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United Arab Emirates

Discover the stunning landscapes and vibrant culture of United Arab Emirates. Explore cosmopolitan cities, indulge in luxury shopping, or relax on pristine beaches. Unforgettable experiences await!

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UAE (United Arab Emirates)

Camels on the beach in front of Dubai Marina in a summer day

United Arab Emirates (UAE) stands as a shimmering testament to ambition and vision. Spanning seven emirates, from the architectural wonders of Dubai to the rich history of Al Ain, it’s a fusion of tradition and modernity. Beyond the iconic skyscrapers, explore the vast deserts, tranquil oases, and bustling souks. Here, millennia-old Bedouin customs meet cutting-edge innovation, offering visitors an unparalleled mosaic of experiences amidst its sun-kissed dunes and azure coasts.

Dress modestly when visiting religious sites or traditional areas to respect local customs and values.

Consider a desert safari; it’s a quintessential experience showcasing the UAE’s breathtaking dunes and Bedouin traditions.

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Top cities to visit in United Arab Emirates

Discover the best cities of United Arab Emirates and best places to visit.

United Arab Emirates: a fusion of tradition and modernity

Capital Abu Dhabi
Time in United Arab Emirates GMT +4
Language spoken Arabic
Population 9.8 million (Source: World Bank, 2021)
Religion Islam (76%)
Christianity (13%)
Hinduism (7%)
Buddhism (2%)
Others (2%)
Currency United Arab Emirates dirham (د.إ, AED)
Airports Abu Dhabi International Airport
Dubai International Airport
Sharjah International Airport
Al Maktoum International Airport – Dubai

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), a federation of seven emirates, is a remarkable testimony to the transformative power of vision, ambition, and determination. Emerging from the vast deserts as a modest pearl-diving and trading community in the early 20th century, the UAE has metamorphosed into a global hub of commerce, tourism, and innovation in just a few short decades. Its history is rich, tracing back to ancient civilizations that flourished along its coasts. The formation of the UAE in 1971 marked a new chapter of unity, growth, and prosperity. Since then, it has not only capitalized on its vast oil and gas reserves but has also diversified its economy to become a beacon of modernity and progress in the Middle East. Its cities, especially Dubai and Abu Dhabi, are a fusion of the future and tradition, showcasing skyscrapers and high-tech amusement parks alongside historical mosques and bustling souks. The UAE’s strategic location between Europe, Asia, and Africa has made it a significant player in international affairs and trade, cementing its position on the world stage.

Where is United Arab Emirates located?

The United Arab Emirates is located in the southeast region of the Arabian Peninsula, bordered by Oman to the east, Saudi Arabia to the south and west, and the Persian Gulf to the north.

What is United Arab Emirates famous for?

The UAE is renowned for its modern architecture, luxury shopping malls, vast desert landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and being home to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.


Early Inhabitants: 5500 BC – 7th Century AD

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a deep-rooted history, with evidence of human habitation going back thousands of years. Archaeological finds at Al Hili in Al Ain point towards advanced cultures from the Bronze Age. These inhabitants engaged in trade, agriculture, and even had contacts with ancient Mesopotamian civilizations.

Arrival of Islam: 7th Century AD – 16th Century AD

With the spread of Islam in the 7th century, the Arabian Peninsula, including the region now known as the UAE, came under the influence of early Islamic caliphates. The tribes of the region were among the first to convert to Islam, and subsequently, the region became an integral part of the Islamic world, benefiting from trade and the exchange of ideas.

European Colonial Interest: 16th Century AD – 19th Century AD

Beginning in the 16th century, European powers like the Portuguese, Dutch, and British began to show interest in the Arabian Gulf, primarily due to its strategic location for trade. The coastal regions of the UAE became contested zones. The British, in particular, established a stronger presence, leading to treaties and the establishment of the “Trucial States,” a precursor to the modern UAE.

Formation of the Trucial States: 19th Century AD – 1971 AD

By the 19th century, the British had established a series of treaties with the ruling sheikhs of the coastal emirates. These agreements ensured peace at sea and curtailed piracy, giving the region its earlier name, the “Trucial Coast.” While under British protection, each emirate retained its autonomy, governed by its respective sheikh. The discovery of oil in the mid-20th century transformed the economic landscape, leading to modernization and infrastructural development.

Formation of the United Arab Emirates: 1971 AD – Present

In 1971, as the British withdrew from their treaty obligations in the Gulf, seven emirates came together to form a union, creating the United Arab Emirates. The visionary leadership of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi, and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, played pivotal roles in the unification. Since its formation, the UAE has witnessed rapid development and modernization. With vast oil and gas reserves, it has invested heavily in infrastructure, education, healthcare, and the arts, transforming into a global hub for trade, finance, and tourism. The nation continues to play an active role in international affairs and aims to diversify its economy beyond oil through its ‘Vision 2021’ strategy.

Visit United Arab Emirates

What to see and do in United Arab Emirates.

The United Arab Emirates offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Here are some highlights:

  • Explore the architectural wonders of Dubai, including the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
  • Visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, a stunning example of Islamic architecture.
  • Experience the vibrant cultural scene of Sharjah, with its museums, galleries, and traditional markets.
  • Enjoy the beautiful beaches and luxury resorts of Fujairah.
  • Take a desert safari and experience the thrill of dune bashing and camel riding.
  • Shop till you drop in the numerous malls and souks (markets) across the UAE.
  • Immerse yourself in the history and heritage of the UAE at the Dubai Museum and Al Ain Palace Museum.
  • Indulge in world-class dining at the many international restaurants in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
  • Experience the adrenaline rush of indoor skiing at Ski Dubai.

Short tile about events in United Arab Emirates.

The United Arab Emirates hosts a variety of events throughout the year. Some of the notable events include:

  • Dubai Shopping Festival (January-February): A month-long shopping extravaganza with discounts and entertainment.
  • Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (March): A celebration of literature and authors from around the world.
  • Dubai Food Festival (February-March): A culinary event showcasing the diverse gastronomic offerings of the city.
  • UAE National Day (December 2nd): A celebration of the country’s independence with fireworks, parades, and cultural performances.
  • Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix (November): A thrilling race that attracts motorsport enthusiasts from around the globe.

Best time to visit United Arab Emirates

The best time to visit the United Arab Emirates is during the winter months, from November to March, when the weather is mild and pleasant. This is the peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds and higher prices. The temperatures during this time range from comfortable highs in the mid-20s Celsius (mid-70s Fahrenheit) to cooler evenings. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October). Summers in the UAE can be extremely hot, with temperatures often exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), making it less ideal for outdoor activities.

Is United Arab Emirates worth visiting?

The United Arab Emirates is definitely worth visiting for those seeking a unique blend of modernity and rich cultural heritage. The country offers a wide range of attractions, from stunning architectural marvels to luxurious resorts, pristine beaches, and exciting cultural experiences. However, it’s important to note that the UAE is known for its conservative cultural norms and strict rules. Visitors should respect the local customs, traditions, and laws during their stay. While the country may not appeal to everyone’s tastes or preferences, those who appreciate lavish lifestyles, world-class shopping, and fascinating cultural encounters will find plenty to enjoy in the United Arab Emirates.

Common questions

What are the top attractions in the United Arab Emirates?

The United Arab Emirates is home to a plethora of stunning attractions. Here are some of the top ones:

  1. Burj Khalifa: The tallest building in the world, offering breathtaking views of the city.
  2. Palm Jumeirah: An iconic man-made island known for its luxurious hotels and resorts.
  3. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: A magnificent mosque with stunning architecture and beautiful gardens.
  4. Dubai Mall: A world-class shopping destination featuring numerous shops, restaurants, and entertainment options.
  5. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi: An exciting theme park with thrilling rides and attractions inspired by the famous car brand.
  6. Abu Dhabi Corniche: A picturesque waterfront promenade perfect for walks and leisure activities.

What is the best time to visit the United Arab Emirates?

The United Arab Emirates experiences a desert climate, with hot summers and mild winters. The best time to visit is during the cooler months, from November to March, when temperatures are more pleasant for outdoor activities. However, it’s worth noting that popular tourist destinations can still be busy during this time, so plan your trip accordingly.

What are the best beaches in the United Arab Emirates?

The United Arab Emirates boasts several stunning beaches that cater to different preferences. Some of the top beaches include:

  • Jumeirah Beach in Dubai: A popular stretch of coastline with soft sand and crystal-clear water.
  • Saadiyat Beach in Abu Dhabi: A pristine beach known for its natural beauty and tranquil atmosphere.
  • Nurai Island Beach in Abu Dhabi: An exclusive beach destination with powdery white sand and turquoise waters.
  • Fujairah Beach in Fujairah: A scenic beach offering a more relaxed and laid-back atmosphere.

What are the traditional dishes in the United Arab Emirates?

The United Arab Emirates offers a rich culinary heritage with a variety of traditional dishes. Some popular dishes include:

  • Shawarma: Marinated meat (usually chicken or lamb) grilled and served in a wrap with spices and sauces.
  • Shish Taouk: Grilled chicken marinated in yogurt, garlic, and spices, often served with rice and salad.
  • Mandi: A flavorful dish consisting of rice, tender meat (often lamb or chicken), and a mix of spices.
  • Harees: A hearty dish made from ground wheat and meat (typically chicken or lamb) slow-cooked to a porridge-like consistency.

What are the best shopping malls in the United Arab Emirates?

The United Arab Emirates offers world-class shopping malls, providing a unique retail experience. Some of the best malls include:

  1. Dubai Mall: One of the largest malls in the world, featuring an extensive range of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options.
  2. Mall of the Emirates: Known for its indoor ski slope, the mall offers a mix of luxury and high-street brands.
  3. Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi: A multi-level shopping destination with a diverse range of stores and entertainment facilities.
  4. Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi: Located on the waterfront, this mall offers a blend of international and local brands.

What are the traditional customs and etiquettes in the United Arab Emirates?

The United Arab Emirates has a rich cultural heritage, and it’s essential to respect local customs and etiquettes. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Dress modestly: Respect the local dress code, and avoid wearing revealing or tight-fitting clothing in public.
  • Public displays of affection: It’s best to refrain from excessive displays of affection in public, as it might be considered inappropriate.
  • Respect Ramadan: If visiting during Ramadan, be mindful of fasting hours and adhere to local rules and customs.
  • Ask permission before taking photos of people: It’s polite to ask for permission before taking photos of individuals, especially locals or in more traditional areas.

What are the outdoor activities available in the United Arab Emirates?

The United Arab Emirates offers a range of outdoor activities to suit different interests. Some popular options include:

  • Desert safaris: Experience the thrill of dune bashing, camel riding, and traditional Bedouin camps.
  • Watersports: From jet skiing and parasailing to scuba diving and snorkeling, the UAE’s coastline offers ample opportunities.
  • Golf: The UAE is home to world-class golf courses, attracting enthusiasts from around the world.
  • Hiking: Explore the country’s rugged mountains and nature trails, such as Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain or Hatta Mountain.

What are the traditional arts and crafts in the United Arab Emirates?

The United Arab Emirates has a vibrant arts and crafts scene, rooted in its cultural heritage. Some traditional arts and crafts include:

  • Calligraphy: Arabic calligraphy is considered an art form, with skilled artists producing intricate works.
  • Handicrafts: Look out for unique pottery, textiles, and woven rugs, which showcase the country’s heritage.
  • Al Sadu: This traditional weaving technique uses vibrant colored threads to create intricate patterns.
  • Arabesque designs: Found in architecture and decorative arts, the intricate geometric patterns are hallmarks of UAE’s artistic traditions.

What are the popular festivals and events in the United Arab Emirates?

The United Arab Emirates celebrates several festivals and events throughout the year, offering a glimpse into the country’s cultural and artistic scene. Some popular festivals and events include:

  1. Dubai Shopping Festival: A month-long shopping extravaganza held in January, offering discounts, entertainment, and fireworks.
  2. Emirates Airline Festival of Literature: A literary festival that brings together renowned authors and literary enthusiasts.
  3. Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Festival: A multi-disciplinary arts festival featuring music, dance, and visual arts performances.
  4. UAE National Day: Celebrated on December 2nd, this day commemorates the founding of the United Arab Emirates, with fireworks and cultural events taking place across the country.

What are the best luxury hotels in the United Arab Emirates?

The United Arab Emirates is known for its luxurious hospitality offerings. Some of the best luxury hotels include:

  1. Burj Al Arab in Dubai: A symbol of luxury, known for its iconic sail-shaped structure and opulent interiors.
  2. Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi: A palace-like hotel offering lavish rooms, fine dining, and a private beach.
  3. Armani Hotel Dubai: Located in the Burj Khalifa, this hotel blends sophistication, elegance, and exclusive amenities.
  4. Jumeirah Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi: Situated on the Corniche, this hotel offers stunning views, exceptional service, and world-class facilities.

What are the best family-friendly attractions in the United Arab Emirates?

The United Arab Emirates offers plenty of family-friendly attractions to keep children entertained. Some popular options include:

  • IMG Worlds of Adventure: One of the largest indoor theme parks in the world, featuring rides and attractions based on popular cartoon characters.
  • Wild Wadi Waterpark: A thrilling waterpark with a variety of slides, wave pools, and lazy rivers.
  • Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo: Home to a vast array of marine life, offering an immersive underwater experience.
  • Ferrari World Abu Dhabi: An exciting theme park with rides suitable for all ages, including thrilling roller coasters and interactive experiences.

What are the traditional souvenirs to buy in the United Arab Emirates?

When visiting the United Arab Emirates, you can find a range of traditional souvenirs to bring back home. Some popular choices include:

  • Camel souvenirs: Camel-themed items, such as camel figurines or camel leather products, are common souvenirs.
  • Arabic coffee sets: Traditional Arabic coffee sets, including a decorated coffee pot and small cups, make unique and usable souvenirs.
  • Spices and dates: The UAE is known for its spices and dates, offering an array of flavors and varieties to choose from.
  • Traditional clothing: Consider purchasing a traditional Emirati garment, such as a kandura for men or an abaya for women.