When it comes to visiting the UAE, everyone knows which staple touristic places to visit, like the Burj Al Arab in Dubai and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, which should definitely be on every visitor’s itinerary. However, for those looking for something a bit more unusual and adventurous, there are several amazing places in the country that don’t make international headlines and that most people don’t even know exist!
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Who can really say they don’t love Ghostbusters? Well, only around one hour and a half away from Dubai, is a place rumoured to be haunted. Jazirat Al Hamra, or better known as Ghost Town, is an abandoned village made up of ruins in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. What many years ago was an inhabited village is believed to be haunted by Jinns, mystical creatures in Islamic folklore. Warning: this is not for the faint of heart and will definitely make for a thrilling experience!
Dreamland Aqua Park
Dubai and Abu Dhabi have several waterparks in between the two cities. However, the often overlooked Emirate of Umm Al Quwain is home to one of the best waterparks in the country, Dreamland Aqua Park. This spot is great for those looking to skip the long lines found in Dubai-based parks. Additionally, Dreamland Aqua Park has a number of unique rides and allows visitors to actually camp in the park!
Dubai Garden Glow
Most visitors who come to Dubai choose to spend their nights in fancy restaurants or cool bars. However, for a truly unique and unforgettable experience, travellers should head to Dubai Garden Glow. Although it’s not the most well-known place in Dubai, this spot is true magic. The venue brings together massive light structures, creating a whimsical world for visitors. Additionally, Dubai Garden Glow often holds shows and live music for extra entertainment.
Fujairah is one of the Emirates that definitely does not get the credit it deserves. Being the only Emirate located on the country’s East Coast, Fujairah has a singular landscape, surrounded by sea and mountains. Perhaps one of its most interesting spots is Snoopy Island, an island right off the coast of Sand Beach, which is best known for looking like Snoopy laying down. This is a great spot for snorkelling and spotting marine life.
Al Qudra Oasis
One of Dubai’s best-hidden gems is definitely the Al Qudra Oasis. Only about 50 minutes away from downtown, this epic spot looks completely different than the rest of the metropolis. The few manmade lakes, which compose the Oasis, provide visitors with a perfect spot for a picnic and a quiet day. Perhaps the most exciting thing to see in this already magnificent spot is its birds. Dozens of flamingos and swans live in the Al Qudra Oasis.
Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital
Every city in the world should have decent hospitals. Well, Abu Dhabi takes this to the next level with its Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital. No, this isn’t a fancy name for a regular hospital, this truly is a hospital for falcons. With the bird being such an important animal in Emirate culture, with some being priced at exorbitant amounts of money, Abu Dhabi has its own hospital in order to provide falcons with state-of-the-art technology and impeccable health care.
Dubai has no shortage of cool and trendy neighbourhoods. However, Al Satwa offers a completely contradictory setting and is completely unknown to tourists. This is the area of Dubai where everyone gets everything done. Need a tailor? Al Satwa. Want to frame a picture? Al Satwa. Want to buy fabric? Al Satwa. The neighbourhood looks much simpler and more humble than the rest of the city, but it is the ideal place for anything cheap, easy and fast.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.