Tunis, Istanbul top Middle East city rankings for ‘mindful travelers’


The Middle East and North Africa region has only a few cities that appeal to “cautious travellers”, according to a recent index. The top three are Tunis, Istanbul and Tel Aviv.

Travel website Kayak.com released its “2023 City Index for the Cautious Traveler” last week. It ranks 167 cities around the world based on 28 different factors including destination popularity, availability of accommodation and transport, air quality and cost.

In the Middle East and North Africa region, only a handful of cities managed to qualify for the list and Tunisia tops the list for cautious travellers, the index shows.

“Tunisia, Tunisia, came first in our ranking for this region, and for many good reasons,” reads the website, citing various factors including relatively cheap flights depending on the season and the richness of local markets.

Tel Aviv follows Tunisia “mainly because it’s making progress in terms of transport,” he says, adding that the city is “bike-friendly” as well as many charging stations for vehicles electric.

Dubai, the third best city in the region, offers “a good number of cultural attractions and local markets to visit,” according to the index.

Abu Dhabi and Cairo are the other MENA cities that made their way into the rankings.

Turkey, which is listed under the Europe category, has three of the cities in the index, although it ranks poorly compared to its many European peers. Istanbul appears to be the 63rd most “travelable city” in the region, just below the Romanian capital Bucharest and above the Bulgarian capital Sofia.

Turkey’s Aegean coast city of Izmir and the Mediterranean resort of Antalya follow Sofia. The country’s tourist capital Ankara also placed much lower in the rankings. However, it stands out as the last European city for careful travelers, with a 70 in its regional ranking.

Here are the rankings of the cities from highest to lowest with their global placements:

Tunisia: 101st

Istanbul: 107th

Tel Aviv: 113th

Dubai: 124th

Izmir: 129

Abu Dhabi: 131st

Antalya: 133

Cairo: 151st

Ankara: 158th

In the world, the Netherlands have the first two points, first Rotterdam and then Amsterdam. Austria’s city of Graz is number three.

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