonders of the Middle East post and organized them by country for easier understanding. So, let’s explore the extraordinary natural landmarks of the Middle East.
Natural Wonders in the Middle East – Egypt
Siwa Oasis, Egypt
By Lora from Explore with Lora
The Siwa oasis is one of the most amazing natural wonders in Egypt. After driving through hundreds of kilometers of dry desert, you would never expect to find such clear, turquoise pools, which look like they are out of a movie.
In Siwa, there are hundreds of hot springs, lakes, and pools of varying shades of blue. Many of them are high in salt concentration, making them perfect for floating in against the backdrop of the sand dunes. The oasis also gives way to living in the area, and you can see olive trees and date palms growing by the pools.
Not only is Siwa one of the most unique places to visit, but it’s also one of the safest places for solo female travel in Egypt. Its isolated location supports a unique society that’s different than the rest of Egypt, and you won’t find any hassling in the shops here.
Located on the east side of the country, 50 km from the border of Libya, the downside of visiting Siwa is that it is not easy to reach. Most tours leave from Cairo for an 8-hour drive across the desert. You can also get a public bus from Cairo or Alexandria. While long, it’s worth the journey to see this fascinating natural wonder.
Mount Sinai in Egypt
By Milijana from World Travel Connector
Incredible Mount Sinai in Egypt is one of the oldest and most famous mountains.
This ancient mountain is known as Moses Mountain. It is a holy place for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Mount Sinai in Egypt is believed to be the mountain where God spoke to Moses and where Moses received the Ten Commandments. The Orthodox Monastery of St. Catherine, which stands on the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Fascinating Mount Sinai is a mountain of rugged and harsh landscapes. Some parts of Mt Sinai are over 600 million years old. Sinai mountain is a part of the St. Catherine Natural Protectorate with many rare and endemic animal and plant species.
Climbing Mount Sinai is equally popular among hikers, nature enthusiasts, and religious people, as it is a part of the famous Sinai Trail. The 500 km long Sinai Trail is known as one of the best treks in the world. The Sinai Trail starts in Nuweiba, a coastal town on the Gulf of Aqaba, and ends at the city of Saint Catherine at the foot of Mount Sinai.
Mount Sinai is easily reachable from Nuweiba, Dahab, and Sharm El-Sheikh. Mount Sinai is about 2 hours by car from Nuweiba, 2 hours from Dahab, and 2 hours and a half from Sharm El-Sheikh.
Are you looking for a must-have experience in a lifetime? Hike Mount Sinai, Egypt.
Natural Landmarks in the Middle East – Israel
The Red Canyon is one of Israel’s most beautiful natural landmarks and naturally an impressive wonder of the Middle East. It is a red sandstone gorge rock created by water. However, there’s only water after heavy rain. As rain in the desert is extremely rare, so the canyon is almost always accessible.
Located in the south of Israel in the Negev Desert, the Red Canyon sits about 20 km North of Eilat, near the border with Egypt – it is easy to reach from there by car. The other option is to join a tour.
The name of this canyon derives from its intense color when the sunlight hits the rock, radiating an intense red color. Besides its vibrant hues, the best part of the canyon is walking inside it. In parts, it is a narrow slot canyon. There are two trails, the green trail, a short 2 km circular family-friendly trail, and the black trail, which is 9 km long and more challenging.
The green trail is enjoyable to do, and we recommend it to everyone without mobility problems, even children. It has metal bars, ladders, and footholds on the rocks that help you climb or descend the canyon. It is quite entertaining, delightful even.
Rosh Hanikra Grottoes in Israel
By Alanna from Periodic Adventures
Located on the northernmost point of Israel’s coastline are the Rosh Hanikra grottoes. These natural caves formed over thousands of years from the ocean hitting and carving out the cliffside. Now, you can explore the grottoes by taking a pathway through the twists and turns admiring the formations while listening and watching the sea crash through the passageways.
To get to Rosh Hanikra, travel north on Route 4, which you can reach via route 22 from Haifa and Akko or via route two then 22 from Tel Aviv, or via route 1, 6, then 70 from Jerusalem. Once you arrive at the parking lot, you need to take the cable car down the cliff side to the grottoes.
Tickets for entry and the cable car cost 43 NIS or about $12 USD.
When you visit Rosh Hanikra you can also learn about a part of history as there is a man-made tunnel built by the British during WWII that was to be used for the Cairo-Haifa-Beirut railroad line. During the war, a portion of it was destroyed and has not been used since. It is a great way to compare naturally made caves and man-made ones.
No matter your reason for visiting Israel, be sure to add these beautiful grottoes in the Western Galilee to your bucket list.
Ein Gedi, Israel
By Ashley Jansen from Jetset Jansen
Ein Gedi is a natural wonder in Israel that sits along the Dead Sea. It’s a natural oasis found in the rocky landscape of the Judean Desert and located about 1 hour southeast of Jerusalem. In fact, you can actually see the Dead Sea as you hike higher up to the springs.
This nature reserve is one of Israel’s most popular destinations and a great place to explore and hike. There are nine different trails available that will take you towards different parts of the springs.
One of the most popular trails leads to David’s Waterfall–the tallest waterfall within Ein Gedi. Along the trail is where you’ll find little pools that are great for swimming and cooling off from the desert heat.
Depending on how much time you have, you can choose to hike longer to some of the further waterfalls like the Window Waterfall–which is a shallow pool and dry waterfall with a ‘window’ between rock slabs that shows a beautiful view of the Dead Sea. You’ll also want to keep your eye out for any animals as the reserve is a sanctuary for wildlife.
Afterward, you can head down the road to Masada, one of Israel’s most famous landmarks, or to the Dead Sea to float in the lowest place on Earth.
Middle East Natural Wonders – Jordan
Wadi Rum, Jordan
By Becki from Meet Me In Departures
The words Wadi Rum translate to ‘Roman Valley’, and it’s just that. A wide and endless expanse of desert, located in southern Jordan.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site has been inhabited since prehistoric times and dotted among the landscapes you’ll find various archaeological relics, carvings and rock paintings in the park which date back to the Nabataeans at around 6BC.
The best way to see it is by a 4×4 jeep safari, and if you have time, then spend a night at a Wadi Rum camp. If you stay overnight in the desert you’ll also get the chance to see the red sandstone rocks glow at sunset and sunrise, as well as watch stars – there’s next to no light pollution here!
There are numerous other things to do in the desert including hiking, climbing and dune boarding. You can also visit the ruins of the Lawrence of Arabia house which was used in the 1962 British-made film about the life of Officer T. E. Lawrence. In real life, Lawrence passed through Wadi Rum several times during his time while he was in the military. Look out for the rock carving to commemorate him.
Wadi Mujib slot canyon, Jordan
Wadi Mujib is lesser known than Wadi Rum, but is spectacular in its own way. Located in the lower part of the Wadi Mujib River, the slot canyon is impressive in its own way. The river becomes so tight that it’s only a few meters wide.
The last kilometers of the Wadi Rum are breathtaking, with soft orange, red and yellow rock walls that create one of Jordan’s most beautiful natural landmarks. The water flows through the canyon, but during low flow, it is possible to hike up the canyon through the river in a memorizing experience. It has rapids, waterfalls, and hiking trails. The scenery is somewhat similar to some of Utah’s and Arizona’s landmarks.
To explore the Wadi Mujib one has to hike the Siq trail. It starts at the mouth of the Wadi in the Dead Sea and then goes up the river for about 1.5km until reaching a large and passable waterfall. You’ll get wet, swim, slide, and even do some canyoning. It is a fun activity in one of the most beautiful natural landmarks in the Middle East.
If you have a car, it is very easy to reach the Wadi Mujib adventure center, though if you don’t, it can still be easily done through a tour like this.
Middle East Natural Landmarks – Turkey
By Kenny from Knycx Journeying
Lake Tuz is a Middle-Eastern natural wonder in the Central Anatolia Region of Turkey, for being the second-largest lake in the country. The lake covers an area of 1,665 square kilometers and it’s one of the largest of its kind in the world. On their road trip from Cappadocia to the capital city, Ankara, tourists will realize that the magnificent reflection of the “Mirror of the Sky” does not limit to Uyuni in Bolivia.
The saline lake is fed by groundwater that originates in the Northern Taurus Mountains, and since the lake has no outlet, the water level usually rises in springtime, forming a shallow layer of water on this white and incredible surface. Same as Uyuni and Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, it is a wonderful location to take creative photography, playing with the reflection and strange perspectives.
Bird lovers can come to Lake Tuz for flamingo viewing. It is the only natural nesting ground for flamingos in Turkey and they flock to the lake to feed and nest.
Lake Tuz is a protected area with a significant impact on flora and fauna of the region. With intensified and more frequent droughts in recent years, water sources of the lake have become scarcer, and the future of the lake is yet to be known.
By Michelle from Moyermemoirs
Cappadocia is a natural wonder in the middle east located in the Anatolia area in Turkey. Geologic formations are all around Cappadocia in the Goreme Valley, Love Valley and Monks Valley, for example. The most unique formations are called fairy chimneys. They have been carved out by wind and erosions over many, many years and stand up in straight spires from the ground with black mushroom caps in an amazing display of natural artwork.
Goreme National Park and the Cappadocia Rock Sites are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The spectacular landscape is a demonstration of the power of erosion to produce such dramatic changes in the landscape.
This area has been used by ancient civilizations for settlement and living within these natural elements. Civilizations have used some of the geologic formations to carve out caves and churches. There were even whole underground cities in Cappadocia.
The best way to see this amazing terrain is to take a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia. The balloon rides are one of the most popular activities in Cappadocia. This results in an even more impressive view as hundreds of colorful hot air balloons float through the Cappadocia sky each morning. A hot air balloon ride is the perfect way to capture photos of the fairy chimneys while drifting off the valleys full of the uniquely shaped landscape.
Travertines of Pamukkale, Turkey
By Soumya of Stories by Soumya
The white travertine terraces of Pamukkale, Turkey are one of the world’s most unique natural wonders and one of the most famous landmarks in Turkey. They have been built, over centuries, by the flow of calcium-rich water on the Pamukkale plateau. This has given rise to white calcium cascades and terraced travertines, thus making Pamukkale look like a huge cotton ball – an unusual but exceedingly beautiful thing to see.
Pamukkale, a UNESCO world heritage site, is a popular tourist destination. Travelers throng to Pamukkale to soak in the turquoise blue pools of healing waters that dot the white travertines. On top of the plateau, you can swim in the antique pools of Cleopatra which are also believed to possess medicinal properties.
One of the most interesting things to do in Pamukkale is to visit the ruins of Hierapolis, an ancient Greco-Roman city that was built on top of the plateau. Hierapolis was once a popular spa town where people came to be cured of their diseases, thanks to the curative waters of Pamukkale.
The best way to get to Pamukkale is by minivan from the main bus stop in Denizli, the closest city. If you are short on time, then you can do a full-day tour from Istanbul. It will be a long day but well worth your time.
Lower Duden Falls in Antalya, Turkey
By Sean Lau from LivingOutLau
There is no natural wonder in Turkey more spectacular than the Lower Duden Falls. This epic Antalya waterfall is located in Duden Park in the Lara District and is a result of the Duden River. The waterfall is unlike other falls in the area, because it topples over a cliff and empties 40 meters down into the Mediterranean Sea. It is quite the spectacle!
There are two ways to admire the beauty of Lower Duden Falls. The most affordable way is to see it from Duden Park. There is an observation terrace at the park, and you will find plenty of people enjoying the scenery and just having a good time here. With no entrance fee to the park (besides parking), this is best if you are traveling Antalya on a budget.
But perhaps the best way to experience this natural wonder is via a boat tour. The boat tour takes you out to the sea so you can see it from a different angle. You’ll have a much easier time seeing the entirety of the waterfall this way. Plus, you can feel the wrath of the waterfall when the boat approaches it!
Natural Landmarks Middle East – Lebanon
Baatara waterfall in Lebanon
By Agnes Simigh from Voice of Guides
Lebanon, the tiny coastal country, has the most versatile landscape in the Middle East, with stunning mountain ranges, gorges, and a long coastline. The Baatara waterfall, also called “the Cave of the Three Bridges” is one of the most famous natural wonders of Lebanon. Geologists say that the waterfall has existed for over 160 million years.
Since the entire country occupies around 10 000 km2, you can discover everything, including the waterfall, on a day trip from the capital, Beirut, or other cities along the coast (Byblos, Batroun). Either way, you need to take a private taxi that you can easily find in the cities. Public transport is almost non-existent once you leave the coastal line. It takes one and a half hours from Beirut and 50 minutes from Byblos and Batroun.
Of course, the waterfall is much more impressive in spring after the snow melts, when the 250-meter-high waterfall lands in a sinkhole. The best time to go there is in March and April. However, it is still worth visiting it at other times of the year, even when you hardly find any water, as the naturally carved stone bridges and arches are amazing. The image shows the Baatara waterfall in autumn. So, you can imagine how amazing it is in the main season.
Jeita grotto in Lebanon
By Agnes Simigh from Voice of Guides
Lebanon is one of the best travel destinations in the Middle East, where you find a combination of ancient monuments and fantastic landscapes, where cedar forests, canyons, and mountain ranges replace the desert that otherwise dominates the landscape of the Middle East.
Jeita Grotto is a unique nature wonder not only in Lebanon, but the entire Middle East discovered by an American missionary in the 1830s. It is best combined with taking a cable car to the famous pilgrimage site and the fantastic viewpoint of Harissa on a half-day trip from Beirut. There is no public transport, so the only way to get there is to take a private taxi. You can ask the driver to wait for you.
Jeita consists of two separate but interconnected limestone caves and spreads kilometers long inside the mountain with a range of stalactites, stalagmites, and unique rock formations. It is one of the country’s famous landmarks and top tourist destinations.
A small train takes visitors to the entrance of the lower cave. You can make a short boat ride in the illuminated lower cave and walk around the upper cave on foot. The entire cave system is in a pleasant environment. During winter, it closes temporarily due to high water levels around January and February.
The Cedars of God Reserve, Bsharri, Lebanon
By Steph Parker from Big World Small Pockets
The Cedars of God Reserve, found in the Qadisha Valley, is a magical part of this country’s diverse landscape and absolutely one of the best places to visit in Lebanon.
Accessible only by car or guided tour, this shady, peaceful forest offers cool alpine air at some 2000m above sea level and provides some great hiking trails in the summer.
The perfect antidote to the humid sun at the coast, as well as this country’s chaotic cities, at just a 2 hour drive away, the Cedars Of God Reserve makes for a wonderful day trip from either Tripoli or Beirut.
Quiet villages, isolated monasteries and hidden caves hug the impressive valley found here and offer an insight into a fascinating local life, rich in traditional culture and amazing homemade food (this is Lebanon, after all!)
Filled with a tree so special it is regarded as Lebanon’s national emblem (just take a look at their flag!), this cedar reserve is UNESCO-listed thanks to its precious foliage, which is at risk due to climate change and deforestation.
Use of this precious timber, and the trees’ amazing resin, has been recorded as far back as the ancient Egyptian empire and, in winter, the picturesque, snow-covered views you can get from here are truly magical.
Beautiful Natural Wonders in the Middles East – UAE
Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, UAE
By Sarah Vanheel from CosmopoliClan
About 70 km from the bright lights of Dubai City lies a mesmerizing desert landscape and the first National Park in the UAE. The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve was founded in 2003. Its fenced area encompasses 225 km2 of the unspoiled desert, which is a little under 5% of the Emirate of Dubai’s total land surface. An abundance of indigenous fauna and flora can be found in this rather harsh environment. The Arabian oryx, sand fox, Gordon’s wildcat and sand gazelle are just some of the endangered species that call this desert land home.
The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve can be visited but only as part of an organized tour. Not more than a handful of tour providers are allowed to operate within the National Park. The activities that they offer are guaranteed to avoid interference with the conservation’s natural habitat.
Approved Dubai desert safaris that take place here can include camel treks, wildlife drives, falconry displays, nature walks, astronomic sessions, archery and sand-boarding. The popular dune-bashing safaris are strictly forbidden in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve since this activity is known to damage the environment and result in desertification.
Another unique way to experience this natural wonder of the Middle East is by spending the night at the Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, the only accommodation nestled within the boundaries of the Reserve’s iconic sand dunes.
Hajar mountains, UAE
By Anya Kay from Road is Calling
One of the most beautiful yet not extensively explored natural wonders in the Middle East is the Hajar Mountains in the UAE, which formed in the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula. It is the majestic mountain range, stretching along the coast for 450 kilometers and rising to a height of 900 meters due to powerful eruptions of underwater volcanoes that took place thousands of years ago.
The best way to reach this wonderful site is by car on a drive from Dubai or on an organized day trip from one of the emirates.
The main feature that makes Hajar Mountains special is their black color and layered rock structure consisting of the remnants of ocean reefs. Due to basalt which is the main component of the rocks and due to the streams of water running down from the mountain plateaus, the Hajar mountains are full of picturesque canyons on its slopes and small hidden lakes bordered by thickets of reed. You can also find gorgeous valleys that alternate with deserts and oases with palm groves between the mountain ranges.
In the center of the Al-Hajar massif, there is a very famous mountain town of Hatta with one of the oldest mosques in Arabia – Juma mosque. Hatta’s surrounding area is an easy and wonderful place to visit to be able to see unique rocks with dizzying natural canyons, dry riverbeds, sand dunes, diverse wildlife, huge caves, and bizarre landscapes.
You’ll surely get captivated by the mystery of nature in this part of the UAE that fully corresponds to the fabulous descriptions of the mysterious area from the Thousand and One Nights fairy tales.
Abu Dhabi Salt Lakes, UAE
By Karen from Secret Abu Dhabi
When you drive out of the cosmopolitan city of Abu Dhabi, it doesn’t take long for sand dunes to appear on either side of the road. Whilst the desert is a natural wonder in itself, just 45 minutes from downtown (with a little off-road drive), Al Wathba Salt lakes can be found. They are quite literally in the desert and have been somewhat of a social media sensation. Not to mention natural phenomena, to say the least!
They have only recently been discovered, most likely through earthworks, as the capital is forever growing with different infrastructure, be it train lines to Saudi Arabia, or the next best desert resort in the middle of no where!
Whilst the actual surroundings are not hugely impressive, it does feel a little industrial, the crystal clear blue water with giant salt plates is a site to be marveled at! It is seriously mind-blowing that such a natural wonder can be found quite literally in the desert.
There is a small climb down a sandbank, and then you can hop from salt plate to salt plate. Some parts of the long lake are better than others, with one distinctive part having three massive circular plates which look incredible from a drone.
To get there, it’s not uncommon to get a little lost. You need to Google map Long Lake Al Wathba. The main Al Wahba lake is not the same place. The best tip for visiting is to go on a clear day with no wind. When the wind picks up, you can’t get that perfect photo of the salt bergs beneath the water, as there is usually a ripple on the surface. Also, on a dull day, the beautiful colors are not apparent. Finally, only head there in the winter months as it is dried up in summer! You should join a visit to the salt lakes with the Al Wathba fossil dunes and nature reserve to see Flamingos which are close by! Head early morning to avoid any crowds.
Natural Wonders of the Middle East – Shared Landmarks
Located between Israel, Palestine and Jordan, the Dead Sea is one of the most famous natural wonders in the Middle East.
This natural landmark is a landlocked salt lake located at the mouth of the also well-known Jordan River. It is an impressive lake with about 600km2, but it is quickly receding. In 1930 it was almost double the size with more than 1000 km2.
The Dead Sea is globally famous for two features. First, it is one of the saltiest bodies of water on the planet, and surely it is the saltiest among big lakes. With a salinity level of 34%, it is about ten times saltier than the ocean. These extreme levels of salinity also make life almost impossible in the lake, which gave its name.
This unique feature makes floating very easy. In fact, it is so easy that it’s almost impossible to swim. On the other hand, you can float so easily that you can read a newspaper while in the water. There are beaches around the lake where you can experience this unique feeling. Though, we need to mention that on the Israel side, there are public beaches with nice infrastructure, while on the Jordan side, you need to go through a resort (and pay) or to a wild beach.
The other famous feature of the Dead Sea is that its surface is at about 430 meters below sea level, making it the lowest land altitude in the world. It is fascinating to descent to such a level, look at all the surroundings and know that we could be under water if there was a connection to the seas.
The Empty Quarter
By Roxanne from Faraway worlds
Encompassing roughly a third of the Arabian Peninsula, the Rub Al Khali Desert, also known as the Empty Quarter, is the world’s largest uninterrupted desert. The desert is over 1,000 km long and 500 km wide and stretches between Saudi Arabi, Oman, Yemen and Abu Dhabi. The scenery is spectacular – just unending waves of towering sand dunes, changing color depending on the time of day.
Most travelers visit the Empty Quarter from Abu Dhabi. The Liwa Oasis is about three hours’ drive from the city and is on the northern edge of the Rub Al Khali Desert. There are good roads to Liwa and you can drive yourself or go on a day trip or overnight tour from Abu Dhabi. If you wish to stay longer and explore the area, there are several luxurious desert resorts where you relax for a couple of days and marvel at the stars at night.
There is a surprising amount to see around Liwa, including the Liwa Fort, camel racing, falconry and Tel Moreeb, the world’s tallest sand dune. While there is a paved road to Tel Moreeb, if you want to see more of the remarkable dunes, you’ll need to hire a professional driver or go on a tour – the landscape is breathtaking but unsafe for a single 4×4.
Makran Coast of Balochistan
By Arabela from The Spicy Travel Girl
The Makran Coast of Balochistan may perhaps be the most magnificent natural wonder in the Middle East you didn’t know existed. Stretching along the shores of the Arabian Sea and the Sea of Oman, the Makran Coast is shared by the states of Iran and Pakistan, and is known for its dramatic white cliffs, otherworldly rock formations, mud volcanoes, and desert landscapes. While the most impressive features can be found on the Pakistani side of the border, government regulations restrict foreigners from visiting the Pakistani province of Balochistan. The good news is, the Iranian portion of the Makran Coast is open to tourists from around the world and offers similar views.
The Iranian side of the Makran Coast is best explored out of Chabahar. Located in the far southeast of the country, Chabahar isn’t exactly easy to access: it takes about twelve hours to travel by bus from Kerman to Chabahar, and there are limited flights. However, a visit to the stunning natural wonders of the Makran Coast will certainly be worth the effort. In this completely non touristic corner of the world, travelers can witness the most breathtaking natural sites such as the cliffs of Beris, the Martian Mountains, some of the world’s tallest mud volcanoes, pristine turquoise-water beaches, and untouched desert landscapes sprinkled with camels and date palm trees. Many travelers report feeling like they have visited another planet thanks to these otherworldly landscapes.
Due to some security concerns, caution is advised when traveling in Balochistan. The region is best explored with a local (who are some of the world’s most hospitable people) and women should avoid roaming around alone. It is important to note that Baloch culture is very different from Persian culture, and visitors need to make sure they can respect the oftentimes deeply conservative local customs.
Natural Landmarks of the Middle East – Other countries
Hormuz Island, Iran
By Diana from the Globetrotting Detective
Hormuz Island in Iran is one of the most colorful, extraordinary, and fascinating islands in the Middle East.
This unique and ethereal natural wonder is situated in the province of Hormozgan in the south of Iran. Traveling on Hormuz Island will make you feel that you are part of a magical sci-fi fantasy in which you are exploring another planet.
Colorful mountains, valleys, beaches, and caves are all over Hormuz island.
The two most fascinating natural beauties on the island are the Red Beach and the Rainbow Mountain.
The Red Beach is the most iconic landmark of Hormuz Island. The sand on the beach is literally red. The red sand itself makes the water of the sea pinkish-reddish. For this reason, the island is also called the bloody island of Iran.
One of the most surprising things about the red sand is that it is also the most important element of the local gastronomy. They flavor their meals with the red soil from the beach of Hormuz Island. That’s what also makes their fish stew and bread red.
The second most famous prodigy of nature on the island is the Rainbow Mountain. An infinite flood of shades and hues of colors of this kaleidoscopic mountain feels out of this world. That is why Hormuz Island is also known as the Rainbow Island of Iran.
The only way to get to Hormuz Island is by ferry, either from Qeshm Island or the city of Bandar Abbas. Are you ready for it?
Tree of Life, Bahrain
By Abi from I Am Going On An Adventure
One of the best things to do in Bahrain is to visit the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is a wonderful natural wonder which sits majestically at the top of a hill in the Arabian Desert.
Its evergreen charm and mystical existence make it one of the top tourist attractions in Bahrain attracting thousands of visitors each year.
Perched alone in the sandy desert and with no apparent water source; it was believed to be watched over by Enki, the Mythical God of Water. The tree has survived for over 400 years and stands at 32 feet!
Nowadays, it seems its roots might have tapped into an underground spring or reached deep enough to find the water.
Either way, the Tree of Life represents the magic of life and power or nature.
The best way to visit the Tree of Life is to arrange a private or group tour as it’s in the middle of nowhere and so you’ll need transport to reach it. If tours are not your thing, it’s also possible to hire a taxi driver.
If you arrange for a taxi driver to visit the Tree of Life, it’s a good idea to do it for the whole day so you can see other sites in Bahrain too! You can get a better deal if it’s for the day.
Wadi Bani Khalid, Oman
By Pedro Richardson from Travel With Pedro
Wadi Bani Khalid is one of the most beautiful natural attractions of Oman. So, it’s no surprise that it is among the most popular attractions in the country.
Wadi Bani Khalid’s main feature is its rugged, orange-coloured mountains and natural pools with bright green colours. Located in the middle of the harsh desert, this oasis could be confused with a mirage out of “Lawrence of Arabia”.
You can swim in the main natural pool, popular with locals and tourists, or walk up the riverbed and find a quieter spot to enjoy the place on your own. You will often be approached by locals who’ll offer to take you to some of the cave pools. That’s a great experience but only advised if you’re a confident swimmer.
Apart from a small restaurant and a bar selling soft drinks, the infrastructure here is very basic. The temperature is always high, so it’s important to take with you plenty of water, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen, even during the winter months.
Wadi Bani Khalid is located 230km from the capital Muscat and to get there you’ll have to drive. While you could visit on a day trip, it’s better to stay overnight in nearby villages or in Sur, a major city 82 km away. There are several other smaller wadis in the area and Sur itself is a picturesque city, known for its dhow-building workshops.
Bimmah Sinkhole, Oman
By Yukti Agrawal from Travelwithme24x7
Bimmah Sinkhole is one of the most beautiful natural sites in Oman, with sparkling emerald green water surrounded by a rugged landscape. It lies 130 kilometers south of Muscat, off the Muscat-Sur Highway near Quriyat town.
Bimmah Sinkhole is known as Hawiyat Najm in the local language, and hence the signboards also state the local language when you drive from Muscat to Bimmah Sinkhole on Muscat-Sur Highway. You can also stop at many natural stopovers near the beaches and fjords during this drive.
This sinkhole was formed by the erosion of the Earth’s upper crust layer. The erosion of Earth happened due to the interaction of limestone with underneath water. Underground it is connected with the Arabian Sea, which is 600 m from the sinkhole.
This 50 m x 70 m(approximately) and 30 m deep depression filled with beautiful emerald-colored water is a must-visit attraction in Oman or included in things to do near Muscat.
When you descend the steps, you can see the different shades of green due to the angle of your vision and the sun above. Also, you can see each layer of rock/crust and shades of water vary.
From the park towards the sinkhole, you need to descend 20 m below with the help of steps.
Bimmah Sinkhole is located in the park, and there are changing rooms and toilets. There are no restaurants or hotels nearby, so carrying food and water with you is better. Eating is not allowed near the sinkhole, and swimming is done at your own risk. If you are swimming, do not jump from a height, as this area is formed of uneven rocks and rugged regions.
The entrance is free.
You must book a tour or drive alone as public transport doesn’t take you here. Google Maps works fine here.
Mesopotamian Marshes, Iraq
By Diana from The Globetrotting Detective
The Iraqi Marshes, also known as the Mesopotamian Marshes, is one of the most interesting places in Iraq. It cannot be missed when traveling to Iraq. It’s the first national park in Iraq and since 2016 it’s been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Being one of the most famous swamps in the world, it’s home to captivating landscapes, enthralling wildlife, and distinctive culture. The Mesopotamian Marshes are situated in Iraq’s southern part on the floodplains of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.
This immense area consists of three parts: the Central Marshes, the Hammar Marshes, and the Hawizeh Marshes. The most well-known part as a tourist destination is the Hammar Marshes spreading out in the Al-Chibayish District.
People living in the Mesopotamian Marshes are called Marsh Arabs who are the descendants of the ancient nation of the Sumerians.
They preserved their traditional lifestyle: they live in tribes and wear a traditional long shirt called thawb and a headcloth called keffiyeh wrapped around the head. The Marsh Arabs live in reed houses called mudhifs in secluded villages throughout the Marshes.
It is possible to travel to the Marshes independently by shared taxi from the city of Nasriyah. However, to get the best out of your day there, you had better hire a guide.
With your guide, go to the local market early in the morning to shop for traditional local goodies such as homemade bread and cheese for breakfast, and fish with herbs and pickled vegetables for lunch.
Then, take a boat for about 5-6 hours. You can boat around the Marshes to see how life is going in the Marshes, make a break for breakfast at a reed house, and another break for making Masgouf (grilled fish) on fire for lunch.
After the boat ride, stop by one of the fancy reed houses of a sheik and enjoy the local hospitality sipping a cup of strong local coffee.
If you have the chance and time, stay there overnight.