The 7 highlights of the United Arab Emirates
The most famous and arguably most alluring place in the Middle East must be Dubai, with its unique and record breaking architecture, some of the biggest shopping malls on the planet and a great coastline to spend your summers on. That’s why we also made a city guide of Dubai where you can find everything you ever wanted to know about the place. Dubai isn’t the only place in the Emirates, however, with its own charm and personality. The capital of the Emirates is actually Abu Dhabi, which is known for its authentic cultural heritage sites and family friendly theme parks.
Whenever I visit the Emirates I always find there are new things to discover that you won’t find anywhere else. So as a traveler you have to make some tough decisions about how to spend your time, as there is simply too much to see and do. So in this list I shall walk you through some of the most inspiring places you will find in the Emirates, that are worth checking out during your next vacation.
Burj Khalifa, Dubai
The Burj Khalifa is often considered one of the most ambitious examples of modern engineering. Ever since it first opened in 2010 the 828 meters tall structure has been attracting visitors from all around the world. As the tallest building in the world, standing in the heart of the city, the Burj Khalifa has become the postcard of Dubai.
The design of the tower drew its inspiration from a gorgeous flower, which becomes quite apparent if you look at the Burj Khalifa from the top. Standing next to this gigantic building however, it looks more like a large pipe organ reaching for the skies. From the ground it’s nearly impossible to capture the entire Burj Khalifa on your camera, while if you go inside and check out one of the observation decks you will be able to capture brilliant photos of pretty much entire Dubai from here.
In the Burj Khalifa you can find two observation decks. On the 148th floor you will find the highest observation deck on the planet, which is certainly worth a visit. Another great way to enjoy the panoramic views of the Burj Khalifa is to go dine in the restaurant on the 122nd floor, which gives a great view over the city. At the base of the Burj Khalifa you will find the Dubai Fountain and the Dubai Mall, so a visit to this impressive tower can easily be combined with a visit to some other great tourist attractions.
Dubai Miracle Garden, Dubai
If you love flowers, then you will surely instantly fall in love with the Dubai Miracle Garden. In this 72.000 square meters large garden you will get to see over 150 million flowers through various exhibits. In this huge park there are tons of attractions you can check out, from full-sized houses fully covered with flowers, to a cute heart-shaped pathway and flowery pyramids. The flowers are well taken care of to make sure they look amazingly beautiful at all times.
One of the exhibits that you just cannot miss is the largest flower arrangement of the world, which is a huge jumbo jet covered with flowers. You just have to see it to believe it. Within the park itself you will also find plenty of other family friendly attractions, such as a butterfly park, trampolines and even parades. So you can be sure there is always something to do.
Louvre, Abu Dhabi
You don’t have to go to Paris to find the Louvre museum, as you can also find a branch of the museum in Abu Dhabi. The Louvre Abu Dhabi is one of the most ambitious museums in the Arab world. The architect who designed this marvel got inspired by the traditional Arabic architectural culture and desired to create a gorgeous museum city in the sea. It is covered by an eight layered dome which allows light to enter through its layers, creating a mesmerizing effect where rays of light appear and disappear throughout the day.
The Louvre is a universal museum with works of art that you would also find in Paris, as they many collaborative exhibitions are held here. So you can expect to see various works of art that reflect how art has evolved throughout history.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi
The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is a must visit for any cultural travelers. This impressive white and gold structure is one of the largest mosques in the world. And judging by its dignified white and gold architecture they truly didn’t hold back when designing this house of worship. Its design has taken inspiration from all the different forms of architecture you can find across the Islamic world and unites it into one building, resulted in a stunning architectural marvel with the capacity to house a small city worth of visitors.
The mosque does have a dress code, but it’s open for tourists and religious worshippers to visit. So you can come to witness the craftsmanship that went into this unique place, with its iconic domes, marble floors, golden painted calligraphy and some of the biggest chandeliers in the world. Even the wool carpet is actually the biggest carpet in the world. Its will certainly leave a lasting impression.
Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi
A vacation to the United Arab Emirates isn’t complete without going on a proper shopping spree. And while Dubai is famous for its shopping malls, Abu Dhabi has some pretty impressive ones as well. Perhaps the most famous one is the Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi, which is an enormous shopping mall with hundreds of shops.
The Marina Mall is situated in one of the fancier parts of the city, on the coast of Abu Dhabi. So you can expect all the major designer brands to be represented here, from Gucci to Louis Vuitton. For ordinary mortals like us there are plenty of regular fashion and touristic shops as well. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants where you can sit down. On top of this the mall is also filled to the brim with activities you can do with the whole family. You will also find anything here from an indoor ski resort, to cinemas and a bowling alley. It is even possible to enter the Sky Tower to enjoy an amazing panoramic view over Abu Dhabi.
Palm Islands, Dubai
The Palm Islands are iconic locations unique to the sunny beaches of Dubai. They are often called a modern wonder of the world as these are some of the most ambitious projects you will find in the Emirates. The Islands consist of land that has been reclaimed from the sea and shaped to resemble a palm tree. The Palm Islands have greatly contributed to Dubai being one of the most popular destinations in the world for skydivers, who love to jump in locations with a spectacular aerial view.
On the Islands themselves you will find residences, hotels and several water parks that you can visit. There is even a place where you can swim with dolphins. As you can imagine the Palm Islands are a great destination for tourists looking for some waterside entertainment and for people looking to create some lasting memories by taking some amazing pictures to take home.
Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi
Ferrari World is the perfect amusement park for people who love high speeds and supercars. With the most notorious attraction in the park being the Formula Rossa. This is the fastest roller coaster on the planet, as it sends you flying from 0 to 240 km/h within 5 seconds. Perfect for thrill seekers looking to end their get blood pumping.
The creators of this park have ensured there is something for all ages here, so if you are looking for more relaxing rides then you can also enjoy one of the many other attractions. From a fully-fledged go-kart racing track, to actual racing simulators and teacup rides. As this is the only Ferrari themed amusement park in the world it’s certainly worth checking out.
The United Arab Emirates is a holiday destination that is unlike any other. A summer in the Emirates offers something for everyone with its scenic beaches, unique sights, enormous shopping malls and theme parks filled with adventure. Be sure to take your time and enjoy every moment, then this place will surely capture your heart.
If this blog has excited you, then feel free to check out our list of the best hotels in Dubai. Where we have handpicked the best hotels of every price class in the touristic heart of the city.