Now, I’m not a travel agent … Thought I’d make that clear before you take me too seriously! However, it’s easy to forget just how many interesting destinations are on our doorstep. We all know about the Greek Islands of course, nevertheless there are some interesting destinations that maybe you’ve never considered, which are literally “round the corner”! Ever considered a quick weekend away in Iraq? Probably not! However, a quick getaway to Erbil in Northern Iraq could surprise you with beautiful hotels and friendly locals and a wealth of culture! Erbil is in the Kurdish area of Northern Iraq and mostly trouble free. I have a friend who works as a guide there and his guests are always very surprised and delighted by their experience!
Slightly easier to reach is Beirut, which will again surprise and delight you! Although the country is on the verge of economic ruin, the Lebanese are exceptionally adept at carrying on as normal in spite of everything and Beirut is very safe. You’ll find there’s always something to do, shopping is amazing and the restaurants cater for every taste, plus there’s that phrase the Lebanese will always mention, which has something to do with skiing in the mountains in the morning and enjoying the beach in the afternoon. Please do feel free to try, although a nasty head cold or pneumonia may follow! A must visit is Byblos…one of the oldest continuously inhabited places on earth with the first residents arriving circa 5000 BC.
Talking of ancient civilization, a wealth of history awaits in Israel with just a short flight and as much fun as you can handle available in Tel Aviv and even more culture in Jerusalem, which is home to the three Abrahamic faiths.
Tel Aviv is filled with artists, shopping malls, the finest cuisine, beautiful beaches and some of the most interesting people you will ever meet! I could write a lot more, but I’d only spoil your trip by reducing the surprise factor!
For a slightly gentler version of the Middle East, there’s Jordan with direct flights from Lanarca. Jordan is perfect for a short break and serves as a good introduction to this part of the Middle East. People are slightly more conservative than in surrounding countries, however a visit to Petra, an ancient city built around the 5th century BC will fill you with delight! Also, camping in the desert with a Bedouin family will give you a memory to treasure forever… don’t try it in the winter though! The desert is a chilly place at night…especially in the winter!
Try a taste of a different world…just around the corner from Cyprus! As I mentioned before I’m not a travel agent… But do send me a postcard! Bon voyage 🙂
By Dave Asher