20 trips within six-and-a-half hours flying time from Dubai
Muscat, Beirut and Fujairah will always be popular with UAE residents, but why not broaden your horizons? We highlight 20 alternatives, all within six-and-a-half hours flying time from Dubai.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia The capital of Ethiopia is steeped in culture. It’s one of the oldest civilisations on the planet, so travellers who love history will have plenty to discover. Addis, as it’s commonly known, is Africa’s fourth largest city and home to a plethora of museums, including one of the finest on the continent – the Ethnological Museum located within the former emperor Haile Selassie’s palace. Its collection tells the story of Ethiopia and its people. The city is vibrant and it’s safe for visitors to meander around its many markets or head out to the surrounding hills and countryside. Flight time from Dubai? Four hours
Who flies there? Emirates, Flydubai, Ethiopian Airlines Starting price for flights? Dhs1,773 www.tourismethiopia.org
Cairo, Egypt Take your family to the capital of Egypt. Cairo, the bustling and beautiful city on the River Nile, is great for culture vultures. Discover the history of the Pharaohs and see the Great Pyramid on a day trip to Giza or sail down the Nile in a wooden boat known as a Felucca, as you take in the sights and sounds of this ancient, yet modern city.
Flight time from Dubai? Four hours
Who flies there? Emirates, EgyptAir Starting price for flights? Dhs1,808 en.egypt.travel
Petra, Jordan Located in southern Jordan, the historical city of Petra is a true wonder of the world. It was once the capital city of the ancient Nabataean Arabs and it is one of the most famous archaeological sites on the planet. Make the three-hour journey to the area by bus or taxi from Amman and stand among ancient monasteries dating back to the 1st century BC, including The Treasury, which was famously depicted in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Flight time from Dubai? Three hours Who flies there? Emirates, Flydubai, Royal Jordanian Starting price for flights? Dhs1,354 www.visitjordan.com
Warsaw, Poland Poland’s capital city brims with history, architecture and culture, as well as stunning parks by day and a rich eating out culture by night. Immerse yourself in classical music at the Fryderyk Chopin Museum – dedicated to the composer – then take a stroll through the Old Town Market Square and the pretty townhouses surrounding it. Sample traditional cuisine in one of its ‘Milk Bars’, which offer affordable and simple Polish dishes. The ‘Zygmuntówka’ – a jam-filled doughnut – will satisfy any sweet cravings while you discover the city.
Male, Maldives The islands that make up the Maldives are not just for romantic honeymooners. Families can check their brood into a resort on one of the 26 atolls and young kids will be kept entertained with watersports and kids’ clubs as well as activities that families can take part in together, such as snorkelling, diving and fishing.
Skopje, Macedonia Macedonia is an uncommon choice for holidaymakers from Dubai, but the Balkan city has plenty to offer. Skopje’s Ottoman and Byzantine history means there’s a plethora of culture to be discovered. At the Old Bazaar, goldsmiths and other skilled workers practise their craft and it sells everything from vegetables to bric-a-brac. It’s also a great spot for a cheap kebab lunch. Flight time from Dubai? Five-and-a-half hours
Paphos, Cyprus The city in the southwest of Cyprus is the birthplace of Aphrodite, who in Greek Mythology represents love, beauty and pleasure. Couples visiting the city can enjoy its lively atmosphere and explore the rugged coastline including Aphrodite’s Rock.
Tbilisi, Georgia For a romantic weekend that offers culture and history as well as breathtaking views, the Georgian capital is a good choice. Book a natural sulphur bath in the Abanotubani district, rummage around the Dry Bridge Flea market for vintage books and antiques, dine in cafés along the upmarket Rustavelli Avenue and then take a gentle stroll through the vast Botanical Gardens with 4,500 species of plants and flowers.
Doha, Qatar In under two hours you can be in the Qatari capital, Doha. In this slower paced city than Dubai or Abu Dhabi, visitors can enjoy the relaxing Doha Corniche promenade and the 880,000 sq m Aspire Park. Doha isn’t short of culture, either. The Museum of Islamic Art is a must-see, and the park surrounding it is a lush green haven away from the city, too. Visitors who are on a whistle-stop trip can get the Doha Bus, a sightseeing bus from which they’ll get an audio guided tour of the city’s highlights.
Moscow, Russia If you only have a few days to spare, Moscow can easily fill your itinerary. The Kremlin and Red Square, with their bulbous multicoloured swirling rooftops and stunning architecture will fascinate any visitor. Stay in five-star hotels in the city centre and relax in luxurious spas, or foodie travellers can devour a hearty local menu of dishes such as caviar beef stroganoff and chicken Kiev in the city’s 24-hour restaurants and cafés.
Flight time from Dubai? Five-and-a-half hours
Who flies there? Qatar Airways, Aeroflot, Flydubai, Emirates, Somon Air
Vienna, Austria It’s the city of music, coffee, cakes and culture. A weekend spent here will be a treat to all the senses. Stroll along the Danube and marvel at the grand imperial palaces and Gothic cathedrals, including the masterpiece Stephansdom (St Stephen’s Cathedral). It’s visually astounding with its dazzling patterned roof, and well worth spending a few hours exploring. Visitors can also enjoy classical concerts – there’s something on in the city every night. There are also plenty of high-end shops to browse, as well as antique markets. And be sure to find a bijou Viennese coffee house and sample speciality brews.
Athens, Greece Steeped in ancient history, rich in culture and full of mythology and legend, a trip to Athens will allow you to explore a plethora of monuments and the majestic Acropolis during the day, and experience Greek nightlife when the sun goes down. Stay near Syntagma Square, Athens’ central square, and you’ll be in walking distance of some of the city’s top bars and be able to enjoy floodlit views of the Acropolis while sipping on sundowners.
Bangkok, Thailand A little over six hours from Dubai, Bangkok is the ideal location for the guys on a getaway. Thailand is well known for its warm approach to tourists and Bangkok is an assault on the senses. Groups of guys can take part in sports, jungle trekking, party on the famous Sukhumvit Road or just chill out with a Thai back massage.
Flight time from Dubai? Six hours and 15 minutes Who flies there? Emirates, Thai Airways Starting price for flights? Dhs2,613 www.tourismthailand.org
Chennai, India India is a popular choice for tourists from the UAE, but the hot new destination is Chennai. It provides a mixture of cosmopolitan modernity, colonial architecture, colourful temples and cool beaches, making it an exciting place to discover. Hang out at Marina Beach in the early morning for a game of cricket with the locals and enjoy tasty South Indian thali meals in the evening. Fight time from Dubai? Four hours
Budapest, Hungary Considered the Paris of Central Europe, Budapest, like the French city, is elegant, stylish, offers plenty of great food and shopping and trendy bars. Ideal for getting the girls together for a weekend break, Budapest is also a spa town and you can’t leave without taking in the healing waters. Stay at the Corinthia Hotel for a luxurious and central base and book in for a treatment at its Royal Spa.
Istanbul, Turkey This is a heady city where East meets West in a flurry of spices, minarets and museums. The city is alive with culture. Strategically straddling Europe and Asia, aspects of both converge in Istanbul. Visit the Topkapi Palace – home to generations of sultans and their wives – The Blue Mosque, and enjoy a deep scrub in the Ottoman bathhouses. Then take a ferry across the Bosphorus and explore Üsküdar on the Asian side of the city.
Flight time from Dubai? Four hours and 50 minutes
Who flies there? Emirates, Pegasus Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Flydubai, Norwegian
Kerala, India Forming part of India’s spice coast, Kerala (pictured on our cover this week) has a long history of trade and has been enormously influenced by visiting merchants over the years, from its architecture to its cuisine. Home to beautiful beaches and networked by a staggering 44 rivers, the tropical state is a peaceful and popular location for ayurvedic health retreats, while its large number of Hindu temples and festivals make it an exciting destination for cultural trips too.
Flight time from Dubai? Three hours and 50 minutes
Who flies there? Jet Airways, Emirates, Flydubai Starting price for flights? Dhs1,080 www.keralatourism.org
Kathmandu, Nepal Step out of your comfort zone with a thrilling trip to Nepal’s capital. Encircled by mountains, the location is a haven for rock climbers who can scale the boulders on the outskirts of the city. White water rafting is also popular with adventure seekers, paddling down the rapids of the Trisuli River. Tours can be a short half-day or a full eight- to ten-day expedition, exploring Nepal’s countryside, canyons and beaches.
Flight time from Dubai? Four hours and 20 minutes
Who flies there? Flydubai, Pakistan International Airlines
Larnaca, Cyprus Cyclists should don shorts and jerseys and head to Larnaca for a biking tour. The Cypriot town has become a top destination for mountain bikers and the southern city’s location provides plenty of challenging and rugged terrain that bikers can get stuck into. Cycle tour providers will get you set up with a rental bike, so you can explore the hills of Larnaca in organised groups.
Port Sudan, Sudan Diving in Port Sudan is unrivalled for beauty and danger, and for thrillseekers from the UAE, it’s just three hours away. Port Sudan was formerly one of busiest ports in the world, so there’s plenty of ageing wrecks waiting to be discovered including that of The Umbria, a Second World War cargo ship. Divers can follow in the footsteps of Jacques Cousteau here, and scuba dive in the shark-infested waters of Sha’ab Rumi.
Flight time from Dubai? Three hours and ten minutes Who flies there? Flydubai Starting price for flights? Dhs1,430 www.sudan.net