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  • Writer's pictureKrista the Explorer

Top 10 Tourist Attractions and Activities in the UAE

Updated: Feb 21

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Visiting Dubai is probably the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about the top tourist places in the UAE. But this Middle Eastern gem, with seven emirates, has so much more on the radar, from historical attractions and stunning museums to breathtaking natural landscapes. There are endless opportunities for outdoor amusement and thrills, and plenty of activities in the UAE to enjoy.


While you shouldn’t miss Dubai’s surefire delights, you should definitely venture beyond this glitzy emirate to get lost in the UAE’s raw allure and hidden gems. Here are just some of the many tourist attractions and activities in the UAE that need to be on your itinerary.


1. Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall

Dubai is such a dynamic city that every nook and cranny is worth a trip. But what stands tall on top of all is the soaring Burj Khalifa, the tallest man-made structure on the planet. A selfie against its backdrop is a staple activity on any Dubai trip, and ascending its observation decks on the 124th and 148th floors is a must-experience on your debut Dubai trip. Beyond exploring these viewpoints, your Burj Khalifa tickets let you watch an enlightening presentation on Dubai’s humble past and even enjoy a lightning-speed elevator ride. 


Adjoining the megastructure in Downtown Dubai is the Dubai Mall, where a world of shopping, dining, and leisure activities is on offer. It is so vast that you can easily spend your entire holiday wandering this mall. It has something for all interests, such as Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Dubai Ice Rink, Play DXB, and KidZania Dubai. After all the fun and entertainment, the icing on the cake is the magnificent Dubai Fountain show in the Burj Lake outside the Dubai Mall.


2. Palm Jumeirah

The man-made islands may not be uncommon, but Dubai has heightened its grandeur and scale with its version, Palm Jumeirah. It is an unmatched modern marvel, recognizable for its intricate palm-tree design and a crescent on its top. Many world-class accommodations and attractions, like Atlantis, The Palm, Aquaventure Water Park, and the Pointe, constitute this island. Take to the dedicated standpoint, the View at the Palm, on Palm Tower’s 52nd floor, to enjoy a grand display of the whole island.


3. Sheikh Zayed Mosque

The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is an architectural splendor in the UAE’s capital, Abu Dhabi, isn’t just the country’s biggest place of worship. It is also a popular tourist spot, where both Muslims and non-Muslims stop to immerse themselves in its tranquil ambiance, attention-to-detail elements, and other features, including minarets, columns, domes, and pools. It can hold over 40 000 worshippers at any given time. Don't miss the glass panels, massive chandeliers with Swarovski crystals, and even the largest and most exquisite hand-knotted carpet, among others.


4. Louvre Abu Dhabi

Museums across Abu Dhabi and Dubai are more than a place to explore culture and history. They are a place to admire classic and contemporary art, discover awe-inspiring architecture, and participate in various activities. One of the most notable among them is the Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island.


It’s the only Louvre Museum outside of France and will surely live up to your imaginations. Witness over 100 art masterpieces reflecting the creativity of diverse eras. Beyond its permanent and temporary exhibits, the museum commands attention for its serene ambiance, floating-like structure, and architectural fineness, inspired by traditional Arabian styles and the phenomenal rain of light effect.


5. Yas Island

Dubai receives all the spotlight when it comes to top-notch theme parks and other leisure attractions. But Abu Dhabi is nothing less, as it has an entire island reserved for non-stop fun and entertainment. Experience it all at Yas Island!


Delight in the fastest and most thrilling rides with your Ferrari World tickets; hit one-of-a-kind slides and aquatic attractions at Yas Waterworld; take to CLYMB, featuring the world’s largest indoor skydiving chamber and the tallest climbing wall; and get lost in the majesty of Yas Marina Circuit. What’s more, you can tour here the region’s first and only marine life theme park, SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, with eight realms and more than a hundred animal experiences.


6. Al Madam

Want to add some mystery and spookiness to your UAE holiday? You should definitely check out Sharjah’s abandoned area, Al Madam, which is considered a ghost town. Once a thriving housing community until the 1990s, it is now an expanse of land where shifting desert sands have almost consumed its long-forgotten structures.


Several theories are behind its desertion, from the lack of proper facilities and unsettling weather conditions to the presence of jinns. While the exact reason for its disuse is still unknown, the sheer silence and eeriness that fill its air will surely send shivers down your spine.


7. Khor Kalba Mangrove Centre

Gift yourself an unforgettable rendezvous with nature in the blissful yet well-preserved settings of Khor Kalba Mangrove Centre, located along the country’s east coast in Sharjah. It’s a haven to spot the most fascinating attractions, including various marine creatures, bird species, a natural creek, and over 300-year-old mangroves. It allows you to have an up-close encounter with the region’s unique ecological highlights.


8. Desert Safari

A desert safari Dubai is an unmissable experience in any UAE program. It introduces you to the Arabian Desert’s authentic charm and serenity the way it should be, with activities as action-packed and exciting as 4x4 dune bashing, a camel ride, quad biking, sandboarding, etc.


Depending on whether it’s a morning or evening Dubai desert safari, you can indulge in Shisha smoking, get a henna tattoo, savor a decadent BBQ dinner, and watch traditional shows like fire shows, belly dance, and Tanura.


9. Jebel Jais

Jebel Jais, close to the northern emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, is the UAE’s highest mountain. It’s an adventurist’s paradise, an idyllic spot for nature enthusiasts, and a dream destination for campers. Those with a penchant for intense thrills can head to the longest-of-its-kind Jebel Jais Zipline, allowing you to zip across the mountains at over 1650 meters high. Mellower experiences also await here, such as marveling at the unequaled beauty from the Seven Viewing Deck Parks and trekking across the one-kilometer-long Jebel Jais Ferrata-A.


10. Snoopy Island

Each UAE emirate has its distinct charm, but Fujairah is especially unique, as it’s the sole emirate along the Gulf of Oman’s eastern coast. It is also reflected in its landscape, with majestic mountainous terrain, lush settings, pristine beaches, and unspoiled waters with plentiful marine creatures.


Get a slice of it all on your visit to Snoopy Island, which is easily accessible with a two-hour drive from Dubai. You can try kayaking, parasailing, a banana boat ride, or even snorkel or dive into the water for a first-hand look at the aquatic species that thrive in the region, mainly reef fish, sharks, turtles, etc.


Whether you want to delve into the UAE’s most modern side or the historical or traditional sights, every corner of this compact yet compelling destination has something to delight every preference. And we anticipate the above tourist places in the UAE will help you plan an authentic Arabian getaway.

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