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Top 20 Attractions & Things To Do In Yemen in 2024

Yemen is a country located in the Middle East on the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. Despite ongoing conflict, Yemen remains a country with a rich cultural and historical heritage. From ancient skyscraper cities to rugged mountains and pristine islands, Yemen has many beautiful places to explore.

Here are the top 20 attractions and things to do in Yemen in 2024:

1. Old City of Sana'a

The Old City of Sana'a is an amazing UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Yemen's top attractions. The old walled city was founded over 2,500 years ago and has hundreds of unique multi-story mud-brick tower houses. A must-see is the iconic Great Mosque of Sana’a, one of the oldest and largest mosques in the Islamic world.

2. Socotra Island

Socotra Island in the Indian Ocean has been described as the most alien-looking place on Earth. This beautiful island is home to over 300 species of plants and animals found nowhere else, including the distinct dragon blood tree. Activities include hiking, island hopping, and scuba diving in the pristine waters.

Socotra Island

3. Shibam

The 16th-century walled city of Shibam, with its 500 mudbrick tower houses, is nicknamed the "Manhattan of the Desert." Walking through the narrow alleys feels like you've stepped back in time. Make sure to get photos of Shibam against the stark desert backdrop.

4. Aden

Aden is a port city on the Gulf of Aden founded in the 1st century CE. Top attractions include the ancient Seera Castle overlooking the city, the Ottoman-era Al Mu'alla Mosque, and the distinctive lighthouse built during British rule.

5. Al Saleh Mosque, Taiz

Located in Taiz, the beautifully decorated Al Saleh Mosque is one of Yemen's most famous mosques. It was built in the late 15th century and has intricate gypsum panels and stained glass windows.

6. Dar al-Hajar, Al Bayda

Dar al-Hajar is an imposing palace built right into a rock outcrop, giving it the nickname "the Rock Palace." This unique structure dates back to the 1st century CE. Climb to the top for panoramic views over Wadi Dhahr.

7. Bab al-Yemen, Sana'a

One of Sana'a's most iconic sights is Bab al-Yemen, a famous gateway that has stood for over 1,000 years. Pass through this imposing stone archway and you'll feel transported back to medieval times.

8. Seiyun Palace

This palace in Seiyun was the residence of the Sultan of Kathiri from the 19th century onwards. The restored palace is an excellent example of grand traditional Yemeni architecture, with imposing white facades and decorated interiors.

9. Dragon Blood Trees, Socotra

Socotra's famous dragon blood trees have mushroom-shaped crowns and a crimson red sap. Take a hike into the alien-looking Dragon Blood Forest to see these prehistoric-looking trees up close.

10. Al Mukalla Harbor

Al Mukalla is Yemen's largest port on the Gulf of Aden. Stroll around the lively harborfront marketplace and see dhows unloading their catches of fish. The Al Mukalla National Museum nearby exhibits Islamic artworks.

Al Mukalla Harbor

11. Camel Rock, Socotra

Off Socotra's southern coast, the distinctive Camel Rock juts 30 meters out of the azure sea. Take a dhow boat trip to view this limestone rock formation which does resemble a camel's head silhouetted against the sky.

12. Al Qahira Citadel, Taiz

Taiz's ancient citadel sits atop a mountain with panoramic views. Inside the citadel walls is a lively market, making this a fun place to shop for souvenirs and antiques while soaking up the atmosphere.

13. Al-Ashrafiya Mosque, Taiz

Located in Taiz, this is one of Yemen's grandest mosques. The impressive prayer hall is supported by 54 towering columns topped with traditional Islamic muqarnas vaulting. Intricate stucco carvings decorate the mihrab.

14. Al-Muhdhar Mosque, Tarim

Tarim is home to over 500 beautiful mosques and mausoleums, including Al-Muhdhar Mosque. This exquisite 15th-century mosque has a 21-meter high mudbrick minaret and intricate gypsum carvings.

15. Al-Hajjarah, Haraz Mountains

The dramatic Haraz Mountains are dotted with remote villages like Al-Hajjarah, located at 2,500 meters elevation. Hike amidst breathtaking scenery and stay overnight in a traditional village house.

16. Ras Isa Peninsula

The rugged Ras Isa Peninsula on Socotra Island has otherworldly landscapes with limestone cliffs plunging into the sea. Camp on an empty beach and go dolphin spotting in the morning.

17. Al Hota Cave, Al Mahrah

Explore Yemen’s largest limestone cave system at Al Hota in Al Mahrah province. See impressive stalactites and stalagmites and ancient rock art painted by indigenous tribes thousands of years ago.

18. Sand skiing in Ramlat al-Sab'atayn

Yemen’s vast deserts offer spectacular landscapes. Try adrenaline-pumping sand skiing on the towering dunes at Ramlat al-Sab'atayn, often called the Empty Quarter.

19. Tarim and Shibam, Hadhramaut

In Hadhramaut, visit the medieval mudbrick city of Shibam along with nearby Tarim which has over 500 Islamic monuments. This region was once the center of the lucrative frankincense trade.

20. Seera Coast & Ras Imran

The Arabian Sea coastline around Aden has pristine beaches and dramatic ravines like Wadi Tiyal. Visit the fishing town of Ras Imran with its historic tower houses. Spot migratory birds along the coastal cliffs.

Why Visit Yemen?

Despite ongoing conflict, Yemen remains a country with enormous cultural riches waiting to be discovered by intrepid travelers. Beyond the famous historical sites, Yemen has rugged natural beauty with landscapes ranging from sandy deserts to the alpine peaks of the Haraz Mountains. For those seeking adventure off the tourist trail, Yemen offers one of the world's last untouched travel destinations.

Although risks remain, the situation is always changing. With proper precautions and experienced local guidance, visiting Yemen today provides a glimpse into an ancient land steeped in history.


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