Eid Getaways: 10 Best Eid Breaks from Dubai
Eid Al-Fitr 2019 is set to be a long one! The recent changes to UAE law align public and private sector holidays, and on this occasion have provided us in the private sector with an extra day’s leave – giving us potentially a five day break (depending on the sighting of the moon next week).
This generous leave, at a time when we are all starting to feel the heat of Summer, has had Dubai residents (myself included!) flocking to their online search engines to trawl for the best Eid holiday options.
Now, I have listed my recommended Eid short break destinations previously here, which I re-read again this morning and, despite the fact that I wrote it SIX years ago (where did that go?) the places I recommend still stand. Therefore rather than updating the list, I thought I’d draft another one today, with some new additions based on places I have visited since then, so here we go, in no particular order:
Best countries/cities for Eid holidays
I’d recommend a road trip to explore further afield with the extra time off. I would highly recommend visiting Muscat (the capital), divers may also want to stop in Mirbat to explore the Daminyat Islands en route, Nizwa (for a cultural stop in the mountains), Jebel Akhdar (for beautiful mountain scenery, climbing and to spot the desert roses – my previous review is here), Jebel Shams for hiking in the mountains (it’s elevation means it’s much cooler than the UAE right now, I’ve also previously written about that here), Ras Al Jinz (to see turtles laying eggs and hatching in the wild), Wahiba Sands (for dune bashing and camels) and if you really want to go off the beaten track and don’t mind the long drive – Masirah Island (accessible by ferry from the mainland).
Alternatively you could fly to Salalah and spend some time there, exploring the coast and its blowholes, or hiking in the beautiful green mountains, and enjoying the cool climate of the khareef (monsoon).
Closer to home, you could drive to Khasab (a tiny enclave of Oman at the northern tip of the UAE) and make the most of the snorkelling and dolphin watching tours (you can even stay the night on these boats if there are a group of you – great fun!)
I was devastated to hear of the recent attacks, and really hope it doesn’t put people off visiting what has to be one of my favourite places on the planet. I remember visiting Bali a few months after the bombings there and seeing first hand what it had done to the tourist industry, and therefore the people of the country who were suffering terribly, and I really hope that the effects of recent attacks don’t continue to hurt the people of Sri Lanka in the same way.
The people are so warm and welcoming, the scenery is stunning and there is so much to do. I’d recommend getting out beyond Colombo, heading into the centre to Kandy (to visit temples and shop for gems), and to Pinnawala elephant sanctuary, and down the west coast to explore Galle and all of the beautiful coastal villages (more details on the trip I did here). One of the highlights for me would be Hambantota in the south (a great base for exploring Uluwatu National Park and Yala National Park – we spent all Eid there two years ago, it was so stunning), Arugam Bay on the west coast (for surfing and watersports), and of course the iconic Sigiriya, as a trip to the Spice Island wouldn’t be complete without trekking up Elephant Rock (or as we did, trekking up one of the neighbouring peaks to see the Rock in all its glory). Check out my post from the Lanka Challenge with some great recommendations for hotels here.
I went to Cyprus for a week in 2017 for a friend’s wedding. We stayed in villas in Paralimni, which was great and really worked for our group, as we were spending most of our time together by the pool in the villas. We did spend one day on the beach in Protaras, but it was a little crowded for me. The highlights for us, other than the wedding of course, was heading into the Troodos Mountains for some hiking and to visit one of the vineyards, taking a boat trip out from Paralimni, attempting to horsehide, and exploring the beautiful village of Oroklini by day and night.
I wrote about our trip to the Maldives only last week, and loved reliving it by writing about it! I think it has to be my favourite Eid all of all time – a once in a lifetime for us and well worth doing. Read all about it here, I couldn’t recommend Dusit Thani Maldives enough – it’s well worth splashing out for something special.
This is such an easy trip from Dubai, and there is so much to do in the city alone. I visited in 2010 and completed a big road trip of Syria and Lebanon, sadly this wouldn’t be possible now for obvious reasons, which breaks my heart, as Syria was such a beautiful.
We drove into Lebanon from the north, staying in Tripoli purely to break up the journey (I wouldn’t feel the need to go back for a visit, particularly now unfortunately). However, the highlights for us were on the way to Beirut (they also make great day trips from Beirut), these included the pretty seaside town of Byblos (known locally as Jbeil), Jounieh (with its cable car that takes you up the mountain to Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa), and Jeita Grotto (two interconnected underground limestone caves). We really wanted to go up Mount Lebanon to the cedar forests, but unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to do this too. Beirut was our final spot, and there was plenty to see and do in the city, but the highlight was the nightlife, so if you’re looking for a bit of a party over the Eid break, this might be the place for you!
Another place that I’ve visited on multiple occasions, Istanbul is a fantastic city break from Dubai. The most memorable trips I had saw me staying in two very different hotels, the first was the W Hotel Istanbul, super cool and modern, and the second time I tried the Regie Ottoman, a luxury boutique hotel in the old city, with gorgeous architecture and absolutely stunning rooms, at a great price.
There’s plenty to occupy you, whether you prefer sightseeing mosques, palaces and museums; taking boat cruises along the Bosphorous; chilling out with picnics in the park; shopping and eating; or making the most of the fun nightlife, there really is something for everyone. If I get the chance to go again, I’ll also look at a tour from Istanbul to Cappadocia to see all the hot air balloons.
Another of my favourite destinations that I keep returning to, there are so many amazing places to see, and very cheaply too. I’ve written about my favourite highlights here, if you’re short for time and can’t do a trekking trip, or make it down to the jungle, I’d definitely look at making sure you get a day trip to Bhaktapur and Patan, and trying to get a stay in Pokhara for a night or two, as well as spending time exploring Kathmandu itself – and if you’re looking for a beautiful hotel to treat yourself to in Kathmandu, I’d highly recommend Dwarikas.
As such a huge country, you could travel for months and still not see everything, but my highlights for a short break would be Goa. I’ve written about my experiences there in more detail here, and would highly recommend the stunningly rustic boutique resort we stayed in (more detail on the earlier post).
Another option for a relaxed Eid would be explore Kerala. I spent an Eid exploring the coast, flying into Kochi for a night to marvel at the iconic fishing nets turning pink at sunset, spending a night in the tea plantations of Munar (a trip I booked once I arrived in Kochi), then taking a houseboat around the Alleppey backwaters, and finishing our trip in the coastal clifftop town of Varkala, before flying out of Thiruvananthapuram (pronounced Trivandrum!)
We were in Thailand a few months ago and had a fantastic time in Koh Samui for a week, however with Emirates now offering a direct flight to Phuket (we had to change in Bangkok to go to Koh Samui), I think we would look to make that our destination of choice. I’ve previously been searching yoga retreats and fitness breaks in Phuket, and there are such a huge range of options. I personally know plenty of people who have really enjoyed these active getaways from Dubai.
This was my first Eid break holiday when I arrived in Dubai many years ago. I travelled around the country with a guide from my local travel agent and you can check out the six places I highly recommend making a part of your itinerary when visiting the country on my previous post.
So there you have it, my round up – much longer than I had anticipated! (I actually didn’t realise there were so many posts outstanding, oops, my job for the Eid break!)
I’m personally still scouring the Internet while we wait for dates to be announced, meanwhile if you’re looking for things to do locally to explore the other Emirates, I’ve listed some ideas here, and if even that’s a bit much, I also have a list of activity ideas that can be enjoyed right here in Dubai here, and I’ll share more ideas next week (in a much shorter post!)