Country guides Middle East
Things to do in United Arab Emirates
Most tourists start their UAE adventures in Dubai. Visitors can scale the heights of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, visit the narrow lanes and preserved Arabian architecture of the Bastakia Quarter, take a sunset cruise on the traditional Dhow boats in Dubai Creek, or get lost in the storied shopping malls or the traditional souks in the Deira district. Sport fanatics will be entertained with events such as rugby sevens and horse racing.
The colossal Sheikh Zayeh Mosque in Abu Dhabi is a crown jewel in the capital city. Visitors can take a day trip out to Jebel Hafeet, the second highest peak in the UAE, offering stunning panoramic views out over the desert. The rugged, twisted Hajar Mountains are also prime territory for road trips, with fantastic hiking, trekking and bird watching opportunities.
Sharjah is the cultural capital of the Arab world. The city is home to the Sharjah Arts Museum, a diverse collection of works featuring many local artists, and the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation, which traces Islamic history and culture back to its earliest years.
With 400 miles (650km) of coastline along the Persian Gulf, the UAE is a renowned beach destination. There are numerous beach resorts in Ajman and Raj Al Khaimah. Luxury Hotels in the big cities often have their own private beaches, which non-residents can pay to use. Watersports are hugely popular, with many visitors enjoying jet-skiing, diving and snorkeling holidays.
For the more adventurous traveller, the desert beckons. Intrepid explorers can experience 4x4 safari's, dune buggy rides, camel rides, sand-boarding and even traditional Bedouin-style dinners. Ancient cities and forgotten civilisations lie hidden in the desert sands, such as the spectacular city of Musandam. Here, the bright lights of Dubai and Abu Dhabi will feel centuries away.