Unrest in the Middle East brought a dip in tourism as uneasy travelers looked to other vacation destinations to spend their travel dollars. Following the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, the region's travel dipped upwards of 8 percent as reported by the U.N. World Tourism Organization. Where lines once swelled around the pyramids, the year 2011 meant bookings and visitors to area attractions dwindled. However, Middle Eastern tourism has surpassed comeback status and is trending in areas from Jordan to Egypt and beyond, with reports of double-digit growth of an 11.2 percent increase in travel bookings.
Prepare your taste buds for the trip of a lifetime in Greece. About 100 Greek products — from wines, cheese and fruits to honey and oils — earned a Protected Designation of Origin from the European Union, and the country’s most beloved dishes include Greek Choriatiki salad, tzatziki, souvlaki and moussaka, with its layers of eggplant, potato, minced meat and bechamel. And those are only a few of the many highlights.
Kish Island, 12 miles off the coast of Iran, is a former private resort that boasts a wealth of luxurious accommodations, excellent shopping and awe-inspiring beaches. Spending a day here probably won’t feel like enough, but any more than that could break the bank.
The Greek tradition of health and wellness runs deep; travelers can find a multitude of therapies to meet their wellbeing needs, from healing spas, herbal therapies, hypnotherapy, massages and more. In Greece, the approach to wellness focuses on the “whole” and the ways in which the mind, body and soul interact. A state of balance is achieved through a good relationship between the emotional and natural state, which can be found throughout Greece at its more than 800 medicinal spas.
Start your day in Isfahan at Messo Qali Café. It has a great atmosphere and includes outdoor seating. The café is vegetarian friendly and the food is cheap. Budget $15 for a good breakfast. After breakfast, visit the Chehel Sotoun, an elegant 17th-century pavilion and garden. The name means 40 pillars and is only about $6 to enter.