There is nowhere quite like the Jebel Akhdar region of Oman. Sitting at 2,000 m (6,500 ft) above sea level, not only are the temperatures far more forgiving, the views are really something to behold. I spent a few days here, wandering through some of the most ancient villages in the Gulf and learning more about the traditional rose water extraction for which the area has become famous. This is a haven for those looking for adventure, nature, or simply for some relaxation time in beautiful surroundings.
Sophie, Europe & Middle East Specialist
Having lived in the Far East while growing up, an enthusiasm for travel and understanding different cultures was sparked early on. Exploring the world needed no encouragement so before reading Art History at university, I spent several months revisiting destinations in Asia and the Middle East that I'd fallen in love with previously and it was then through my degree that a passion for Europe's art and architecture was founded.
On joining Audley I rediscovered the wonders of the Middle East and opportunities such as desert driving in Oman and floating in the Dead Sea, urged me even more to want to help recreate those moments for other travellers. More recently I have begun sharing travel inspiration a little closer to home through scenic train journeys in the Swiss Alps, the ancient archaeology of Greece, even chocolate tastings in Belgium, and the range and depth of experiences continues to draw me in.
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A trip to Israel isn't complete without a stay at the beautiful American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem, a property as rich in history as the city in which it sits. The hotel was the former residence of a Pasha and his wives in the late 19th century, with their original bedrooms now converted into guest rooms, meticulously renovated to retain their unique character. As well as a beautiful pool to relax by, there is a charming outdoor courtyard in the hotel — shaded by mulberry trees, it makes for the perfect spot to cool down after sightseeing.
I'll never forget when…
One of my most memorable experiences was the exhilarating 4x4 ride in Jordan’s Wadi Rum. The scenery throughout this Martian-like landscape is simply breath-taking, with canyons seeming to stretch on for miles. We ended the day with a cup of traditional mint tea while watching the sunset with our local Bedouin guide.