UAE’s Top 10 Must-Visit Attractions: From Skyscrapers to Serene Oases (2024)
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a rapidly emerging tourism superpower. Situated in southwestern Asia and the eastern Arabian Peninsula, UAE is also a popular economic and cultural landscape. For its unique blend of Arabian culture and modernity, it has undeniably secured a place on every traveler’s bucket list. UAE, the Middle Eastern nation, is home to everything from gleaming skyscrapers in Dubai the timeless charm of Abu Dhabi’s heritage sites, and an interior of deserts all across its stretch. UAE offers a diverse array of experiences that cater to travelers of every budget group.
10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the UAE
With a reputation for opulence and luxury, the UAE beckons visitors with its world-class shopping, pristine beaches, and many iconic landmarks. Join us in this article as we list down the 10 Best Places and Tourist Attractions in the UAE. Here we go:
1. Burj Khalifa, Dubai
Whether you view it from afar or visit and explore it from inside, Burg Khalifa is a treat on any UAE trip. Also known as Khalifa Tower, Burj Khalifa towers 829.8 m (2,722 ft, or just over half a mile) and is the world’s tallest building. This architectural marvel and engineering powerless draws inspiration from the Hymenocallis flower and was designed by renowned architect Adrian Smith. Featuring a distinctive modern Islamic architectural style, Burj Khalifa has been welcoming the public since 2010.
A popular tourist attraction in UAE, Burj Khalifa features corporate offices, residential apartments, malls, hotels, and a lot more. With 163 floors above ground, the 124th and 148th floors are quite popular with tourists for observation decks At the Top, Burj Khalifa, and At the Top SKY, respectively. This iconic tower also hosts impressive light and sound shows, festivities, cultural celebrations, and multiple other public events. This iconic landmark gave Dubai the global recognition that it proudly flaunts.
2. Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi
Another magnificent architectural marvel, Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Mosque, is a must-visit landmark in the UAE. The most breathtaking and iconic mosque in the world, it is named after the first president and founding father of UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Its architectural design is a beautiful blend of Moorish, Mamluk, and Ottoman influences, along with other Islamic styles. The white marble exterior with intricate floral patterns and calligraphy adds to its appeal.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque is open to tourists of all religions and beliefs. It is home to some of the largest handmade Persian carpets and a stunning crystal chandelier in the world. The interiors of the mosque also house historical information and artifacts. In comparison, the exteriors boast reflective pools, meticulously landscaped gardens, and serene ambiance. This Islamic heritage in Abu Dhabi, UAE, is a must-visit for all.
3. Jebel Jais, Ras Al-Khaimah
Jebel Jais in Ras Al-Khaimah is a popular natural wonder in the UAE. It is, in fact, the highest peak in the United Arab Emirates, soaring 1,934 meters (6,345 feet) above sea level. As this dramatic, rugged mountain range rises above, it attracts adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike. The stunning natural beauty with rocky cliffs, deep canyons, and a unique mountainous terrain adds to the typical desert scenery of Jebel Jais. A visit here offers a unique and awe-inspiring experience in the heart of the UAE.
Jebel Jais is popular for its Jebel Jais Via Ferrata, which is basically a thrilling adventure course. The Ferrata enable adventure enthusiasts to explore the challenging terrain of the mountain safely. It is also home to Jebel Jais Observation Deck Park, which is popular for its panoramic views, photography opportunities, and stargazing. The mountain range also offers other adventure opportunities, including hiking, rock climbing, camping, and zip-lining.
4. Liwa Oasis, Abu Dhabi
There are multiple captivating tourist attractions in UAE, and Liwa Oasis is one of them. This captivating desert paradise in Abu Dhabi is known for its rich cultural heritage and mesmerizing natural beauty. Liwa Oasis, a pristine desert expanse, is also known as the largest palm tree oasis and one of the leading date cultivators in UAE. Of the many towering sand dunes here, some go beyond the height of 100 meters, thus attracting adventure enthusiasts. This area is popular for dune bashing, sandboarding, and camel trekking.
Abu Dhabi’s Liwa Oasis is known for its connection with Emirati history and culture. A visit here allows individuals to explore historic forts, oasis farms, and date palm plantations. One can also learn about the traditional Bedouin way of life. The landmark organizes cultural festivals and camel races throughout the year.
5. Dubai Mall, Dubai
A shopping mall that you can never get full of, Dubai Mall is a popular tourist attraction in the UAE. Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall and a destination for entertainment and leisure. It stands right next to Burj Khalifa and is equivalent in size to more than 50 soccer fields. This world of indulgence and entertainment offers the most luxurious and royal shopping experience in the world. The Dubai Mall is home to designer boutiques, high-end fashion brands, and retail outlets, to name a few. It isn’t just a shopping center but a world of adventure and opportunities on its own.
Dubai Mall, beyond its shopping spreads, is home to the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, an Olympic-sized rink, VR Park, indoor theme parks, the captivating Dubai Fountain show, and more. It has more opportunities than a leading tourism town anywhere around the world.
6. Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi
Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi, is where the wild side of UAE remains. Ferrari World is a mostly indoor theme park and the first Ferrari-themed Park in the world. Nestled on Yas Island, it is home to the fastest roller coaster in the world, Formula Rossa. This thrilling and one-of-a-kind amusement park is majorly dedicated to Ferrari and is quite an exciting place to visit. A visit here offers an exhilarating blend of motorsport excitement, cutting-edge attractions, and immersive experiences. The Formula Rossa here can reach up to 149.1 miles per hour, becoming the fastest on the planet.
Ferrari World isn’t just about adventure and thrill but has a lot more to it. Visitors here can explore interactive exhibits, get a glimpse into the world of Ferrari, and explore classic and modern Ferrari cars. Enthusiasts can also learn how the iconic Ferraris are manufactured. Once done with it all, try Italian and international cuisine within the park itself.
7. Sharjah Arts Museum
UAE isn’t just about Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but other Emirates take the load of popularity equally. The next is the Sharjah Arts Museum in the cultural heart of Sharjah, known for nurturing and celebrating art. This captivating institution boasts a large collection of contemporary and traditional Middle Eastern art and a treasure trove for art enthusiasts. It operates with an aim to preserve and present the rich artistic heritage of the region. A visit to the Sharjah Arts Museum offers a glimpse of the UAE and the wider Arab world.
The Sharjah Arts Museum has a collection comprising paintings, sculptures, calligraphy, and decorative arts by both local and international artists. Apart from its permanent exhibits, it also keeps on hosting rotating exhibitions and cultural events. Besides its collection, the museum is also popular for its architectural design and traditional Arabic elements.
8. Al Ain Oasis, Al Ain
Al Ain Oasis is a place in UAE that will make you easily forget that you are in a desert. This serene and enchanting oasis is one of the few and finest examples of rich agricultural heritage and sustainable land management practices in the UAE. Al Ain Oasis expands over 1,200 hectares, featuring natural beauty along with historical significance. It is, in fact, one of the largest and oldest preserved oases in the UAE. Also a UNESCO cultural site, this oasis was once a desert, but 4,000 years ago, inhabitants started taming it, and the result is today alive.
Al Ain Oasis is open for the public to visit and explore. A visit here will introduce you to traditional “falaj” irrigation systems. The usage of channel water from underground aquifers to cultivate date palms and a variety of other crops has been in use for thousands of years. Visitors can explore towering date palm groves and discover ancient Aflaj falaj gates and watchtowers. It is also an excellent place to enjoy leisurely walks, picnics, and bird-watching.
9. Jebel Hafeet, Al Ain
Also known as the Mountain of the Dead, Jebel Hafeet rises dramatically from the UAE’s deserted landscape. This majestic mountain is the second-highest peak in UAE, rising approximately 1,240 meters (4,070 feet) above sea level. What got its name are the ancient tombs found on its slopes that hint at its historical significance. Jebel Hafeet is home to the most beautiful roads in UAE, with lots of twists, turns, and alternative views. Driving here isn’t an easy job, but it is one of the most adventurous and soul-stratifying experiences.
The series of hairpin bends leading to the summit of Jebel Hafeet offers panoramic views of Al Ain and the surrounding desert. In comparison, the summit of this majestic mountain offers awe-inspiring vistas of the city, the arid landscape, and neighboring Oman. For an overnight experience, visitors can choose to stay back at the luxurious Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet hotel near the summit.
10. Hajar Mountains
Last on our list are the Hajar Mountains, an iconic part of UAE. Nestled in the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula, the rugged and captivating Hajar Mountains are both the United Arab Emirates and Oman. These geological marvels feature towering peaks, deep canyons, and dramatic landscapes and are divided into western and eastern Hajar.
Hajar Mountains in the UAE are known for their immense tourism possibilities. This hidden gem is a haven for hiking and trekking enthusiasts. As the challenging trails make their way to the summits of peaks like Jebel Jais and Jebel Shams, adventure lovers shout with excitement. Rock climbing, mountain biking, and off-roading are other popular outdoor activities here. Besides that, Al Hamra and Misfat Al Abriyeen on the Oman side of the Hajar Mountains offer traditional Omani cultural experiences through local cuisine and ancient mud-brick houses.