Many tourists travel to the United Arab Emirates to see the bright lights and skyscrapers of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but there is so much natural beauty to explore in the country, too. So, if you are planning a trip to the UAE, check out our country guide below for five must-visit beautiful places in the area.
1. Hatta Dam
First on our list is the stunning Hatta Dam. There are countless hiking trails throughout the surrounding mountains, so take your pick and climb up to experience some breathtaking views. Or, if hiking isn’t your thing, how about some watersports instead? You can hire a boat or a kayak, or cool off on the water slides if you prefer a bit more excitement.
If you find yourself in the Hatta area after dark, you can try a bit of stargazing. The sky is much darker here away from the light pollution of the city, so you can enjoy a night camping after a day full of adventures.
2. Explore the Desert Scenery
If you can handle the heat, the UAE’s desert region is truly a sight to behold. Mile after mile of golden sand stretches out as far as the eye can see – it’s unlike anything else in the world!
For the adrenaline seekers out there, you don’t have to just walk through the desert. Instead, why not book a driving experience, either in a 4WD or a dune buggy. You could even try your hand at sandboarding – similar to snowboarding, only hotter!
Wildlife tours are also an option if you want to have a more relaxing trip. Camp out on the dunes for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, however, if you are looking for something more luxurious; you can find plenty of high-class resorts where you can really relax and enjoy the experience.
3. Jebel Hafeet
Jebel Hafeet is the highest mountain in Abu Dhabi, standing at over 1,200 meters above sea level. But, before you climb the mountain, you can explore the Jebel Hafeet Desert Park at its base. This park is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and guided tours are available so you can learn more about the tombs, which date back more than 5,000 years!
It’s also possible to explore the area on horseback or even take a tour on a camel if you’re up for it! There are also buggy rides and bicycles available to hire for those who don’t feel like hiking.
After exploring the mountain, head back down and enjoy a night at the campsite. You can either bring your own gear or hire a traditional tent for a different experience. There are facilities, including a fire pit, to make your stay more comfortable.
4. Jubail Mangrove Park
You might think the United Arab Emirates only has desert landscapes, but there is also a considerable amount of greenery in the area, as well as the country’s extensive coastline. For example, the stunning Jubail Mangrove Park on Abu Dhabi’s coast.
This beautiful park is home to many wildlife species native to the area, so it’s the perfect attraction for animal lovers. But, most importantly, the park aims to protect the mangroves, as they play a crucial role in protecting the coastline.
Visitors to the park can view the mangroves in all their glory and hopefully spot some wildlife along the way by walking along one of the three pathways. These elevated walkways cover distances ranging from 1-2km, so you can choose the distance that best suits your ability.
Those who’d rather take to the water are in luck. Although swimming is not allowed in the park, it is possible to hire a kayak and all the necessary equipment to paddle amongst the mangroves. Or, why not book a relaxing yoga session at sunset or a watercolor painting session? There’s something in Jubail Mangrove Park for everyone.
5. Climb the Burj Khalifa
A trip to the Emirates wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the top of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. This awe-inspiring building completely dominates Dubai’s skyline, standing at almost twice the height of the next tallest building, Marina 101. Reaching slightly over half a mile high, it really has to be seen to be believed!
The building’s height isn’t the only record-breaking thing about it; the Burj Khalifa is also home to the elevator with the longest ride in the world. Taking around a minute to reach the observation deck, the elevator is also one of the world’s fastest, traveling at speeds of around 10 meters per second.
Checking out the building itself is sure to be fascinating, but the views from the observation deck are truly incredible! From the 148th floor of the building, you’ll be able to see right out to sea as well as across the desert. However, the 360-degree panoramic views of the city and beyond from the dizzying height of 555 meters, is something perhaps best avoided by those with a fear of heights!