In this post, I wanted to tell you guys about our Middle East itinerary and our 10-day trip to Lebanon, Jordan, Oman and Qatar. Many friends already have asked us about this trip and how come we managed to visit so much in just 10 days! Well, the answer is, we went to the Middle East during the Easter holidays and it was the best decision ever. We only needed to take 4 days off for such a long 10-day trip to the Middle East.
If you want to learn how to travel more with the same holiday entitlement, head to this post, where I explain it in detail (+you will see some example itineraries, which will help you to maximise you your time off). >>>
Middle East itinerary planning: a lot of Google spreadsheets and budget allocation
When we were choosing, where to go for Easter, my main candidate was Iran. We were choosing destinations from my travel bucket list, so Iran was on the list. However, about 3 months before the intended trip, the flight prices absolutely skyrocketed and we decided to postpone Iran for later. We wanted to visit a couple of new for us countries and we didn’t want to spend a fortune on tickets. However, in the end, we managed to spend a lot on tickets anyway, but way cheaper than it would be if we went to South-East Asia. but that’s because I squeezed so many counties in our itinerary for the Middle East in 10 days.
Because of the ticket prices, we decided to start with Lebanon. We found on Skyscanner, that a ticket with Pegasus (it’s a low-cost airline from Turkey) was just £140 one-way. We didn’t want to spend all the 10 days in Lebanon, so the search continued. The logical option would be going to Jordan and just combining Lebanon and Jordan in one trip, however, I wanted to explore more places.
Lebanon and Jordan in one trip
If you want to combine Jordan and Lebanon in one trip and spend all the 10 days in the Middle East there, it’s great! I think it’s just enough time to explore both countries thoroughly and at a slower pace than we usually do. I would dedicate 4 days for Lebanon and a week in Jordan in this case.
However, since our pace is faster and we are willing to sacrifice some sleep when travelling (read this post about our crazy jam-packed itinerary for Japan in 7 days), we decided to include more countries in our trip.
That’s how we decided to go to Oman in the same trip as well.
Adding Oman and Qatar to our Middle Eastern itinerary. Things got complicated
So, we officially added Oman to the trip. However, things got messy, as flying to Oman from Jordan was overly expensive, that’s why we decided to go to Oman directly from Lebanon and then fly to Jordan and fly back to London from Jordan. One of the best available flights was with Qatar and we picked a flight with a 16-hour stopover in Doha, so we would be able to see bits of Doha as well.
It took us quite a few days to book all the legs of our multi-city trip to the Middle East and we ended up not having a decent return flight from Jordan, as it got sold out, so we had to buy a return flight through Saudi Arabia with Saudia airline, which turned out to be really nice and I liked it even more than Qatar!
In total, we paid £160 (baggage wasn’t included with Pegasus) + £235 + £195 = £585 per person for all the flights, which wasn’t bad at all! In comparison, a return flight to Vietnam was about £760 during the same period of time. And our itinerary included 8 flights for a cheaper price (I’m not happy about so many flights though, as it isn’t great for the environment).
Deciding on where to stay in Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and Jordan
I didn’t have a hard time on deciding where to stay and what to see in Lebanon, Qatar, Oman and Jordan, but I will tell you about our itinerary and accommodation in all these countries below. Let’s start with Lebanon.
2 days in Lebanon: our itinerary
Since our flight ate the entire first day in Lebanon, we couldn’t do anything on the first day and were left with 2 days and 2 nights in Beirut. We stayed both nights in Urban City Suites in Beirut, it’s a nice hotel located outside the city centre and any touristic areas, but it had a big parking, breakfast and spacious modern rooms. We also hired our car through Rentalcars and got £8 cashback with Quidco (join if you aren’t getting any cashback yet).
On the first full day of our two days in Lebanon, we went to Chateau Ksara – the most famous winery in Lebanon and drove all the way to the Roman ruins of Baalbek. On the way back, we stopped near Raouche Rocks to watch an incredible sunset in Beirut.
We had dinner in Loris in Mar Mikhael district. Note that you need to book a restaurant in Beirut in advance, as the demand is quite high.
On the second day, we went to the downtown Beirut in the morning, had breakfast in the very Instagrammable Angelina Cafe, walked around the Corniche in Beirut, drove through the city again to see the Mar Mikhael during the day and went all the way to Jounieh to hop on the cable car. From there we saw the incredible panorama of Jounieh and Beirut and saw the Notre Dame of Lebanon.
Later on, we drove to Byblos – a Unesco Heritage village 45 minutes driving from Beirut, walked around and had lunch in a traditional Lebanese restaurant. While we still had some time, we decided to drive to the start of the hike of the Chouwen Lake, but we didn’t have time to hike, so we just enjoyed the views at the start of the hike. There’s also a lovely restaurant there, so you can arrive at the start of the hike hungry and eat there.
That was it about our itinerary for 2 days in Lebanon.
Stopover in Qatar: where to sleep
Usually, if you have an overnight stopover in Qatar, the airline provides you with a hotel, however, that’s not in case of flying from/to Oman, so we weren’t eligible for that, unfortunately. Since it was my birthday the next day, we decided to stay in W Doha, as I always wanted to stay in W at least once.
Next morning, we had our breakfast buffet and headed to historical Souq Waqif in Doha, but it was so hot, that I could barely walk around and after taking some photos, we returned to Doha Airport to take our flight to Oman.
Holiday in Oman: best things to do and our 4 days in Oman
In this post, I will just summarise our itinerary and tell you about the things we did or didn’t do in Oman. Oman was a crucial bit of our Middle East itinerary as we spent the most nights of our trip in Oman.
We arrived at about 5 pm on the first day in Oman, rented a car and got over £20 cashback. Our hotel for the first night was relatively close to the airport – we stayed in Centara Muscat. For my birthday dinner, we went to a beautiful restaurant called Kargeen.
On the second day, we went to the Sultan Qaboos Mosque – a gorgeous mosque (the main mosque of Oman), which is open for visitors from 8 am to 11 am and our second day in Oman was the only day when we could have visited it.
Later on, we headed to Jeben Shams and drove all the way to the Balcony walk. We didn’t hike the walk though, as we had to be in Nizwa by 5:30 pm to check in at Nizwa Heritage Inn and see the sunset at the Nizwa Fort.
On the next morning, we headed to Wahiba sands for some beautiful desert shots and returned early to our next hotel – Shangri La Al Jissah. It was allowed to swim in the ocean until the sunset and we arrived just on time for a short swim.
Next day, we only had Bimmah sinkhole in our itinerary – the entire morning and early afternoon we spent in Shangri La and only reached the sinkhole around 2 pm. We didn’t go to Wadi Shab because Oman in April was too hot for the 1.5-hour return hike to Wadi Shab.
We spent the night in the hotel next to the airport (A’Sinamar), however I wouldn’t recommend it and would suggest Radisson next to the airport instead.
Jordan with Jordan pass. 3 days in Jordan
We booked our Jordan pass once we landed in Jordan, as it was very useful for visiting Petra and all the other sightseeing spots and helped us to save money on the visa fee. We spent 3 days and 2 nights in Jordan in total. We spent the first day arriving at the airport, passing the passport control that took about 1.5 hours – Jordan in April is very busy. April is probably the busiest month in Jordan.
Our flight was delayed, so we lost quite a bit of time. Again, in Jordan we booked a car through Rentalcars with Nü rentals and headed to Jerash ruins and then all the way to Wadi Musa (another 4 hours).
We stayed in Petra Princes Hotel (which was renamed to Petra Guests hotel) and our experience was quite bad, so I would recommend looking into other options, unless you want a hostel full of flies, 1 western-style clogged toiled and 4 clogged squat-style toilets in front of the sinks where you’re supposed to brush your teeth.
On the second day in Jordan, we went to Petra and spent there 7 hours.
Later, we drove to the Dead Sea, where we stayed overnight at the Movenpick hotel.
On the last day of our trip to the Middle East and the last of the three days in Jordan, we left the hotel late after going for an early swim in the Dead Sea and went to explore the city of Amman. At first, we wanted to park and explore the city centre, but due to the traffic conditions, we couldn’t even drive through the centre, so we just saw it from above from the Roman Ruins in Amman and then went to the posh area of Amman for a fresh juice in Seed and some Thai Food.
Summary of our 10 days in the Middle East
Overall, our itinerary was jam-packed, but really exciting and interesting. We sacrificed some sleep, but managed to see quite a lot. Should you have any questions about our trip to the Middle East and our Middle East itinerary, don’t hesitate to ask!