The UAE’s reputation is largely attributed to the fame of its most popular emirates including Dubai and Abu Dhabi. But, did you know that this country in the Middle East is more than that? Each of its seven emirates is spectacular and special in its own way. This ranges from the mysterious vibe of Ras Al Khaimah and the pristine captivating beauty of Fujairah to the low-key charm of Umm Al Quwain and the cultural highlights of Sharjah and Ajman. The following list will give you an idea of the top things to do and see in the UAE.
Dubai, along with its magnificent sights and experiences, definitely deserves a top spot in this list. It is chosen as the first and ultimate stop in most Arabian holidays for its extraordinary yet diverse offerings. Sightseers are spoilt for choices with a vast spectrum of record-breaking landmarks like the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, the colossal man-made island of Palm Jumeirah, the unique Dubai Frame, and the world’s biggest ferris wheel, the Ain Dubai, to name a few.
There are also some exhilarating options for thrill seekers, thanks to the swiftest zipline, the XLine Dubai, the recently opened Deep Dive Pool, and the storm coaster – the fastest indoor roller coaster in the Middle East. If you are looking for more fun things to do in Dubai with your smaller ones, be sure to take them to KidZania Dubai, Escape Hunt and Aventura Parks, among others.
Nature lovers and culture buffs, rejoice! If you don’t want to take long drives from Dubai, Hatta is one of the closest places to visit during your Dubai stay. It is approximately one hour’s drive away. True to its reputation, it has pretty much all the staples to make your day trip as amazing as possible.
With the rugged beauty of Hajjar Mountain in the backdrop, the main highlight is the Hatta Heritage Village – which is more than 3000-year-old – a traditional mountain hamlet where time almost stands still. You can also visit the Hatta Hill Park – a perfect place for a pleasant picnic with your dear ones, and even enjoy an exciting ride aboard a swan-like pedal boat along the aptly named Swan Lake.
Abu Dhabi is both the largest city and the capital city of the UAE. More than that, it is a destination that gracefully blends longstanding Emirati culture and heritage with unmatched contemporariness. On one side is one of the Islamic world’s most stunning mosques - Sheikh Zayed Mosque – and on the other side, Yas Island - the ultimate in leisure and entertainment choices. It is a haven for nature enthusiasts too, with its pristine mangrove national parks that are a treasured sanctuary of bliss and tranquility. Located two hours’ drive from Dubai, it has everything one needs for an incredible Arabian retreat.
Fujairah is the only emirate that lies completely on the eastern coast of the UAE, along the Gulf of Oman. This means that you can expect to find a paradise for nature lovers, photography enthusiasts, and outdoor enthusiasts, including watersport junkies alike. Be it its laid-back mountainous charm, its glistening waters or even its significant relics from a bygone era, a trip to Fujairah is sure to blow you away. The iconic Friday Market or Masafi Market, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (the country’s second largest mosque), and Fujairah Adventure Park are some of the must-visits here.
As mentioned in the introduction, every emirate in the UAE is unique including Ras Al Khaimah. Located in the country’s northern region, it is easily accessible from Dubai, being just an hour’s drive away. It is a renowned camping spot and hiking paradise, as well as home to an abandoned village (known as Jazirah Al Hamra), which is believed to be haunted. If you are looking for more reasons to visit this amazing emirate, it has its share of stunning beaches (like Flamingo Beach), wadis (including the spectacular Wadi Shawka), and some fascinating historical places of interest such as Dhayah Fort.
A spellbinding ride of about one hour will take you up to Jebel Jais – the country’s highest mountain peak. People don’t just come here to experience its unbeatable altitude, but also to take part in a variety of unparalleled activities. One of the must-do experiences among them, especially for adventurists, is the Jais Flight. Spanning a length of 283 kilometers and set at a height of over 1,680 meters, it is the longest zipline experience in the world. Take the Jais Sky Tour for an added element of fun and thrill. If you wish to immerse yourself in the exquisite ambience in a more relaxed manner, you can head to the viewing deck or even consider a camping here.
Most people dread a visit to the desert, particularly due to its barren surroundings and intense heat. Take a desert safari while in the UAE – you will certainly change your perceptions about the desert. A desert safari is a guided off-road trip that leads you to the inner folds of the desert. The major draw of any desert safari is the dune bashing which is an electrifying ride over the fine desert sands aboard a 4X4 vehicle. Other activities that are normally available on a desert safari are camel rides, falconry, Shisha smoking, and henna tattooing to name a few.
Umm Al Quwain is regarded as one of the best-kept secrets of the UAE. But, for those in the know, this relatively lesser-known emirate is a much-loved destination for its unharmed mangroves, amazing crab-hunting tours, history-drenched Umm Al Quwain National Museum and Umm Al Quwain Fort, and the cool rides and slides at the Dreamland Aqua Park.
Sharjah is a surefire stop for culture and history enthusiasts during their UAE holiday. Unsurprisingly, it hosts one of the country’s major groups of landmarks that reflect its glorious past. This includes Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, Sharjah Heritage Area, and the historical Central Market (also known as the Blue Souk.)
Located less than 30 minutes’ drive from Sharjah and about 40 minutes’ drive from Dubai, Ajman is the UAE’s smallest emirate. It is famous for its astonishing beaches and nature reserves.
Are you ready for an unforgettable holiday in the UAE? As you can see from this list, there are umpteen things you can do alongside your Dubai tours on your UAE holiday, whether you crave adventure, quick thrills, leisure or authentic cultural experiences. So don’t delay; get set for one of the best vacations that you have ever had in your lifetime.