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The United Arab Emirates is a small country, but it’s packed with exciting places for visitors to check out and fall in love with. From modern buildings to cultural hot-spots, there’s a little bit of everything. This what makes the UAE one of the hottest tourist destinations in the world.
The tallest building in the world at over 800 meters, the Burj Khalifa and is one of the most impressive sights in Dubai. Even better than seeing the skyscraper from the outside is to go to At the Top and see what Dubai looks like from 148 floors high. The view stretches from sea to desert, and is a truly singular experience.
Burj Khalifa, 1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd, Dubai, +971 4 366 1655
For those who enjoy shopping, what experience could be more exciting than visiting at the biggest shopping mall in the world? The Dubai Mall has 1,200 retail outlets, from some of the biggest luxury stores in the world like, Chanel and Cartier, to Forever 21, Zara and other trendier shops. The mall also has a whole area dedicated to jewelry stores and dozens of food and beverage outlets.
Dubai Mall, Financial Centre Road, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, +971 800 382246255
The Palm Jumeirah is the biggest artificial island in the world. Every tourist to Dubai definitely needs to see The Palm and visit one of its high-end restaurants and bars. Even better than just visiting the island it to stay there in one of its 5-star hotels, like Fairmont The Palm, Atlantis or Anantara.
This is one of the most popular tourism hot-spots in Dubai, as Souk Madinat Jumeirah offers traditional stores, souvenir shops, craft stands and more. It mimics an old traditional market, with wooden details and outdoor spaces. Perhaps one of the best aspects of Madinat is the unobstructed view of the Burj Al Arab. It’s also full of delicious restaurants and popular bars for a night out.
Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Al Sufouh Road, Dubai, +971 4 366 8888
The Emirates Palace is probably the most luxurious attraction in the whole of the UAE. This hotel was the world’s most expensive to build, costing 3 billion dollars. Make a reservation at Le Café (it’s only possible to enter Emirates Palace with reservations) to try their famous gold cappuccino. Yes, the cappuccino at this unique cafe actually has real gold in it!
Made famous by the Fast & Furious 7 movie, the Abu Dhabi skyline is a sight to behold. Although its not filled with world famous buildings like its neighbor Dubai, Abu Dhabi has skyscrapers that are true architectural wonders. A drive down to the UAE’s capital will allow visitors to feast their eyes on buildings of all shapes and sizes, including the first circular building in the Middle East, the Aldar Headquarters, and the leaning skyscraper, Capital Gate.
The Blue Souk in Sharjah dates to 1978, and is one of the Emirate’s most well-known landmarks. Much like Dubai’s Souk Madinat Jumeirah, the Blue Souk offers a market-like environment with over 600 shops, selling everything from jewelry to souvenirs. When visiting Sharjah, this souk is an essential stop, as its beautiful bazaar-inspired architecture is quite a sight.
Blue Souk, King Faisal Road, Sharjah, +971 6 562 3333
When visiting the UAE, it’s very easy to fall in love with its artificial attractions and forget about the complex desert ecosystem that existed before all the tall buildings and expensive hotels started being built. The Sharjah Natural History Museum allows visitors to learn about the fauna and flora of the Arabian Desert. Visiting is a fun way to better understand the plants and animals that populated the UAE before the metropolises were built.
Sharjah Natural History Museum, Al Dhaid Road, Sharjah, +971 6 531 1411
Al Jazirat Al Hamra is a small abandoned village that is rumored to be haunted by jinns the shape of animals (jinns are ghost-like creatures in Islamic folklore). Better known as Ghost Town, the village dates to the 14th century, making this an intriguing destination for history buffs too.
When most people think of the UAE, they might think about the new and modern. However, the country is full of history, and visiting the Al Badiyah Mosque is the perfect way to see that. The small, simple mosque in Fujairah is the oldest in the UAE, built in 1446.
Al Badiyah Mosque, Al Badiyah, Fujairah, +971 9 234 3363
Al Badiyah Mosque | © Christine McIntosh/Flickr
As Fujairah is the only Emirate on the East Coast of the UAE, its beautiful beaches are a must-visit destination in themselves. But even better than chilling by the beach all day is snorkeling. The water in Fujairah is crystal clear and full of marine life. There, visitors can see anything from fish to turtles. Visitors should also take this opportunity to snorkel around Snoopy Island, which got its name because people believe it looks like Snoopy, the cartoon dog, lying down.