DUBAI AND THE UAE
Enjoy thrills and adventures in this area of the UAE’s capital city. If you love Formula One racing, plan your holiday for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit. You can test your nerve on the world’s fastest roller coaster at Ferrari World, or have a splash on over 40 rides at Yas Waterworld. It’s an easy drive from Dubai and you can even catch the free shuttle buses.
Set in beautiful gardens, the magnificent architecture and pure white shining marble of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque creates a stunning centrepiece of the capital city. There are 82 domes of marble cladding topped with gold, four minarets reach into the sky 106m high, and the artwork throughout offers stunning detail. At night the mosque lights up, casting a glittering reflection in the surrounding pools. It’s open for visitors every day other than the morning Friday prayer.
If you’re looking for art and culture in the UAE, visit the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The layered geometric design of the domed architecture is inspired by local art and traditions. The different rooms are set between a series of waterways and the roof scatters light patterns across the walkways as the sun shines through. Inside, discover ancient artefacts as well as classical and modern art from the region and around the world. Look out for special events and exhibits throughout the year.
Drive out of the city for a little over an hour to enjoy history and adventure in the mountain village of Hatta. Stop by the Hatta Heritage Museum, a recreated ancient village where you can explore arts and crafts and the traditional way of life. Then enjoy adventures at Hatta dam, where you can kayak and paddleboard on the lake surrounded by the Hajar Mountains.
If you’re looking for things to do with family in the UAE, try Wadi Adventure. You can surf, kayak on rapids, wake board and go white water rafting at this adventure water park. There’s also a giant swing, climbing wall and zip line, or you can simply go for a swim. Every kind of intrepid adventurer can get an adrenaline rush.
Hunt for bargains at the famous Blue Souk in Sharjah. It’s crammed with textiles, toys and trinkets, clothes and souvenirs among over 600 shops. There are specialist stores to buy Persian carpets or kilims from Afghanistan and Kashmir, and you can have traditional Bedouin jewellery hand made. The architecture is in the style of a traditional covered market with high arched ceilings, and the intricate blue mosaic tiling gives the souk its local name, despite being officially called the Central Souk.
Sharjah is an arts and cultural centre in the UAE. Enjoy a history lesson in its museums, arts and heritage sites, including one of the largest art exhibitions in the region at Sharjah Art Museum. Discover local Arabic paintings and sculpture as well as international exhibitions.
Ajman is the smallest emirate, and what it may lack in the major tourist sites of its neighbours it makes up for in white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. Soak up the sun on the public beach, stroll along the corniche, or pick a luxury hotel along the shore for a relaxing day on the sand and by the pools.
Fly down the rides at Dreamland Aqua Park and enjoy the wave pool, water slides and children’s pools. You can also enjoy a photo opportunity in the natural oasis town of Falaj Al Mualla, where you can explore local UAE traditions in the fort museum.
Get your adrenaline rush in Ras Al Khaimah and fly down the world’s longest zipline. It stretches 2.8km across the Hajar Mountains. Take off from the summit of Jebel Jais at 1,680 metres above sea level and zip down the mountain at speeds of up to 120kph. Enjoy the thrill of the ride and the rolling mountain scenery as you land on a suspended platform halfway across before whizzing down to the foot of the mountains.
Drive through the Hajar Mountains towards Al Aqah on the east coast of the UAE for underwater adventures. The clear waters and abundant marine life, including rays, turtles, angel fish, clown fish and even the occasional whale shark, make Fujairah a great spot for diving and snorkelling in the UAE.
Thought to be the oldest mosque in the UAE, people have been worshipping in the small, simple mud and brick Al Badiyah Mosque since 1446. Stop here on your way along the coast, where you can combine the visit with a tour of the historic Fujairah Fort and enjoy views from the top of the tower.