Cities in the Middle East: Travel Cost Rankings

What are the cheapest cities to visit in the Middle East?

The following travel cost rankings for cities in the Middle East are calculated based on the travel budgets of real travelers. Also referred to as a Travel Cost Index, or a Backpacker Index, the cities below are in order from least to most expensive by their average daily travel price, per person, per day

  • 1
    Ephesus, Turkey
  • 2
    Beirut, Lebanon
  • 3
    Fethiye, Turkey
  • 4
    Izmir, Turkey
  • 5
    Dahab, Egypt
  • Dahab The Blue Hole, Dahab, Egypt
    Dahab is a small town on the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. It is located about 85 kilometers north of Sharm el-Sheikh and sits on the Gulf of Aqaba. It's a popular destination with divers and backpackers alike, and offers some of the best snorkeling and diving that you'll find in the Red Sea. It's a great alternative to the resort driven Sharm el-Sheikh, and is popular with independent travelers who...
  • 6
    Aswan, Egypt
  • 7
    Alexandria, Egypt
  • 8
    Luxor, Egypt
  • 9
    Cairo, Egypt
  • Cairo Cairo, Egypt
    Cairo is the chaotic capital city of Egypt. With a population of more than 16 million, it is one of the largest cities in both Africa and the Middle East. As a traveler, you're likely to arrive and leave from here and you'll get your first orientation to the area during the chaotic and congestion filled taxi ride from the airport. Cairo sits on the famed Nile River and is...
  • 10
    Pamukkale, Turkey
  • Pamukkale Pamukkale, Turkey
    Pamukkale is in southeastern Aegean Turkey and is historically a spa town that has been in existence since the 2nd century BC. It is popular with tourists for its beautiful hot springs and travertines, or pools that are coated in a very unique calcium covering. The area is very rich in mineral content and the water, which has been flowing for thousands of years, has deposited calcium in each pool....
  • 11
    Cappadocia, Turkey
  • 12
    Istanbul, Turkey
  • Istanbul Istanbul
    Istanbul is strategically located on the Bosphorus and is split between Europe and Asia. It truly is a city where east meets west. Istanbul is the cultural and financial hub of Turkey, and also the most populous city. The sites are countless and there's something for everybody, whether you're interested in art, music, food, or adventure. You can pass many days exploring both the residential and commercial pockets of this...
  • 13
    Antalya, Turkey
  • 14
    Tehran, Iran
  • 15
    Tiberias, Israel
  • 16
    Jerusalem, Israel
  • Jerusalem Jerusalem
    Jerusalem is the capital city of Israel, as well as one of the most historically rich cities in the world. It is also the largest city in the country. While Tel Aviv holds many of the responsibilities of a capital city, officially, Jerusalem is still considered the capital. It is important to note that most countries have their embassies in Tel Aviv, not in Jerusalem. As for travel, Jerusalem, and...
  • 17
    Amman, Jordan
  • 18
    Haifa, Israel
  • 19
    Petra, Jordan
  • Petra Petra
    Whether you're checking off the Seven Wonders of the World, or you're just a huge Indiana Jones fan, the city of Petra must be on your bucket list. The "rose red city, half as old as time," was the capital of the Nabataean kingdom in the 6th century BC. It was the center for trade and commerce until an earthquake took out buildings and destroyed their water management system. After...
  • 20
    Tel Aviv, Israel
  • 21
    Eilat, Israel
  • 22
    Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • 23
    Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Dubai Dubai
    Ever wonder what it would be like to see the lifestyles of the rich and famous up close. There's no more upscale destination than Dubai. It's by far and away the spot for shopping, partying, sunbathing, fine dining and the most luxurious of luxury. As the most modern and progressive of the seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates, this area has experienced an unbelievable economic boom and tourism spike....
What are the cheapest cities to visit in the Middle East?

The most affordable cities for travel in the Middle East are currently Ephesus (Turkey), Beirut (Lebanon), Fethiye (Turkey), and Izmir (Turkey).

Affordable Travel in the Middle East
The Middle East is one of the most exotic regions in this world. A region that serves as a melting pot for many unique cultures, as well as a gate into the richest history in the world. This region has stood as a witness for numerous historic events that shaped all of our lives. And when it comes to ancient sites, it's as if you go on a journey back in time. The Empires of Alexander the Great, Persia, and Rome have all left their marks on the region. The Persians, Egyptians, Ottomans, and many other ruling groups were fond of creating monuments to celebrate their greatness, and quite a number can still be seen today. Some of the world's most prominent religions also came out of the Middle East. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have many important sites throughout the region. The Middle Eastern countries will open your eyes to a side of the world you might never knew existed. People in the Middle East region are very warm and welcoming by nature and the exoticness of the culture there will leave you in awe. The traditions, the norms, the customs, etc; every aspect will intrigue you to explore more and tempt you to stay longer. The Middle East also has a rich variety of local cuisine for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike, and travelers won't find the cost of travel to weigh as heavily on their bank accounts as they would in Europe. Costs in the Middle East can vary wildly depending on which countries you visit. Here's a good rule to follow: the smaller the country, the more expensive it will be. Obviously, there are few exceptions. Hostels can be hard to find in some parts of the region, but where they're lacking you can often find very cheap budget hotels. Hostels are usually in the range of $7-$15/night, while a budget hotel room will be closer to $20-$30/night. Of course, these prices go up quickly in places like Dubai and Qatar. If you're content eating local cuisine, you'll have no trouble finding falafel, kebab, and other meals for under $2 in places like Iran or Egypt. As long as you stay away from tourist areas and Western cuisine, you should have no problem keeping food costs low. The cheaper countries in the Middle East can be done for $20-25/day by a frugal traveller, but a more comfortable range is $30-35/day, which will go up if visiting Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and other highly developed countries.

Cost of travel around the Middle East can vary greatly depending on country and activity. While there are some cities like Cairo, Egypt that can be as cheap as $19 USD per day, Dubai in the UAE can be over $200. Tourism has dropped due to bad press in former tourist hotspots like Turkey, causing prices to drop there as well. Oman is considerably more expensive but it is also known as one of the cleanest and safest countries in the Middle East. Much of Tel Aviv is very European, so it makes sense that this seaside resort town lines up in price with a typical European party city. Visiting Jerusalem or other popular destinations nearby will usually cost less per day, so Israel shouldn't be too problematic for most budget travelers and backpackers. Alcohol has become quite expensive due to recent tax increases, so this is yet another place to consider being a teetotaler. Beirut is much cheaper than Tel Aviv, so it's a good choice to spend a bit of time in without breaking the bank

Budget Your Trip is all about finding out how much everything costs so that you can travel cheaper and longer. Created by avid travelers Laurie and Bryan, our goal is to help you plan your next trip on the right budget. With average daily travel costs that are calculated from the budgets of real travelers, plus an analysis of hotel and tour prices, you can find out how much money you need to plan your next adventure. We also have plenty of travel advice, accommodation reviews, and activity suggestions.
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