Discover the patchwork of cultures and people that form the diverse Middle East.
The Pyramids of Egypt. The alien rock formations of Turkey. The buoyant blue waters of the Dead Sea. These places have a mythical air about them, and for most young travellers exist only in the mind. Yet in so many ways, the Middle East seems tailor made for a family vacation. Once you’ve experienced, as a group, a night under the stars on the Nile, the cool melted snow of Saklikent Gorge between your toes, or the legendary hospitality of the Bedouin people, this region feels less like the ‘Middle East’ than the centre of the universe. Make the journey now.
The clue’s in the title. These trips are for families only (including any aunts, uncles or cousins who’d like to come along, of course). As long as you’re travelling with a child under the age of 18, you’re a family in our eyes. Plus, unlike other travel companies, children aged 17 years and younger receive a 10% discount off the price of their trip.
Travel with other families
Travelling the Intrepid way is a bit like travelling with a group of friends. These trips are made up of 3–5 like-minded families, and the kids tend to hit it off straight away, allowing you to enjoy some well-earned R&R. We often find the whole family ends up making friendships with people from all over the world, staying in touch long after the adventure ends.
Small group sizes
Intrepid’s family group sizes are small enough to avoid the crowds and reach some out-of-the-way places, but big enough for a good social mix. Our average group size of 10 allows us to hop aboard local boats, buses or trains, eat at friendly, family-run restaurants and kick back in traditional accommodation and homestays.
We know the biggest challenge on a family trip is keeping the kids entertained. So we’ve planned in advance. Nearly all of our hotels feature pools, and each day has a great mix of action-packed adventure and flexible free time. Your local leader can also suggest activities based on your kid’s hobbies or school curriculum.
Our leaders are specially trained to run family adventures, so you’re well taken care of. You can also rest easy knowing we conduct safety assessments on all our activities to meet local standards as well as our own comprehensive safety policy.
We strive to use travel as a force for good. That’s why we choose to give back to the communities we visit, carbon offset all our trips and take our social and environmental responsibilities seriously. We’ve been officially certified as the world’s largest travel B Corp, which means when you choose Intrepid Travel, you can rest assured you’re travelling to improve the planet.
Move over, Oludeniz – Butterfly Valley is the place to go on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast. Lush white sands and clear blue waters vie for attention with dramatic cliffs and, funnily enough, butterflies – which outnumber human visitors many thousands of times over. Don’t leave without spotting the the Jersey tiger butterfly.
Almost obligatory in Egypt is a visit to the ancient tombs of the pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings. The secluded valley is where 63 pharaohs were buried as part of their journey to the afterlife. The plot thickens as time goes by – some of these chambers were discovered barely a decade ago.
‘Floating without a care in the world’ takes on a new meaning in this famously salty sea. Staying afloat is certainly not on your list of problems, thanks to the 33 percent salinity rate of the water. Nor is running into a jellyfish, because Dead means just that – there’s nothing living down there.
At 18 kilometres long (and four of them accessible), this spectacular gorge is flanked by walls up to 300 metres high. A suspended walkway charts a course through shaded cliffs, revealing pretty cascades formed by the melting snow above. Its water pools are a great way to cool off in summer.
Experience a different side of Egyptian culture by visiting a Nubian village in Aswan. A local family takes you in for dinner, offering the chance to share stories and immerse yourself in a family setting no doubt very different to your own – and distinct from the rest of the country.
Discover a desert like no other on a jeep excursion around Wadi Rum, stopping to enter a narrow siq where many inscriptions can be seen. Thamud nomads from Saudi Arabia and the Nabataean people have all left their mark on the surrounding rocks, and gnarled rock bridges offer up stunning scenes.
If anyone knows the fine art of bathing, it’s the Turks. Relax your bones in a local hamam (Turkish bath), enjoying some quality family time in a leisurely environment. Enjoy a scrub, indulge in a foam massage, sweat it out in the sauna or opt for a facial treatment.
For our Middle Eastern adventures, we like to stay in small, locally run hotels where hospitality is key and family-friendly facilities are available. Fortunately the Middle East has plenty of beautiful old buildings and character-filled properties to choose from.
Kick back and relax on a gulet – a traditional Turkish sailing boat that’s been used as a form of transport for centuries. Stargazing and falling asleep in the lap of the Mediterranean Sea is pretty hard to beat for a day out with the kids.
Glide down the Nile on an felucca, a traditional wooden boat with canvas sails. Watching rural Egyptian daily life play out on the banks and sleeping on deck under the stars is a memorable experience, not to mention full-board Nubian hospitality.