Some of the natural sites include the Jebel Hafeet mountain, whose peak is the emirate’s highest point and the oasis in Al Ain. The date palm oasis has been recognised by United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for its importance as a repository of genetic resources, biodiversity and cultural heritage. It has also been designated as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS). Al Ain is also home to the UNESCO heritage sites. Additionally, the emirate of Abu Dhabi also has a lot of gardens and parks.
Abu Dhabi has developed many new districts which offer great entertainment and recreational value.
Sharjah’s cultural wealth has been aptly recognised regionally and internationally. In 1998, it was named ‘The Cultural Capital of the Arab World’ by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and in 2014, it was named ‘The Capital of Islamic Culture for 2014’ by Organisation of Islamic Countries. In 2015, it was named ‘The Capital of Arab Tourism’.
Sharjah hosts notable art exhibitions such as Sharjah biennial.
Take a stroll by the Buhaira corniche and stop by the Al Majaz waterfront where you can enjoy the 100-metre high fountain. There are also many art galleries, cafés and other leisure facilities at the waterfront.
Stroll through the fruit and vegetable souks and pick up some exotic treats. Shop for carpets and antiques at the distinctive central souk (also known as Blue Souk) and indulge in some jewellery shopping at the gold souk.
Visit Sharjah Desert Park, which is located on the Sharjah–Dhaid Highway going east. The park houses the Natural History Museum, the Children’s Farm and the Arabian Wildlife Centre, which has an amazing collection of wildlife from the Arabian Peninsula.
Sharjah has enclaves: Dibba, Khor Fakkan and Kalba on the UAE’s east coast.
Visit Kalba which was an important settlement 4,500 years ago. The fort in Kalba, now in ruins, was mentioned by the Venetian traveler Gasparo Balbi in an account of his travels in the region in 1580.
Further south, close to the border with Oman, see Khor Kalba Nature Reserve, which is home to the rare white-collared kingfisher, amongst other indigenous wildlife.
Snorkelling and diving are practised off the coast of Khor Fakkan.
Ajman is blessed with a natural harbour on the Arabian Gulf. It is situated along a central creek with a beautiful 16 kilometre long stretch of white sandy beach. Although fishing and dhow-building are still important aspects of life, it has undergone significant developments, especially in the area named as ‘New Ajman’ along the Emirates Road.
Some of the major landmarks in Ajman are:
The Red Fort.
Ajman is famous for its stunning beaches, Masfout mountains, nature reserves and parks, Masfout Castle, Red Fort and the 18th century Ajman Fort which was converted into Ajman Museum. The museum houses an interesting collection of archaeological artefacts, manuscripts, old weapons and reconstructions of traditional life.
Shoppers can find designer brands at the City Centre Mall or could bargain for more traditional ware at the souk.
The stretch of the white sandy beach near the Kempinski Hotel is perfect for a relaxing swim.
Ajman has two rural agricultural enclaves: Masfout to the southeast on the road to Hatta and Manama about 60 kilometres east just off the main road between Al Dhaid and the east coast.
Umm Al Quwain is the most ancient emirate in the country. Archeological traces show strong evidences of the emirate’s relations with Mesopotamia that existed during the 3rd millennium B.C. The tiny emirate of Umm Al Quwain is about 20 minutes’ drive north of Ajman.
Umm Al Quwain has beautiful beaches. Windsurfing, waterskiing and sailing can all be enjoyed at Umm Al Quwain Marine Club on Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Moalla Rd. The Club also has a popular horse-riding centre.
Umm Al Quwain Fort, which was home to the Ruler of the emirate, guarded the entrance to the old town. Later it became a museum. The emirate boasts of 6 other forts.
Umm Al Quwain is distinguished by its several islands: Al Sinniya, Jazirat Al Ghalla, Al Keabe, Al Sow, Al Qaram, Al Humaidi, Al Chewria and Al Harmala. The most famous is Al Sinniya, which is about 90 sq km from the city and is blessed with several environmental privileges.
Ras Al Khaimah’s beaches and hotels offer a variety of activities while the desert and mountains are ideal for safaris and nature trails. You can also try falconry, horse riding, camel riding or wadi adventures.
The old town of Ras Al Khaimah has the National Museum, which used to be residence of the ruling family until the early 1960s. The museum houses a collection of archaeological and ethnological artefacts. A visit to the museum will give you a real sense of time and place, particularly the maritime past of the region, its role in the pearling trade and the Qawasim who had built up a fleet of over 60 large vessels.
You can visit the Pearl Museum on the shores of the creek and learn about Julfar, which was a major medieval trading centre in the region where merchants from east and west came to purchase the precious pearls that were harvested locally.
About 25 kilometres from the city, a new road, which is the UAE’s most scenic road, runs up the Jebel Jais mountain cluster, which rises to 5,700 feet. The road is popular amongst enthusiastic drivers, sightseers and extreme athletes.
About 15 kilometres from the city is Dhayah Fort, a strategic military fortification that played a major role in the history of the UAE. The fort overlooks the village of Shimal, also the location of a significant archaeological site.
‘World’s Coolest Winter’, is the UAE’s first federal tourism campaign and one of the initiatives of ‘UAE Strategy for Domestic Tourism‘. The 45-days campaign aims to highlight the major landmarks and attractions that distinguish the seven emirates from each other and contribute to the UAE as a single destination. The campaign invites the public to explore the hidden gems of the seven emirates, rediscover the UAE’s landmarks, reconnect with nature and share their experiences on social media platforms.
Fujairah’s historical importance goes back to 3000 B.C. when the area was inhabited by herders and fishermen. It was then named as the Land of Titans or ‘Ard Al Jababerah’. It is unofficially called ‘the Jewel of the Middle East’.
Wadi Al Wurayah waterfalls and Ain Al Madhab Gardens are major touristic attractions in Fujairah. Wadi Wurrayah, a 31,000-acre nature reserve, lies between Khor Fakkan and Bidiyah. The site is the UAE’s only waterfall. Other sites include the UAE’s oldest mosque Al Bidya Mosque and the Heritage Village.
It does not have a desert; it is mostly mountainous, covered by Al Hajar Mountainswhich separates the emirate from the rest of the country.
Fujairah is cooler than the rest of the UAE. It is popular for water sports like swimming, sailing, jet skiing, fishing.
Along the road to Fujairah from Dubai, vendors and buyers thrive the Friday market. It is a good place to buy locally produced fruits and vegetables and other ethnic items such as pottery, rugs and even some Chinese goods.
Travel south passing the magnificent restored fort at Bithnah, one of the many forts and watchtowers that once protected these routes through the mountains, to the mainly low-lying Fujairah City.
Take time to explore Al Hayl Palace, which was once the summer residence of the ruling family of Fujairah.
Fujairah Fort, reputedly 360 years old, stands on a slight incline at the edge of date gardens in Fujairah city. These forts are often identified as Portuguese but many were older in construction.
Fujairah Heritage Village has a good selection of traditional houses (‘Arish) and fishing boats (Shashah) made from palm fronds, providing an interesting backdrop to its living reconstruction of traditional life in the mountains and on the shores of the east coast.
On weekends in winter, you can witness bullfights, practised as a recreational sport.