Our favourite stopover destinations in the Middle East

27 March 2019

Turn your trip to a far-flung destination into a twin-centre escape. Whether you’re heading for Australia’s magnificent east coast, a wellness holiday in Bali or a cultural city break in Tokyo, why not break up the journey while also enjoying all that the following destinations have to offer?

Dubai – Emirates

The destination: Offering plenty of opportunities to shop, dine and discover Arabian culture, Dubai is so much more than a quick stopover. From glittering hotel lobbies dripping with ornate furnishings to the simple hospitality of a Bedouin desert camp, Dubai has experiences to suit a wide variety of tastes and preferences. Head up to one of the observation decks in the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, visit a multitude of designer stores at Dubai Mall or soak up the sun along La Mer, the city’s newest beachside destination.

The airline: With a fleet that is among the most technologically advanced in the sky, Emirates offer one of the finest flying experiences on the planet. Flying 17 times daily to Dubai from a choice of eight UK airports, Emirates offer convenient onward connections to over 140 destinations worldwide, spanning six continents.

Economy offers sumptuous food, over 2,000 entertainment options and a generous baggage allowance, while Business Class and First Class customers can enjoy complimentary chauffeur-drive service in over 70 destinations, access to Emirates’ exclusive airport lounges and, on the Emirates A380, can socialise in the onboard lounge.

Our favourite onward destinations: Cape Town, South Africa | Singapore | Mauritius | Melbourne, Australia

“From innovative development projects to super-deluxe hotels that grace the beaches, city and desert and thrilling sports and activities to massive malls of tax-free boutiques, the glittering city of Dubai is an excellent spot for a stopover break.”

Sarah, Travel Counsellor

Abu Dhabi – Etihad Airways

The destination: Abu Dhabi offers guaranteed sunshine and no shortage of attractions. Beach lovers will find nine kilometres of pristine white sand on Saadiyat Island, while shoppers can find jewellery, carvings and hand-made carpets in the city’s assorted souks, or designer clothing in its air-conditioned malls. Culture vultures will love Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which came third in TripAdvisor’s 2018 list of the world’s top 25 landmarks, and the historic Qasr Al Hosn Fort, one of the oldest and most celebrated heritage sites in the UAE.

The airline: Fly in style on Etihad Airways’ luxurious fleet, taking advantage of an offering which includes a VIP travel concierge service, exclusive airport lounges, child-friendly journeys and extensive in-flight entertainment.

With a living room, separate bedroom and ensuite shower room, The Residence is the only three-room suite on a commercial airline designed for two people travelling together, while the First and Business Class cabins are luxurious and comfortable ways to travel, where guests can work, rest and play.

Our favourite onward destinations: Sydney, Australia | Manila, Philippines | Maldives | Shanghai, China

TC tip: If you’re looking to do something different in Abu Dhabi, head out to the desert and try a range of activities including dune bashing, sandboarding, desert safaris and a visit to the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital.

Muscat – Oman Air

The destination: Oman is a melting pot of culture due to its strong historical links with India, Persia, Zanzibar, Portugal and the UK. These influences have made Oman very different from the rest of Arabia and this is evident in the range of cultural activities and flavoursome food on offer. In Muscat, you can find the perfect balance of modern and ancient Arabia. Discover a lively city on the coast with resorts, ports, super yachts and the enchanting Muttrah Souk, encompassed by rugged mountains, forts and palaces. Make sure to set aside some time to take in the city’s spellbinding architecture including Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and Al Alam Palace.

The airline: As the Sultanate’s national airline, Oman Air flies to more than 57 destinations in 27 countries worldwide, with direct flights operating from Muscat to both London Heathrow and Manchester Airport. Oman Air won both ‘World’s Leading Business Class Airline – Middle East’ and ‘Best Economy Class Airline – Middle East’ at the 2016 World Travel Awards.

The First Class Private Suite provides each of the First Class passengers with a fully enclosed, extra-tall suite with doors to ensure privacy, while the outstanding Business Class seats provide easy aisle access, ample legroom and storage space and gourmet cuisine. All passengers will have access to state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment systems with both on-demand and live programming. Internet connectivity is also available in all three classes.

Our favourite onward destinations: Zanzibar, Tanzania | Bangkok, Thailand | Jakarta, Indonesia

“Muscat is a city which is very easy to navigate on your own. English is widely spoken, and the Omani people are very proud of their country and love to share details of their history, their heritage and their lives. It is a very progressive nation and we absolutely loved conversing with the locals.”

Sid, Travel Counsellor

Doha – Qatar Airways

The destination: Luxurious hotels decorate the landscape of Doha, where you can discover fine dining, pampering spas and warm hospitality. There’s so much this city has to offer – spend an evening in the Souq Waqif, the main marketplace, where you’ll see locals dining and shopping, or wander around the Museum of Islamic Art, taking in the beautiful architecture and precious pieces on display. Travel outside of Doha to the Al Zubarah Fort, or head to the desert on a day trip where a thrilling 4x4 dune bashing experience awaits.

The airline: Offering unparalleled experiences, legendary hospitality and world-class service, Qatar Airways is renowned for its unrivalled luxury and contemporary cabin design. Flying to more than 150 destinations from several UK airports, Qatar Airways are a popular choice for long-haul flights. All passengers will experience Qatar’s signature five-star hospitality whether travelling Economy, Business or First Class. The Business Class Experience will allow you to discover new heights of luxury, with the Business Class cabin combining comfort, spaciousness, and superb service.

Our favourite onwards destinations: Seychelles | Auckland, New Zealand | Hong Kong | Colombo, Sri Lanka

“Doha’s waterfront, known as the Corniche, curves for about five kilometres around the bay and is a popular walking spot and somewhere you can enjoy unparalleled views of the bay and city. You can watch the traditional dhow fishing boats operating here and it is a lovely place to spend an afternoon.”

Mark, Travel Counsellor



If you’d like to book a multi-centre escape with one of these fantastic stopover breaks, contact your Travel Counsellor and take advantage of exclusive benefits including full financial protection and a 24-hour duty office ready to assist you before, during and after your trip.

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