Do you desperately need a break? Somewhere to go for the upcoming holidays or the weekend? If you want to travel with family or friends, or just with your partner, you sometimes end up wondering where can I go for just a few days or weeks? What is a good weekend trip and do we need to sit on a plane for hours on end to reach a place suitable for our vacation needs..? Such questions puzzle the expat as much as the locals, so we thoroughly investigated destinations for you to find the crème de la crème. Categories of our research included culture, adventure and fun, relaxation factor and holiday unique-ness. After careful consideration, here are our top 10 holiday destinations to reach in 4.30 hours or less!
1. The perfume capital of Arabia – Salalah
Travel time: 2.10 h
Attractions: Salalah in the south of Oman has a lot to offer indeed. The stunning Old City invites visitors with Sultan Qaboos’ Palace and the Grand Mosque. There are also archeological sites, as well as the Frankincense Museum. Families and adventurers can explore the sea life, diving, or the Tomb of Nabi Umran, the Khareef Festival celebrating the monsoons and the exciting bird wild life of the country. Salalah is a place full of adventure, fun and great smells.
Popular dishes: Apart from the traditional Arabic food, every other cuisine is also on the menu here in Salalah.
Best time to travel: All year around.
2. The “Orange City” Nagpur
Travel time: 3.50 h
Attractions: In Nagpur you can do more than just eat oranges, even if they are very delicious here in the Indian city in Maharashtra. For example can you visit the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve or the Pench National Park, the temples of Ramtek and ashrams of Sevagram, as well as beautiful lakes such as the Khindsi. Whoever loves hiking, water sports, walking, exploring, and water parks will have a great time in the charismatic, clean city of Nagpur. A Japanese Garden, Dragon Temple and the Bohra mosque cannot be missed!
Popular dish: Being known for its oranges, you definitely have to try them, as well as the lovely street food and Punjabi and Southern Indian dishes.
Best time to travel: October to February
3. The historical Jordan
Travel time: 2.45 h
Attractions: Jordan is well known for Petra, an ancient city surrounded by mountains. The river Jordan, and baptism place of Jesus, the grand canyon of Jordan Wadi Mujib, the nature reserve Dana, Jerash- an old Roman city, Jordan’s castles and wetlands, as well as modern Amman are the must-sees of this diverse country. Plus you can take a dip in the dead sea!
Popular dish: Mansaf consisting of lamb and rice
Best season to travel: Summer
4. A beautiful province with a unique city - Tehran
Travel time: 2.05 h
Attractions: Here in the Iranian city, there’s truly much to see, beginning with the political and aesthetic graffiti around the city. There is an Artists’ Forum, a whole complex of museums comprising Iran’s history and culture, the Golestan Palace, the famous Tehran Bazar, and a national parks called Darakeh and Darband. The Azadi Tower, commemorating the anniversary of the first Persian empire, shaped like a ‘Y’ is another hot spot of the busy city.
Popular dish: Chelow kebab, Khoresh – a stew with rice, Kuku – vegetable soufflé and Tah-chin – a saffron rice cake with filling.
Best season to travel: March to May, and September to November
5. The underrated Azerbaijan
Travel time: 1.45 h
Attractions: With over seven thousand heritage sites, Azerbaijan offers great sites for tourists to explore and discover. Families can enjoy the Gobustan National Park and Ancient caves that enchant and take you into a different time. Music festivals, a carpet museum, spa and ski resorts make Azerbaijan the insider tip for quick vacations from Doha!
Popular dish: The traditional breakfast is a must have, and so it their completely organic food available everywhere!
Best season to travel: April to June
6. The Greek island Cyprus
Travel time: 3.35 h
Attractions: Cyprus has got it all! Sand, sea and culture. Archeological sites, Byzantine churches, monasteries and museums are part of the island’s charm. Especially beautiful is the St Hilarion Castle, the Turkish Quarter in Larnaca, ancient Salamis, the Troodos villages, and Nissi beach. Spoil your senses and spend your next vacay in sunny Cyprus.
Popular dishes: Cypriot Meze with Tzatziki, Souvaki – or souvla – thin slices of different meats with pita bread, pickled salad, hummus and tzatziki, and Kleftiko, a lamb dish baked and cooked for 24 hours.
Best season to travel: April to October, or November to avoid the tourists.
7. Male in the Maldives
Travel time: 4.40 h
Attractions: The Maldives is perfect for a shorter trip. Apart from stunning beaches, Male has much to offer, including the Old Friday Mosque, Newport, the palaces Muleeaage and Medhu Ziyaarath, the National Art Gallery and the Fish Market. There are many other markets, such as the Produce Market, and the Seagull Café House is a popular destination for travellers. It’s a great combination of chillax, food indulgence and culture.
Popular dishes: Coconuts, fish and curries are most eaten in the Maldives.
Best time to travel: All year around.
8. The best of two worlds in Istanbul
Travel time: 4.30 h
Attractions: Istanbul is cosmopolitan and cultural center simultaneously. For anyone who loves fast cities and great historical sites should visit this gem of Europe and Asia. The Old City – Sultanahmet has got to be one of the most unique places to visit here with the Hippodrome. The Blue Mosque – that isn’t THAT blue, the Topkapi palaceand the Haghia Sophia are highlights of every Istanbul trip. Typical for Turkey are also their baths, tea and coffee lounges and Turkish delight. This holiday is ideal for a couple or a group of friends wanting to eat well, and treat their bodies to a Turkish spa.
Popular dishes: Kebabs are best eaten in Turkey, with variations with spicy Adana and Alinazik with aubergine.
Best time to travel: Spring is the best, and Autumn comes second.
9. The beachy Goa
Travel time: 3.40 h
Attractions: Tourists are drawn to Goa for their magnificent beaches that have been admired by the Western world for centuries. Goa is THE beach and diving destination, and is loved for the silver sand beaches, the wildlife, and rock formations. Anyone looking for a quick sun and sand holiday so very different from Qatar, only needs to travel as much as three and a half hours to live life on the sunny side.
Popular dishes: Love Indian and love Portuguese? Goa combines the two with fresh seafood and curries.
Best season to travel: Between November and March
10. Heritage in Ras Al Khaimah
Travel time: 1.15 h
Attractions: Ras Al Khaimah is a city mixing technology and tradition in a very important way in the Gulf. Many archeological sites of the Gulf are found here. These date back to 2000 BC and make Ras Al Khaimah a very unique destination. Short trips with family or friends are ideal, as you can visit the city, Jazirat Al Hamra Fishing village, and other ghost villages, the Pearl Museum, Khatt – a village within mountains with thermal springs and the National Museum. Skip another trip to Dubai and visit Ras Al Khaimah instead and you won’t be disappointed.
Popular dishes: A specialty here is the seafood, which cannot be missed, as well as the traditional mezze.
Best season to travel: Spring
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