Existing at the crossroads of cultures for millennia, Yemen is a historically rich country at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Unique traditional architecture is featured in its towns and cities, together with ancient cisterns and archaeological museums revealing the country’s tumultuous past.
Things to do
From UNESCO-listed historic cities to otherworldly islands, Yemen is one off-the-beaten-track destination to add to your bucket list.
Explore Sana’a. Accessed through the monumental Bab al-Yemen, Sana’a Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s clustered with traditional tower houses. Get lost in the bustling laneways of Souk al-Milh and marvel at the immense Al Saleh Mosque, then visit the fantastical Dar al-Hajar palace.
Travel to Socotra Island. Located where the Gulf of Aden meets the Arabian Sea, Socotra is an undeveloped island fringed by white sandy beaches. It’s home to rare animal species and plants found nowhere else on Earth, including flying saucer-like dragon trees and Socotra starlings.
Discover Kawkaban. Nestled in the Yemeni Mountains north-west of Sana’a, Kawkaban is a historic fortress city of the 2,000-year-old Himyar civilisation. It’s famed for its traditional inscriptions and ancient rainwater reservoirs, while it also offers spectacular views across the mud-brick towns that dot the plains below.
Stroll Aden Crater district. Aden is a vibrant port city at the southern end of the Red Sea that has been thriving since at least 1,000 BC. At its heart lies the district of Crater, home to historic mosques and the National Museum where South Arabian archaeological finds are displayed. Nearby are the 1,500-year-old volcanic stone cisterns of Tawila, which were rediscovered by the British in the 19th century.
Sana'a International Airport is the main gateway to Yemen and has flights to destinations across the globe. Long-distance buses connect Sana’a with cities throughout the Arabian peninsula while passenger ferries travel to and from Djibouti. Buses and share-taxis are the main means of getting around the country and its cities.