I DISMOUNTED MY CAMEL and stood face-to-face with the massive limestone blocks of one of Giza’s great pyramids, unable to take my eyes off this wonder. I inhaled and felt a twinge of excitement as my guide, Amal El Far, handed me a ticket to enter the Great Pyramid of Khufu. Only a small number of people are allowed to go inside the pyramid each day, and lucky for me, the concierge at the Marriott Mena House hotel in Cairo recommended a guide who not only knew how to navigate the site but who also came armed with cold bottles of water, hand sanitizers and some amazing insider knowledge about Egypt’s history.
The Middle East, Egypt and Turkey are home to some of the most amazing and historic sites in the world — the Great Pyramids of Giza, Petra in Jordan, the Burj Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates and Hagia Sophia in İstanbul — but it can often feel overwhelming for many tourists used to traveling in more Westernized cultures. Private tour guides like Amal El Far take the trepidation out of travel in this area, where they can advise on local customs, help with bartering in the souks and markets, and give insight into the destination’s historic and current significance.
Tours in the Middle East range from a four-hour dining experience with a Bedouin family in the desert to a multiday custom itinerary inclusive of museum entrance fees and meals and extras. The top companies operating out of the Middle East include Alshamel Travel, which specializes in VIP travel for government officials, small groups and individual bookings; and Kanoo Travel, one of the largest tour operators in the Middle East.
Bestway Tours & Safaris offers tours around the world, but the Middle East tours by this family-run operator are second-to-none. Three brothers, born in Africa and educated on three continents, where they learned the value of working alongside locals, started the company. Highly trained local guides run all of the tours and give travelers a firsthand look into life in their chosen destination.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
As harmful to the environment as air travel is, some airports are taking measures to become more environmentally conscious. One example is Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where an adjacent solar farm powers certain airport operations.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.