In The UAE, There Are 15 Top-rated Tourist Attractions and Things To Do.
The United Arab Emirates has become a popular destination for anybody looking to combine a city holiday with some beach time, thanks to the distinctive high-rise skylines of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which surround lengthy sandy shorelines. L
andmark tourist destinations such as Dubai's Burj Khalifa and Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Mosque and Louvre museum provide sightseeing close to the city beaches. With an outstanding list of big theme parks, both cities have become known among consumers as the best destinations to visit. Both cities also give vacationing families lots of purely enjoyable things to do, thanks to a slew of massive malls, and good restaurants in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
However, the UAE is more than the glitz and glamour of its two largest cities. From 4WD journeys across a landscape of rippling dunes to taking on the world's longest zipline over the jagged slopes of Jebel Jais, the country's interior of desert and the Hajar Mountains is all about big-sky views and adventure activities.
There's also a lot more history here than those modern towers might lead you to believe. Sharjah and Al Ain are two cities that are committed to preserving Emirati culture.
See our list of the top attractions, things to do, and the best area to stay in Dubai with family in the United Arab Emirates for suggestions on where to go.
Due to recent global health and safety challenges, certain businesses may be temporarily closed.
1. Visit the Beach
For many people, a trip to the UAE revolves around the beach. The UAE's scorching summer heat gives way to winter's beach weather from late October to May, when temperatures plunge across Europe and North America. The more apparent beach choices are Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which provide city sightseeing, shopping, and theme parks all within easy reach of the beach.
Luxury resorts and the best family hotels in Dubai are concentrated along the shore west of the central city for sun-and-sand vacations in Dubai. The luxury resorts of Abu Dhabi span the shorelines of the city's several islands.
There are, however, other beach possibilities outside of these two destinations. The beach resorts of Ras Al-Khaimah and Ajman, in particular, are popular city retreats, while Al Aqah beach in the Emirate of Fujairah, on the UAE's eastern coast, is a popular option for beachgoers looking to avoid the crowds.
2. Visit the top of Burj Khalifa
The Burj Khalifa is a soaring sky-high landmark in Dubai and one of the most iconic skyscrapers in the United Arab Emirates. It is not only the world's tallest building (at 828 meters), but it also holds the titles of the world's tallest freestanding structure, highest observation deck, and elevator with the world's longest journey distance.
Most visitor itineraries include a journey up to the observation deck, which offers panoramic views of Dubai, both to wonder at this modern engineering and architectural feat and to see the dizzying views of Dubai laid out below you.
3. Adore the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is a massive new mosque with breathtaking splendor. The mosque seamlessly integrates modern and old styles and techniques to produce a fresh interpretation of Islamic architecture, fusing contemporary design with traditional workmanship.
The mosque's white marble masonry is lavishly decorated with gold, mosaic tiles, and glasswork on both the façade and interior, while the construction itself mixes the numerous mosque designs of multiple Islamic empires.
The prayer hall is lit by chandeliers made of 24-karat gold and crystals and is covered in the world's largest hand-knotted carpet (5,700 square meters). Outside, a massive swirling flowery floor mosaic of semi-precious stones is shown in the enormous marble courtyard.
4. Jebel Jais in Ras Al-Khaimah is a great place to go physical.
Jebel Jais, the highest peak in the United Arab Emirates, is a major activity hub in the emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah. You can either come here to enjoy the views of the rocky Hajar Mountain peaks cascading down to the seaside plateau from the viewing platform terrace near the summit, or you can complement those views with some adventure sports.
You can either come here to enjoy the views of the rocky Hajar Mountain peaks cascading down to the seaside plateau from the viewing platform terrace near the summit, or you can complement those views with some adventure sports.
During the cooler months, Jebel Jais' Via Ferrata climbing path offers guided tours, while solo hikers can pick from six marked trails on the lower portions of the mountain for fewer speed thrills and more mountain leisure.
5. Abu Dhabi's Louvre is a must-see.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi, the newest and most impressive museum in the United Arab Emirates, takes tourists on a journey through human history. To demonstrate the links between cultures and civilizations that have threaded through humanity's narrative, the collection has been sourced from all over the world and through the ages, beginning with the earliest human settlements and ending with works by major names in today's contemporary art scene.
The museum is a significant draw whether you're interested in world history or art, and the complex's austere and ultra-modern architecture, designed by prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, is an attraction in and of itself.
6. Discover the desert landscapes of the United Arab Emirates.
Make a beeline for the UAE's desert expanses, which span across the country's southern heartland, if you're feeling adventurous. There are numerous adventure activities available, including 4WD treks across the desert dunes, camel trekking, sandboarding, and dune buggy rides.
After a 4WD adventure into the dunes, the most popular desert day tours from Dubai or Abu Dhabi include dinner at a desert camp, as well as time at camp for other activities like sandboarding or short camel rides.
Other desert tours provide more opportunities for wildlife viewing, and specialized desert operators even provide overnight camping in the sand dunes. A variety of luxury desert resorts may be found in the desert interiors of the emirates of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Ras Al-Khaimah, where guests can take up the landscape and participate in desert activities.
7. Attractions for Families at Theme Parks
Dubai Parks & Resorts combines four major theme parks in one location: Motiongate, which features attractions based on Hollywood movies; Bollywood Parks; Legoland Dubai; and Legoland Water Park.
IMG Worlds of Adventure, with attractions, roller coasters, and experiences based around both Marvel storylines and characters for older kids and the Cartoon Network for younger kids, is also located in the city.
However, if you only want to splash around for a day, Dubai's Wild Wadi Water Park is your best bet. Wadi Adventure in Al Ain is the ideal water park for older kids and teenagers that desire more than just slides. White water kayaking, surfing, and wakeboarding are the main attractions here, but there are also swimming pools for when you need a break from all the activities.
On Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, two of the country's most well-known branded theme parks are located. Ferrari World is a thrill-seeker's paradise with the world's fastest roller coaster as its signature ride, while Warner Bros World features six worlds to explore, ranging from Cartoon Junction for small children to Metropolis and Gotham City, each with rides and attractions based on DC Comics stories.
8. Explore the Al Fahidi Quarter in Dubai.
The Al Fahidi district of Dubai (formerly known as Bastakia) is the last remaining piece of Old Dubai and should not be forgotten. This little history neighborhood captures the city's calmer, softer era before skyscrapers dominated the skyline.
The neighborhood's small streets are surrounded by meticulously preserved ancient buildings in traditional Arabian architectural styles, many with wind tower elements that kept residences cool before air conditioning became popular.
Many of the buildings have been converted into small museums, art galleries, and artisan shops, allowing visitors to view typical Arabian interiors. The Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding is also located in the quarter and offers Al Fahidi walking tours as well as on-site traditional meals for those who want to sample the local cuisine.
9. View the renowned art collection of the Sharjah Art Museum.
Sharjah Art Museum houses one of the world's most renowned collections of Arab artists' work and Middle Eastern art. Its permanent collection includes art from the 18th and 19th centuries created by both Arab artists and European artists who focused on the Middle East in their work, as well as art from the 18th and 19th centuries created by both Arab artists and European artists who focused on the Middle East in their work, which is displayed in the Barjeel Collection Wing.
The museum's temporary exhibitions program is well-known, bringing displays by both well-known and emerging artists to the museum's lower floor galleries throughout the year.
10. Take a trip to the top of the Jebel Hafeet mountain.
One of the most popular sites for a quick and easy nature break out of Abu Dhabi city is Jebel Hafeet, which is located on the outskirts of the oasis city of Al Ain. During the summer, the cool mountain air on the peak provides a welcome break from the coastal heat.
This is the UAE's second-highest peak, and the winding road up to the summit rewards you with far-reaching, exquisite panoramas across the mountain's reaches and down to Al Ain. You'll be rewarded with a panoramic view of the area's enormous swath of desert reaching out in all directions after you reach the summit of the twisting switchback mountain road.
11. Dubai Creek Dhow Rides
Although the Burj Khalifa offers a spectacular view of Dubai's skyline from afar, the most iconic sights of the city are still from the water. The gorgeous dhows (traditional Arabic Boats) that ply the creek are the greatest way in seeing Dubai.
Sunset cruises (which typically include entertainment and meals) are particularly popular with guests because they allow them to see the high-rises' lights begin to glimmer in the night.
However, for a low-cost cruise, take one of the ablas (local boats) that run between Bur Dubai and Deira.
12. Embark on a journey to the Hajar Mountains.
The Hajar Mountains cut their way across the UAE's northern interior. Hiking, climbing, and bird-watching are all popular activities in the wadis (dry riverbeds or valleys) found throughout this region. Wadi excursions concentrating on these activities are available from adventure tour companies in Dubai and Ras Al-Khaimah.
The Hajar Mountains are also wonderful for scenic drives through rolling, desolate mountains. Historic watchtowers and small forts atop some of the tiniest Hajar Mountain settlements in the emirates of Ras Al-Khaimah and Fujairah make for good pit stops along the trip.
The village of Hatta, which has become a significant activity hub in recent years, with kayaking on Hatta Lake and mountain biking in the surrounding area, is one of the most popular Hajar Mountain bases.
13. The Souks are a great place to go shopping.
Shopping is one of the key attractions for many visitors to the United Arab Emirates. There are also plenty of big, glamorous malls to choose from, but the souks offer a more intimate shopping experience (bazaars).
The Deira and Bur Dubai districts, which face each other across Dubai Creek, are the places to go for traditional shopping in Dubai, with the Bur Dubai Souk, the city's famous Gold Souk, and the Spice Souk all located here. The Central Souk in Sharjah is a municipal landmark, while the adjoining Souk Al Jubail is a gastronomic traveler's favorite visit.
There are souk districts in Abu Dhabi as well. The World Trade Center Souk, created by architect Norman Foster, is the most popular, with its shops and stalls selling handicrafts from all over the Arab world.
14. The Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization is worth a visit.
The Museum of Islamic Civilization in Sharjah is the country's sole museum dedicated to the whole scope of Islamic history. The collection highlights the great diversity of culture and art found throughout the Islamic world, from its earliest days through the development of Islamic empires throughout Asia and Africa.
Aside from a plethora of antiques and art objects, several exhibits focus on different aspects of Islam and specific periods in its history. Rare manuscripts and religious texts are featured in several exhibits, and visitors will find them easy to interpret thanks to well-placed information boards.
15. Stay in the luxurious The H Dubai.
The H Dubai Hotel is located in the center of the Middle East's most vibrant metropolis, overlooking the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Road. The hotel is close to the city's key attractions, including the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Frame, Dubai Mall, Dubai Garden Glow, La Mer Beach, and Dubai World Trade Center.
This 5-star hotel in Dubai has 236 luxurious rooms and suites, as well as an office tower, a residential tower, and a vibrant events center. The finest of both worlds is guaranteed when you stay at The H Dubai Hotel. Relax at the award-winning Mandara Spa or recline at our outdoor pool as you go on an epicurean journey via 11 dining outlets featuring delectable cuisine and daily live entertainment. There is also a complimentary shuttle service to La Mer Beach.
That wraps our list of the greatest places to visit and activities to do in the UAE, whether you're a resident seeking a staycation or a visitor searching for a wonderful experience.