Doha Skyline, Qatar

The Best of the Arabian Gulf Region – Countries, Cities and Attractions

When talking about the Middle East and the broader MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, the Arabian Gulf Region (or simply the Gulf as it is sometimes called) takes a central place. Occupying almost the entire Arabian Peninsula, the region is rich in history, culture and traditions.

The Gulf is the most developed region in the Middle East and it flourishes with every aspect of modern development you can find in any other developed part of the world.

No matter where you are from, a visit to one or more countries in the Gulf Region should be on your Wishlist and I will show you why in this post.

A Street in Downtown Kuwait City, Kuwait - The Best of the Arabian Gulf Region - Countries, Cities and Attractions.
Downtown Kuwait City, Kuwait

The Gulf Region

Geographically, the Gulf Region comprises the regions on the Arabian Peninsula adjacent to the Persian Gulf. In this article, I use the term Gulf Region to refer to the region that comprises the six (6) member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) which includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Kuwait and Oman. They are also together called the Gulf Countries and the region is also referred to as the Arabian Gulf.

The countries in the Gulf (the Arabian Gulf) share the same history and have similar cultures and traditions. Saudi Arabia is the largest (by land mass and population) in the Gulf Region while Bahrain is the smallest in size and population and it is also the only island country in the region.

One of the things the Gulf Region is known for is its oil production – the area is host to about two-thirds of the world’s oil reserve. The people of the Gulf Region are overwhelmingly Arabs!

The region occupies about 2,673,108 kilometers square (1,032,093 square miles) and is inhabited by over 65.5 million people (2021 estimate).

And, interestingly, all the countries in the Gulf Region are monarchies! Since this post is not a geography lesson, let’s get to the best things that the Gulf region or the Arabian Gulf has to offer visiting tourists and other types of visitors.

See Also: The Best 15 Top Destinations to Visit this Year

Countries in the Arabian Gulf Region

The Gulf Region as one of the best go-to destinations for international expats especially in the oil and energy field, luxury shoppers, adventure lovers, and religious observers is endowed with both wealth and traditions.

“The Gulf Region is endowed with both wealth and traditions.”

There are 6 countries in the Gulf Region and these countries are discussed below according to how wealthy they are using their annual nominal GDP as the metric.

No.CountryCapitalPopulation (2023)GDP (Nominal)GDP (Per Capital)
1.Saudi ArabiaRiyadh35,340,680$833.54 Billion$23,586
2.United Arab EmiratesAbu Dhabi9,991,083$358.87 Billion$36,285
3.QatarDoha2,930,524$179.57 Billion$61,276
4.KuwaitKuwait City4,328,553$105.95 Billion$22,684
5.OmanMuscat4,527,000$85.87 Billion$18,966
6.BahrainManama1,487,000$38.87 Billion$26,139
The Economy of Countries in the Arabian Gulf Region (GCC Members) Source

Among all the Arabian Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia is by a huge margin the wealthiest recording an annual GDP of over $830 billion. This is followed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at Nominal GDP of approximately $350 billion.

Though none of the Arabian Gulf countries can be regarded as being poor, Bahrain (the smallest and only Island country in the Gulf) have the lowest GDP at $38 billion.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is the Centre of the Arabic world! Officially known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the country is by far the largest among the Gulf Countries in terms of size, population and wealth.

There are over 35.3 million residents in Saudi Arabia and the country records an annual GDP (nominal) of more than $830 billion. Saudi Arabia is the origin and major religious Centre of Islam. Despite its religious significance, Saudi Arabia is up-to-date in modern trends – fashion, food, architecture, business and lifestyle!

The country boasts of producing good numbers of luxury yachts and private jet owners in the world.

“Saudi Arabia is the Centre of the Arabic World.”

The Kingdom Tower, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) - The Best of the Arabian Gulf Region - Countries, Cities and Attractions.
The Kingdom Tower, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

With over 9 million inhabitants and a $358 billion annual GDP, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the second largest and second richest country In the Gulf Region.

The UAE stands as the symbol of modern Arabian Opulence. The Emirate is globally recognized as one of the peak Centres for luxury shoppers and those who desire to experience a true luxury lifestyle.

Despite the predominantly decadence-filled style and theme of UAE, the country still unabatedly caters to the needs of all classes of visitors – expats, tourists, shoppers, and business people alike.

And despite its social emphasis and significance as a world-class luxury Centre, the UAE is much more affordable than many other highly rated countries in the world like the UK and France. The UAE is a good country to relax, work, live and play.

” The UAE stands as the symbol of modern Arabian Opulence… It is a good country to relax, work, live and play.”

The Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) - The Best of the Arabian Gulf Region - Countries, Cities and Attractions.
The Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Qatar

Qatar (Officially the State of Qatar) sits on its own Peninsula – the Qatar Peninsula. The country has a total population of over 2.9 million and close to 80% of Qatar’s residents live in its Capital, Doha, an ultra-modern city and the economic powerhouse of the country.

Qatar is mostly recognized across the world by its international media house, Al Jazeera and in 2022, Qatar Airways (its national air carrier) was awarded the best airline in the world.

Qatar though a relatively small country in the Gulf (by land size) singlehandedly hosted the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

If you are looking for a modern adventure with a balanced blend of tradition, luxury and modernity, Qatar is the right place to be. [External Link: 10 Great Reasons to Visit Qatar This Year]

“If you are looking for a modern adventure with a balanced blend of tradition, luxury and modernity, Qatar is the right place to be.”

The Pearl (Island) Qatar - The Best of the Arabian Gulf Region - Countries, Cities and Attractions.
The Pearl (Island) Qatar

Kuwait

A country of white sandy beaches and blue waters located at the top end of the Arabian Gulf (the Gulf Region), Kuwait is one of the wealthiest countries in the world (by per capita).

The Kuwaiti Dinar has been the highest-valued currency in the world for several years in a row. This makes Kuwait one of the most sought-after countries for international expats, especially in education, finance and oil and energy-related fields.

Kuwait is rich in oil and money! The population of Kuwait stands at slightly over 4.3 million people in 2023 and it has an annual GDP (nominal) of around $105.9 billion.

Culture and traditions are strongly upheld in Kuwait amidst its moderately developed economy. One of the most prominent things Kuwait is known for is its theatrical culture.

The country has a well-established system for its home-grown tradition of theatre. If you want to experience the best of traditional Arabic theatre/theatrical performances, Kuwait is the place to go.

Aside from theatre and its well-preserved Arabic culture, Kuwait is a country of serene beaches, luxury hotels, great landscapes, modern and traditional marketplaces as well as historical attractions.

Kuwait Towers, Kuwait City, Kuwait - The Best of the Arabian Gulf Region - Countries, Cities and Attractions.
Kuwait Towers, Kuwait City, Kuwait

Oman

Oman (officially the Sultanate of Oman), a country of over 4.5 million people sits at the mouth of the Persian Gulf from the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula.

According to nationsonline.org, “Oman is famous for its ancient aflaj oases irrigation system, terraced orchards (Jebel Akhdar), adobe fortresses, lots of mosques, wadis (stream valleys), dhows (traditional Arabian sailing ships), meteorites, and Al Said, the world’s third-largest yacht, owned by the Sultan.” Oman has a modest annual nominal GDP of $4.5 billion.

Oman is a great place to witness some of the most exceptional Arabic desert architecture and if you do visit Oman, you should check out some of the best fragrant markets the country has, and shop for frankincense, myrrh, bukhoor and traditional Omani perfumes.

Oman is one of the few countries relatively untouched by tourism, you can explore the beaches, visit the Hajar Mountains (most especially Jebel Shems), and the Musandam Fjords, and have some desert fun in this amazing country in the Gulf.

Muscat the Capital City is home to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and the Royal Opera House.

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman - The Best of the Arabian Gulf Region - Countries, Cities and Attractions.
The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman

Bahrain

The Kingdom of Bahrain (or simply Bahrain) is the only island country in the Arabian Gulf. It is home to 1.48 million people and with annual nominal GDP of $38 billion. Bahrain is known as The Pearl of The Gulf!

Bahrain is recognized as the site of the ancient Dilmun Kingdom reputed as a dominant trading Kingdom in the Gulf.

You can book a tour across the Kingdom’s Capital Manama, experience the Street Foods, embark on a walking tour of Muharraq, visit the local markets and relate with the locals.

You can also go on a shopping tour in one of Bahrain’s ultra-modern shopping malls or wind down at the beach taking in the bright radiant sun in this beautiful island nation on the Arabian Gulf.

“Bahrain is known as the Pearl of The Gulf”

The Best of Bahrain – Official Bahrain’s Tourism Video

Tourism in the Gulf Region

The inflow of tourists to the Arabian Gulf region has seen a steady increase over the years with many of the Gulf Countries setting ambitious goals for tourism in their respective countries.

The table presented below shows how many tourists visited the Arabian Gulf in 2022 and the total number of tourists that visited each of the Gulf Countries within the year.

No.CountryCapitalTotal Tourists (2022)
1.Saudi ArabiaRiyadh18 million
2.United Arab EmiratesAbu Dhabi14.8 million
3.BahrainManama4.3 million
4.QatarDoha2.9 million
5.OmanMuscat2.3 million
6.KuwaitKuwait City203,000
Total42,503,000
Total Number of Tourists that Visited the Arabian Gulf in 2022. Source: WTO

According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), over 40 million tourists visited the Gulf Region in 2022.

Among the countries in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia is by far the most visited country (by the total number of tourists) with over 18 million tourists in 2022. This is closely followed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with more than 14 million tourists visiting the country in 2022.

Kuwait is the least visited country in the Arabian Gulf with just a little over 200,000 tourists in 2022.

2022 Tourism Chart of the Gulf Countries - placesandfortune.com
2022 Tourism Chart of the Gulf Countries

Best Cities in the Arabian Gulf Region

Over the years, the Arabian Gulf has evolved into one of the most sought regions for relaxation, shopping, work, business and leisure.

This region has been attracting many travellers and tourists who desire to experience the best of Arabic culture in an environment with an extraordinary balance of history, culture and modernity.

The Arabian Gulf has become a strong hotspot region for international tourists and has some of the fastest-growing cities in the world.

From Manama, the capital city of the Island Kingdom of Bahrain to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, here are some of the best cities to visit in the Arabian Gulf with their respective 2023 populations.

No.CityCountryPopulation
1.DubaiUAE3,559,814
2.RiyadhSaudi Arabia7,682,430
3.Abu DhabiUAE1,566,999
4.JeddahSaudi Arabia4,862,941
5.DohaQatar796,947
6.Kuwait CityKuwait3,298,000
7.MuscatOman1,650,319
8.DammamSaudi Arabia1,329,291
9.ManamaBahrain708,882
10.SalalahOman447,521
Some of the Best Cities in The Gulf Region Source

Dubai, UAE

Dubai, the gold city, is famous for being one of the most luxurious cities in the world. This ultra-modern city set on the coast of the Persian Gulf has set many world records in design, architecture and the kind of lifestyle it presents to its visitors.

With a population of over 3.5 million, Dubai is the largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Filled with a futuristic skyline, the largest shopping mall and amusement park in the world, and the world’s only seven-star hotel amidst a large collection of world-class hospitality Dubai, is a city that should top the list of any seasoned traveller or tourist.

Dubai is home to the largest collections of world-class luxury hotels and restaurants in the Gulf Region.

From great beaches, delectable international and local cuisines, an abundance of gold, sparkling streets, luxury fashion stores and breathtaking architecture, a visit to the Arabian Gulf is second to none without experiencing Dubai!

Recommeded Read: Dubai – the City of Gold! Why You Should Visit and/or Revisit this Amazing City?

Downtown Dubai, the Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) - The Best of the Arabian Gulf Region - Countries, Cities and Attractions.
Downtown Dubai, the Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)

Riyadh known as the cultural capital of Saudi Arabia is one of the most conservative cities in the Gulf Region. It is both the capital and financial powerhouse of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Despite its conservative and relatively strict religious lifestyle, Riyadh is a city worth visiting to have a complete feel and experience the best of the Arabian lifestyle.

From great traditional foods, parks, and historical centres to shopping facilities and boutique hotels, Riyadh has all it takes to give you some of the best experiences you could ever have on the Arabian Peninsula.

Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) - The Best of the Arabian Gulf Region - Countries, Cities and Attractions.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Abu Dhabi, UAE

As the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Abu Dhabi perfectly balanced its historical and traditional personality with a modern character exemplified by its high-rise-filled skyline and mega shopping centres.

Visit the Emirates Palace, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi Central Market, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the Corniche and the ultra-luxurious Yas Island to immerse yourself in the best of life the city has to offer. (External Link: Experience Abu Dhabi, UAE]

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) - The Best of the Arabian Gulf Region - Countries, Cities and Attractions.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)

Jeddah is a port city on the Red Sea Coast of Saudi Arabia in the country’s Hejaz province. It is a modern commercial centre and served as the principal gateway to both Mecca and Medina (the two holiest sites of Islam). Though a religious gateway, Jeddah is a beautiful city and one of the least conservative cities in Saudi Arabia.

The city has an abundance of luxury and recreational facilities to cater for all your visiting needs. You can explore its oceanfront side and top beaches, shop at the Red Sea Mall or the Mall of Arabia, wind down at the King Fahd’s Fountain or book a tour of Al-Balad or the Jeddah Corniche.

In Jeddah, there are sufficient attractions and amenities to keep you homely, entertained and refreshed throughout your stay.

Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) - The Best of the Arabian Gulf Region - Countries, Cities and Attractions.
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Doha, Qatar

Doha is a radiant and beautiful city set on the coast of the Persian Gulf and it serves as the capital of Qatar.

From taking a camel ride, sunbathing at the beach, dining in one of the upscale restaurants, and shopping at any of the city’s malls to visiting some of the city’s best historical and cultural sites, Doha is a city you can’t afford to miss on the Arabian Gulf.

You can shop for local crafts, perfumes, spices, and souvenirs and interact with local traders at the Souq Waqif Market which translates to the “Standing Market”. The Souq Waqif is one of the best places to experience authentic Qatari culture and traditions.

Explore the collections at the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) highly reputable as the host to the world’s largest collections of Islamic Art. The Museum is an architectural masterpiece set in MIA Park on the Doha waterfront.

A visit to Doha is not complete without spending time at The Pearl Qatar – an artificial island north of West Bay that represents the apex of Qatari luxury.

You can book a yacht cruise, shop at the high-end stores, eat and dine at any of the upscale restaurants and dining avenues or just simply immerse yourself into the luxury lifestyle of the wealthy in Qatar.

Doha like most other Gulf cities is a blend of sand, sun and water. You can go on a dune adventure or take a desert Safari in the Qatari desert.

Other attractions in Doha that are worth your visit or exploration are the Villaggio Mall, The Torch Tower, Katara Cultural Village, Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Stadium, Al Zubarah Fort, Aspire Park, Qatar National Museum and the Barzan Towers.

Doha, Qatar - The Best of the Arabian Gulf Region - Countries, Cities and Attractions.
Doha, Qatar

Kuwait City, Kuwait

Kuwait is probably renowned for being one of the most popular destinations for expats in the Middle East – two-thirds of the country’s population are expats! And one of the richest cities in the world is Kuwait City, the capital and administrative cum commercial hub of Kuwait.

Like most of the big Arabian Gulf cities, Kuwait City is also characterized by Mosques, Towers, and Souks (traditional markets).

The Grand Mosque of Kuwait is one of the most grandiose attractions in the city. The Grand Mosque is one of the places that should top your visiting list in Kuwait City – it is open throughout the day and the entrance is free!

Kuwait City has three towers towering over the city. The towers provide an excellent view of the Arabian Gulf, and though the entrance to the towers is not free, the fee is relatively small.

Located on Arabian Gulf Street not far from the Seif Palace and the National Assembly of Kuwait is the National Museum designed by Michel Ecochard (a French Architect). The museum houses the first planetarium in the Gulf region.

And, in any Arabian Gulf city or town, one of the attractions you should not miss is the Souk!

In Kuwait City, the most prominent souk is the Souk Al-Mubarakiya. It is one of the oldest markets in Kuwait where Kuwaiti history meets modernity. At the Souk, you can shop for local produce, crafts, souvenirs, fruits such as olives and dates as well as jewellery.

Some of the best hotels to stay in Kuwait City are the Al Kout Beach Hotel, Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait, Marina Hotel, and Swiss-Belboutique Bneid Al Gar Kuwait.

If you are looking for a green lush space to wind down in Kuwait City, visit and take a calming stroll at Al Shaheed Park – the largest urban park in Kuwait! [External Link: Top 10 best places in Kuwait to visit:  Tourist attractions]

Kuwait City, Kuwait - The Best of the Arabian Gulf Region - Countries, Cities and Attractions.
Kuwait City, Kuwait

Muscat, Oman

Muscat sits on the Gulf of Oman nestled between mountains, deserts and oceans. Muscat is a port city and serves as the capital of Oman.

The city is mostly famous for radiant traditional markets (souks), amazing seafood, high-rises designed for the desert terrain and retail malls.

In Muscat, you can book a tour of the immaculate Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque (one of the Omani attractions you should not miss), swim at the Al Qurum beach, take a stroll down the Muscat City Centre, watch a performance at the Royal Opera House, explore the Al Hajar Mountains region, and pay a visit to the historic town of Nizwa.

You should also try out some traditional Omani foods at the Ubhar Restaurant, Muscat highly reputable as one of the best restaurants in the country.

Muscat like the entire Oman itself is a great place to take a break from the twinkle and sparkle of other Arabian Gulf cities such as Dubai and Doha.

Muscat Bay, Muscat, Oman - The Best of the Arabian Gulf Region - Countries, Cities and Attractions.
Sunset at Muscat Bay, Muscat, Oman

Dammam, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)

Dammam is the capital of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. The city is the fifth most populous city in Saudi Arabia after Riyadh, Jeddah, Mecca, and Medina.

This coastal city on the Arabian Gulf is reputed for spectacular views of the Gulf, sandy beaches, green parks and beautiful waterfronts.

While in Dammam, book the Ithra Journey Tour, a half-hour guided tour of the prestigious King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (also known as Ithra). The Ithra makes Dammam one of the prominent cultural centres of Saudi Arabia.  

Visit the family-friendly Al Khobar Waterfront and embrace the elegance of this seafront edifice. From the dancing fountains to lush gardens, Al Khobar has all that is needed to keep a family refreshed throughout a stay – kids can play around and adults can embrace the landscapes and other facilities such as the King Fahd Causeway and the historic water tower.

Aside from the oceanfront cafes (some of the best in the province) and dining centres, you can also go on a private boat trip. You should also consider visiting Half Moon Bay, the Heritage Village and the Dammam Corniche. [External Link: Saudi’s Eastern Province: Exploring Dammam]

Dammam Corniche, Dammam, Saudi Arabia - The Best of the Arabian Gulf Region - Countries, Cities and Attractions.
Dammam Corniche, Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Manama, Bahrain

Bahrain’s capital Manama is a major symbol of culture and history for the island country. The city has been the centre of major trade routes in the past and today it is a major financial hub in the Arabian Gulf Region.

Explore some of the best neighbourhoods in the city such as Juffair, Manama City Center and Al Hoora and visit or probably check in at one of Bahrain’s most luxurious hotels – Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, Swiss-Beisuites Admiral Juffair, The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, and the Vida Beach Resort Marassi Al Bahrain to experience the finest of hospitality on the beautiful Island of Bahrain.

You should also check out national and historical/traditional attractions in Manama like the Qala’at al-Bahrain, Bahrain National Museum, Al Faith Grand Mosque, the National Theatre of Bahrain, and Sheikh Isa Bin Ali House among several others.

In Manana, it is a feeling of luxury, culture and tranquillity, the perfect requisites for a memorable stay in an island nation.

“In Manana, it is a feel of luxury, culture and tranquility, the perfect requisites for a memorable stay in an island nation.”

Manana, Bahrain - The Best of the Arabian Gulf Region - Countries, Cities and Attractions.
Manana, Bahrain

Salalah, Oman

Salalah is the third largest city in Oman and the capital of the Dhofal Province of Oman.

Its characteristically lush and green landscape makes the city the perfect getaway from the predominantly desert terrain of the Arabian Gulf Region.  Salalah is the green oasis of the Arabian Desert!

In Salalah, the temperature is relatively cooler and thrives with natural forests and springs, especially during the Khareef season – a typical monsoon season on the Arabian Gulf.

You can also visit Salalah during the Winter season when the temperature is a bit warmer than the Khareef season and enjoy the best of beach life the city has to offer.

Some of the attractions in Salalah are the Sultan Qaboos Mosque, amazing waterfalls, Wadi Darbat, Mughsail Blowholes, the land of Frankincense (Sumhuram and Wubar Archeological Sites and the Wadi Dawkah Frankincense Park), the Sand Desert of Empty Quarter Oman (Rub Al Khali), Fazayah Beach, Salalah Central Market, Salalah Gold Souk, and the Al Qara Mountain Region. [External Link: Guide: 15 Best Places To Visit & Things To Do in Salalah Oman]  

“Salalah is the green oasis of the Arabian Desert!”

Salalah, Oman - The Best of the Arabian Gulf Region - Countries, Cities and Attractions.
Salalah, Oman

The Best of the Arabian Gulf Region

There are infinite reasons why you should visit the Arabian Gulf. From world-class hotels and resorts to high-end restaurants and great beaches set in a rare naturally balanced mixture of sun, sands and water, the Arabian Gulf is a region for a travel experience that will remain with you forever.

In this section, I will be highlighting some of the best hotels and resorts, restaurants and the best beaches in the Arabian Gulf Region.

Hotels and Resorts

The Arabian Gulf is indisputably host to some of the finest and most luxurious hotels and resorts in the Middle East, a perfect escape for your holiday or vacation – or for whatever reason(s) you are visiting.

Here is a list of some of the best hotels you can explore in the Arabian Gulf. There are several great hotels in all of the countries in the Gulf providing upscale hospitality services to visitors, this list is just a list of a few of these hotels you can check out during your tour or visit to the region.

No.Hotels and ResortsLocationWebsite
1.Al Areen Palace and SpaManama, Bahrainhttp://www.alareenpalace.com/
2.Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & SpaDubai, UAEhttps://www.marriott.com/en-us/hotels/dxbam-al-maha-a-luxury-collection-desert-resort-and-spa-dubai/overview/
3.Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar ResortNizwa, Omanhttps://www.anatara.com/en/jabal-akhdar
4.Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island ResortsAbu Dhabi, UAEhttps://www.anantara.com/en/sir-bani-yas-abu-dhabi
5.Atlantis, The PalmDubai, UAEhttps://www.atlantis.com/dubai
6.Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & SpaDubai, UAEhttp://www.meydanhotels.com/babalshams/
7.Banana Island Resort Doha by AnantaraDoha, Qatarhttps://www.anantara.com/en/banana-island-doha
8.Burj Al ArabDubai, UAEhttp://www.jumeirah.com
9.Four Seasons Resort DubaiDubai, UAEhttps://www.fourseasons.com/dubaijb
10.Movenpick Hotel & ResortAl Bida’a, Kuwaithttp://www.moevenpick-hotels.com
11.Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort by AnantaraLiwa Desert, UAEhttps://www.anantara.com/qasr-al-sarab-abu-dhabi
12.Qasr Al Sharq, Waldorf AstoriaJeddah, Saudi Arabiahttp://waldorfastoria3.hilton.com
13.Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & SpaMuscat, Omanhttp://www.shangri-la.com
14.Six Senses Zighy BayMuscat, Omanhttp://www.sixsenses.com
15.The Chedi MuscatMuscat, Omanhttps://www.ghmhotels.com/en/chedi-muscat-oman/home/
16The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al ZorahAjman, UAEhttps://www.oberoihotels.com/hotels-in-al-zorah-ajman/
Some of the Best Hotels & Resorts in the Arabian Gulf
Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai, UAE - The Best of the Arabian Gulf Region - Countries, Cities and Attractions.
Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai, UAE

Restaurants

Undoubtedly, the Gulf Region is one of the best destinations for food lovers across the world. Aside from traditional Arabian cuisines, the Gulf Region is home to some of the best luxury restaurants in the Middle East.

The list of world-class restaurants in the Arabian Gulf is endless. However, I have managed to compile the following list, presented to some extent to evenly represent the whole region.

In terms of which country in the Gulf has the highest number of top restaurants, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is number one followed by Saudi Arabia.

Here is the list of top restaurants in the Arabian Gulf according to The Worlds 50Best sponsored by S. Pellegrino & Acqua Panna and the Esquire Middle-East Online Magazine’s 75 Best Restaurants in the Gulf 2023.

No.RestaurantLocation(s)
1.3 FilsDubai, UAE
2.AmazonicoDubai, UAE
3.Bait Al LubanMuscat, Oman
4.BB Social DiningRiyadh and Dubai
5.Butcher & StillAbu Dhabi, UAE
6.Cipriani DubaiAbu Dhabi, Dubai & Riyadh
7.CoyaAbu Dhabi, Doha, Dubai & Riyadh
8.Cut by Wolfgang PuckDoha, Qatar & Manama, Bahrain
9.Fusions by TalaManama, Bahrain
10.GaiaDubai and Doha
11.HakkasanAbu Dhabi, Doha, Dubai & Riyadh
12.Il Borro Tuscan BistroDubai, UAE
13.LPMAbu Dhabi, Doha, Dubai & Riyadh
14.MarbleRiyadh, Saudi Arabia
15.MiraiManama, Bahrain
16.MyazuRiyadh, Saudi Arabia
17.ScaliniDoha & Dubai
18.The Restaurant at Chedi MuscatMuscat, Oman
19.Tresind StudioDubai, UAE
20.White RobataKuwait City, Kuwait
21.ZumaAbu Dhabi, Doha and Dubai
The Best Restaurants in the Gulf Region to Try Out
The Chedi Muscat, a GHM Hotel, Muscat, Oman - The Best of the Arabian Gulf Region - Countries, Cities and Attractions.
The Chedi Muscat, a GHM Hotel, Muscat, Oman

Beaches

If you are a beach lover, the Arabian Gulf is adorned with several beautiful and pristine beaches you can visit any time of the year. Many of these beaches are usually uncrowded, especially in countries like Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait.

Some are public beaches open and accessible to the public at no cost while others are premium beaches or accessible only at certain costs.

Listed below are some of the finest beaches you should consider visiting in the Arabian Gulf.

No.BeachLocation
1.Duraz BeachBahrain
2.Emirates Palace BeachAbu Dhabi, UAE
3.Farasan Island BeachSaudi Arabia
4.Ghantoot BeachDubai, UAE
5.Jebel Ali BeachUAE
6.Jumeirah BeachDubai, UAE
7.Katara BeachDoha, Qatar
8.Kite BeachDubai, UAE
9.Marina BeachKuwait
10.Mughsayl BeachOman
11.Qurum BeachOman
12.Ras Tanura BeachSaudi Arabia
13.Saadiyat Island BeachAbu Dhabi, UAE
14.Salalah BeachSalalah, Oman
Top Beaches on the Arabian Gulf
A Beach on the Oman Sea with Palm Trees - The Best of the Arabian Gulf Region - Countries, Cities and Attractions.
A Beach on the Oman Sea with Palm Trees

Quality of Life in the Arabian Gulf

The Quality of Life Index presented in the table that follows is derived considering variables such as purchasing power, safety, healthcare, climate, cost of living, property price to income, traffic commute time and pollution of/in the six (6) Arabian Gulf countries.

The table shows which of the Gulf Countries have the best Quality of Life in terms of all these variables.

Quality of Life Index for the Arabian Gulf Countries - placesandfortune.com

The quality of Life in the Arabian Gulf is generally good. All the countries in the Gulf Region have an above-average quality of life with Oman having the highest Quality of life (184.91) followed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (175.62).

Oman, UAE and Qatar are regarded as having a Very High quality of life while Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are remarked to be having a High quality of life and Kuwait is Moderate at a Quality of Life Index of 121.71.

As a traveller or tourist to the Arabian Gulf Region, these indices help you to have a clearer understanding of what type of life (quality of life) you should expect while in any of the Arabian Gulf Countries.

Aside from these stats, the rules and regulations guiding international travel to each of the Arabian Gulf Countries differ just as lifestyle and livelihood among the countries also relatively vary.

Some countries have very stringent rules for visitors (e.g. Kuwait) and others have relatively relaxed regulations (e.g. UAE, Qatar and Oman).

Quality of Life Index Chart for the Arabian Gulf, March 2023 - placesandfortune.com
Quality of Life Index Chart for the Arabian Gulf, March 2023

Recap

As a recap, the Arabian Gulf Region is probably the best region in the whole of Middle-East where you can experience a perfect blend of;

  1. Luxury (hotels, resorts, shopping malls & restaurants)
  2. Culture (food, souks, Mosques, historical sites & museums)
  3. Sands (desert fun – safari, falconry, desert hotels, sand boarding & camel rides)
  4. Water (beaches & water funs – sunbathing, swimming, jet skiing & yacht cruises)
  5. Tranquillity (from natural and man-made Islands, quiet and serene beaches to lush and green parks), and
  6. Breathtaking Architecture (modern and traditional)

Must Read: The 6 Best Luxury Destinations in the World

Conclusion

From the tiny Island of Bahrain to the mega-sized Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Region is a must-be place for any traveller, tourist, or even business people seeking the best of hospitality, recreation, culinary, fun and opulence amidst an ever-thriving millennials-old culture and traditions.

The Arabian Gulf Region is not just of historical and religious significance, it abounds with friendly and warmhearted people and flourishes with “top-of-the-world” development that you need to experience by yourself to truly acknowledge their existence.

Dubai one of the world’s capitals of luxury and Muscat, a thriving bright desert city, anywhere you go on the Arabian Gulf is filled with wonders that will keep you asking for more to explore.

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