December is a month when many people in the Northern Hemisphere are seeking some respite from the cold, gray weather. For those who want to escape to warmer climates, there are plenty of options available. Among the destinations that can bring warmth and sunshine during this time of year are several Muslim countries that offer a unique blend of culture, luxury, and adventure.
From the glittering skyscrapers of Dubai to the hidden beaches of Oman, these hot Muslim countries have something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or an adrenaline-fueled vacation, there’s no shortage of activities or sights to see.
In this article, we’ll highlight some of the best places to visit in December for those who want to experience sunny days and warm hospitality amidst vibrant Islamic cultures.
List Of Hot Muslim Destinations In December
Dubai, UAE: A Hotspot for Winter Sun
Dubai, UAE is a popular destination for those seeking winter sunshine due to its warm and dry climate during the December period. The city is known for its luxurious lifestyle, stunning architecture, and breathtaking landscapes, making it an ideal location for tourists looking to escape the cold weather in their home countries.
In December, Dubai experiences average temperatures of around 25°C (77°F), with minimal rainfall and plenty of sunny days. This makes it perfect for outdoor activities such as beach visits, desert safaris, and water sports.
Additionally, Dubai has numerous indoor attractions such as shopping malls, museums, and theme parks that cater to all age groups. Overall, Dubai provides an excellent balance between outdoor adventure and indoor entertainment options during the winter season.
Abu Dhabi, UAE: The Capital of Luxury
Abu Dhabi, the largest of the seven emirates in the UAE, is renowned for its opulent attractions and high-end shopping experiences. The city boasts some of the world’s most luxurious hotels such as Emirates Palace and St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort. These hotels offer guests an unforgettable experience with their world-class amenities including private beaches, lavish spas, and Michelin-starred restaurants.
Apart from its luxurious accommodations, Abu Dhabi also offers a range of cultural experiences that showcase its rich history and heritage. Visitors can explore landmarks such as Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which is one of the largest mosques in the world and features stunning Islamic architecture.
Additionally, Qasr Al Watan Palace provides a glimpse into Emirati culture through exhibitions on traditional customs and practices. With its combination of luxury living and cultural immersion, Abu Dhabi truly lives up to its reputation as the capital of luxury in the Middle East.
Muscat, Oman: A Hidden Gem in the Middle East
Nestled between the Al Hajar Mountains and the Gulf of Oman, Muscat offers visitors a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural history. The capital city of Oman is often overlooked by tourists who flock to its neighboring cities like Dubai or Abu Dhabi. However, Muscat should not be underestimated as it possesses a charm that is unparalleled in the region.
Here are five reasons why Muscat should be on your travel bucket list:
- The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is a must-visit destination for architecture enthusiasts. This magnificent mosque boasts an intricate design with breathtakingly beautiful Islamic art.
- The Mutrah Souq, one of the oldest markets in the Arab world, takes you back in time with its traditional atmosphere and bustling energy. Get ready to haggle for some unique souvenirs!
- For those seeking relaxation, head over to Qurum Beach where you can soak up the sun or take a dip in the crystal-clear waters.
- History buffs will appreciate exploring Old Muscat and its forts which were built during Portuguese rule. These structures offer a glimpse into Oman’s rich past.
- Finally, no trip to Muscat is complete without trying Omani cuisine which is largely influenced by Indian, Persian, and Arabic flavors. Be sure to try local favorites such as shuwa (slow-cooked lamb) or machboos (spiced rice with meat).
Salalah, Oman: A Tropical Paradise in the Desert
Located in the southern region of Oman, Salalah offers visitors a unique escape from the desert with its lush greenery and tropical climate.
Surrounded by the Dhofar Mountains, this coastal city experiences monsoon season from June to September, which transforms the arid landscape into a verdant paradise.
The city’s main attraction during this period is undoubtedly its waterfalls, including Wadi Darbat and Ayn Athum.
These natural wonders are surrounded by dense vegetation and offer refreshing respite from the heat.
In addition to its natural beauty, Salalah is also known for its history and culture.
The city was an important trading hub in ancient times due to its location on the incense route between Arabia and India.
Today, visitors can explore archaeological sites such as Al Baleed Archaeological Park, which showcases remnants of the ancient port city of Zafar.
Cultural events such as the Salalah Tourism Festival also provide insight into local customs and traditions through music, dance, food, and crafts.
Overall, Salalah offers a unique blend of nature and culture that makes it a must-visit destination in Oman.
Marrakech, Morocco: A City of Contrasts
Marrakech, Morocco is a vibrant city that juxtaposes the ancient and modern, blending traditional Islamic architecture with contemporary art and fashion.
The city has a rich cultural history that can be seen in its numerous historic sites such as the Koutoubia Mosque, Bahia Palace, and Saadian Tombs.
Visitors can also experience the bustling souks or markets where vendors sell everything from spices to textiles.
Marrakech is also known for its food scene which features flavorful tagines, couscous dishes, and sweet pastries.
In addition to its cultural offerings, Marrakech is also home to several modern amenities such as luxury hotels like The Four Seasons and trendy restaurants like Nomad.
The city has become a popular destination for both leisure travelers looking for a unique vacation experience and business travelers attending conferences at venues such as the Palmeraie Conference Center.
With mild temperatures in December ranging between 10-20°C (50-68°F), Marrakech offers visitors an escape from winter weather while providing opportunities for adventure, relaxation, and exploration of one of North Africa’s most dynamic cities.
Casablanca, Morocco: A Gateway to the Atlantic
Casablanca, the largest city in Morocco, is a bustling port city on the Atlantic coast that serves as a gateway to both North Africa and Europe. It is known for its modern architecture, vibrant nightlife, and stunning beaches.
The Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world, is also located here. Designed by French architect Michel Pinseau and completed in 1993, this beautiful mosque features exquisite details such as intricate mosaics and marble floors. Visitors can take guided tours of the mosque or attend prayer services.
In addition to its architectural wonders and cultural attractions, Casablanca also offers a wide range of shopping opportunities. The city boasts several large shopping malls where visitors can find everything from high-end designer clothing to traditional Moroccan handicrafts. One popular destination is Morocco Mall, which features more than 350 stores along with an aquarium and amusement park.
With so much to see and do in this vibrant coastal city, it’s no wonder that Casablanca has become a must-visit destination for travelers looking to explore all that Morocco has to offer.
Fez, Morocco: A Cultural and Spiritual Center
Fez, a city in northern Morocco, is renowned for its rich cultural heritage and spiritual significance. It serves as the country’s former capital and houses numerous historical landmarks that reflect the Islamic culture.
One of these sites is the University of Al Quaraouiyine, which was established in 859 AD and has been considered as one of the oldest continuously operating universities in the world. The university played a vital role in spreading Islamic education throughout North Africa and Europe during the Middle Ages.
Apart from its architectural treasures, Fez also boasts various religious monuments that attract Muslim pilgrims from different parts of the world. One such site is Moulay Idriss Mausoleum, which honors Moulay Idriss I – a descendant of Prophet Muhammad who founded Morocco’s first dynasty.
Another significant landmark is Bou Inania Madrasa, an Islamic school built by Sultan Abu Inan Faris in the 14th century. Its intricate decoration and design are testaments to Moroccan artisans’ skills during that era.
Overall, Fez offers visitors an unparalleled experience to immerse themselves in Moroccan history and culture while also exploring their spirituality within this stunning destination.
Istanbul, Turkey: A Bridge between East and West
Istanbul, situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, serves as a cultural hub that bridges the Eastern and Western worlds. Known for its vibrant energy and rich history, Istanbul is an ideal destination for those seeking to experience the fusion of cultures and traditions.
Here are some things to look forward to in Istanbul:
- The Hagia Sophia: A former church turned mosque turned museum, this architectural masterpiece is a symbol of the city’s diverse past.
- The Grand Bazaar: One of the largest covered markets in the world, it offers everything from spices to textiles to jewelry.
- The Bosphorus Strait: Separating Europe and Asia, this waterway not only provides stunning views but also connects visitors with other parts of Turkey through ferry rides.
With a bustling atmosphere and endless attractions, Istanbul has something for everyone. Its unique blend of East-meets-West culture makes it a must-visit destination all year round.
Antalya, Turkey: A Mediterranean Gem
Located on the Mediterranean coast, Antalya offers visitors a perfect blend of ancient history and modern luxury. It is one of Turkey’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting millions of visitors each year with its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and picturesque landscapes.
The city’s old town, Kaleici, is a maze of narrow streets lined with historic Ottoman-era buildings that have been converted into boutique hotels, restaurants and shops. Visitors can explore Hadrian’s Gate, built in honor of the Roman emperor Hadrian in 130 AD; the 13th-century Yivli Minaret Mosque; or wander through the Antalya Museum to learn about the region’s rich archaeological heritage.
For those seeking adventure and outdoor activities, Antalya also has plenty to offer. From hiking trails in the nearby Taurus Mountains to rafting trips on the Köprüçay River or scuba diving in the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea- there are many ways to explore this beautiful region.
For golf enthusiasts, Belek – located just outside Antalya – boasts some of Europe’s best golf courses set against a backdrop of majestic mountains and shimmering sea views. With its mild climate all year round and endless array of attractions for both culture seekers and thrill-seekers alike- it is no wonder why Antalya remains one of Turkey’s top holiday destinations.
Doha, Qatar: A Modern Metropolis
Doha, the capital city of Qatar, is a modern metropolis that showcases a unique blend of traditional Islamic culture and contemporary architecture. Situated on the coast of the Arabian Gulf, Doha has become one of the fastest-growing cities in the world over the past few decades.
Here are some reasons why Doha should be on your list for hot Muslim countries to visit in December:
- The Museum of Islamic Art: Designed by architect I.M. Pei, this museum houses one of the most comprehensive collections of Islamic art in the world.
- Souq Waqif: This traditional market offers an authentic glimpse into Qatari culture and is a great place to shop for souvenirs or enjoy a meal at one of its many restaurants.
- The Pearl-Qatar: A man-made island that features luxurious residential properties and high-end retail shops.
- Katara Cultural Village: A venue for various cultural activities such as concerts, exhibitions, and festivals.
Aside from these attractions, Doha also boasts a thriving culinary scene with local restaurants serving up traditional Qatari dishes like machboos (a spicy rice dish) and thareed (a bread-based stew).
Overall, Doha presents visitors with a dynamic mix of history and modernity that makes it an exciting destination to explore.
Manama, Bahrain: A Blend of Tradition and Modernity
Manama, the capital city of Bahrain, offers visitors a unique blend of traditional and modern architecture, making it a fascinating destination to explore. The city is home to several landmarks that showcase the country’s rich cultural heritage.
One such landmark is the Al-Fateh Grand Mosque, which is one of the largest mosques in the world. Built-in 1987, this impressive structure can accommodate up to 7,000 worshippers at a time and features intricate Islamic motifs that adorn its walls and ceilings.
In addition to its cultural attractions, Manama also boasts a thriving business district with towering skyscrapers that dominate its skyline. Among these skyscrapers is the iconic Bahrain World Trade Center – an award-winning building that integrates renewable energy sources into its design.
Visitors can take in stunning views of the city from atop these towering structures or enjoy shopping at one of many luxury malls scattered throughout Manama. With something for everyone, Manama serves as an excellent destination for those seeking both tradition and modernity in their travels.
Amman, Jordan: A City of History and Hospitality
Amman, the capital city of Jordan, is a vibrant metropolis that blends ancient history with modern hospitality. The city’s rich cultural heritage attracts millions of visitors each year who come to experience its unique blend of old-world charm and contemporary urbanity.
Amman boasts a range of historical landmarks, such as the Roman Amphitheatre and the Citadel, which offer breathtaking views over the city skyline. Visitors can also explore traditional markets or ‘souks’where they can haggle for everything from spices and textiles to antiques and jewelry.
Beyond its historical landmarks, Amman is known for its warm hospitality and friendly locals. Visitors will find numerous cafes and restaurants serving delicious Middle Eastern cuisine alongside international fare. The city’s nightlife scene offers something for everyone, from rooftop bars to underground clubs playing Arabic music.
For those seeking relaxation amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, there are plenty of hammams or Turkish baths where visitors can indulge in a massage or sauna session. Overall, Amman provides a captivating glimpse into Jordan’s rich culture and history while offering modern comforts and amenities that make it an ideal destination for travelers seeking an authentic Arab experience.
Cairo, Egypt: A Gateway to Ancient Wonders
Moving on from the rich history and warm hospitality of Amman, Jordan, let us now explore Cairo, Egypt – a city that has captivated the world with its ancient wonders and cultural heritage.
Situated along the Nile River, Cairo is not only the largest city in Egypt but also one of the most populous cities in Africa. It is a bustling metropolis that serves as a gateway to some of the most iconic landmarks in human history.
Exploring Cairo is an experience unlike any other, where visitors can marvel at architectural masterpieces like the Giza Pyramid Complex or immerse themselves in museums showcasing ancient Egyptian artifacts.
Here are three things you should consider doing when visiting Cairo: (1) take a stroll through Al-Azhar Park for stunning views of the city skyline; (2) visit The Museum of Islamic Art to appreciate Islamic art and architecture from around the world; and (3) enjoy traditional Egyptian cuisine at El Fishawy Cafe while soaking up local culture at Khan el-Khalili bazaar.
With all these things to see and do, it’s no wonder why Cairo remains a popular destination for travelers seeking adventure and cultural exploration.
Luxor, Egypt: A City of Pharaohs and Temples
Luxor, Egypt is a city steeped in ancient history, known for its plethora of pharaonic temples and royal tombs. Located on the east bank of the Nile River, Luxor was once the capital of Egypt during the New Kingdom period.
Its most famous attraction is undoubtedly the Karnak Temple Complex, which is considered one of the largest religious structures in the world. The complex comprises several temples dedicated to different gods and features impressive columns and obelisks engraved with hieroglyphs.
Another must-visit site in Luxor is the Valley of Kings, where many pharaohs were buried along with their treasures. Visitors can explore several tombs that have been discovered so far, including Tutankhamun’s tomb which contains his mummified body and numerous artifacts such as his golden mask.
In addition to these historical landmarks, Luxor also offers other interesting attractions such as felucca boat rides on the Nile River and traditional markets selling local handicrafts and souvenirs.
Overall, Luxor is a fascinating destination for anyone interested in ancient Egyptian civilization and architecture.
Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt: A Diver’s Paradise
Sharm El Sheikh, located on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, is a world-renowned destination for scuba diving and snorkeling due to its crystal-clear waters and diverse marine life. The city boasts a number of stunning dive sites that cater to divers of all levels, from beginners to experienced professionals. Some of the most popular sites include Ras Mohammed National Park, Tiran Island, and Shark’s Bay.
The Ras Mohammed National Park is located at the southernmost point of the Sinai Peninsula and offers some of the most spectacular underwater scenery in the world. The park features an abundance of colorful coral reefs teeming with a variety of fish species such as barracuda, grouper, snapper, and angel fish. Divers can also expect to see larger creatures like sharks, turtles, and dolphins. Meanwhile, Tiran Island is another popular spot for diving enthusiasts looking for more challenging dives due to its strong currents. Finally, Shark’s Bay is known for its shallow waters filled with colorful parrotfish and clownfish making it an ideal location for beginner divers or those who simply want to snorkel around while enjoying the stunning views around them as they get up close with their favorite aquatic animals.
Aqaba, Jordan: A Red Sea Gem
Situated on the northern tip of the Red Sea, Aqaba in Jordan is a popular diving destination known for its clear waters and diverse marine life. The warm and calm waters make it an ideal spot for both beginners and experienced divers.
Aqaba boasts over 25 dive sites that are home to various species of colorful fish, corals, and other sea creatures such as turtles, stingrays, and even dolphins. One of the most famous dive sites in Aqaba is the Japanese Garden, which features stunning coral formations resembling a traditional Japanese garden. Another popular site is Cedar Pride Wreck, a sunken Lebanese freighter that has become an artificial reef teeming with marine life.
Diving in Aqaba is not only about exploring underwater landscapes but also about experiencing Jordanian culture on land. Many dive operators offer tours to nearby historical sites such as Petra or Wadi Rum desert to complete your adventure in this beautiful country.
Agadir, Morocco: A Beach Lover’s Haven
Agadir in Morocco is a coastal city that offers visitors a long stretch of sandy beach, perfect for those looking to soak up the sun and enjoy various water activities such as surfing and jet skiing. The beach is well-maintained and has plenty of amenities including beach chairs, umbrellas, showers, and restaurants. Visitors can also take part in camel rides or horseback riding along the coast.
Apart from its stunning beaches, Agadir also boasts several attractions that make it a popular tourist destination. Here are some of the must-visit sites:
- Kasbah: This hilltop fortress provides panoramic views of the city and its surroundings.
- Souk El Had: A bustling market where you can find everything from spices to pottery.
- Valley of Birds: A beautiful park filled with exotic birds from around the world.
- Crocopark: An animal park that houses over 300 Nile crocodiles as well as other reptiles and animals.
Overall, Agadir is an excellent vacation spot for those seeking warmth, relaxation, and adventure all in one place!
Dubai Miracle Garden: A Floral Wonderland
Dubai Miracle Garden is an impressive floral wonderland that features over 45 million flowers arranged in incredible designs and patterns. The garden occupies a vast area of 72,000 square meters and is located in the heart of Dubai.
It is home to more than 120 flower varieties, including sunflowers, petunias, marigolds, and geraniums. Visitors can stroll along the pathways adorned with blooming arches or admire the colorful floral sculptures shaped like airplanes, animals, hearts, and boats.
One of the highlights of Dubai Miracle Garden is the Emirates A380 Airbus structure covered in vibrant flowers. The stunning design replicates the iconic airplane’s shape and features a length of over 80 meters with wingspan reaching up to 30 meters.
Another must-see attraction is the heart-shaped pathway covered with thousands of red roses that make for a perfect spot for taking pictures or enjoying a romantic walk.
Overall, Dubai Miracle Garden captures visitors’ imagination by showcasing nature’s beauty in an innovative way that appeals to all ages and interests.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi: A Spectacle of Islamic Architecture
Moving on from the mesmerizing floral wonderland of Dubai Miracle Garden, we now shift our focus to another grand attraction that should be on every traveler’s list: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.
This architectural masterpiece is a true spectacle of Islamic design and engineering, showcasing the grandeur and elegance of Islamic architecture. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world, spanning over an area of 30 acres and accommodating more than 41,000 worshippers at once.
With its stunning white marble walls adorned with intricate floral patterns and calligraphy, it is a sight to behold both during day and night when it is beautifully illuminated. Visitors can also marvel at its 82 domes, four minarets standing tall at 107 meters each, and exquisite chandeliers made up of thousands of Swarovski crystals.
The mosque also houses one of the world’s largest hand-knotted carpets and boasts a library filled with rare Islamic manuscripts as well as other cultural treasures. A visit to this mosque not only offers an opportunity for spiritual reflection but also provides an insight into Islamic culture and history.
Petra, Jordan: A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Petra, located in Jordan, is an awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts visitors from all over the world with its unique sandstone structures carved into the mountains. This ancient city was once a thriving trade hub between Arabia, Egypt, and Syria. Today, Petra stands as a testament to the ingenuity of human civilization.
Visitors can explore this remarkable site through various trails and paths that lead to hidden treasures. Here are three must-see attractions in Petra:
The Treasury (Al-Khazneh), Monastery (Ad Deir), and the High Place of Sacrifice. The Treasury is undoubtedly Petra’s most famous structure, featured in several Hollywood movies like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
The Monastery is another significant monument within Petra’s archeological park that requires climbing 800 steps up a mountain for access.
Lastly, the High Place of Sacrifice offers panoramic views of the valley below and is an excellent spot for photography enthusiasts to capture stunning shots of Petra’s beauty.
Valley of the Kings, Egypt: A Necropolis of Pharaohs
Moving on from Petra, Jordan, let’s delve into the Valley of the Kings located in Egypt. This famous site is a necropolis that served as a burial ground for Pharaohs and their consorts during the New Kingdom period. With over 60 tombs and chambers discovered to date, exploring this vast area can take days.
The table below provides a brief overview of some of the most notable tombs found in the Valley of the Kings:
|KV62||Tutankhamun||One of the most well-known tombs due to its discovery with almost all its treasures still intact.|
|KV9||Ramses V & VI||This tomb features stunningly painted walls depicting scenes from Egyptian mythology.|
|KV34||Thutmose III||The longest tomb in the valley and features intricate carvings and decorations throughout.|
|KV55||Unknown Pharaoh (likely Akhenaten)||Discovered with a mix of artifacts belonging to different pharaohs, leading historians to believe it was repurposed for this unknown ruler.|
|WV23 (Workmen’s Valley)||Yuya & Tjuyu (Queen Tiye’s parents)||Although not technically part of the Valley of Kings proper, this tomb is notable for being one of very few non-royal burials in Luxor.|
Visiting these tombs offers visitors an opportunity to marvel at ancient Egyptian artistry and architecture while immersing themselves in history. It is truly an unforgettable experience that shouldn’t be missed by anyone interested in Egyptology or archaeology more broadly speaking.