20+ Best short trips from Dubai (and other GCC cities) in 2024

As someone who frequently travels from Dubai because I have a twin sister living there, I am always on the lookout for short trips from Dubai. Recently I also had the opportunity to fly from Bahrain and that is when I realised that there are so many cheap destinations from the Middle East to fly to.

I also have a substantial audience from the Middle East and I have had multiple requests to list some of my favorite short breaks from Dubai as well as other destinations in the Middle East.


Best countries to visit from Dubai and other GCC cities

Before we go any further, let me just make few things clear. For the purpose of this post, we have only chosen the flights from cities that are in countries that are part of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council). The different cities included are:

  • Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates
  • Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia
  • Muscat in Oman
  • Manama in Bahrain
  • Doha in Qatar
  • Kuwait

I have also only considered countries that are around a 6 hours flight from Dubai and the list only includes direct short flights from Dubai. I have also only included countries that are currently not at war and are easy to reach from these Middle Eastern destinations. Many flight providers like Emirates, Etihad, Qatar, Flynas, Saudia, Air Arabia, FlyDubai, Gulf Air, Oman Air etc fly on a daily basis to most of the locations on this list.

Note: Many of these destinations offer visa on arrival to GCC residents of many nationalities.

Egypt – The land of the Pharoahs

Anyone who is a fan of history has Egypt as a bucketlist destination With a Cairo to Jeddah flight time lasting less than 2 hours, this is one of the easiest destinations to get to from the Middle East.

Spend your time in Egypt visiting the world famous pyramids as well as the many monuments from ancient Egyptian civilisation. Take a 5 day cruise on the Nile exploring the ancient cities of Aswan and Luxor. Spend a week in Egypt and experience one of the best getaways from Dubai for a week.

Best time to visit: October to March when the temperatures are cooler.

Iran – The land of Persia

With a complicated history, Iran has been on the wishlist of many seasoned travellers like me and I hope one day I would get to visit this gorgeous country.

Till then, I will dream about wandering the streets of Tehran and Shiraz looking for the best Iranian tea, visit the many mosques in the region along with learning about the culture about Persia from the locals. It takes less than 2 hours to reach both Shiraz and Tehran from Dubai by flight.

Best time to visit: March – May and September to October to escape the severe heat or the severe cold.

India – The land of Diversity

With many options to choose from like Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kochi, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, all of which are less than 4.5 hours by flight from all the GCC countries; India is definitely a great destination from the Middle East and one of the cheapest destinations from Dubai.

With a huge Indian diaspora all around the Middle East, there are multiple flights daily. And with such a diverse landscape from some of the best beach destinations from Dubai to the cold desert in the North, India has a lot to offer to tourists from the Middle East. My favorite experience in India would be a holiday in Kerala.

Best time to visit: With its diverse locations, India is an all round year destination to visit from the Middle East.


Pakistan: The land of Beauty

Even though as an Indian passport holder, it is difficult for me to travel to Pakistan, Pakistan is a great destination to visit if you are looking for short vacations from Dubai.

Some cities take less than 3 hours flying time from Dubai and with its gorgeous mountain landscapes and enchanting cities like Lahore and Karachi, it is an ideal short weekend getaway from Dubai.

Best time to visit: April to October are the best months to visit the mountains and November to March is the best time to visit the plains of Pakistan.

Lebanon: The land of Milk and Honey

I have always been fascinated by Beirut and its people. They are known to be one of the most coolest people in the Middle East. With daily flights which take less than 3.5 hours from Dubai, it is definitely one of the best holiday destinations from Dubai.

With a huge number of UNESCO World heritage sites, gorgeous Mediterranean beaches, a great nightlife, Lebanese cuisine and a number of ski resorts, Lebanon has a lot to offer to every kind of traveller from the Middle East.

Best time to visit: March to May during Spring is the best time to visit Lebanon.

Jordan: The land of the Petra

I have been dreaming of Jordan for years and a couple of months ago, I finally made it to Jordan. And it was everything I dreamed of.

With the gorgeous lost city of Petra, a wonder of the world to floating in the dead sea to the Martian landscapes of Wadi Rum to diving in the dead Sea, Jordan has a lot of offer and is definitely worth a short trip from Dubai. It takes around 3.5 hours for a flight from Dubai to Amman.

Best time to visit: September to November and March to May.


Maldives – The land of Luxury Beaches

If you are looking for the best luxury destination from Maldives, then look no further than Maldives and is one of the best short breaks from Dubai. With so many luxury resorts to choose from, you can spend a 3 day weekend from Dubai, soaking in the sun and lazing around your own private beach villa.

My nephew in Dubai made his parents take him and my parents for a 5 day vacation from Dubai to see some of the marine life. He is besotted with sharks at the moment and he got to see so many during his first snorkelling experience in the Maldives. It takes around 4 hours by flight from Dubai to Male.

Best time to visit: November to April


Azerbaijan: The land of Fire

Even though I had plans to visit Azerbaijan this year, I couldn’t due to visa related issues. But if you are a GCC resident, it is a quick 3 hour flight and it is one of the hottest travel destinations from Dubai.

Go watch the never ending ball of fire in a country between the Caspian sea and the Caucasus mountains with some unique landscapes. Visit the capital city of Baku known for its walled inner city along with some modern buildings on the other side.

Best time to visit: April to June and September to October

Sri Lanka: Pearl of the Indian Ocean

With its stunning beaches, tea estates and national parks amidst the bustling cities of Colombo, Sri Lanka is one of the cheapest destinations from Dubai. A flight to Colombo from Dubai takes around 4.5 hours and you have multiple flights daily and is one of the best quick trips from Dubai.

If you are looking for a laid back vacation, then Sri Lanka is your best bet and when you are here, don’t forget to take a train ride from Kandy.

Best time to visit: December to April to beat the heat

Georgia: The land of Wolves

Even though I did not see a single wolf during my week in Georgia, it is definitely one of my favorite destinations from Dubai. Tbilisi, the capital stole my heart with its quirkiness while the expansive Caucasus mountains in the Kazbegi region was a treat to my eyes.

Also known as the land of the wines, don’t forget to spend a few days in the Khaketi region exploring some of the best wines I have had till date. Also, don’t forget to visit the many monasteries in the region. It takes only 3.5 hours from Sharjah to Tbilisi.

Best time to visit: May to October


Nepal: The land of the Everest

Kathmandu is only 4 hours by flight from Dubai and you get cheap flights from Dubai to Kathmandu on a daily basis. Go to do the EBC trek or marvel at the stunning views of the Himalayas from a distance.

Gorgeous temples adorn the country and it is home to many monasteries and national parks too and is definitely one of the best weekend trips from Dubai.

Best time to visit: October to December

Kazhakstan: The land of the wild Horses

In recent years, Kazhakstan has slowly started emerging as one of the best destinations from Dubai. People are fascinated by how budget friendly the country is and the capital of Almaty is slowly becoming a hot tourist spot from the Middle East.

Wonder at the many gorgeous lakes in the region with hiking in the many mountains as well as learn about this former silk route destination. It takes only 4.5 hours from Doha to Almaty.

Best time to visit: April to May and September to October during fall

Uzbekistan: The Land of the Silk route

Another destination from the Middle East that has been gaining steam recently is Uzbekistan. With cheap flights daily from Sharjah with a flying time of 3 hours, cities like Tashkent and Bishkek are just hours away from Dubai.

This old silk route destination is home to many Mausoleums and Mosques and the pretty cities of Uzbekistan is steeped in history and culture. A definite must visit from any of the GCC countries.

Best time to visit: April to May and September to November

Turkey: The land of the Crescent Moon

After spending more than 10 days in Turkey last year, I cannot wait to go back in the summer. With more than 10 flights a day from popular GCC cities and a flying time of just under 5 hours, Turkey is definitely the most popular destination from Dubai in recent times.

Spend your days wandering the city of Istanbul which is the perfect blend of East and the West, stare at the chimneys of Cappadocia from a hot balloon ride, visit the many heritage sites across the country and also go for a swim in the many mediterranean beaches around its coast.

Best time to visit: April to May and September to October


Greece: The land of stunning beaches

Go island hopping among the turquoise waters of the coast of Greece, stare at the history of Greek around the many UNESCO sites in Athens and visit the world famous islands of Santorini, Paros etc.

Surprisingly this destination is only 5 hours from Dubai and is a haven for anyone looking to enjoy the blue waters. You require a Schengen visa to visit this country.

Best time to visit: April to June and September to October

Tanzania: My favorite land

For people new to the page, I grew up in Dar-Es-Salaam in Tanzania, Africa and hence that is the reason it is my favorite place in the world.

With some world class national parks like Ngorongoro and Serengeti, it is a must visit for every wild life enthusiast and to catch a glimpse of the Big 5. The island of Zanzibar is said to be one of the most beautiful islands in the world and this destination is only 5.5 hours from Dubai.

Even though Kenya is the more famous of the two, I would definitely recommend Tanzania. Also, don’t forget to take a few days out to visit the neighbouring countries of Uganda and Rwanda.

Best time to visit: June to October for the migration season. February for the calving season.

Bulgaria: The Land of Roses

Even though I had a tough time entering Bulgaria and had a rough time there, Sofia in Bulgaria is definitely a must visit short trip destination from Dubai. It takes around 5.5 hours to reach Sofia.

Spend couple of days hiking around Rila National park, visiting the many monasteries around the area while visiting the famous church in the center of the city. Visit the city of Plovdiv for some great architecture and history lessons

Best time to visit: April to May or Spring

Albania: The misjudged land

Albania ended up being one of my most favorite destinations ever. Tirana, the capital is full of war memorabilia while the stunning Albanian Riviera coast is a must visit for all sea lovers.

An underrated destination which is only 6 hours away from Dubai. Also, don’t forget to visit the historical towns of Gjirokaster and Berat while on a road trip in Albania. The mountain region of Theth is another must visit.

Best time to visit: April to June and September to October


Croatia: The land of best road trip

I did a 10 day road trip in Croatia a few years back and it was definitely one of my favorite solo travel destinations from Dubai. Start in the Game of Thrones city of Dubrovnik before heading to Split to go island hopping among the many islands in the region.

Go visit the charming town of Zadar before spending a couple of days hiking around the Plitvice lakes and end your journey in the capital city of Zagreb. For an offbeat experience, don’t forget to visit the region of Istria. Another destination that is just under 6 hours from Dubai.

Best time to Visit: April to June and September to October

Serbia: The Kingdom of Serbs

I only ended up spending 3 days in the capital city of Belgrade and I cannot wait to visit once again soon to visit the gorgeous region of West Serbia. The capital city is known for its nightlife while the rest of the country is known for its natural beauty.

A flight from Dubai to Belgrade will take around 6 hours and this affordable destination should definitely be on your bucket list.

Best time to visit: April to June and September to October

Austria: The Land of Music

I have been thrice to Austria and everytime I find a new place to fall in love with and you need to add it to the list of where to travel from Dubai. Last year, I spent time in the capital city exploring the various Christmas markets in the city. I also visited the fairytale village of Hallstatt twice as well as went prancing to the tunes of Sound of Music in Salzburg.

Also, don’t forget to try the Sacher Torte cake or go skiing in the many alpine ski resorts in the region. This destination is also 6 hours from Doha.

Best time to visit: April to June and September to October and December for Christmas time

Hungary: The land of thermal spas

Another 6 hour destination from Dubai is Budapest and this charming city divided by a river should also be on your go list. Go have a fun time in the many thermal spas in the city or just stroll along the river catching a view of the majestic parliament.

Best time to visit: April to June and September to October and December for Christmas time

Thailand: Land of Smiles

Even though this destination takes around 6 hours and 15 minutes, I knew I had to include it in this list since it is a popular destination for many Dubai residents.

Choose from one of the many beach destinations and your week in Thailand is sorted. Pair it with some delicious Thai cuisine served by some friendly locals and you would have a gala time in Thailand. Don’t forget to visit the cities of Phuket and Bangkok for some nightlife and night markets.

Best time to visit: Between November and April


Conclusion: Best short trips from Dubai

So what do you think of this list of the best short trips from Dubai and other GCC cities. Did you find it helpful? Then don’t forget to share it with your friends who live in these countries

About Soumya Nambiar

Soumya Nambiar here. I am an avid traveler, travel blogger, vegetarian foodie and entrepreneur from Bangalore, India who grew up in Tanzania, Africa. I have been to more than 60 countries and in this blog, I write about my personal experiences as an Indian traveller around the world as well as my struggles as a vegetarian. I can be reached at [email protected].

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


This website contains a few affiliate links. This translates to no extra cost to you but I get a referral bonus if you purchase via the link. I only recommend products we love.

Amazon Services

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Contact Me

© 2015 - 2024 All Rights Reserved

Designed by Soumya Nambiar