Dubai’s advantageous position and extensive flight connections make it a common practice for its residents to embark on long weekend getaways. Here are 10 destinations we love that are within a four-hour flight from Dubai. These places range from bustling urban centers to mesmerizing desert landscapes and tranquil seaside retreats.
Weekend Trips From Dubai:
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1. Doha, Qatar
For an enriching art-focused getaway, consider taking a short one-hour flight to Doha. The capital of Qatar is renowned for its museums, which host exhibitions by prominent international artists. However, what’s equally captivating is the city’s array of public art displayed outdoors.
You can rent a car and venture into the desert to discover two captivating pieces. Richard Serra’s monumental East-West/West-East installation, comprised of towering 14-meter steel plates, promises a mesmerizing experience. Additionally, you can seek out Olafur Eliasson’s captivating mirrored rings, known as Shadows Travelling on the Sea of the Day. These artistic treasures offer a unique way to engage with both the urban and natural landscapes of Doha.
Bahrain is often not talked about as much as its nearby Gulf friends, but it’s a great place to visit for a long weekend. There’s a lot to do here. It has a really interesting history, with old houses from merchants, strong forts, ancient Dilmun burial mounds, and a special place called the Bahrain Pearling Path that’s recognized by UNESCO. This path is 3.5 kilometers long and takes you from the seashore to the center of Muharraq.
And if you want a comfortable family trip, there are fancy hotels like Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, and Jumeirah. They make it easy to have a relaxed and enjoyable time. So even though people might not always talk about it, Bahrain is a cool place to explore for a few days.
3. Cairo, Egypt
The Grand Egyptian Museum that people have been waiting for might open this year, although it’s been delayed many times. Even if it doesn’t, there are still lots of good reasons to visit the capital city of Egypt. If you’ve already seen the Pyramids of Giza, you can check out the amazing step pyramid at Saqqara nearby, and also the unique Bent Pyramid at Dahshur. Many visitors to Cairo just look at the Nile River, but you can actually get on it using a water taxi.
4. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Jeddah stands out from the rest. That’s what the city’s motto says, and it’s true. Jeddah has always been the welcoming entry point to Makkah for pilgrims who arrive by sea. The city is home to a diverse population with different cultural backgrounds, and this is beautifully reflected in the amazing variety of food waiting to be explored here. From dishes like ma’soub to murtabak and foul, the food scene is a treat.
Jeddah is actively working on restoring its historic district, Al Balad, which has earned UNESCO World Heritage recognition. This area is filled with charming centuries-old homes that are being brought back to life. It’s a lovely place to stroll around, and soon you’ll have the opportunity to stay there too. A new hotel is getting ready to open before the year ends, and it’s spread across three of these historic buildings. Jeddah is a unique and vibrant place that’s always evolving.
5. Amman, Jordan
The capital of Jordan, Amman, serves as the entrance to both Petra and the Dead Sea, making them accessible on day trips from the city, even though they are quite far away. Yet, Amman itself possesses a certain charm that can easily occupy a long weekend. The city’s archaeological sites in the center, like the Citadel and the Roman Theatre, are within easy reach. And if you’re up for a short drive, you can reach the well-preserved Roman ruins of Jerash in less than an hour by car.
Amman is also a place where you should definitely make time to enjoy the food. You can grab a delicious falafel or foul from street vendors, or you can opt for more upscale dining in elegant restaurants and cozy cafés. If you’re interested in trying some Levantine flavors, visit Fakhreldin, located in the former Prime Minister’s house, or head to Sufra on Rainbow Street for hearty traditional Jordanian dishes.
6. AlUla, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia’s AlUla is a place filled with wonders. It has ancient tombs carved from stone, landscapes that seem out of this world, and a vast oasis with over two million date palms. It’s a bit quieter than Petra, and the Nabataean tombs here, like Lihyan Son of Kuza’s tomb, are incredibly picturesque. These tombs are carved from a single massive rock, creating a breathtaking sight.
But AlUla has even more to offer. The Ashar Valley is home to the stunning Maraya, which is the world’s biggest mirrored building. It reflects the surrounding red rock scenery in a mesmerizing way. Then there’s Jabal Ikmah, a mountain covered in thousands of inscriptions and drawings. This place is so special that it’s been added to UNESCO’s Memory of the World register.
Visiting in winter is a great idea. You’ll find pop-up restaurants around, and the area comes alive with concerts, hot air balloon rides, and many other activities. AlUla is a treasure trove of experiences that will leave you amazed.
7. Beirut, Lebanon
Despite its challenges, Beirut remains a captivating escape from Dubai, and its allure is easy to understand. Offering fantastic dining, vibrant nightlife, and a range of accommodations, including traditional and boutique hotels, Beirut is a constant favorite. The Sursock Museum, which was significantly damaged in the 2020 port explosion, has reopened its doors. The neighborhoods of Gemmayze and Mar Mikhael are still lively and full of energy.
Make sure not to overlook Beit Kanz, a charming cultural center and restaurant set in a beautifully restored historical building, filled with flowers. It celebrates Lebanon’s creative community, traditional craftsmanship, and culinary excellence. Beirut’s enduring charm, coupled with its resilience, makes it an appealing and enriching destination for those seeking a unique getaway.
Just a 5-hour flight away from Dubai, Istanbul serves as a remarkable bridge between the East and West. Boasting stunning architecture, a fascinating history, vibrant culture, and incredible cuisine, Istanbul holds a special place among my favorite cities in the region. A visit here is an exploration of contrasts, from the iconic Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia to the lively Balat neighborhood, the bustling bazaars, and the delectable Turkish dishes. Spending 3 days in Istanbul provides the ideal opportunity to deeply engage with the city’s cultural legacy and heritage.
Oman is swiftly becoming a top travel choice. With a treasure trove of captivating history and culture waiting to be explored, Oman offers something for everyone seeking a fantastic weekend escape. From untouched beaches and majestic mountains to well-preserved Omani architecture and lush valleys, Oman’s diversity is remarkable. Whether you’re seeking adventure or tranquility, there are numerous must-visit spots to consider for your Oman adventure.
From the awe-inspiring Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat to the heights of Jebel Akhdar and the stunning Daymaniyat islands, Oman boasts a wealth of remarkable places and activities that promise a memorable experience. Both Muscat and Jabal Al Akhdar are conveniently close to Dubai and can be explored on a weekend getaway without requiring extra time off. Oman’s allure lies in its variety, making it an exceptional destination for a fulfilling escape.
A non-stop flight from Dubai to Male takes just over four hours, making it an ideal destination for a long weekend getaway. When time is limited, it’s best to choose Maldives resorts that are a short speedboat ride away from the airport. This way, you can maximize your time on the islands.
Kurumba, located just ten minutes from the airport, holds a special place in Maldivian tourism as one of the pioneers when it opened in 1972. It still remains a popular choice today. Kurumba is an affordable and family-friendly resort that emphasizes connecting guests with local communities through music, entertainment, and traditional experiences. Whether you’re looking for relaxation, romance, or cultural exploration, the Maldives offers a range of options to make the most of your long weekend.