There are plenty of beautiful beaches in the Middle East and this post has all of the top ones. There is so much more than culture and history to be found when you travel in the Middle East. Whether it is the cuisine, the history, the adventure or the beaches, there is so much attracting visitors to the region. While the Arab Spring disrupted travel in much in the region, international visits have been increasing year over year as stability in the region, and a desire for adventure travel has brought muchly needed tourists.
If you are planning on traveling to any of these beaches in the Middle East, you are bound to enjoy yourself. Keep reading to see why each of these beaches made the list.
Best Beaches of Iran: Qeshm Island
Qeshm Island is a pure and untouched Middle Eastern paradise. It is situated in the southern part of Iran, only 5 km away from the mainland, and has day-tripping proximity to another magical island, Hormuz Island, which is celebrated for its red beach.
The island of Qeshm is flying under-the-radar among international tourists but very popular with Iranian holiday-makers.
There is not much infrastructure on the island. Therefore, the best way to discover the island is by getting your trip organized by your host.
Qeshm has a lot of isolated and immaculate golden beaches with shallow and clear waters. The beaches are not indicated and locals rarely there. If you want to discover the beaches of Qeshm, ask your host to drive you the beaches where you can sunbathe and swim.
On the beaches, all you will find is dramatic natural beauty and literally nothing else. The wild and unspoiled beach will be all to yourself. After getting changed behind the rocks on the beach, you can experience your secluded spot with all your senses, feel the balmy water on your skin, listen to the sound of waves, and marvel at the arid desert and rugged rocks around you.
Qeshm Island is sprinkled with a couple of hotels and guesthouses. I recommend that you stay in a guesthouse because guesthouses are very traditional and you actually get to experience how locals live on the island.
If you are adventurous at heart, consider wild camping. It is legal on the island. There is no official campground. You can just pitch your tent anywhere on the beach.
As for places to eat, there is not a wild selection. The best thing to do is to eat in your guesthouse where you will be served delicious homemade food with the best local ingredients.
Last but not least, make sure you travel to Qeshm Island between November to March when the temperatures remain moderate.
Contributed by Diana Lesko from The Globetrotting Detective
Best in Israel: Dado Beach, Haifa
If you are looking for the best beaches in the Middle East, Israel is a great place to head with some fabulous Mediterranean beaches including my pick for the best beach, Dado beach.
Dado Beach has everything you want from a best beach: it’s gorgeous with clean sand slowly making its way into the aqua blue water and there are great services to make a visit here ultra-easy.
While the beach can be on the narrow side, the services and facilities make up for this. There is plenty of cover from the sun, seats, toilets and a few places to eat, although at busy times, get here early to get a table at the restaurants. You can eat quite close to the water enjoying the great views.
Warm evenings are especially a good time to visit when the paved promenade next to the sand gives great views and a stroll is very enjoyable.
Dado Beach is located in Haifa which is just north of Tel Aviv. It’s easy to visit here with Hof Carmel railway station and bus interchange being just a couple of minutes away. If you are driving, there is a free, large car park although this can fill up quickly on great days.
Contributed by David from Survey Fanatics
Israel Beaches: Bograshov in Tel Aviv
Bograshov Beach in the heart of Tel Aviv may be crowded on a typical weekend, but there’s no better place to experience modern Israeli culture up-close. It’s a wonderful place to lounge on the beach, splash in the warm Mediterranean waters and even learn to play matkot – beach paddle tennis that’s often considered Israel’s national sport. Despite Israel’s stereotype as a very religious country, you can pack any type of swimsuit you feel comfortable wearing – get the inside scoop on what to bring to Israel and what to leave at home.
While there’s limited parking right at the beach (other than expensive hotel parking), Tel Aviv is an extremely walkable city and boasts excellent local bus service. It’s easy to get to Bograshov or the adjacent beaches no matter where you’re staying!
There’s no fee to enter any of the beaches in Tel Aviv. The municipality also regulates the price of chair and umbrella rentals so that they’re just a few dollars each. Even the price of some foods at the beachside snack stand is regulated to keep them affordable. You’ll find class options like falafel sandwiches, fries and Coke.
One of the best things about Bograshov beach is that you can spend an entire day there. With ready access to food and restrooms, a great playground right in the sand, a free lending library of beach toys and even a bar on the beach you’ll want to stay at least long enough to take in the stunning sunset views.
Contributed by Melissa from The Family Voyage
Israel: Dead Sea
One of the best things about moving to Europe is how cheap airfare is compared to the US. In some cases, the taxi ride to the airport cost more than the airfare to get me to another country. Affordable airfare allows me to take spontaneous trips, unavailable to me if I stayed in the US. For example, I took a $45 roundtrip flight from Cyprus to Israel last summer for an impulsive weekend getaway.
I’ve lived in over ten countries and traveled to over 40, but Israel was my first time in the Middle East. Roaming the cobblestone streets of Jerusalem’s Old City is a walking history lesson, but the unexpected treat for me was experiencing the Dead Sea.
I signed up for a bus tour that included climbing to the ancient ruins of Fort Masada, watching the sunrise over the Jordanian mountains, stopping at the Ein Gedi nature reserve, and finally, a chance to float in the Dead Sea. The entire tour took over 10 hours and costs ~$80.
Let me be clear when I say that the Dead Sea is the best beach in the Middle East; this is not the quintessential beach vacation. You will not surf, snorkel, or look at fish in the Dead Sea, but the experience you have here will be unlike any tropical beach in the Philippines or Thailand.
The Dead Sea is literally the lowest point on earth you can visit. The shore sits at 1400 feet/~425 meters BELOW sea-level. The bed of the sea is made of slabs of salt and clay. The water here is over 30% salt, causing you to float effortlessly rather than sink in the briny water. Insider tip, opening your eyes underwater is incredibly painful. Don’t plan on dunking your head. It’s not worth it.
Contributed by Marco Sison from Nomadic FIRE
Best Beaches Oman: Sur
Oman boasts one of the longest stretches of shoreline of any country in the Middle East – over 3,000 kilometers in total. The gulf coast is one of the most beautiful parts of the country, thanks largely to cities like Sur. An important port since the 6th century and the spiritual home of Sinbad the Sailor, the city of Sur is steeped in history and legend. It’s best known for its wooden shipbuilding industry – craftspeople have been making sambuk, ghanjah and Omani dhow boats here for centuries. There is still an open-air dhow yard on the harbor where you can watch wooden dhows being made.
Golden sandy beach and the still blue waters of the Gulf of Oman make this a good place to swim. Sur beach is rather low-key, with no entrance fees. If you’re driving, free parking is plentiful.
Other things to do in Sur include walking along the seafront promenade at dusk, when locals come out to drink in the cool air, climbing the Al Ayjah Watch Tower for a view of Sur’s gorgeous white houses, and visiting the nearby lighthouse. A meal at Sahari Restaurant is a must – the terrace here overlooks the dhow yard from the opposite side of the harbor.
Sur is a great base for exploring the rest of Oman’s coast. Al Hadd, the easternmost point of the Arabian Peninsula, is an easy day trip from Sur. Don’t miss Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve, an important nesting point for sea turtles located 45 minutes’ drive from Sur.
Contributed by Emily from Wander-Lush
Oman Beaches: Ras Al Jinz
Ras Al Jinz beach isn’t your typical sunbathing beach. In fact, sunbathing isn’t even allowed here. Nevertheless, this beach should feature on any Oman road trip itinerary, and here is why: Ras Al Jinz Beach a world-famous turtle reserve. No less than four different types of marine turtles lay their eggs here: The Green Turtle, the Olive Ridley Turtle, the Loggerhead Turtle, and the Hawksbill Turtle (which sadly is critically endangered).
Understandably, to protect the turtles access to the beach is limited to tours only. Tours are run by the Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve, which isn’t just an interactive museum with several exhibits about the turtles but also a research facility. The Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve is an eco-tourism Project managed by the Oman Tourism Development Company and is dedicated to the preservation of the turtles.
The best time to see the turtles nesting is between May and September. Tours are available from the Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve every night; these are led by knowledgeable guides who share a love for these precious marine creatures and their preservation.
Ras Al Jinz is located on the East Coast of Oman and about a three-hour drive from Muscat, the capital of Oman. To make the most of your trip, book one of the Luxury Eco-Tents at the Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve for an unforgettable experience.
Contributed by Lotte from Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog
Best in Turkey: Blue Lagoon, Ölüdeniz
Every year millions of people flock to Turkey to soak in the beach bliss that comes with crystalline water, pristine sand, and the warmth from sunlight.
If you visit Ölüdeniz, Blue lagoon is definitely worth a trip. Located in a protected national park, it is undoubtedly the most famous beach in Turkey where the Aegean Sea meets the Mediterranean.
The sea here is of varying shades of turquoise and the water is so clean that you can see the fish and at times, turtles and seahorses. It is easy to swim in the water. You can simply lay back and watch all the paragliders coming down from Babadag mountain.
You can rent kayaks, canoes, and paddle-boats to explore the rocky shores of the inner lagoon.
There are sunbeds and umbrellas that you can rent for 15 Liras. You can also get a cabana for 150 Liras if you want to be a little away from the crowd. If you want to avoid the rush, get there early in the morning. Definitely don’t forget to carry water, water shoes, sunscreen, and a hat. The beach is stoney. So if you have coral shoes, it will make a big difference in getting in and out of the water.
Entrance to the national park costs 7 Liras. It is open from 8 am to 8 pm. There are many places to grab a bite to eat that wouldn’t make a hole in your pocket.
The Blue Lagoon Hotel in Ölüdeniz is a great place to stay. If you are a budget traveler, I can recommend the Marcan Beach Hotel.
And if you need a visa to visit Turkey, here is how to get a Turkey eVisa.
READ MORE: Best Beaches in Turkey
Best in the United Arab Emirates: Yas Beach, Abu Dhabi
Yas Beach on the beautiful Yas Island in Abu Dhabi is a stunning place to spend the day, and visiting here is definitely one of the best things to do in Abu Dhabi. Located around 20 minutes drive from the heart of Abu Dhabi city centre, this scenic, sandy island is surrounded by translucent, warm waters and natural mangroves.
Although Yas Island is more known for its famed attractions, such as the Yas Marina Circuit and Ferrari World, the island is also home to a long, pristine beach and offers the perfect escape from the busy city centre.
Entry to the beach is just AED 60 for adults, and AED for childcare 16 and under on weekdays. At the weekend, entrance is AED 120 for adults (although half-price for ladies on Saturdays) and AED 50 for childcare. Your entry fee covers a sun lounger and beach umbrella, as well as beach towel for the day. If you prefer, you can rent a beach cabana instead for guaranteed privacy and service.
The beach has a number of restaurants and food kiosks, a huge infinity pool and beach volleyball too. You can also rent jet skis, banana boat rides or a double kayak where you can explore the nearby mangrove ecosystem. The water at the beach is calm, warm and sheltered, making it a great place for families too.
A top tip: If you stay at one of the nearby hotels, entry is free everyday to the beach!
UAE Beaches: Jumeriah Public Beach, Dubai
Dubai is home to several amazing beaches and although many of the beaches are affiliated with hotels, luckily there are a few public beaches that you can enjoy without having to pay anything. One of these beaches is Jumeirah Beach, which is one of the most popular public beaches in Dubai.
Located in the Jumeirah district, Jumeirah Public Beach is a beautiful white sandy beach that stretches along the coastal area of the city. Taking a taxi is the easiest option to reach the beach but if you would rather go with public transportation, there are several bus lines that stop close to the beach.
The beach has a great infrastructure with toilets and showers and if you’re looking for something more adventurous than swimming or sunbathing, you can try surfing, jet skiing or parasailing as well.
Although the beach itself is beautiful and the water is crystal clear, the real highlight of the beach is the Burj al Arab in the background. It provides an excellent backdrop to every photo so if you’re looking for the most instagrammable places in Dubai, you definitely need to put Jumeirah Public Beach on your itinerary!
The beach is quite popular among tourists and locals alike, so it’s best to go early in the morning if you want to avoid the crowds and the midday heat. The sunset is also amazing from the beach so visiting in the evening is a great idea as well!
Contributed by Krisztina Harsanyi from She Wanders Abroad
Best in Jordan: Berenice Beach, Aqaba
Jordan Beaches: Dead Sea Beach
Best in Saudi Arabia: Obhur Beaches, Jeddah
If you are ever on the western side of Saudi Arabia, a visit to the Red Sea is one of the best things to do while in Saudi Arabia. While most of the public beaches are very full of litter and trash, if you’re willing to get past that, you’ll be greeted by some of the most amazing coral reefs in the world right offshore. While most places in the world require you to take a boat ride out to visit reefs to snorkel and dive, in Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea, many reefs are only 100-200m offshore. There you’ll find some of the most pristine coral reefs and sea life in the world.
One of the most accessible areas of the Red Sea in Saudi is around the city of Jeddah. While the corniche is well built up for seaside strolls, for a true beach and sea experience, head a bit north of town to the Obhur area. Here you’ll find dozens of “private beach clubs” where the customs are relaxed and beach access is great. Silver Sands beach club is one of the most popular, though the Sheridan beach club is my personal favorite since they have a resident octopus that we always see right offshore.
While you’re in these beach clubs, most of them allow women to dress in western swimwear and a few will allow bikinis (both a big deal in Saudi). Diving and snorkeling equipment is available for rent, and all of them have food available for purchase. While some of them shut down their services for prayer time, resorts like the Sheridan that cater to a more Western crowd, do not.
Submitted by Jessica Averett from Bring The Kids
Best in Egypt: Sharm el Sheikh