Everyone is different when it comes to booking a holiday, with some people eager to ensure they are near the beach, some wanting the guarantee (as much as you can get it) of sun, and others keen to ensure there is plenty to keep a family entertained.

As the world reopens, an increasing number of people are also looking to put together holidays that are based around major sporting events, with the upcoming World Cup in Qatar being a prime example.

There are some destinations that have welcomed sports fans for years, with football fans heading for the likes of Barcelona and Rome to catch a match, F1 lovers booking trips to Spa and Singapore and fans of American sports looking to head Stateside when the Super Bowl comes around.

At the same time however, there are various areas around the Middle East that have no real history when it comes to sport, but which are now hosting events attracting some of the biggest names around - and the fans who want to support them.


Dubai is one of the most popular destinations in the Middle East for sports fans thanks to the various events that take place over the course of the year.

One of the most popular is the annual Dubai 7s rugby tournament, which takes place every December and sees the best teams from around the world do battle on the pitch. The event is about more than just the match action however, with a raft of other activities creating a true festival that runs for three days.

The Dubai World Cup in late March is a major event on the horse racing calendar every year and was once the richest race in the world, whilst the Dubai Cup attracts the best polo players from all corners of the globe as part of a multi-event programme.

In 2022, the waters off the coast of Dubai will welcome some of the leading lights from the sailing world for the Dubai Sail Grand Prix, whilst the Emirate also hosts the DP World Tour Championship event on an annual basis, which is the climax of the European Tour golf season.

In the event, the leading players over the season in the 'Race to Dubai' head for the Jumeirah Golf Estates in November to do battle for victory - and a prize of $3 million.

It isn’t the only golf event every year, with the Dubai Desert Classic having been run every year since 1989, with the exception of 1991.

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is now making waves on the international sporting scene with the highlight of the year being one of the biggest events to take place in the Middle East.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit plays host to the final event of the season and draws in a huge crowd from around the world, all keen to see the likes of Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc do battle on track.

Abu Dhabi also plays host to international events in both golf and tennis and in 2022, is due to welcome the NBA for two pre-season games.


The 2022 World Cup will be the biggest sporting event to have been held in the Middle East, but there are a number of other more regular fixtures on the Qatari social scene.

The Qatar round of the MotoGP season takes place at the Losail circuit and is now the regular season-opening event whilst the Qatar Masters golf is another event held early in the year as part of the European Tour.

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are all past winners of the Qatar Open tennis, which has been rated as one of the most popular tournaments on the ATP Tour multiple times since first taking place back in 1993.


Bahrain is another nation where motorsport fans can travel in order to get their fix, having hosted a round of Formula 1 since 2004 - when it became the first race to be held in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia

Much has been made in the media about the amount of money that Saudi Arabia has invested in high-profile sporting events in recent years, but there is no doubt that it has made the Arab state a destination that people would no consider visiting.

Boxing fans were able to see Anthony Joshua beat Andy Ruiz Jr in Diriyah back in 2019 to reclaim the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight belts he had lost to the American earlier in the year and the Briton is set to head back to Saudi Arabia for a bout with Oleksandr Usyk later this year; the Ukrainian having won the first fight between the pair in London last Autumn.

Motorsport fans have more than one reason to want to visit Saudi Arabia, with Jeddah now being home to a round of the Formula 1 season and the streets of Diriyah playing host to Formula E, whilst horsepower of a different kind is the attraction when it comes to the Saudi Cup.

First held in 2020, the event is now the richest horse race anywhere in the world, with a purse of $20 million up for grabs.