Planning a trip to the United Arab Emirates but haven’t figured out where to go yet? My quick UAE travel guide is the perfect place to start, with tips on what makes each emirate unique, top things to do and where to stay.
I’ve just got back from an action-packed week in the UAE with Rotana Hotels. After visiting Dubai for the first time last September, I was excited to see more of what this jewel of the Middle East had to offer. People often forget there are seven emirates in total, and while Abu Dhabi and Dubai shout the loudest, there are plenty of reasons to visit the other five.
From incredible encounters with wildlife, epic cityscapes and delicious international cuisine, to art, culture and exciting activities, it’s time to share a few highlights from my time in the UAE.
The UAE’s cultural heart, Abu Dhabi was a highlight for me. It was my first time visiting and I was keen to see and do as much as possible. With just over 24 hours there, here’s what I packed in…
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – This is one of the top places to visit in Abu Dhabi. It’s free to get in, and the architecture is simply stunning. I loved exploring the inner courtyard, with its sparkling white stone, picturesque archways and beautiful domes. It’s also worth looking around the inside too where you’ll find one of the world’s largest chandeliers, and the largest handmade carpet. As this is a place of worship, remember to cover up. Even if you dress conservatively, most women are asked to wear an abaya (available to borrow free of charge at the entrance) while men wearing shorts will be asked to borrow loose trousers.
The Louvre, Abu Dhabi– Opened in 2017, The Louvre has affirmed Abu Dhabi’s status as a cultural and artistic city. The architecture of the building is mesmerising with its impressive dome. There are 55 buildings, 23 galleries, a 1,200-seater auditorium, and more to wander around at your own pace. Allow some time to explore the courtyard areas, where steps lead down to the water, and mirror-like reflections will have you reaching for your camera over and over again.