The UAE is an oriental fairy tale in the desert, built on petrodollars. Tourists from all over the world strive to touch the luxurious life, see the advanced achievements of science and engineering.
What to do in the UAE
In the UAE, first of all, you will be struck by architecture on the verge of fantasy. Observation decks of the Burj Khalifa are located above the bird’s eye view. The Kayan tower is turned to an unprecedented 90 °. The singing fountains of Dubai and Sharjah gather an incredible number of spectators for concerts of water, light and music.
Amusement parks are waiting for friendly families. One day is not enough to visit all the attractions in IMG Worlds. Wild Wadi Waterpark is full of pools and slides. By the way, it is here that the highest water slide in the world is located. Ferrari World is the realm of speed and racing cars from the Italian car brand.
For those who want calm bliss, there is a direct road to one of the many beaches. Jumeirah and Al-Mamzer stand out from the rest. Their coastline organically combines walking alleys with an abundance of greenery, sports grounds and a sandy strip with sun loungers, umbrellas, and other attributes of a lazy holiday.
The cultural program must include a visit to the Jumeirah and Sheikh Zada mosques, as well as a tour of the Louvre Abu Dhabi with masterpieces of world art.
This is the tallest skyscraper in the world. Over $1.5 billion was spent on its construction, some of which was spent on creating special concrete that can withstand temperatures above +50 °C.
The height of the building is more than 820 m, offices, apartments, a hotel, sports clubs, a bar and a restaurant “Atmosfera” are located on 163 floors. It is located on the 122nd floor and is considered the highest in the world.
The Burj Khalifa has several viewing platforms: on the 124th, 125th and 148th floors. The latter is located at a level of 555 m above the ground. At the base of the giant there is a musical fountain “Dubai”.
Musical fountain in Dubai
The dancing or musical fountain at the foot of the Burj Khalifa is the largest in the world. In fact, this is a colossal artificial lake (12 hectares), from which over a thousand water jets burst out to a height of up to 150 m in time with the melody. A bizarre dance is accompanied by illumination from 6 thousand spotlights.
There are several viewing platforms around the fountain. Daytime and evening shows are available. The latter are the most spectacular. Tourists are expected from 18:00 to 23:00.
Kayan tower in Dubai
The Cayman Tower holds an interesting record — it is the most twisted building in the world. The rotation of the roof relative to the foundation is as much as 90 °. Each floor is offset from the previous one. This is not only an innovative architectural, but also a far-sighted practical solution. This design successfully resists the winds from the desert, and the interior heats up less.
In height, this skyscraper is the eighth in the world (307 m). Inside there are apartments, restaurants, swimming pools, a kindergarten, a tennis court and several beauty salons.
In 2015, Spider-Man Alain Robert climbed the Cayman’s glass façade to the very top in a little over an hour. The secret of success and speed is adhesive tape on the hands.
Burj Al Arab
The tallest hotel in the world (321 m) stands on an artificial island off the coast of Dubai. The building, resembling a boat with a fluttering sail, looks epic against the backdrop of the sapphire waves of the bay. You should come here in the evening to enjoy the regular show of music and light — bizarre paintings are projected onto the facade of the building.
Burj Al Arab is the most expensive and luxurious hotel on the planet. Here is the underwater restaurant Al-Mahara, through the glass walls of which you can watch marine life in all its colorful splendor.
Singing fountains in Sharjah
These unusual fountains are the main attraction of Al Majas Park. The width of the artificial pool is 220 m, jets of water soar into the air for 100 m and merge in a bizarre dance. Colorful lights and music accompany the performance.
The apogee of the action is a water screen rising from the depths of the reservoir. On it, with the help of lasers, the main milestones in the history of the UAE are reproduced. There is also a small show for children with a mini fireworks display. Fountains are open from 19:30 to 00:00.
Sharjah Al Hish Fort
The fortification stands in the historical center of the city of Sharjah. The fortress was built in 1820 from coral, shells and clay by order of Sultan Saqr Al-Kazimi. For a long time, the powerful walls were home to the ruling dynasty of Sharjah, who did a lot for the economic and cultural development of their emirate.
In the 1970s, the fort suffered at the hands of local residents, who began to dismantle its walls to build their houses. A large-scale reconstruction of the building took place in 1996. Today there is a museum here.
Healy Archaeological Gardens
The gardens, located in the suburbs of Al Ain, are a well-groomed park, on the territory of which there are ancient buildings. The main ones are 3 tombs in the form of towers. Two are open to the public, while the remaining one is undergoing intensive archaeological excavations.
In addition, here you can see the ruins of stone houses and public buildings. According to scientists, the age of the buildings exceeds 3000 years. Rest on the park lawn or bench will be the finale of an interesting excursion.
Fort Al Jahili
The fortress, built at the end of the 19th century by order of the ruler of Zaida the First, is located in the Al Ain oasis on the very border with Oman. The citadel protected the inhabitants from the raids of warlike nomads.
In 2008, the fort was opened to tourists. There is a museum in cool halls hidden behind thick walls. It is dedicated to the British traveler Wilfrid Thesiger. In the 1940s, he twice crossed the Rub al-Khali desert, one of the hottest in the world.
Louvre Abu Dhabi
The richest museum in the Middle East opened in 2017 in an innovative building designed by Jean Nouvel. The exhibitions cover the history of mankind from the Stone Age up to the present day.
Among the main treasures of the museum are 300 artifacts from the Louvre in Paris. These are the masterpieces of Picasso, Manet, Bellini, Leonardo da Vinci. There are also themed halls dedicated to the art of India, Iraq, China, Japan, Spain and other countries.
dubai opera house
The multifunctional art space opened in 2016. The giant building with glass facades was designed by the Dutch architect Janus Rostock. The ultra-modern structure is shaped like a traditional dhow. Inside there is a huge hall for 2000 spectators.
The theater season lasts all year round. Opera and ballet stars of world renown shine on the stage, famous performers give concerts. The building also has a multifunctional area (2000 sq. m), which can be easily transformed for exhibitions, conferences and other events.
The museum is located in the restored Al-Fahidi Fort (1787). At the entrance there is an exhibition showing maps of Dubai. Using them, it is easy to track how the region has changed since the start of the oil boom. In the courtyard there are several authentic boats, as well as a hut made of palm leaves — a reflection of the past life.
You should definitely visit the hall with edged weapons, visit an exhibition that tells about pearl mining. Artifacts found during excavations of tombs in the Al-Qusais area are also stored here. The age of some objects is 3–4 thousand years.
The largest mosque in Dubai is one of the few open to non-Islamic tourists. Excursions are organized twice a week, where they talk about the main commandments, Allah, the culture and traditions of the Muslim world.
The building was built in 1979 in the Fatimid style, so it resembles medieval Egyptian mosques. The facade is finished with snow-white sandstone. The absolute dominant of the complex is a huge dome framed by minarets.
sheikh zayed mosque
The cyclopean-sized mosque is a symbol of the wealth of the United Arab Emirates. It was built in honor of Sheikh Zayed ibn Sultan Al Nahyan, who united disparate lands into a single prosperous state. Here is his tomb.
$500 million was spent on the construction of the complex. The mosque occupies an area equal to 5 football fields. Four minarets soar 107 meters into the sky. More than 80 domes crown the roof and covered galleries. The marble facade is generously inlaid with gems and gold.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque offers free 45-minute guided tours.
Ferrari World Amusement Park
This is the world’s largest amusement and amusement park under the auspices of the famous concern Ferrari. A unique feature of the exterior is a solid red streamlined roof with an area of over 200 thousand square meters. m.
Inside — entertainment with an automotive accent. Here you can watch documentaries about the evolution of racing cars, visit pavilions where various engines are exhibited, visit the boxes for assembling sports cars.
The pride of the park is the roller coaster:
- Formula Rossa is the fastest in the world, the cabins accelerate to 240 km/h in just 4 seconds. The speed is close to racing F1.
- Flying Aces — slides with the steepest loop. Feelings during the fall are indescribable.
And finally, you can drive around the race track in a real Ferrari car.
The only amusement park created based on the masterpieces of Indian cinema. In addition to attractions, here they offer to immerse themselves in the world of film production. Tourists are invited to visit the pavilions with colorful scenery, see how the shooting process is going on and even take part in extras.
There are cinemas equipped with the latest technology. After the session, it is worth taking a walk along the stylized Bombay street with souvenir shops, restaurants and recreation areas. Every day at 20:00, a colorful parade with elephants and artists in national Indian costumes is held in the park.
Wild Wadi Waterpark
One of the best water amusement parks in the Middle East. To visit all the slides and beaches, one day is hardly enough. The pride of the park is Jumeirah Sceirah, the fastest free-fall slide in the world. Extreme skier slides down from a height of 23 m at a speed close to 80 km/h. Another wow attraction is Breakers Bay. In the huge wave pool, small storms are regularly arranged when the waves reach 1.5 m.
Amusement Park IMG Worlds
One of the most favorite leisure spots for children and adults. Already from the threshold, visitors enter the fabulous world of their favorite characters from films and cartoons. Swings, carousels, slot machines and pavilions with virtual reality are installed in luxurious scenery. There are cinemas, souvenir shops and restaurants.
Ski Dubai Ski Complex
Snow in the desert is the last thing tourists expect to see in the UAE. The Mall of Emirates operates the real and so far the only ski resort in the Middle East (25,000 sqm). There are trails of varying difficulty for skiers and snowboarders. Ice slides, tubing and ice skating are popular activities for children.
The lifts are working. Equipment rental is included in the ticket price. For a fee, you can rent winter clothes — everything except hats and gloves.
National Mangrove Park
Reserve area of approximately 19 square meters. m is located in the coastal zone of Abu Dhabi. Mangrove forests are an important part of the local ecosystem. They have become an insurmountable barrier to tidal waves; over 60 species of birds and countless fish and crustaceans live in their thickets.
From April to June, the park is especially crowded with visitors. They come to see thousands of flamingos coming here to give birth. Boat and kayak rentals are available.
Sir Bani Yas Island
The once deserted island (87 sq. km) off the coast of Abu Dhabi, by order of Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan, turned into a blooming nature reserve. Trees and shrubs were planted here, which became a home for representatives of the wild fauna. Now gazelles, roe deer, sheep, ostriches, giraffes, cheetahs and other animals live in it. The waters around the island are also protected by nature — seabirds fly here to nest.
Parks and beaches
The well-groomed beach imitates an oriental oasis. On the territory of about 13 hectares there are long palm alleys with comfortable benches for relaxing, flower beds with exotic flowers, and a Japanese rock garden for aesthetes. There are sports and children’s playgrounds, barbecue areas with awnings and benches.
The sandy coast is densely crowded with sun loungers and umbrellas. Rescuers vigilantly monitor the order on the water. There is all the necessary infrastructure: cafes and restaurants offer spicy local dishes.
Umm Al Emarat Park
This is a true 5 star park for families. Walking paths, paved with colored bricks, look like a colorful Arabic carpet. Long palm alleys, fountains and artificial channels give coolness. Perfectly smooth green lawns are a real exotic in the desert. The park has rides, a botanical garden and a mini-farm with pets. There is a stage for concerts and souvenir tents.
Al Mamzer is located at the extreme point of the Dubai coast. In fact, these are 5 beaches in chamber bays. The entire coastline has been awarded the Blue Flag, the highest award for cleanliness and environmental friendliness.
All the necessary infrastructure for recreation is available: toilets, showers, changing cabins, sunbeds and umbrellas. Lifeguard towers are on the job. There are 2 swimming pools, cafes, restaurants and small shops. It is possible to rent a gazebo for a picnic for the whole day.
Miracle Garden and Butterfly Garden
Over 70 thousand plants and flowers grow in a unique garden in the middle of the desert. About 760 thousand liters of water are spent daily on their irrigation. Florists are constantly creating incredible arrangements. These are fragrant and colorful figures of animals, silhouettes of world attractions and even entire palaces. The exhibits are updated regularly.
The Miracle Garden is home to the largest Butterfly Garden in the world. It consists of 9 domes, where thousands of colorful insects from all over the world flutter.
A white sandy beach south of Jumeirah awaits outdoor enthusiasts. Kitesurfers flock here. The constant wind and bottom relief create ideal conditions for practicing this sport. All the necessary equipment can be rented here. There are instructors on the beach, where you can sign up for a kitesurfing lesson.
Interesting places and shopping
Al Markazi Market in Sharjah
The largest market in the emirate occupies a building that looks like a padishah’s palace. Over 80,000 sq. m sell everything that the Middle East is famous for. These are carpets, spices, copper products, jewelry made of gold and silver, and much more.
Tourists come here for souvenirs. The bazaar sells magnets, decorative plates, key chains and other trinkets at an attractive price, which will be a great gift for friends from a trip to the hot UAE.
To see the planet Earth in miniature, you should make a trip to the world’s largest artificial archipelago “Mir”. Its islands, washed out of sand, repeat the outlines of the continents. The area of man-made patches of land ranges from 14 to 83 thousand square meters. m. The width of the straits separating them reaches 100 m, and the depth — up to 16 m. “Continents” are on free sale and are waiting for their buyers.
A real paradise for shopaholics. Hundreds of boutiques of both local and world brands work here. Shoes, clothes, jewelry, accessories, essential oils, designer furniture — everything is there. Most of the buyers are in January and February, when sales begin in the shopping center.
After shopping, you can visit one of the many restaurants or go to a movie show. Among other highlights of the mall is a real ice skating rink.
This is one of the most ambitious engineering projects in the world. The island in the Persian Gulf off the coast of Dubai is made in the form of a palm tree, on the “trunk” of which there are hotels, yacht clubs, shops and restaurants. On the “stems” are indecently expensive mansions — each has a personal access to the water.
The island is made of sand and stones. The semicircular breakwater protects it from erosion. The Palm Jumeirah is connected to the mainland by a bridge.
Dubai Gold Souk
Gold, gold and even more gold — this Dubai market is visited not only for shopping, but also for a tour. Such a concentration of precious metals and sparkling stones cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Located in the Nasser Square quarter, the bazaar has a T‑shape and 3 entrances, which allow it to receive a large number of visitors.
The shops sell pendants, earrings and bracelets made by local craftsmen in a colorful oriental style. From the abundance of diamonds, emeralds, sapphires ripples in the eyes. There are also products of well-known European brands, such as Chopard or Cartier.