Top 12 Places to Visit in 2019
As we wrap up 2018, our ArchaeoAdventures team came together to debate the best place to visit in the coming year. After much great discussion on all the best off the beaten path locations in the Middle East and North Africa we came up with our list of the 12 Tops Places to Visit in 2019. Are these locations on your 2019 bucket list? They should be!
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Towering rusty red sandstone monoliths. Camel trains winding their way through a martian-like landscape. A blanket of stars brightly shining through the crisp desert air. The smile from a friendly bedouin as he welcomes you for tea and to share a spot around the fire. Wadi Rum is an exciting place to explore. Dramatic landscapes await travelers. You can hike the tallest peak in Jordan, Jebel Umm al Dami. Spend time with the bedouin learning about their lives and traditions, which go back thousands of years. Enjoy a camel trek. And make memories for a lifetime.
Why Visit Now: Wadi Rum is an exciting adventure travel location that is easy to reach and has adventures ranging from day trips to week long excursions.
Sailing the Nile River in private Dahabiya boat, Egypt
Watching the sunrise over the Nile River, the water still as glass, local fisherman rowing their small boats along the Nile, the large desert cliffs standing guard over the ancient river and the occasional ancient Egypt temple or shrine standing along the banks of this important river – traveling Egypt’s Nile river in a private Dahabiya is one of the best experiences to have in Egypt. Taking a small group Nile cruise gives you the opportunity to visit local families along the Nile, explore small villages, join the locals at the morning markets, watch local artisans at work and visit rarely explored ancient Egyptian sites. You’ll feel like an explorer from old visiting stretches of the Nile that sees few travelers
Why Visit Now: While the Pyramids and Cairo are visited by lots of travelers, a private small group Nile cruise gets you off the beaten path. Explore Egypt like few other travelers do!
Getting There: Join us on our March Egypt: Treasures of the Nile Tour; marvel at the incredible ancient sites, sail up the Nile in our private Dahabiya cruise boat, and meet friendly locals! This tour includes 4 days of cruising the Nile from Luxor to Aswan in our own private boat.
Get Lost in the Maze of Historic Fez, Morocco
A UNESCO world heritage site and one of the best preserved medieval-era medinas, visiting Fez feels like going back in time. Carts pulled by donkeys are still the only way to move goods in, out and around of the medinas. Shopkeepers sell the same types of goods their families sold for generations back. Artisans hammering away shaping brass, leather and silver. A twisting turning maze, there’s a surprise to discover around every corner.
Why Visit Now: Visiting Fez’ ancient medina feels like going back in time. Many craftsman and artisans still produce goods in the same way their great great grandfathers did generations before. Now is the time to visit to experience these traditions that continue to this day!
Getting There: Join us on our September and October Majestic Morocco Tours; and explore historic Fez! Stay in a gorgeous, historic riad in the heart of the ancient medina, dine on local Fesi cuisine (Fez is known as one of the culinary capitlas of Morocco), enjoy a morning walking tour of Fez to learn about daily life and the medina’s history, and enjoy free time to explore and bargain with local artisans.
Exploring the ancient souks of Tunis, Tunisia
Originally started as a Berber town, Tunis grew in size and importance until the Carthagian era was one of the most important cities in the region. Today it is the capital of Tunisia. With souks dating back hundreds of years, the lively markets are a great place to experience daily life and take a walk through history.
Why Visit Now: Tunisia has slowly seen an increase in tourism since 2012, but still isn’t seeing the level as neighboring countries. It’s a great time to visit this exciting country without the tourism crowds.
Getting There: Tunis is a great starting point for exploring great Tunisia. Many different airlines fly in and out of Tunis from around the world.
Dahshur Pyramids, Egypt
Built by the father of Khufu, who built the Great Pyramid, the Dahshur Pyramids tower almost as tall of the Pyramids of Giza. Visit the Pyramids at Giza to experience the zenith of pyramid building and to climb around inside the Great Pyramid, then visit the Dahashur Pyramids to have them all to yourself. Few travelers reach this remarkable site. Spending a few hours here gives you a chance to get up close and personal with these amazing structures. You can also climb around inside the Red Pyramid.
Why Visit Now: Most travelers visit the Giza Pyramids, but few get to Dahshur. Visit these pyramids to see how the ancient Egyptian intended these structures – solitary giants in the desert.
Hot Air Balloon ride at dawn over Goereme, Turkey
With over 300 days of flying available each year, Goereme, Turkey is one of the top places in the world to soar in a hot air balloon. Low winds, dry, clear days and geological features straight out of Planet of the Apes, soaring in a hot air balloon at sunrise is an experience to never forget.
Why Visit Now: Turkey is still a great destination to visit. Get beyond Istanbul – hike, explore and hot air balloon around the other-worldly topography around Goereme!
Getting There: Flights run between Istanbul and near Goereme. You can also take a night and arrive there the next day.
The Oasis of Al Ain, UAE
The UAE is known for the vibrant city of Dubai and the stunning Sheikh Zayed Mosque Dhabi, but the UAE has so much more for travelers to explore. A unique experience is visiting the Al Ain oasis and date plantations. Exploring a desert oasis is as interesting experience and will help you understand the desert history of the region.
Why Visit Now: There is so much more than just Dubai to see in the UAE. Visiting Al Ain and the oasis will shares the countries interesting culture and heritage.
Getting There: From Dubai, Al Ain is an easy drive by car or also reached by bus.
Sunset in the Sahara Desert, Morocco
Spending time in the Sahara desert, there are never enough sunsets and sunrises. Golden, sweeping dunes, towering sand structures, camel caravans, oases and camping under the sparkling Milky Way galaxy visible in the crystal clear night sky – spending the night in the Sahara is a once in a lifetime experience!
Why Visit Now: Camping in the Sahara desert is a memorable and unique experience. While most travelers visit the Moroccan medinas and cities, landscapes like the Sahara are just as important in shaping the culture and people. Spend time in this great desert learning about traditional Berber life and the magic of the Sahara. There is no time like the present to go!
Visit Ras Al Jinz to see endangered Green Sea Turtles hatch, Oman
Oman is one of the few places you can see the Green Sea Turtles lay their eggs and then the babies make their way to the sea. This warm and welcoming country is still a bit off the main tourist path, yet has excellent infrastructure, making it a great country to visit. Between April and August about 20,000 turtles lay their eggs on Oman’s beaches. They lay roughly 50,000 – 60,000 eggs. Ras Al Jinz is one of the largest nesting sites in the Indian Ocean and one of the largest nesting sites for the endangered Green Turtles. Be sure to visit the Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve and explore the beaches with their licensed guides to ensure that the turtles are properly protected.
Why Visit Now: Ras Al Jinz is one of the best places in the world to view the endangered Green Sea Turtles.
Getting There: Travelers to can stay at the Ras Al Jinz reserve. It’s located a couple hour drive from Muscat.
Hike the Lebanon Trail
A great adventure travel trip, the Lebanon Trail runs the length of the country. A series of hiking trails and old bedouin paths – many of these trails use old routes that merchants, caravans and travelers used back in the ancient times. Today these hiking trails crisscross the very best Lebanon has to offer – spectacular mountains, thick old growth forests (Lebanese Cedar was famous in ancient times), stunning ancient ruins, and beautiful seaside towns. Hiking this trail can be done on day hikes or as a longer multi-day hike.
Why Visit Now: Lebanon is a safe, stable country. It’s a great time to go! Seeking an adventure through a country with rich history and gorgeous landscape – the Lebanon Trail offers just this.
Getting There: Most hikes of the Lebanon Trail begin in Beirut, an easy city to reach by air travel.
Sunrise at Abu Simbel, Egypt
Built by Ramses II, as an advertisement of his might and power (as well as that of his Queen Nefertari), Abu Simbel is one of the most impressive temples in Egypt. It’s modern story is also just as impressive. When the High Dam was built, Abu Simbel was moved to its current location. In an incredible and impressive feat of modern conservation, the monument was moved piece by piece and rebuilt. The best time to visit Abu Simbel is at dawn. The soft morning light casting a warm pink glow over the colossal figures of Rameses II and Queen Nefertari. Arrive when the site opens at sunrise to beat the bus load of travelers who are still enjoying breakfast.
Why Visit Now: A few Nubian guesthouses are located near Abu Simbel, now allowing travelers to spend the night at Abu Simbel, see Abu Simbel at night, and visit this incredible site at sunrise.
Getting There: Join us on our March Egypt: Treasures of the Nile Tour; visit Abu Simbel first at night for the Sound and Light show, admiring this incredible structure lit with thousands of stars overhead. Then we come back at sunrise to watch the pink glow of the rising sun illuminate the colossal states of Abu Simbel.
Petra by Night, Jordan
While most travelers visit the famous site of Petra during the day, few travelers come for the Petra By Night event. Offered 3 days a week, the walk through the siq is lit by candles all the way down to the Treasury which is also illuminated by candlelight. Travelers sit in front off the Treasury enjoying traditional Bedouin music as soft candlelight flicks and dances across the Nabatean building’s facade as a blanket of twinkling stars shines overhead. Petra by Night transports travelers back to ancient times when the city would have been lit by candlelight and lamps, the stars overhead would have been bright diamonds in the sky and soft music would have floated from building to building.
Why Visit Now: Petra by Night is seeing an ever increasing number of visitors. Now is a great time to go and enjoy this magical experience!
Getting There: Join us on our March or October 7 Wonders of Jordan and Petra Tour and experience the beauty, wonder and adventure of Jordan! This tour includes both visiting Petra during the day and also the Petra By Night event.