By Darren Griffiths

Best Deserts to Visit in the World & Why?

5th February 2023

Last updated on February 20th, 2023 at 05:41 am

If you are searching for the best deserts to visit in the world, you have come to the right place. Here you will learn the best desert to visit and why, located in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East to Asia.

Many people who have never visited the desert may think these are boring and barren places not worth a visit. However, those who have visited a desert have different perspectives of truly stunning places.

When choosing the best desert to visit in the world, it is important to know there are different types of deserts, and each type offers unique experiences. Mainly there are 4 types of deserts:

  • Hot and dry and sandy deserts
  • Semi-arid deserts
  • Coastal deserts
  • Cold deserts.

If you can trek through deserts, you will love what they offer, especially the beautiful ones with sand dunes that seem to go on forever and reach all the way to the horizon.

The relaxation, peace, and quiet you enjoy when visiting the desert is only second to sailing through the Open Ocean.

Although several deserts exist worldwide, some have much more to offer than others. Below are the best deserts to visit and why for a lifetime experience.

Empty Quarter – United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Empty Quarter

The Empty Quarter stands as the largest sand desert in the world. The desert cut across 5 countries; the huge area is in Saudi Arabia, as well as parts of Yemen, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates, before winding its way through Qatar.

When you visit this desert, you will come to appreciate how wonderful a desert can be, how unending it may be, and how tiny and inconsequential you feel standing there in comparison to the vastness of the desert.

It is easy to get to the Empty Quarter desert from Abu Dhabi. The best way to visit this desert is to book the Empty Quarter tour, and we recommend the Liwa Desert Safari tour. However, you can visit the desert with other drivers who are familiar with how to maintain their safety in the desert.

Pro Tip: Even though the tours always give you water to drink, you should still bring extra water and a good hat. The hat will help you not get sunburned from the scorching sun.

Ras Al Khaimah Desert – UAE

The Ras Al Khaimah desert offers an amazing adventure that is based on Bedouin culture. The dunes are mesmerizing, and they move all the time.

Since 3000 BC, Bedouins have lived in the desert and celebrated their nomadic way of life. They still do many of the same beautiful rituals they have done for hundreds of years.

In Ras Al Khaimah’s huge desert, there are several camps based on Bedouin culture. These camps give tourists a chance to learn more about Bedouin customs.

Nature lovers will enjoy the time on the vast desert plains, where they can ride camels, take in the beautiful scenery, and explore the acacia trees that dot the landscape.

You can embark on Ras Al Khaimah Desert Safari for an enjoyable night in the desert of Ras Al Khaimah, sitting around a roaring bonfire and looking up at the stars.

You will also indulge in exciting sports like dune bashing while speeding through beautiful scenery in a luxury 4×4 Landcruiser, dune buggy, or quad bike.

Sahara Desert – Morocco

Sahara Desert

The Sahara desert, located in Morocco, is one of the tourist circus destinations in Morocco. The name of the desert Sahara is derived from the Arabic word ‘Sahra; meaning desert.

Visitors enjoy several activities in this desert, such as 4WD drives, camping, camel riding, and photo taking while wearing the royal blue Tuareg headscarves.

You should take a longer tour deeper into this desert to experience all it has to offer. You will experience how quiet and peaceful it is when you visit the desert.

Namib Desert – Namibia

You’ve probably seen those pictures of bare, lone trees standing in front of a bright orange dune, haven’t you? The Namib Desert, a coastal desert in Namibia, stretches along the country’s Atlantic coast.

During your visit, there is the possibility that you will come across animals, such as elephants and lions, that are strolling along the beach or even taking a swim in the waves of the ocean.

You will also tour Kolmanskop town, which used to be a prosperous settlement but is now being swallowed up by the desert sands. There are so many breathtaking sights, and the journey is exciting.

Pro Tip: This is the perfect place for a road trip, whether you drive yourself or join a guided group. There is a wide range of availability, from private settings to larger gatherings, as well as budget to luxurious accommodations.

The Red Centre – Australia

The Red Centre

You can get an idea of why this region in the middle of Australia is dubbed the Red Centre if you drive up to Ayers Rock Airport in the Northern Territory or fly into the airport.

A dark red color can be seen across the land, which is made up of sandy areas, rocky outcrops, and huge stretches of flat desert dotted with coarse flora.

The one feature in this otherworldly terrain immediately comes to mind is Uluru, the sacred monolith that imparts a sense of enchantment and mystery to the surroundings even though they are already strange.

However, there are several other interesting rock formations and desert excursions to explore. There are also local Indigenous peoples to learn from, giving amazing stories about their tragic history and so much more.

Pro Tip: There are different places to stay overnight depending on your choice, whether you want a luxurious or budget-friendly place.

White Desert – Egypt

From a desert where the sand was red to a desert where the sand is white, the White Desert is located in Egypt and is part of the Sahara desert.

It has a unique landscape that can’t be found anywhere else. About 500 miles north of Cairo, in the northern part of Egypt, there is a place with white outcrops that look like mushrooms.

The desert looks like it is made of salt, but it is made of white sand and rocks shaped by the wind and bleached by the sun. This is in stark contrast to the brown sand that lies below.

Even though it looks like no one could live here (except in the oasis 30 miles to the south), you might see gazelles, jackals, and cute fennec foxes with big ears when you go.

Pro Tip: It takes several days to tour this desert because of the distance to cover, and the effort is worth it.

The Highlands – Iceland

The Highlands - Iceland

When you think of Iceland, snow and ice may be the first things that come to mind. Well, that is true because the northern part of this island has both cold deserts and the largest area of volcanic sand desert in the world.

Even on an island as hard to live on as Iceland, the Highlands is a hard place to live. Even though the country gets a lot of rain and snow yearly, the Highlands area is a desert.

This is because rainwater doesn’t soak into the topsoil and stays there. Instead, it goes straight through the porous soil layers, skipping any plants that might be there.

Visiting this desert will be an exciting experience, and you get to see why the desert rains, but plants don’t thrive there.   

Pro Tip: You can only visit the desert during the summer, and even then, you need serious off-road vehicles and excellent driving skills. The best way to experience this northern desert is on a tour that departs from Reykjavik.

Tabernas Desert – Spain

So far, we have discussed hot and dry, coastal, and cold deserts. The nest desert on the list is the Tabernas desert, located in Spain, and it is a semi-arid desert.

The Tabernas Desert is similar to the one in Iceland in that it does get some rain. However, when it does rain, the water runs off and doesn’t soak into the ground, so it is still considered a desert.

In its place, you’ll find a rocky, mountainous area with a few patches of greenery, like sea lavender, and a small number of animals, like lizards and the hardy Algerian hedgehog.

This area, which looks like a classic Wild West town, is also called Spain’s Hollywood. It is where movies like “Once Upon a Time in the West,” “A Fistful of Dollars,” and “Lawrence of Arabia,” as well as the TV show “Game of Thrones,” were filmed.

Pro Tip: Most tourist visit Spain for hiking activities, and you can go on a guided hiking tour in Taberna’s desert.

Singing Sand Dunes – Qatar

Singing Sand Dunes - Qatar

Do you know there are singing dunes in Qatar? Not too far from the Inland Sea, you can find a calmer place called the Singing Sand Dunes of Qatar.

Some activities you can enjoy during your visit to this desert include adrenaline-pumping, dune-bashing and sandboarding, and watching flamingos.

The dunes can sing or, more accurately, groan because of an extremely uncommon mix of horseshoe-shaped dunes that stand alone and slide san.

Most of the time, they can finish the job on their own if the wind is right. However, if someone slides down on their bottom, they will get an amazing result.

They are pretty and fun, and because they are off the main tourist route, you might have a whole dune to yourself.

Pro Tip: If you do not have a sled, you can use a sturdy shopping bag as a makeshift sled by sitting on it and steering with the handles as you slide down the hill.

The Gobi Desert – Mongolia and China

The Gobi desert is located between Mongolia and China. It is a cold, sandy desert with some places where there are bushes. It is about 1,000 miles wide and 500 miles from top to bottom.

There are few ways to get there, and the Trans-Siberian Express is one of the few that goes there.

There are many ways to see more of the country, like going to China’s Dunhuang oasis, which is not as isolated as it might seem.

Pro Tip: On your visit to the Gobi Desert, you can also visit Singing Dunes in the Gobi in Mongolia, the Khongor Sand Dune.

About The Author

Robeena Brown is a travel blogger & destination expert living in UAE and works for local tourism companies like Arabiers. If you have been looking forward to touring Dubai, getting a visa, extending stays and exploring the city, you can follow her on social media.