Dubai lifestyle: where to go away for the weekend?

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There’s little let-up in Dubai. Other than the multi-week holidays at the head of the year, falling around Eid, we are working hard (and playing hard!) full pelt most of the time beyond that.

In all the excitement, don’t forget that Dubai is a great place to travel from, with a variety of different countries just a short hop away! Here are four interesting awaybreak options you may have overlooked:

  1. Kish Island

Kish Island is often called the Pearl of the Persian Gulf. It is owned by Iran, and is popular with Iranians as a place to relax – popular too for the UAE visa-run!

But it’s an island packed with beaches, resorts, diving venues, the ancient city of Harireh, a beautiful park that features an 800 year old tree, and a mall, among other features. There’s visa on arrival.

  1. Georgia

The Caucasian country of Georgia is a mainstay on deal websites such as Groupon. The country has stunning natural landscape, mountains, rivers and forests. Its capital, Tblisi, is a fascinating historical mix of East and West and native architecture, and its prices for hotel stays, food, drink and entertainment are a pleasant surprise for the dirham-based visitor. Plus, it’s just a three-and-a-half flight away for a Thursday-Saturday mini-trip.

  1. Trabzon, Turkey

The popularity of this Black Sea city with Gulf-based tourists has already been highlighted here and there. New hotels are springing up in the city and surrounding towns as a result of this influx of visitors looking around its ancient streets, climbing the surrounding hills and visiting the ancient attractions such as Sumela Monastery.  Around half a dozen airlines fly from Dubai, with at least one stop over which is usually Istanbul.

  1. Socotra Island, Yemen

This island is little-known outside the Gulf region, and fits the travel journalism cliché of being truly ‘off the beaten track’.

While Yemen has endured a troubled last couple of years, the UAE’s lease of this beautiful island has allowed tourism to continue. Yemenia Airlines flies from Dubai, while in April it was announced that Rotana Jet will fly twice a week from Abu Dhabi.

Socotra has breathtaking scenery and is ideal for those who like a good trek up hills and valleys. It has unique trees, plants and endless wildlife – plus your standard Yemeni hospitality.

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