This Emirate is the UAE’s capital and its largest state, occupying approximately 87% of the country’s territory. Abu Dhabi is the home of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the most beautiful and picturesque mosques in the world. Everyone is welcome in the Mosque to come in and see its exuberant architecture, as well as learn more about Islamic culture – visitors are just asked to dress respectfully. In addition to the mosque, Abu Dhabi is also home to the Yas Viceroy Hotel, where visitor can see the Formula 1 racing track and watch world renowned races. Only a few minutes drive away, you will find Ferrari World, an indoor amusement park themed after the famous car brand. The Emirate has been fast growing and constantly adding new attractions to its already long list of World Records and unique attractions.
Yas Viceroy Hotel, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, +971 2 656 0000
Ferrari World, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, +971 2 496 8000
Everyone in the world has heard of Dubai, and for many this city will be the main reason to visit the UAE. Dubai’s list of landmarks is not far from limited. From the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, to its old spice and gold markets – the city truly has it all. This is a must destination to everyone in their lifetime, specially those who wish to immerse themselves in the perfect balance between traditional religious culture and modernity. Here, tourists can shop at the biggest shopping mall in the world, see the only 7 star hotel on the planet and still visit mosques and get a better grasp of a city that grew so huge, so fast, but never lost its roots.
Burj Khalifa, 1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd, Dubai, +971 4 366 1655
Spice Souk, 26 34 Street, Dubai
Sharjah is located North of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and although the city doesn’t hold the same world famous attractions as the above two, like all other Emirates, it is definitely worth checking out. Perhaps one of its most popular attractions is the Sharjah Natural History Museum, where visitors can educate themselves about the flora and fauna of the Arabian Desert. This in itself is a remarkable experience, a great reminder that although the UAE is now populated by skyscrapers, it once was only desert. Another must see in Sharjah, is the Blue Souk, its impressive architecture is a favorite of residents and visitors alike. The market-like place offers traditional shops for tourists to indulge themselves.
Blue Souk, King Faisal Road, Sharjah, +971 6 562 3333
This is the only Emirates on the East Coast of the UAE. Fujairah has a breathtakingly beautiful geography that can’t be found anywhere else in the country. The Emirate offers the perfect contrast of massive mountains and endless beaches to either side of it. This is the ideal Emirate for those who love the sea and enjoy snorkeling, as its crystal clear beaches are full of sea life. Only approximately an hour and a half drive away from Dubai, visitors can spend the day here and head back to their hotels in the evening, although it’s better to take the opportunity to stay in one of their various luxurious beach resorts.
Ras Al Khaimah is the ideal Emirate for an escape from the city. With high-end beach resorts such as Banyan Tree, where guests can book rooms with their own beach front and swimming pools, this is one of the UAE residents’ favorite places for a weekend get away. The Emirate is also well known for its historical ruins such as Dhayah Fort. For those seeking a thrill in Ras Al Khaimah, they must visit Jazirat Al-Hamra, also known as Ghost Town, where there are now only abandoned houses as residents left the area decades ago amid suspicion that it was haunted.
These two Emirates are much less showy than their counterparts but although they may not have the same abundant landmarks as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Ajman and Umm Al-Quwain still qualify as reasons to visit the UAE, as each of them offer something individual. Ajman has its share of beautiful beaches as well as history. The Ajman Museum was built by the historical Ajman Fort and gives a further insight into the past of the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, Umm Al-Quwain is home to Dreamland Aqua Park, one of the world’s largest waterparks, offering families visiting the UAE an opportunity to road trip to this awesome park and enjoy their day in the sun.
Ajman Museum, Al Bustan, Ajman, +971 6 742 3824
Dreamland Aqua Park, Umm Al Quwain, +971 6 768 1888