A small, affluent nation on the east of the Arabian Peninsula, the United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven emirates, of which Abu Dhabi is the capital. While the region has been occupied for thousands of years, the modern day nation has boomed since the 1970s and is now one of the wealthiest and most diverse coastal destinations in the Middle East. Home to millions of expatriates, the United Arab Emirates boasts countless modern architectural marvels and sites from antiquity, as well as endless fun activities to keep you entertained and excellent top class hotels in which to lay your head.
Dubai — The United Arab Emirates’ most populous city, Dubai is also the most well-known thanks to its extremely rapid growth, world famous skyline and complex and iconic array of manmade islands. It is also home to Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. At over 800 metres in height, this mega skyscraper is a sight to behold. You’ll also find the world’s only seven star hotel in Dubai – possibly one of the world’s most luxurious.
Abu Dhabi — The capital Abu Dhabi is smaller than Dubai, but is no less of a metropolis. An extremely diverse and tolerant city, Abu Dhabi offers a rich mix of cultures, housing museums and galleries such as the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, the largest institution of its kind on the Persian Gulf. There’s also an incredible selection of excellent hotels.
Sharjah — The influence of Islamic and Arabic culture in Sharjah is clear in everything from the architecture to the cuisine and the clothing. The city’s Blue Souk is the go-to place for visitors looking for gold souvenirs, while the Sharjah Heritage Museum offers a unique insight into the region’s past. There’s so much to do when you book a hotel in Sharjah.
Al Ain — Nicknamed ‘Garden City’ thanks to its lush array of flora and fauna, Al Ain is also one of the more historic regions of the United Arab Emirates. Home to the Bronze Age Hili Archaeological Park and several ancient forts, Al Ain also has many museums, its own amusement park, great hotels and several inner city oases, offering a truly authentic taste of Arabic life.
The cities of the United Arab Emirates are packed with memorable skyscrapers, but one attraction they can never compete with is the natural splendour of the desert. Book a full day safari with lunch from Abu Dhabi to the Liwa Oasis. Admire rolling vistas and enjoy the arid climate, offering welcome respite from the more humid coastal regions. Surrounded by dunes, this remote Bedouin settlement is a far cry from the big cities and the perfect spot for lunch.
Before affluence made its home here, this region of the world relied heavily on pearling and hunting. With that in mind, why not get in touch with local heritage activities by booking an archery experience by Dreamdays? Spend an hour learning how to use a bow and arrow in your very own Arabic fortress on a 5,000 square metre archery range. Alternatively, for something more modern, speed lovers might want to fasten their seatbelts for a visit to Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi.