Located in the Arabian Sea, far from any mainland, Socotra has evolved species that aren’t found anywhere else, such as the red-sapped dragon’s blood tree. For information on visiting, read How to travel to Socotra Island.
At the bottom of the Sinai Peninsula is a region of granite and volcanic formations that includes the 7,500ft Mt. Sinai, as well as the taller Mt. Saint Catherine (8,625ft). Early tourists included Moses. These days, it’s a super popular spot to catch a sunrise.
I’ve got a world map from the ’50s, and one of its cooler cartographic artifacts is the “Empty Quarter,” a blank white space with no names, roads, or features listed. One of the largest sand deserts in the world, it’s only recently been explored by scientists. It occupies a large chunk of southern Saudi Arabia and parts of Oman, Yemen, and the UAE.
The Musandam Peninsula is the spike that juts up from the boot toe of the Arabian Peninsula, creating the Strait of Hormuz and separating the Persian Gulf from the Gulf of Oman. Its fjords are sometimes compared to Norway’s, though they were formed tectonically rather than by glacial movement.
The Cappadocia region of central Turkey is a landscape dominated by fairy chimneys and multi-colored canyons. Starting in Roman times, people carved out many of the chimneys to form living spaces, some of which are now hotels.