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Yemen Travel Guide 2024: Everything You Need To Know

Yemen beckons with its ancient cities, desert landscapes, and pristine Socotra island. But is it safe to visit Yemen in 2023? This complete Yemen travel guide has everything you need to plan your trip.

Yemen lies at the south of the Arabian peninsula, with Saudi Arabia to the north and Oman to the east. It contains some of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. However, ongoing conflict means most governments advise against travel. Those who do visit will find a country barely touched by mass tourism.

Is It Safe To Travel To Yemen in 2023?

Yemen has seen prolonged conflict since 2014 when Houthi rebels captured the capital Sana'a. Saudi Arabia intervened on the side of the internationally recognized government. The UK, US, Canada and Australia currently advise against all travel to Yemen due to the volatile security situation.

While parts of the country are relatively calm, the risk of getting caught up in violence remains high. Terrorist groups are active, and airstrikes continue. Kidnapping of foreigners also occurs.

However, some intrepid travelers still visit Yemen, staying away from hotspots and using experienced tour operators. The ancient city of Sana'a was quite safe prior to recent escalations. Other destinations like Socotra island tend to avoid conflict.

It's crucial to stay up-to-date with government travel warnings and local news. The situation can change rapidly. Also know that standard travel insurance does not cover Yemen. Specialist insurers like IATI offer policies but costs are high.

How To Get A Visa For Yemen

All foreign nationals need a visa to enter Yemen. Start the process at least one month in advance.

The easiest way to obtain a tourist visa is via a Yemeni tour operator. Companies like Arabia Felix Tours have experience assisting travelers. Be ready to provide scanned passport pages and passport-sized photos.

Visas cost around $100-150 for one month. Single-entry visas are issued, valid for three months from date of issue. Multi-entry visas are sometimes possible but more expensive.

Visas can also be obtained directly through a Yemeni embassy. This takes more time and paperwork. Contact your nearest embassy well in advance.

How To Get To Yemen

There are currently no direct flights into Yemen from Europe or North America. Most visitors fly via the Middle East.

  • Fly to Amman, Jordan then get a connecting Royal Jordanian flight to Sana'a.

  • Fly to Dubai, UAE then get a Yemenia flight to cities like Aden or Seiyun.

  • Fly to Muscat, Oman then cross by road into Yemen via the Al Ghuwaifat border post.

Land border crossings are also possible from Saudi Arabia but not recommended due to security.

Once inside Yemen, domestic flights connect Sana'a with Socotra, Mukalla, and other cities. Yemenia is the national airline. Avoid flying near conflict zones.

The Best Time To Visit Yemen

The best time to visit Yemen is during the cooler winter months from November to February. Temperatures average around 70°F (21°C) in January. Rainfall is light.

Summer in Yemen from April to September brings very high temperatures, especially in coastal areas. Inland and mountainous areas are cooler.

The climate on Socotra island is temperate year-round, with a monsoon season from June to September bringing strong winds and storms.

Top Places To Visit In Yemen


Yemen's capital Sana'a is a must-visit. This ancient city was founded over 2,500 years ago and is set in a mountain valley 2,300 meters above sea level. Sana'a has over 100 mosques and 6,000 houses built in traditional "shab" style from rammed earth and burnt bricks. Top sights include:

  • The Old City of Sana'a, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its iconic multi-story tower houses.

  • The Great Mosque of Sana'a, one of the oldest and largest mosques in the Islamic world.

  • National Museum, housing artifacts from pre-Islamic civilizations.

  • Bab al-Yemen, a famous city gate and prominent landmark.

Socotra Archipelago

The island group of Socotra lies 240km east of Yemen in the Indian Ocean. Socotra has otherworldly scenery with dragon blood trees, endemic plants, and beautiful beaches. Activities include scuba diving, island hopping, and hiking through granite mountains.

  • See the bizarre dragon blood trees with their mushroom-like crowns.

  • Hike through the alien landscape of the Diksam Plateau.

  • Visit Hoq cave with its huge stalactites and stalagmites.

  • Spot dolphins and whales on a boat trip.

Socotra Archipelago
Socotra Archipelago


The port city of Aden has a strategic location on the Gulf of Aden. Once a major trading center, Aden has an intriguing mix of British colonial architecture, Turkish Ottoman relics, and Arab culture. Must-see sights include:

  • Al Maw'ili Mosque, a 16th-century mosque with ornate stucco carvings.

  • Seera Castle, a ruined 14th-century castle on a hill with panoramic views.

  • Aden Museum, housing exhibits on Yemen's history.

  • The old British Lighthouse built in 1887.


Hadhramaut Region

In Yemen's east, Hadhramaut is renowned for its remote desert landscapes and towering sand dunes. The city of Sayun has colorful markets while Shibam is an ancient walled city of 500 mudbrick tower houses, dating from the 16th century.

  • Wander around the perfectly preserved medieval city of Shibam, a UNESCO site.

  • Take a 4WD safari into the vast desert wilderness of Ramlat al-Sab'atayn.

  • Buy locally handcrafted silver jewellery and daggers at the bustling Souq al Qibli in Sayun.

Ibb & Taizz

Located in Yemen's mountainous interior, Ibb and Taizz both have architectural gems.

  • In Ibb, visit the 12th-century Great Mosque with its 144 marble pillars.

  • See Ottoman-era grand houses in Taizz like the Sultan's Palace and Dar al-Saa'dah.

Travel Budget For Yemen

Due to being off the mass tourism trail, Yemen is cheaper than most Middle Eastern destinations. However, costs rise significantly if visiting with a guided tour.

Accommodation - Expect to pay around $30-60 per night for a hotel room. Check sites like for deals. In rural areas, lodging with locals is very cheap.

Food - Simple local restaurants offer filling meals for as little as $5. Street snacks like sambusas cost just a few dollars.

Transport - Inner-city buses and shared taxis are great value. Intercity buses are cheap but road quality is poor.

Activities - Museums in the main cities cost a few dollars to enter. Organized tours are $100+ per day.

Total daily budget - $50 per day or less for solo travel, $70+ if booking tours.

Staying Safe In Yemen

Safety should be your main concern when visiting Yemen. Here are some key tips:

  • Closely monitor travel warnings and local news for any changes in the situation.

  • Avoid areas close to conflict zones and military presence. Don't wander into unknown territory.

  • Dress conservatively and avoid political or religious discussions to not draw attention.

  • Only book with experienced tour operators who can ensure your safety.

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance, medical evacuation coverage and kidnap/ransom coverage.

  • Keep photocopies of your passport and important documents separate from the originals.

  • Follow any curfews or restrictions on photography put in place locally.

  • Keep a low profile, vary your daily routine, and avoid gatherings or crowded public places.

Why Visit Yemen?

Despite the very real dangers, Yemen offers intrepid travelers the chance to experience a country barely touched by tourism. Its ancient mudbrick cities are akin to stepping back in time to Biblical ages. The spectacular landscapes range from sandy deserts to rugged mountains. The island of Socotra is a nature-lover's paradise.

While the future is uncertain, visiting Yemen today provides a glimpse into this often misunderstood land. So for travelers seeking authentic adventures, Yemen surely won't disappoint.

Hopefully conflict and instability will eventually give way to peace, allowing Yemen to share its incredible history and culture with the world.


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