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Famous Places to Visit in the UAE

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When people think of the UAE, they automatically think of Dubai – the skyscrapers, the hotels, the shopping malls, the souqs. It is easy to forget that Dubai is just one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE – and that it’s easy for visitors to Dubai to make a trip to any one of these emirates in order to see these amazing attractions outside Dubai. After you have gone on a tour of Dubai, why not look further and see what the other emirates have to offer?

Here, we offer a list of some of the best attractions outside Dubai in the UAE:

Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

This mosque is located in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE.  Furthermore, it is one of the world’s largest mosques and features over 1000 domes, the world’s largest hand-knitted carpet and one of the world’s largest chandeliers. The entire surrounding area is breathtaking as well, as the mosque is surrounded by reflective pools that add to the site’s peace and beauty. We recommend checking out the 5pm sunset tour. If you arrive at 4:30, you’ll have a chance to take some gorgeous photos at dusk, before the tour starts.

Check out our guide to mosque dress codes here.

Emirates Palace

The Emirates Palace is a hotel, but it has also become a landmark in its own right. It is beautifully designed, with the building’s colors chosen to reflect the different shades of sand found in the Arabian Desert. The sense of luxury is prevalent in the building’s interiors, with gold, mother of pearl and crystal all incorporated. Whether you want to marvel at the shimmering chandeliers, wander the lush gardens, witness the unique evening lighting scheme or take tea in one of the cafés, the Emirates Palace is a great place to bask in true luxury and hospitality.

Ferrari World

Yes, this is a Ferrari themed amusement park. It is located on Yas Island, in Abu Dhabi. furthermore, this park is home to the world’s fastest roller-coaster, Formula Rossa, which reaches 100 km/hr in only two seconds. It’s so fast, riders are required to wear safety goggles! Beyond the thrilling racing rides, there are also more sedate options, including virtual history tours, educational movies and driving simulators. There’s even the option to do some shopping and pick up some Ferrari branded merchandise to take home. It’s a great option if you are looking for something fun to do in Abu Dhabi.

Louvre Abu Dhabi

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is a 24,000 sq km museum, set to open in November of 2017. It is part of collaboration with the famous Louvre in Paris, so art lovers can expect a similar level of quality to be on display. In particular, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will focus on bridging the divide between Eastern and Western art. We don’t have the final list of the museum’s catalogue yet, but it has been confirmed to include works by Da Vinci, Matisse, Van Gogh and Monet.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is located in the Saadiyat Island Cultural District, which will be home to various other museums and cultural attractions as well. Furthermore, it’s shaping up to be a great visiting spot for tourists interested in arts and culture.

Jebel Hafeet

 Jebel Hafeet is one of the highest mountain peaks within the UAE. It’s known for the incredible fossil discoveries that have been made in the area. Over 500 ancient burial tombs, dating back over 5000 years, have been found in the foothills of this mountain. This mountain is a popular tourist site because it is relatively easy for visitors to access by car or even bicycle. Onece you’ve reached the top, you’ll be rewarded with some spectacular views.

Sharjah

Sharjah Arts Museum

With the Louvre Abu Dhabi about to open up, some might wonder why they should visit the Sharjah Arts Museum. However, this state-of the-art facility has a rich collection of works that would be of interest to any art aficionado. The collection is spread over 72 galleries. What makes it particularly unique is the museum’s focus on art that reflects the Arab World. You’ll find 18th century paintings done by travellers to the Middle East, representing the foreign perspective of the land. And you’ll also find contemporary artwork by local artists, showing how they see their homeland. The Sharjah Arts Museum is a great way to remember the breadth of perspective in art and is one of the must visit attractions outside Dubai.

Central Market

The Sharjah Central Market is a shopping center known for the wide variety of merchandise on display. The upper floors have a souq-like atmosphere, selling carpets, gold, perfumes and other exotic offerings.  The market also sells cotemporary merchandise like toys and electronics. The exterior of the central market is quite eye-catching on its own. It’s done up with intricately patterned blue tiles, earning it the colloquial name of the Blue Souk.

Fujairah

Al Bidyah Mosque

 The Al Bidyah mosque is not as glamorous as some of the other mosques in the area; in fact, it is actually made out of mud bricks. This mosque is the oldest one in the United Arab Emirates, and it’s a great insight into what early worship looked like in the country. The area surrounding this mosque was revealed to have a massive Islamic graveyard, including a tomb with artifacts dating back to 1000 BC.

Heritage Village

 The Heritage Village of Fujairah shows what life was like in the ancient times of Fujairah. Here, you’ll find models of traditional homes and examples of ancient tools that will show you what early life was like in this desert city. The Heritage Village is also near the Fujairah Fort, which is the oldest fort in the UAE. In addition to being a place of defense, this fort was also once home to the ruling family, which certainly makes it a point of interest for anyone who wishes to experience more of the UAE’s history. And if you’d like to know more, Fujairah Museum is located just to the south, and showcases ancient weaponry from the Silver and Bronze Age.

Ras Al Khaimah

Hajar Mountains

Hajar Mountains are a beautiful mountain range in the eastern part of the UAE. It is the highest mountain range in the eastern Arabian Peninsula. Furthermore, it is home to stunning vistas, winding trails and charming villages, making it a great spot for a road trip. The area is home to a variety of flora and fauna as well, so it is a great place to do some hiking and bird watching. There is plenty of different scenery on offer, from craggy mountain faces to picturesque wadis. If you’re an adventurous tourist looking to explore, this mountain range should definitely be on your list.

Conclusion

The UAE is a fascinating country. There’s something interesting to see, do or explore in every corner. We hope you found this list of attractions outside Dubai to be helpful. Furthermore, we hope they show you a well-rounded view of all the UAE has to offer.

If you would like to visit any of these amazing sites which lie outside Dubai, feel free to email us for a private tour.

About The Author

Pri

Pri is a true believer in the Rule of Three - she lives between Dubai, Bombay and Washington DC, speaks three languages and has 3 kids under 3. She graduated from Connecticut College and has a Masters Degree from New York University. Pri is a licensed Dubai tour guide, travel blogger, art aficionado, foodie and curious to check out all things new in her city. Pri has been part of the Free Tours By Foot team since 2015 and loves to make customized itineraries for her guests.
Updated: October 12th, 2021
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