15 bucket list destinations within a four hour flight from Dubai
Thinking of booking a last-minute getaway?
One of the great things about living in Dubai is that it’s only a four-hour flight away from one-third of the world’s population. That means it’s a great opportunity to explore some unique travel spots that are within easy reach: from popular nearby getaways like Maldives and Oman, to less-discovered destinations like Almaty and AlUla.
Here are 15 incredible destinations within a four-hour flight from Dubai:
Get there: Emirates and Fly Dubai fly direct to Almaty from DXB, taking four hours.
For the adventure-seekers… With stunning scenery and fascinating architecture, the mountainous region of Almaty is the largest city in Kazakhstan and the business and cultural capital. By day, explore the great outdoors from hiking to skiing, paragliding to horse riding, and by night, see a live musical performance, go club hopping, check out the art galleries, or visit a brewery. The best time to visit is between June and September when temperatures remain moderate between 20ºC and 30ºC.
AlUla, Saudi Arabia
Get there: Flynas and Fly Dubai fly direct to AlUla from DXB, taking three hours.
The ancient UNESCO heritage site is undoubtedly a bucket-list destination with countless experiences around some of Saudi Arabia’s most beautiful and unspoiled landscapes. This site opened to global travellers for the first time in 2020 and visitors can now explore the remarkable and rich historical and archaeological site. Despite having over 200,000 years of history to experience, AlUla is also transforming into a hub for art, wellness, culture, and entertainment. Where to stay? Check out the luxurious Habitas AlUla or the newly-opened Banyan Tree.
Get there: Emirates and Fly Dubai fly direct to Beirut from DXB and flights take around four and a half hours.
Often referred to as Paris of the Middle East – Lebanon’s capital, Beirut is an enchanting destination and one of the oldest cities in the world. Full of energy and character, you could spend days sightseeing, socialising, and shopping. The people in Beirut are some of the friendliest you’ll ever meet, and travelling there can be really flexible depending on the type of traveller and budget. Where to stay? Check out the Arthaus Beirut for a boutique stay in the art district of the city.
Get there: Emirates fly direct to Cairo from DXB, and flights take around four hours.
Check off one of the world’s oldest wonders in Cairo. Fun fact: out of the original seven wonders of the world, the iconic Pyramids of Giza, are the only ones to still exist. Set on the Nile river, Egypt’s capital is also known for its museums, medieval mosques, bustling souks, the citadel, and more. The most popular time to visit is between the months of October and April.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Get there: Emirates fly direct to Colombo from DXB, and flights take four hours.
For an escape filled with just the right amount of adventure, culture, and wellness – look no further than Sri Lanka. Say ayubowan (hello) to endless green landscapes, tree plantations, wildlife, rainforests, and waterfalls. You can fill your itinerary with as many or as little day trips as you wish (taking time out to sip locally-grown tea by the infinity pool is totally acceptable and encouraged). Some of the main attractions in Sri Lanka include taking the picturesque train ride from Kandy to Ella, climbing Sigiriya Rock, and checking out some of the beautiful beaches including Dalawella.
Get there: Fly Dubai fly direct to DOH from DXB, flights take around one hour.
The vibrant, rapidly-growing city of Doha is just one hour away from Dubai and is just waiting to be explored. From breathtaking art and high-end shopping to desert adventures and epic water parks, the multi-culturally city has plenty of offerings for all kinds of traveller. Feel inspired by the striking architecture of the National Museum of Qatar and Museum of Islamic Art; escape to Purple Island to reconnect with nature; and check out the breathtaking structure in the desert East-West/West-East by Richard Serra.
Get there: Air India fly direct to Goa from DXB, flights take around three hours.
For those in need of a tropical beach getaway, this tiny coastal state in India is the perfect choice. Whether you’re planning a last-minute trip, a romantic getaway, or a family holiday, Goa is full of memories waiting to be made. The most popular time to visit is between November and February, temperatures start to increase around March to May but you’ll find beaches a lot less crowded, June to October is monsoon season. Where to visit? One of India’s tallest waterfalls, Dudhsagar Falls and the famous Palolem Beach. Are you ready to Goa?
Get there: Emirates and Fly Dubai fly direct to Tbilisi (two hours drive from Gudauri), flights take around three and a half hours.
This Eastern European destination has become increasingly popular with UAE residents looking to make the snowy peaks their playground thanks to its affordable accommodation and close proximity to the emirates. The country’s best ski resort is Gudauri in the Greater Caucasus mountains, thanks to its high elevation and impressive snow depth reaching 2.5 metres. As well as skiing, there’s plenty to enjoy, with exhilarating experiences like snowtubing, heliskiing and free riding all on offer on the slopes. There’s also a burgeoning food and wine scene to experience, with a growing influx of hotels, restaurants and bars adding to the area.
Get there: Air India fly direct to Jaipur with prices starting from Dhs849
Just a three-hour flight away from Dubai, India’s extravagant Pink City is a feast for the senses. From architectural wonders and beautiful palaces to bustling markets and incredible street food, Jaipur is a perfect blend of heritage, adventure, and opulence. The most popular time to visit is between October and March. Holi festival, which takes place on March 8, in Jaipur is a must-visit and bucket list experience.
Get there: flydubai and Nepal Airlines fly direct to Kathmandu with prices from Dhs1,387 taking around four hours
Embrace simplicity and a rich blend of history, spirituality, and natural beauty in this unique destination. Discover the allure of Durbar Square’s historic architecture, delve into spiritual serenity at Swayambhunath Stupa, and explore the narrow alleys of Thamel for unique souvenirs. Indulge in diverse culinary delights, from traditional momos to exotic Newari cuisine. Kathmandu offers a peaceful escape with a Himalayan backdrop, a world away from Dubai, yet just a short four-hour flight.
Get there: Emirates fly direct to Larnaca from DXB and flights take around four hours.
Larnaca is a 600-year-old coastal city in Cyprus known for its beautiful palm tree-lined beaches, gorgeous weather, famous salt lake, and ancient gems. The island is split into Turkish and Greek halves, which means you can dip into two separate cultures in one trip. If you’re into diving, be sure to check out the Zenobia shipwreck in Larnaca – it’s said to be one of the best dive sites in the world.
Get there: Emirates fly direct to Mahé Island from DXB, flights take just over four hours.
Located on the Indian Ocean, Mahé is the third largest island of the Seychelles archipelago, and is a beach lover’s paradise with year-round sunshine. Spend your days relaxing on the beautiful white-sand beaches, hiking through the rainforests, or exploring the colourful markets full of fresh fruit, handmade goods, and fish. From Mahé, you can also easily explore other islands by boat hopping.
Get there: Fly Dubai and Emirates fly direct to Male from DXB, flights take around four hours.
A place that needs no introduction, the Maldives is the perfect island vacation to relax, recharge, and refresh. From its aqua blue waters to unique hotel offerings, you won’t struggle for reasons to visit the Maldives.
Get there: Emirates fly direct to Amman from DXB, taking around three and a half hours.
Around a three hour drive from Amman, explore the unmissable historic sights of the Rose City in Petra. We’d recommend staying for at least one night at the UNESCO World Heritage Site which spans 60-miles, to experience the candlelit Petra by Night. Make sure to take comfortable shoes as there’s lots of walking involved if you want the best views. Other nearby sights to explore during your visit: Wadi Rum, Aqaba, and the Dead Sea.
Get there: Emirates and Fly Dubai fly direct to Salalah and flights take around two hours.
Salalah is located in Oman’s Dhofar province and is known for its sunny weather, banana plantations, beautiful beaches, and sea life. From picture-perfect waterfalls (Ayn Athum) to white-sand beaches surrounded by green mountains, Salalah is a must-visit for all UAE residents.
Images: What’s On/Unsplash