14 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the United Arab Emirates

With its full-throttle development, iconic skylines of high-rises, and world-famous beach resorts, the United Arab Emirates has become a favorite for family holidays and city breaks. Landmark tourist attractions such as Dubai’s towering Burj Khalifa and Abu Dhabi’s modern Sheikh Zayed Mosque, have branded the UAE as an up-to-the-minute luxury destination.

Scrape below the surface though, and you’ll find there’s more here than skyscrapers, shopping, and sandy shores. The various UAE destinations offer culture fans plenty of things to do. Delve into the country’s Bedouin past on starry desert nights before exploring the many forts that guarded the coastline long before the domination of the glitzy high-rises. While for nature-lovers, the desert starts where the cities end, and the jagged peaks of the Hajar Mountains are ripe for adventuring.

For ideas on the best places to visit see our list of the top tourist attractions in the United Arab Emirates.

  1. Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa is one of the United Arab Emirates most famous buildings and the soaring sky-high landmark of Dubai. Not only is it the world’s tallest building, it also lays claim to the titles of tallest freestanding structure in the world, highest observation deck in the world, and elevator with the longest travel distance in the world. A trip up to the observation deck, with its panoramic views across Dubai, is a sightseeing highlight for most tourists who visit, though for those who suffer from vertigo, it might be best to give it a miss.

Address: Entry from Dubai Mall, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai
Official site: http://www.burjkhalifa.ae

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Dubai: Best Areas & Hotels

Read More:
Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Dubai

  1. Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a mammoth modern mosque of incredible beauty. Harnessing contemporary design and ancient craftsmanship, the mosque harmoniously blends modern and ancient styles and techniques to create a new interpretation of Islamic architecture.

A visit here is a must on any Abu Dhabi itinerary. With its interiors using lavish amounts of gold, mosaic tiles, and glass work and immense amounts of marble, and its exterior of blindingly white stone contrasting dramatically under the Emirati blue sky, it never fails to dazzle.

Address: Al Khaleej al Arabi Street, Abu Dhabi
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Abu Dhabi: Best Areas & Hotels

Read More:
Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Abu Dhabi

  1. Hajar Mountains

Hajar Mountains

The Hajar Mountains scythe through the desert, creating the jagged and wild heart of the United Arab Emirates. Twisting roller-coaster roads with spectacular scenery along the way connect the region’s tiny villages, making this region road trip heaven. Nature lovers will find plenty of hiking, trekking, and bird-watching opportunities, while the vast amount of picturesque wadis (dry riverbeds; valleys) in the area are also fun to explore.

  1. Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi
The newest and most spectacular museum in the United Arab Emirates, the Louvre Abu Dhabi takes visitors on a journey through human history with objects sourced from across the globe and through the ages to demonstrate the links between cultures. Whether you’re interested in early history, the great Empirical ages, or modern art, you’ll find the museum exhibits fascinating, while the stark and ultra-modern architecture of the building draws visitors in itself.

Address: Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Abu Dhabi: Best Areas & Hotels

Read More:
Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Abu Dhabi

  1. Jebel Jais

Hiker enjoying the view from Jebel Jais
The highest peak in the United Arab Emirates, Jebel Jais in the emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah has become much easier to access in recent years thanks to the switchback road that twists and turns all the way up the mountainside.

At the top of the road, a series of landscaped terraces and viewing platforms offer up mountain vistas that roll right down to the sea, while those hankering to pair up their mountain scenery with an adrenaline buzz can opt to throw themselves off the peak on the world’s longest zipline, which runs down the side of Jebel Jais for over two kilometers, reaching up to 120 kilometers per hour.

Read More:
Top-Rated Attractions in Ras Al-Khaimah

  1. Sharjah Arts Museum

Sharjah Arts Museum | jensimon7 / photo modified

The most important museum dedicated to the arts in the Emirates (until the opening of the Louvre and Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi), the Sharjah Arts Museum is home to the most diverse art collection in the United Arab Emirates. The museum is recognized for its collection of works by Arabic artists and also for its important pieces by European artists who specialized in painting the Arab world. The museum is also noted for its program of temporary exhibitions throughout the year.

Location: Off Corniche Street, Sharjah
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Sharjah

Read More:
Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Sharjah

  1. Jebel Hafeet

Jebel Hafeet

A must-do for anyone who wants to snap a great vista, the summit of Jebel Hafeet is a favorite day trip from Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. This is the second highest peak in the United Arab Emirates, and far-reaching, sumptuous desert panoramas greet you all the way up to the top on the winding road. After the twisting mountain road drive, you are rewarded with being able to see across the area’s vast sweep of desert.

  1. Bastakia


The Bastakia quarter of Dubai is the last remaining fragment of Old Dubai and shouldn’t be missed. This small heritage area really evokes the simpler, gentler past of the city before skyscrapers took over the skyline. Narrow lanes are lined with beautifully pre


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