The Middle East can be one of the most exciting destinations for adventure travelers – that is of course conditioned you dig past all that’s commercial and stereotypical. But as spring starts to recede, allowing for the summer scorching sun to settle in, adventure travel in the Middle East becomes as good as a mild death wish. Nonetheless, one silver-lining remains, and that’s the region’s extended beaches along the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and more costal escapades.
If you’re a fan of watersports, or simply hope for a fun-packed vacation by the beach, you may want to check out these Middle East beaches, served with a pinch of adrenaline:
Masirah Island – Oman
Far from the trending tourist attractions around the Musandam fjords in northern Oman, Masirah Island – which lies south-east of the peninsula – is considered one of Oman’s best preserved beaches that cater for watersport enthusiasts.
Located 500 km away from the Omani capital Muscat, this 95 km stretch of sandy beaches is Oman’s up-and-coming destination for serious kite and windsurfers. If you’re still tip-toeing around kite-surfing, you may want to start off at the lagoon near Sur Masirah which is also optimum for free-styling.
Besides the allure of its watersports, Masirah Island is also the place for you if you’re big on wildlife observation and bird watching.
Since the island’s activities primarily revolve around the wind, the best time to visit is between May and September.
Mirfa Beach – UAE
If there’s one thing
the Emirates knows how to do best, it’s adding a splash of luxury to
everything. This may appeal to a certain crowd of travelers, but sometimes all
you hope for is a calm beach where you can unwind – and that is exactly what
you’ll find at Mirfa beach, al-Dhafra’s only developed beach.
Mirfa may be a nice spot for a night’s camping; however, it’s particularly famous for al-Gharbia Watersports Festival that takes place annually around the end of April. During the 10-day festival, champions and enthusiasts from around the world, as well as local and global enthusiasts, come together to take part in multiple competitions including rowing, sailing, kite-surfing, kayaking, parachute-sailing, and much more.
Although beach-time usually intersects with the summer, you must remember that the Emirates’ summer weather is ruthless. It’s advisable you plan your visit around al-Gharbia Watersports Festival in April. Otherwise, the best time to visit is between October and April.
Taghazout – Morocco
Only 30 minutes away from Agadir, Taghazout is Morocco’s surfing haven where you’re guaranteed to catch right about the perfect wave. Unlike the bustling Moroccan cities and their markets, Taghazout is a fishing village that offers you a scrumptious mixture of adrenaline and chill.
As the waves continue to crash against the shore, hope is renewed for seasoned and amateur surfers to breathe in the sport’s sense of freedom and adventure. After an exhausting day of riding waves, you can immerse yourself in a sunset yoga session to stretch and unwind, wrapping the day up on the perfect note.
Although Taghazout’s alluring waves never go out of season, the best time to visit is between late September and late April. To get the most out of your visit, make sure you factor in and avoid the local high-season which brings with it plenty of crowds – unless of course you enjoy over-populated beaches, then be our guest.
Farasan Islands – KSA
When one thinks of summertime and beaches, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is rarely the first place to come to mind. But if you’re around the region and you’re in for a marine treat, you definitely want to visit the Farasan Islands. Comprised of 84 islands in the Red Sea, this archipelago boasts land and marine biodiversity that is guaranteed to dazzle both divers and wildlife observers.
The main island of Farasan is also home to archaeological sites, such as al-Qassar village and the Ottoman Castle, that carry wafts of history for the more curious visitors.
Transportation to the island is both easy and free. All you need to do is present your personal identification documents at the Jizan port, and you can board one of two ferries that move between Jizan and Farasan. Be careful though, during high-seasons, you may want to book your place ahead of your visit.
Marsa Alam – Egypt
Cast in the far south of Egypt on the shores of the Red Sea, Marsa Alam is a gem that has been preserved for long enough away from sight, while other destinations in Sinai and the Red Sea gained all the traction. Today, Marsa Alam is among the latest diving destinations that offer pristine marine life in its utmost diversity and color.
Besides diving, Marsa Alam offers a snorkeling experience like no other in Egypt where you can come face-to-face with dolphins, sea turtles, and dugongs.
During cooler times of the year, you can explore the desert life that lies across from the shoreline. Rich in wildlife that roam the rocky valleys, the desert excursions add layers of appreciation to the Marsa Alam experience. Whether you choose to stick to the shores or venture deep through the mountains, make sure you dedicate enough time to conversing with the locals and understanding their Bedouin culture.
Despite being high up south, the weather in Marsa Alam is pleasant most of the year, with October to June being the best months to visit.
Have you been to any beaches in the Middle East that are blew your mind away? Make sure you tell us about your experience in the comments below.