How to Plan a Trip to the Middle East 2024/2025 & Itinerary Ideas

By Rita | Updated Sep. 11, 2023

Are you dreaming of a captivating journey to the Middle East? The thought of choosing the right destinations and maximizing your time might seem daunting.

Don't worry, our dedicated travel advisors are here to make every step easy. We're committed to helping you select the best destinations, create the perfect itinerary, navigate your budget wisely, and uncover the best times for you to enjoy your Middle Eastern escapade.

How to Choose Your Destinations in the Middle East

If this is your first time in the Middle East, Egypt and Turkey are not to be missed. As popular travel hubs, you can easily reach them and experience the best of the region. If your time is limited, Egypt is most recommended, whether you are taking a family or a couple's trip.

If you'd like to escape from the chaotic pace of life, you could consider delving into the Sahara Desert in Morocco.

If you're interested in the ancient civilizations of the Middle East, you could add Jordan to your trip.

To gain a deep understanding of the religious aspects of the Middle East, visiting Israel is essential.

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1. Egypt: the Epitome of the Middle East

Visit the Great Pyramids of GizaVisit the Great Pyramids of Giza

Egypt is the epitome of the Middle East, boasting historical wonders, sunny beaches, and exciting outdoor adventures.

There's nothing more exciting in Egypt than seeing the pyramids and mummies up close. Camel riding around the pyramids would make the experience more interesting for teenagers, while a sunset drink with a panorama of pyramids would give you a chance for romantic moments.

Taking a Nile cruise would make a relaxing component to your trip and provide an opportunity for a deep exploration of the Nile. A traditional dahabiya would offer a personalized boutique hotel experience on the water.

Whether you're traveling with active teenagers or want a slow-paced romantic celebration, you shouldn't miss the Red Sea. Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh are popular for luxury resorts and water activities. If you seek untouched coastal charm, El Gouna is an ideal choice.

2. Turkey: the Premier Destination for Hot-Air Balloon Experiences

At the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Turkey offers diverse experiences. You could travel back to ancient times from the cultural melting pot of Istanbul to the best-preserved ruins of Ephesus. If you like natural adventures, Cappadocia and Pamukkale would never disappoint you. For family or couple vacations, Antalya and Bodrum are great for beach relaxation.

Among these highlights, the most impressive thing could be a sunrise balloon ride in Cappadocia, especially for milestone celebrations.

If you prefer not to wake up too early, you could opt for a boutique cave hotel where you could effortlessly capture stunning photos against the backdrop of numerous hot-air balloons. An exotic cave spa and private cave dining experience would be perfect for unwinding together.

3. Israel: a Must-Visit Once-in-a-Lifetime Destination for Pilgrims

For religious pilgrims and history enthusiasts, Israel is a must-visit destination as the birthplace of three major world religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Jerusalem should be top of your bucket list for Israel. For a first-time visit, it's highly recommended to include its holy landmarks, such as the Mount of Olives, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Western Wall.

4. Jordan: See the Out-of-This-World Petra and Float on the Dead Sea Effortlessly

Jordan is home to an archaeological treasure: the "Rose-Red City" of Petra. One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, it stands as a timeless rock-cut architectural wonder. To enhance your experience, you could hike across off-the-beaten paths, such as Little Petra, or enjoy the atmospheric Petra by Night.

More than Petra, you could take a desert safari to Wadi Rum to see the Mars-like landscape. If you are traveling with teenagers, floating on the Dead Sea is a must, offering educational opportunities and fun.

5. Morocco: Best Place to Experience the Sahara Desert

If you want the best Sahara Desert experience to complement your tour, you should go to Morocco.

The Sahara promises to fulfill all your desert fantasies. Beyond camping in a traditional Berber tent, you could have special sunset experiences in the desert, such as dune-top dinners. For big celebrations, contact us for a professional photographer to capture your cherished moments.

As a well-known movie location, you could marvel at its colorful historical cities, including Marrakech, Aït Benhaddou, and Essaouira.

How Long to Spend in the Middle East

Usually, a duration of 10–14 days is popular for a first-time visit to the Middle East. Instead of rushing through multiple destinations, you're advised to focus on a large country, such as Turkey, Morocco or Egypt. Alternatively, you could take a combo trip to two neighboring countries, such as Jordan and Egypt or Jordan and Israel.

If you have a longer vacation of more than 2 weeks, you could visit three or more countries to unveil the multiple facets of the Middle East at a comfortable pace. The popular combos are Egypt–Jordan–Israel for 3 weeks and Turkey–Israel–Jordan–Egypt for 4 weeks.

You can get more details from How Long to Spend in the Middle East.

The Top 3 Itineraries for a Trip to the Middle East

Below, you'll find our three handpicked itineraries that have served as the foundation for many of our previous clients' Middle East trips. We're ready to tailor them to your preferences!

1. A 10-Day Egypt Itinerary for Families

Map of Egypt family tour

This 10-day Egypt itinerary is particularly designed for those who have limited time to go to the Middle East, such as families with teenagers. After exploring the pyramids in Cairo, you would enjoy the peaceful Nile by a sunset felucca in Aswan, encounter the majestic temples in Luxor, and conclude your trip at the Red Sea.

Besides the pyramids, you and your teens could discover the secrets hidden within the pharaohs' tombs or take a night city tour to Luxor. A foodie adventure would also be the icing on your Egypt "cake", creating unforgettable memories together.

At the Red Sea, your children could unleash their natural instincts to the fullest whether they like swimming, snorkeling, or desert adventures. You can also experience the thrill of an Aqua Park at the Titanic Palace in Hurghada.

If you like this itinerary, you could learn about more exclusive activities from our popular Egypt family tour. For longer family trips, you could check out our 2-week Egypt and Jordan tour and family tour of Egypt, Jordan, and Israel.

2. A 15-Day Morocco and Egypt Itinerary for Couples

Map of Egypt Jordan and Egypt tour

This itinerary expertly combines iconic highlights with romantic moments for couples. For a winding-down tour pace, you would travel from Morocco to Egypt: 8 days in Morocco and 7 days in Egypt.

In Morocco, a Sahara Desert safari with camping would create lifelong memories. You and your partner could engage in cooking traditional Moroccan dishes in a cooking class, indulge in a traditional Moroccan hammam spa, and craft your own souvenirs together in the local medina (old town area).

Beyond the iconic attractions in Egypt, we could arrange a dahabiya — a traditional wooden boat with 5–6 cabins — for a more exclusive experience. Hot-air balloon rides over Luxor and sunset felucca sailing trips are highly recommended.

Click here to see the details of our 15-Day Morocco and Egypt Highlights Tour. Or feel free to contact us to customize your own itinerary!

3. A 24-Day Biblical Pilgrimage Itinerary to Turkey, Israel, Jordan, and Egypt

Map of bible journey

If you're planning a pilgrimage trip to the Middle East, look no further than this itinerary.

You would journey through the spiritual essence of the Middle East: 8 days in Turkey, 4 days in Israel, 2 days in Jordan, and 10 days in Egypt.

Besides the iconic highlights of each country, you could gain deeper insights into the historical and geographical context of the Bible — from Ephesus in Turkey to Jerusalem in Israel and from Petra (Sela) in Jordan to Mount Sinai in Egypt.

Do You Have Your Own Bucket List Destinations?

The above-mentioned itineraries have been welcomed by our clients as the basis for many customized tours. If you have your own bucket list, just let us know. We are always ready to tailor-make a fulfilling tour for you from your dream trip ideas.

If you don't have enough inspiration yet, check out our Middle East tours.

How Much Is a Trip to the Middle East?

A private trip to the Middle East would offer more personalized experiences and flexibility. Generally speaking, a mid-range to a luxury private trip to the Middle East for a single person would start from around $3,000 to $5,000 for a 2-week trip.

Morocco, Egypt, and Jordan are budget-friendly destinations ranging from US$200–300 per person per day. They offer affordable options with wonderful experiences. Turkey and Israel are more expensive, with costs ranging from about US$500–700 per person per day.

Traveling with us, you could save on the cost per person by inviting more family members or friends.

Best Times to Visit the Middle East

As the Middle East has diverse climates, you could enjoy pleasant and comfortable weather whenever you go.

If you're going to visit Jordan, Morocco, Turkey, and Israel, the best times are between March and May as well as September to November. From November to March, the best place to go is Egypt. For a fulfilling grand tour of the Middle East, October to March would be your best choice.

If you're considering a summer getaway, June is the best time because of its cooler temperatures and fewer crowds compared to the more popular summer months (July and August). Countries around the Mediterranean, such as northern Egypt, Israel, and Turkey, are highly recommended for the cooler weather. A flexible private tour (which we provide) would help you keep cool with cold drinks supplied and a private air-conditioned car.

How to Get Around the Middle East

When entering the Middle East, major Middle Eastern cities, such as Dubai, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Cairo, and Istanbul, serve as the major international flight hubs.

European travelers have the advantage of more direct flight options. If you're traveling from North America, consider using Turkey or Egypt as entry points.

Upon arrival, flights are also the most efficient way to cover long distances between countries in the Middle East. For example, the flights from Cairo in Egypt to Amman in Jordan only take about 1 hour, while road trips take over 10 hours.

For city tours and journeys to remote areas, private transfers are recommended to spare you the hassle of navigating unfamiliar roads. They would also provide a more comfortable and personalized travel experience.

Is the Middle East Safe for Traveling?

When visiting the Middle East, you're advised to visit the popular tourist countries, such as Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey, which are generally considered to be safe for travelers.

Opting for a private tour provides an extra layer of security. Our local drivers and guides are very familiar with the local conditions, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for you.

Personalizing Your Middle East Trips With Us

You are warmly welcomed to have us customize your own trip based on your group size, interests, and other needs. Sit back and use our Create My Trip service.

In addition to the above itineraries, we also have other itineraries you may be interested in:

Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries

12-Day Best Egypt Tour with Sharm El Sheikh 12-Day Egypt Luxury Tour with Abu Simbel 15-Day Egypt and Kenya Highlights Tour 16-Day Grand Egypt Tour with White Desert

More Travel Ideas and Inspiration

How to Plan a Trip to Egypt and Jordan in 2024/2025 How to Plan a Nile River Cruise in Egypt 2024/2025 How to Plan a 2-Week Itinerary in Egypt and Jordan Best and Worst Times to Visit Egypt and Jordan 2024/2025
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