A holiday in Dubai is an opportunity to see everything this emirate has to offer. From its bustling souks and markets, to the range of adrenaline-inducing activities for adventure seekers, and - of course - the high standard of service and hospitality, there are many reasons why you may never want to leave Dubai.
However, with its position in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), your holiday can also be the chance to explore more of this incredible part of the world. With only one visa needed for the whole seven emirates, travelling between them is easy and fairly hassle-free. There are also good transport links in each emirate to make your plans simpler to fulfill.
Here are some of the highlights that the rest of the UAE has to offer, so you can look to expand your holiday to make the most of this beautiful and exciting area of the world.
Get to know the rest of the UAE from Dubai
Although Dubai has its own very high level of finery and an unbelievable standard of service, there is nowhere to experience luxury and wealth like Abu Dhabi. As the heart of the UAE's business and finance dealings, it is a prosperous area and isn't afraid to show it.
In fact, the Emirates Palace, the most expensive hotel ever built, is a must-see for anyone travelling to this region. For a more authentic taste of the city, there's also a heritage centre that has a number of small shops selling a wide range of items including jewellery and fabrics.
For those looking for some adventure, Abu Dhabi has the incredible Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain. Taking the time to go to the top of the mountain will give guests panoramic views of the surrounding desert and oases.
Of course, there's also its famous Formula One track, which hosts the final race of the season and attracts hoards of crowds each year. Yas Island also has a variety of activities to offer patrons, with concerts, waterparks and endless shopping outlets.
How to get to Abu Dhabi from Dubai
The tiniest of them all, located to the north of Sharjah, this low-key, unassuming emirate attracts those in search of a respite from crowds and bright city lights. That's not to say though that this charming emirate lacks in tourism infrastructure and quality hotels. This is, in fact, a fantastic destination where you'll find first-class affordable hotels, a pretty and quiet beach stretch and a growing number of cultural and recreational attractions.
One of its most scenic spots is the sea-facing Corniche, where on cooler days locals like to gather for a picnic or barbecue with view. A scenic stroll here is always great for people-watching while sipping a cool or hot drink at one of many coffee shops and bars or satisfying a hunger pang at any of the food stalls. This area of Ajman is blossoming with development and on the north side of the Ajman Creek a brand new luxury township called Al Zorah is under way with a golf course already completed.
For a history fix there's a few good heritage sites to visit, including the Ajman National Museum at the Ajman Fort, the museum at the inland enclave of Manama and the Red Fort. If all this sightseeing doesn't fill up enough of your holiday time, there's a growing number of shops for some retail therapy.
How to get to Ajman from Dubai
Having only gained independence in the 1950s, Fujairah is the region's youngest emirate but there is plenty to see and do. Its beautiful beaches - with clear waters and pristine sand - have become an attraction in their own right.
Due to their growing popularity with tourists, a number of hotel developments have cropped up along the Gulf of Oman. The means that activities, such as snorkelling and diving, are now easy to access and are becoming a must for many visitors.
Aside from its beautiful beaches, Fujairah also has a thriving market that is held each day of the week, and the oldest mosque in the UAE - Al Bidya Mosque. From this emirate, you can also take a short trip to the mountains of Musandam, which are perfect for off-roading.
How to get to Fujairah from Dubai
Ras al Khaimah (RAK)
With an often abbreviated name that stands for Ras Al Khaimah, this is the U.A.E.'s most up-and-coming emirate after Dubai, and perhaps its biggest rival in more recent times. Developing at a fast pace and offering more intimacy and seclusion than its more famous neighbour, RAK is the hot new place to be.
Especially marketed to families seeking all of the luxury and glamour of Dubai with none of the noise and crowds, RAK is known for its sprawling kid-friendly all-inclusive resorts exuding refinement and sophistication through every pore. But beyond the beach there's much to do and see. A visit to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque comes highly recommended as is a walk along the adjacent Al Qawasim Corniche, dotted by kiosks and restaurants.
While most of the activity is centred around the Al Hamra area, RAK also has its own artificial island littered by luxury resorts and boasting exclusive privileges. This emirate is also the gateway to the stunning Musandam Peninsula in Oman. Oh, and Dubai is just a 45-minute ride, in case you wanted to wander off and hop away for a few hours.
How to get to RAK from Dubai
If you are looking for culture during your trip to the UAE, then Sharjah is a must. Although the emirate was once at the heart of tourism plans, the region decided to retain its authenticity and celebrate the traditional areas of Arabic life. This means that it's a dry state, though nearby Ajman is not.
However, Sharjah is a fantastic place to travel with your family and has a wide range of museums - including the largest art gallery in the Persian gulf, the Sharjah Art Museum - that are all welcoming to little ones.
One of the highlights of the city itself is Cultural Roundabout, a roundabout surrounded by Renaissance-inspired buildings. It also has arguably one of the best collections of traditional structures in the UAE, which can give visitors a unique insight into Arabic life.
How to get Sharjah from Dubai
If I earlier said Ajman was tiny and unassuming, Umm al-Quwain is only a bit bigger in size but much smaller in population, in fact it is the least populous of all emirates, making it the most untouched and undeveloped of all. And that's great news for all who seek raw beauty and uncommercialised authenticity – that's what Umm Al Quwain is all about.
This quaint, sleepy gem stands without a single mall or international resort in sight and its refreshing, retro feel gives visitors a unique taste of the U.A.E. as it was before they struck gold by finding the oil that now drives all of its economy. In many ways it Umm al-Quwain's "anti-Dubai" appeal that attracts curious travellers.
Visitors can peruse the sights along the old town, cross the creek to reach the uninhabited Al Sinniya Island and be amazed by its beautiful protected marine ecosystem, known for its healthy population of Socotra cormorants and for its lush mangrove swamps. Many migratory birds of the region are frequent visitors to the area, so this place is a birdwatcher's dream. More attractions can be found heading north along the Hwy E11.
How to get to Umm al-Quwain from Dubai
Dubai your portal for the UAE
Enjoying a holiday in Dubai means you can experience everything the entire UAE has to offer, and ensure you have the holiday of a lifetime.