We are dreaming of beachside bays, mountainside stays and snow-filled days with our round-up of the best winter holidays around the region and beyond.
Following the rush of the hectic holiday season, the start of the new year is filled with the promise of exciting new adventures. And with winter in full swing, there are numerous opportunities for a memorable escape. Whether you plan to chase sunny skies and soak up tropical vibes or retreat to snowy slopes, our edit of the best winter getaways this season is sure to inspire your wanderlust.
Featuring the biggest hits in travel, from the pyramids of Giza to some of the world’s finest diving sites along the Red Sea coast, Egypt fits the bill for families and couples with varied interests. Begin the adventure in Cairo to see the majestic pyramids and in the days to follow, head further south on a Nile cruise to cover the country’s cultural landmarks, including ancient tombs and temples that have borne witness to centuries of history.
Conclude your visit on a relaxing note with a swanky seaside stay in Sharm El Sheikh, which, with its year-round sunshine and vibrant coral reef ecosystem, attracts divers from all over the world.
To book your hotel in Sharm el-Sheikh, visit rotana.com
Buzzing Beirut has an altogether different charm in winter. While it remains as fast-paced as any other time in the year, the cooler days bring opportunities to go exploring beyond the capital. Much like the Mediterranean nation's diverse east-meets-west culture, its geography is equally varied, which means that just an hour’s drive away from the bustle of Beirut, you can hit the slopes at some of the Middle East’s best ski resorts.
With its rising popularity, Lebanon is now widely being considered as the Switzerland of the Middle East with its burgeoning ski scene, incorporating charming towns such as Mzaar Kfardebian, Cedars, Laqlouq, Zaarour and Qanat Bakish.
To book your hotel in Beirut, visit rotana.com
While the sunny seaside locale of Bodrum is incredibly popular in summer, visiting during the cooler months gives you the chance to experience this port city like a local. Elsewhere in the country, visitors can enjoy walking tours along the Bosphorus, shop at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and take in the stunning snowy landscape of Cappadocia with a hot air balloon flight, which offers a complete contrast to summer holidays in Turkey.
To book your hotel in Istanbul, visit rotana.com
While visiting Sarajevo in January can leave you completely snowed in, February and March offer sunnier skies and clearer days to take in the city's architectural medley, vibrant street life and irrepressible spirit.
Adding an enticing aspect to your visit, one of Sarajevo's most important cultural festivals – Sarajevo Winter – takes place from February 7 to March 21, coinciding with Independence Day celebrations in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The programme sees theatre plays, concerts, film festivals, fine art exhibitions, literary events, cultural shows and more held across various locations throughout the city.
To book your hotel in Sarajevo, visit rotana.com
Fresh off the December monsoon, Tanzania's landscape is teeming with lush greenery this time of year. With pleasant weather and lesser crowds, now is the best time to explore this east African nation. Mainland Tanzania, with the Serengeti and the majestic Kilimanjaro in its backdrop, offers some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in the world, which includes the Big Five.
Just a short flight or ferry away lies the exotic island of Zanzibar, with plenty of sunshine and numerous options for lounging by the beach or taking on adventure water sports like kitesurfing.
To book your hotel in Dar Es Salaam, visit rotana.com
A traveller's true delight, Jordan is an impressive pick for a winter getaway with its UNESCO World Heritage Sites, quaint towns and awe-inspiring desert landscapes. Start your journey in Amman to experience the vibe of the city and chat with friendly locals who are always happy to share stories of their heritage.
History buffs will love Amman Citadel, the ruins of Jerash and one of the world's most famous historic sites, The Treasury in Petra, while adventure enthusiasts will find plenty of desert activities among the picturesque dues of Wadi Rum, which, with its red sand, resembles the Martian landscape.
To book your hotel in Amman, visit rotana.com
A gateway to Africa, Morocco overflows with diversity, found in its culture, cuisine, geography and epic sites. From Saharan dunes to the peaks of the Atlas, adventure travellers can make new memories trying thrilling activities in the desert or hiking through the mountains.
Perhaps, the most interesting thing to do is simply soaking up city life, from the winding medina maze of Fez to the street-theatre of the Djemaa El Fna in Marrakech.
To book your hotel in Marrakech, visit rotana.com