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9 most Instagrammable spots in the region

Capture some of the most enviable holiday photos this summer by planning a trip to any of these iconic locations on our list

When it comes to travel inspiration, few things beat the 'Gram. Travel goals get a whole new meaning, with the millions of photos of popular destinations and lesser-known locales shared daily. Fortunately, this part of the world is home to some of the finest travel gems, boasting everything from sites steeped in centuries of history to architectural marvels and nature's truest masterpieces, and we've compiled the best for you. So, if you're looking to enhance your Instagram feed, look no further!

Chefchaouen, Morocco

What was once a hidden gem tucked away in the Rif mountains of northwest Morocco, is now a traveller's dream. This quirky town is washed in blue, with the streets, homes and other structures, all painted in the same colour. Some believe that the hue keeps the houses cool during summer, and the residents apply a fresh coat of paint every six months.

But Chefchaouen is more than just that perfect Insta shot. A walk through the winding alleys of this town will reveal so much, as the friendly locals are always happy to share stories of their rich heritage and also offer freshly prepared Moroccan delights.

The Temple of Baalbek, Lebanon

Located northeast of Beirut, the historic city of Baalbek is home to the Baalbek Temple Complex, which was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1984. The complex features two majestic temple ruins – the Temple of Bacchus and the Temple of Jupiter – which are among some of the largest Roman temple ruins in the world.

While the city has seen the rise and fall of many civilisations, the Baalbek valley has been inhabited since 9000 BCE. It is not definitively known whether it was the Phoenicians who were the first to lay the foundations, but the Romans extensively built upon Baalbek. Although it lies in ruins, the grandeur in its design and execution remains very much evident even today.

Jeddah Historic District, Saudi Arabia

Since the seventh century, Jeddah has served as a gateway to Makkah for Muslim pilgrims travelling from Asia, Africa and the rest of the Middle East by boat. The town also served as an important trading port along routes traversing the Indian Ocean. These twin roles saw Jeddah develop into a thriving multicultural hub and vestiges of the past can still be found – and celebrated – even today in Historic Jeddah, also known as Al Balad district.

Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the town's architecture is a fascinating sight. A walk through the cobblestone streets reveals coral stone mosques, souks, houses and buildings decorated with large wooden façades, locally known as roshans. Restoration work remains underway, all progressing in a sustainable manner to keep the historic flavour of the neighbourhood intact.

Pamukkale, Turkey

Straight out of a fairy tale, the historic town of Pamukkale, which translates to cotton castle in Turkish, is tucked away in the Denizli Province in the southwest of the country. It is known for this surreal natural attraction, with its white mineral terraces and clear water that reflects the skies. Over the course of thousands of years, Pamukkale's hot springs have released calcite-rich water on the landscape below, forming this unique snowy-white structure, that makes for an almost dreamlike shot.

Elephant Rock, AlUla, Saudi Arabia

Capture a magical sunrise at Elephant Rock in AlUla, with the first light of day filtering through the elephant's trunk and torso; or take in the sunset, where the fiery hues of the sky reflecting off the desert sands light up this natural rock formation in shades of orange. AlUla's most famous geological rock formation is 52 metres high and standing before it, it's hard not to feel awestruck by its sheer size.

Equally fascinating are the rock formations in this expansive area, including the UNESCO Heritage Site of Hegra (Saudi Arabia's first site to be inscribed on the revered list), where ancient tombs with decorated façades carved from the face of the stones remain well preserved even today.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE

The striking domes, artistic columns and towering minarets of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque have become a proud symbol of Abu Dhabi, instantly recognisable in the thousands of photos captured by awestruck travellers almost every day. The interiors are equally striking and feature 96 columns located inside the main prayer hall, which are clad in marble and inlaid with mother of pearl. It remains one of the few places in the world where this level of intricate craftsmanship is on display. The courtyard is also remarkable, with its floral design stretching across 17,000 square metres, making it the largest example of marble mosaic in the world.

Love Lake, Dubai, UAE

Dubai's famous Love Lake gets its name from the two unique interlocking heart-shaped lakes in Al Qudra. While only a drone can capture the entirety of the structure, the area is a well-known camping spot in the emirate. A desert haven, the lake attracts many species of birds looking for fresh catch from the waters, making it a fantastic spot to idle the hours away in nature.

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar

History buffs will love roaming the halls of Doha's Museum of Islamic Art, where a collection of rare objects traces the history of the Middle East from the seventh to the 16 century. But what makes this venue equally fascinating is its architecture, specifically the arches along the waterfront. It frames the dhows nipping in and out of the habour against the backdrop of Doha's modern skyline. It is especially magical at sunset, when you can capture the daylight fading, bathing the capital in an ethereal glow.

Wadi Rum, Jordan

The shifting sands of Wadi Rum change in colour depending on the time of the day. The entire landscape is bathed in a soft, orange glow as the sun starts to make its way higher across the skies, turning to glistening gold around noon, and slowly transforming to bright red as the sun begins to set. Nowhere else in the world is this phenomenon more noticeable than in Jordan, where time almost seems to stand still, as you admire the dunes. The sunlight filtering through the siqs make the perfect shot, while, in the evenings, the night sky puts on an incredible display of twinkling stars, which is equally worth capturing.


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