7 best places to visit in the UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (UAE)
The United Arab Emirates, a country in the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf, is famous for its futuristic high-rise buildings, world-famous beach resorts, palm-shaped man-made islands, desert safaris, huge and luxurious shopping malls… However, that is not all the country has to offer.
History and culture enthusiasts will love the country’s historical forts and enjoy strolling along the narrow lanes and ambling past the colorful stalls in the lively traditional souks.
Art enthusiasts will enjoy the art galleries, and adventurous travelers will enjoy traveling to lesser-known emirates.
Are you interested in visiting the United Arab Emirates, and are wondering what to see in the United Arab Emirates?
To help you with the task of planning, we have created this list of 7 best places to visit in the United Arab Emirates.
7 best places to visit in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
1. Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi
Sheikh Zayed Mosque is a beautiful mosque in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the largest of the 7 Emirates and the second most popular one.
With the capacity of 41 000 people, Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates.
The mosque features an intricate design and is constructed of exquisite marble imported from Europe and India.
The courtyard, with its floral design, measures about 17 000 m2 and is considered to be the largest example of marble mosaic in the world.
According to TripAdvisor, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is one of the top 10 landmarks in the world.
2. The Louvre Abu Dhabi
The largest art museum in the world, the Louvre, has its branch in Abu Dhabi.
Inaugurated on 8 November 2017 by French President, it showcases artworks from around the world from the Neolithic times up to the present day.
Besides the permanent exhibition, the Louvre Abu Dhabi hosts four temporary exhibitions per year.
The temporary exhibitions are organized and created by French museum partners.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is a very futuristic art gallery and is one of the best places to visit in the United Arab Emirates.
3. Dubai’s traditional souks
Souk is a traditional Arab market; a bazaar.
When traveling to the UAE, definitely take your time and visit the legendary souks in Dubai. Wander in the narrow lanes that are lined with hundreds of little colorful traditional stores.
Three traditional souks are located on the Deira side of Dubai Creek. These are the Gold Souk, Spice Souk, and Perfume Souk. The 3 souks are all within walking distance.
The Gold Souk is probably the most famous souk in Dubai. It consists of over 380 retailers, that mostly sell gold, platinum, diamonds, and silver.
Definitely do not miss the Spice Souk! There you will find all kinds of exotic spices and herbs for a fraction of the cost you’d pay in Europe.
The Perfume Souk is less impressive than the Gold or Spice Souk, but still worth a visit. There you’ll find different kinds of traditional perfumes. There you can create your very own personalized scent as well.
4. Burj Khalifa, Dubai
With a height of 828 m, Burj Khalifa, a skyscraper in Dubai, currently is the world’s tallest man-made structure.
Being the highest man-made structure, it is the most popular landmark in the United Arab Emirates.
Every evening there is a light and fountain show in front of Burj Khalifa, followed by an LED show. The tower comes to life every evening at 17:45.
By the way, with thousands of LED light bulbs covering the building, Burj Khalifa is the World’s Largest LED-Illuminated Facade.
The Burj Khalifa has two observation decks: At the Top and Burj Khalifa SKY. The observation decks are situated on the 124th floor (452 m) and 148th floor (555 m), respectively.
5. Dubai Miracle Garden
Occupying more than 72 000 square meters, Dubai Miracle Garden is the world’s largest natural flower garden.
The garden houses more than 50 million flowers and 250 million plants.
The garden is well known for its unique structures made from flowers. An Airbus A380 flower structure is listed by Guinness World Records as the biggest flower structure in the world.
Fujairah is one of the least known emirates, but it doesn’t mean it’s not worth visiting. Quite the opposite, it’s a very beautiful place with plenty of things to do.
Fujairah is home to mud-brick Al-Bidyah Mosque which is the oldest in the United Arab Emirates.
Fujairah Fort is another amazing historical monument. Built-in 1670, Fujairah Fort is considered the oldest fort in the United Arab Emirates.
Al Aqah beach the top beach resort in Fujairah. The beach is dominated by the rocky outcrop of “Snoopy Island” offshore.
Fujairah’s Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the second largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates, after the mosque with the same name in Abu Dhabi. It’s very large and can accommodate about 28 000 worshippers. Unfortunately, it’s not open to non-muslims. But you can admire it from the outside.
7. Al Ain & Jebel Hafeet
Al Ain is an inland oasis on the border with Oman. Al Ain is known as the “Garden City” for its palm groves and natural springs. It is the largest inland city in the United Arab Emirates, and the fourth largest overall.
The city boasts beautiful parks, tree-lined avenues, and decorative roundabouts.
There are several historical buildings in Al Ain as well. For instance, Al-Jahili Fort is among the largest castles in the region. Dating back to 1891, now Al-Jahili Fort is much restored and is a major point of interest.
Qasr Al Muwaiji is the birthplace of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the current Ruler of Abu Dhabi and President of the United Arab Emirates.
Al Ain Camel Market is a must-visit, too. It’s a great place to see camels up close, meet local people and learn more about Arabic traditions.
Jebel Hafeet, a popular mountain for hiking, is located on the outskirts of Al Ain. The mountain offers beautiful views of the desolate area and the beautiful green expanse of Green Mubazzarah at the food of Jebel Hafeet. Check out the Beehive Tombs which are evidence of human habitation in the area approximately 5000 years ago.
United Arab Emirates travel tips
- You don’t need a visa to travel to the UAE. You can stay 90 days in any 180-day period.
- Dress modestly. Especially in the places of worship! Pack clothes that cover your knees and shoulders. Lightweight loose-fitting trousers and shirts are the best, both for male and female travelers. Beaches in Dubai are more relaxed, though. You can wear shorts and tank tops on the beach in Dubai (swimsuit when swimming), but in the cities wear something that is less revealing. Especially if you are traveling to Fujairah, Sharjah and other less known emirates.
- No kissing! Avoid kissing and displaying your affection for your partner publicly. Public displays of affection are frowned upon, and it may even get you in trouble.
- Sex outside marriage is illegal. And, technically, it’s against the law to share the same hotel room with someone of the opposite sex unless you’re married or closely related. But Dubai is more relaxed, and hotels catering to foreigners may allow unmarried couples to stay in the same room. But we still would recommend you to stay in separate rooms, just in case. Especially if you are traveling outside Dubai.
- Gay and lesbian travelers. Same-sex relationships are illegal and same-sex marriages are not recognized in the UAE.
- When to visit? The best time to visit the UAE is spring, winter or autumn when it’s not that hot. The hottest months are July and August.