For centuries, dhows docked at Dubai to unload their treasure of glinting pearls, coveted silks and exotic spices. Such merchandise can still be found in Bur Dubai where the spice and gold souks are the Arabia of Lawrence, Sinbad, and the thousand and one nights all rolled into one. Latter-day pursuits include camel racing and dune-buggying.

Muscat, the capital of Oman is renowned for its souks and heritage villages; Khasab, on the Musandam Peninsula, is often dubbed the ‘Norway of Arabia’ due to its fjord-like craggy inlets; while Salalah is a lush city on the Arabian Sea. Vibrant Abu Dhabi showcases Islamic and international works of art; it’s also home to Ferrari World.

The Indian Ocean is renowned as the warmest in the world. It is impossible to remain insensitive to the blue and green summits of the mountains that rise from the emerald plains on Mauritius. Réunion is also of volcanic origin; on the north coast, the capital of Saint-Denis has a French-Creole allure.

Famed for its unspoiled sugar-white beaches, lush mountains, UNESCO-protected wildlife reserves and crystalline waters, the Seychelles are unlike anywhere else on earth. There’s the chance to hike the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve to spot rare black parrots and Cocoa de Mer trees.