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  • May 07, 2021

26 Places To Add to Your Bucket List in UAE: How You Can Best Explore Them!

What are your favorite places to visit in UAE?

This is a question that can be answered differently from person to person. Whether you are looking for adventure, relaxation, culture, or entertainment, there is a spot that will suit your needs. This country has something for everyone, from Dubai’s artificial islands and iconic Burj Khalifa skyscrapers to the tranquil Souq al Bahar waterfront. Expatriates living in UAE often stare out of their office window, thinking, ‘What do I need to see before I leave?' For most people, exploring a new country is one of the best parts of moving there, but it can also be overwhelming! That's why we've created this blog post with some advice on where to go and what to see when unsure where to start. We'll even show you how to rent a car from Autostad Rent A Car to explore all these fantastic destinations. So, without further ado, these are our top 26 must-see destinations in the UAE :

  1. Jebel Jais
    • Jebel Jais Mountain is the highest mountain in the UAE and a popular weekend getaway for many residents. It's home to deep canyons, barren cliffs, eroded landscapes, and plenty of wildlife. Capitalizing on that, the mountain has been developed into an adventure zone that provides the ultimate mountain experience complete with a zip line, panoramic views of the mountains, and much more. The Jebel Jais zip line, or Jebel Jais Flight as it is officially known, has been certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s longest zip line; you get to fly across the mountain at speeds of up to 150kmph over a distance of 2.8km, which is equivalent to 28 football pitches!
    • What is the best way up this mountain? Hiking! The trailhead starts at Al Hamra Village and takes you through an area with great views before it gets steep near its peak. You can also drive your car all the until just below where hikers start and steep slopes; the Jebel Jais Mountain provides the perfect natural setting for outdoor thrills. 
  2. Liwa Desert
    • Just an hour and a half south of Abu Dhabi by smooth highway, with more than 255,000 square miles, the Rub’ al Khali or "the Empty Quarter" is a wilderness larger than France, but distinctly lacking anything that isn’t sand. In fact, it's the largest expanse of sand in the world, its sky-scraping dunes and otherworldly salt flats crossing borders into four countries: Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. The Liwa Desert is a great place to visit for tourists and ex-pats living in UAE. The desert has many different landscapes, from sand dunes that are more than 100 meters high with steep slopes at the top of them all way down into valleys where it's flat as can be! The Empty Quarter is one of the world’s most rarely unexplored regions. Even its existence feels like a secret reserved for the truly adventurous and to camp in them or drive over them in a four-by-four is to experience one of the sublime beauties of the Earth. So if you are looking at exploring something different then head out there soon !!
  3. Jebel Hafeet
    • Right from gravity-defying thrills to more sedate historic adventures, there are many things to do at the highest peak in Abu Dhabi - Jebel Hafeet. Considered among the world’s greatest driving roads, the highway will offer you an opportunity to enjoy the magnificent views of Al Ain. The drive up to the mountain has plenty of scenic viewpoints and once you reach the summit, you can literally see the entire region beneath you. The panoramic views of the city from the top are truly breathtaking. 
    • You may not know how long that it has been around, but there are over 500 tombs in the Jebel Hafeet foothills with people 3000 years ago which marked the beginning of the Bronze Age in UAE. People come from many places to take a look at the single-chambered tombs comprising roughly cut stones that still speak volumes about archaeology before them. If you're interested in learning about the history and philosophy of the city, explore Al Jahili Fort. It is nestled within a lush green park so once you've explored, you can unwind on-site by finding peace within its lush greenery.
  4. Snoopy Island, Fujairah
    • Snoopy Island (Jazrat al Ghubbah) is a small rocky island off the northern coast of the Emirate of Fujairah (United Arab Emirates) on the Gulf of Oman. The island is named after the three sections of rocks that rise up to create the nose, bulging belly, and feet of the iconic image of Snoopy sleeping atop his doghouse. The island is a haven for every visitor- from snorkelers to professional divers and the occasional honeymooners looking for tranquil destinations, Snoopy Island is one of the country’s best-kept secrets
  5. The fishing village of Kalba, Sharjah
    • The sleepy fishing village of Kalba is about 120 kilometers east of Sharjah’s main city and only 12km south of Fujairah. There are other attractions, such as a historic former royal residence and the Kalba Birds of Prey Centre. However, perhaps what you love most about this town is its solitude among the desert peninsula! The environmentally conscious and animal lovers can take a trip to Kalba to see the Arabian oryx, which is the national animal of UAE. To reach the city's beach, you'll need a car just like Autostad Rent A Car offers to rent out!
  6. Hatta, Hajaar Mountains
    • Hatta Heritage Village is a village in UAE next to the Al Hajar Mountains which has been reconstructed and renovated. The traditional architecture reflects 3000 years of history and is tucked into a rural landscape with houses made from mud and thatched roofs. Farmers can be found near the water running through fields of corn, barley, dates, tobacco, and other grains as they plow their lands by hand. Hatta Heritage Village is an awesome place that any family will love exploring!
  7. Wadi Shawka, Ras Al Khaimah
    • Wadi Shakwa is a desert oasis within the UAE. It's very common to encounter camels, goats, donkeys, and lots of birds. The scenery is truly unique with hills and small mountains from all sides - not something you find available every day in the UAE. There are lonesome palm trees scattered around the narrow pebbly paths, small ponds, natural springs that are full of water all year round; it’s a perfect spot for hiking or biking when you select 10KM of somewhat challenging terrain at the Shawka dam loop. Wadi Shakwa translates to hope well in Arabic so this destination offers salvation even if your fortunes do not look too good
  8. Musandam- Dibba
    • Musandam, also known as the Norway of Arabia is a peninsula located in Oman which got created as a result of barren mountains and shallow beaches. The Musandam fjords (which are a long narrow inlet of the sea between steep cliffs) would be the longing travel destination of every travel freak in the world, who would love to explore nature in its purest form. You could simply gaze at the Musandam beach, the Hajar Mountains and watch dolphins entertaining you all while on a traditional dhow cruise. If you wish to do some adrenaline-pumping activities, there are many choices for you. That is why, Musandam is highly recommended.
  9. Al Qudra – Dubai
    • There is really no better place to camp in Uae than the artificial lakes at Al Qudra which are surrounded by sand dunes. Some of these stands offer a beautiful site for barbeque, stargazing, and overnight camping, while others have heart motifs and signage that help with Insta-worthy shots. The Love Lake comes fully equipped with shaded areas, fire pits, and washroom facilities. And if that isn’t enough, visiting this place is completely free of charge, making it one of the best places for an affordable date night. The huge 86km path present at the location is known to be one of the best cycling trails in Dubai and is the perfect place to head if you are looking for a way to get fit in an outdoor setting. 
  10. Ghost Town Madam- Sharjah
    • Once inhabited by Al Kutbi tribe members, it is unclear why the town has been abandoned: some say it is a “jinn” (a supernatural creature in Islamic mythology) that drove people away, and some say it is simply the harsh weather. The abandoned village of Al Madam Ghost Town is made of 2 rows of houses and a mosque at the far end of the village. All houses have succumbed to the shifting sands and the harsh realities of desert life. the Al Madam Village is a popular tourist attraction for those with a penchant for unexplained mysteries. 
  11. Fossil Rock - Sharjah
    • 70 million years ago, volcanic activity formed the Hajar Mountains which stand at nearly 2,000 meters above sea level. These mountains were still partly covered by the sea, and the evidence is found in the beds of sedimentary rocks, particularly limestone. A unique diversity of invertebrate animals existed in the shallow bays of warm sea between the mountain tops, ranging from sea urchins to gastropods and corals. Many of these animals that once inhabited the region of the United Arab Emirates have become extinct. That is why Fossil Rock in Sharjah has such huge importance. Numerous hiking route options will allow you to reach the plateau at the top. The summit is a rugged cliff that begs for you to stand on it and experience nature’s sheer beauty and power, surrounded by breathtaking views of the desert.
  12. Wasit Wetland Centre - Sharjah
    • Wasit Nature Reserve is at a meeting point between the land and the sea. It features extensive dunes, mudflats, and salty lagoons, as well as freshwater pools The Wasit Wetland Centre Sharjah is home to over 198 bird species including migratory and resident birds. Massive aviaries bring visitors up close to a range of bird species including the heron, purple swamphen, white ibises, and more. The guides and experts at the center provide learning opportunities by sharing detailed information about these birds and also offer various interesting activities for kids.
  13. Khor Fakkan
    • Khor Fakkan is set in a spectacular cove flanked on either side by two headlands. The Al Rifaisa Dam, which features breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, lies just above the harbor and serves to contain floodwater and withhold water from the valley below. Wadi Warrayah turns out to be one of Khor Fakkan’s most notable natural beauty sites, with an impressive waterfall well worth visiting if you have four-wheel drive access. A long stretch of sandy beach backed by a promenade runs alongside the bay and is a pleasant place to wander. In one day, you can experience the cooling winds from the pristine Khorfakkan beach, get closer to the shimmering waters by sailing, jet-skiing, kayaking, scuba diving, or get adventurous with water sports. If you desire quieter moments, you can take a leisurely walk along the Khorfakkan corniche hop on a dhow cruise and set off into the water with boat rentals and make a big catch at one of the 
  14. Mleiha- Sharjah
    • A visit to Mleiha allows you to step back in time and learn a whole host of information about the settlers in the region during the Palaeolithic, Neolithic, Bronze, Iron, pre-Islamic, Islamic, and modern ages. The historical destination includes archaeological sites, a museum with exhibits and interactive displays, activities including trekking and horseback riding, wadi caves, and artifacts dating back to the first movement of humans from Africa 130,000 years ago. Camping experiences are also available, and in the winter weather, staying overnight underneath the stars promises a memorable adventure. There is also a lot to do regarding activities, including dune buggy rides, desert cycling tours, and cave journeys. 
  15. Kite Beach - Umm Al Quwain
    • The Kite Beach Center in Umm Al Quwain is primarily a kitesurfing school and has made waves with locals, tourists, and kite surfers alike. With perks like a beach café, kayak tours, and shaded sitting areas a few feet from the sea, it’s the perfect beachside retreat for the whole family. The icing on the proverbial cake is that this attraction is also pet-friendly. The Kite Beach Center is the first kitesurfing and surfing school recognized in Umm Al Quwain. Lessons are available for students at all levels from beginners to intermediate riders and advanced kite surfers looking to improve their skills. Besides kitesurfing, the Kite Beach Center also offers a range of other water-based activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, and kayaking.
  16. Al Taween-  Ras al Khaimah
    • Located in the Hajar Mountains, this freeway draws its charm from the fact that it is entirely off the beaten path, and you will find few cars driving here. Bear in mind that the roads here are really steep so you need to be sharp and agile – along with being a really capable driver, to drive on the mountainous paths of Al Taween. The Tawyeen Lake depends solely on the rainfall. The lake has never been seen dry in any season and it rises its level after rainfall significantly, to the point, that the main roads around are completely submerged in water, and you have to look for a way back around the mountains. The lake exists due to the Tawyeen dam that was created in order to collect the water in its reservoir. 
  17. Al Ain Zoo - Abu Dhabi
    • Established in 1968 by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan due to his keenness to preserve wildlife in UAE,  the Al Ain Zoo is a must-visit. Covering an area of 400 hectares and home to over 200 species of wildlife, there are plenty of activities at Al Ain Zoo. From mammals to reptiles and birds of every kind, over 4000 animals in Al Ain Zoo call it home. The Children’s Zoo has petting zones and bird feeding stations where kids get to interact with the animals. They can also hop onto a horse, a camel, or a pony for a ride. The Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Center is one of the main attractions of Al Ain Zoo. It is an educational facility that offers loads of interactive exhibits, multimedia, and visual materials that display the past, present, and future of the UAE. It has five interactive galleries, which include the Sheikh Zayed Tribute Hall, Abu Dhabi Desert over Time, Abu Dhabi’s Living World, People of the Desert, and Looking to the Future. 
  18. Al Ain Oasis- Abu Dhabi
    • The Al Ain Oasis is the UAE’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can find different types of date plantations in this oasis. Currently, there are 147,000 date palm trees and over 100 different varieties of vegetation around it. One of the attractions at Al Ain Oasis is walking through the serene and wide pathways along the endless row of palm trees. You can spend a good 90 minutes or more walking around the oasis. Even after 3000 years, the ancient falaj irrigation channel (the two main falaj systems serving the oasis, namely, Al Aini and Dawood) is still used to water the trees in this Oasis. Despite being centuries old, the irrigation system is efficient enough to keep the plantation fresh throughout the year. The Eastern Fort, also called Sultan Fort, is one of the most popular attractions at the Al Ain Oasis and was constructed in 1910 by Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed the former ruler of Abu Dhabi. The fort was once the central part of the Hara of Al Ain or the Haret al Hisn City. The historical Eastern Fort is one of the main buildings associated with the ruling Al Nahyan family and their rising influence in the 19th Century.
  19. Wadi Water Park - Abu Dhabi
    • Nestled close to Green Mubazzarah, at the foot of Jebel Hafeet, Wadi Adventure Al Ain is the only adventure park in the UAE where you can go surfing, rafting, wakeboarding, and kayaking in a safe and controlled environment. With state-of-the-art wave pool technology, Wadi Adventure surfing is something you have to try. Wadi Adventure wave pool is the largest in the world, so it’s safe to say you won’t be disappointed. With the longest white water channel at your disposal, it’s a shame if you don’t try Wadi Adventure kayaking. The entire white water channel can keep your adrenaline pumping at all times. Wadi Adventure Al Ain will be complete without a mention of the man-made white water rafting cascades. Rafting is a must-try activity at Wadi Adventure. Wakeboarding is another exciting activity that people thoroughly enjoy in Wadi Adventure. This latest addition to water adventure activities offers you skiing, kneeboarding, and wakeboarding in a controlled environment. Wadi Adventure’s cable wake park is over 600 meters long and boasts a running cable of more than 300 meters long. The activity is open for all ages and suffices for a fun experience for most. 
  20. Al Wathba Wetland Reserve- Abu Dhabi
    • Located around 50 km away from mainland Abu Dhabi, the Al Wathba Wetland area is divided into sabkhas (salt flats), fossilized sands, and dunes. It is internationally recognized as one of the 2,000 remaining wetlands in the world. This mix of natural and man-made island bodies provides a safe haven for dozens of birds. The diversity in species here is astonishing. There are more than 260 bird species, 320 invertebrates, 16 reptiles, 35 kinds of plants, and ten mammals found here. The most significant population among these birds is the flamingos. It is estimated that over 5,000 flamingos have made this place their home. Plus, their population grows every year. 
  21. Jubail Mangrove Park- Abu Dhabi
    • The Mangroves cover around 15 sq. km of the country’s coastline and act as a “green lung,” or an area of natural parkland in an urban setting that replenishes the oxygen in the air. The park aims to instill an appreciation for the significance of mangrove ecosystems and habitats among the masses, helping people understand why their conservation is important for the protection of biodiversity of the Abu Dhabi Coastline. While there are several things to do at Jubail Mangrove Park for visitors, its highlight feature is the boardwalk – the Jubail Mangrove Walk Abu Dhabi that meanders through the dense mangrove vegetation. The project covers over one million square feet of area. Thousands of tourists also opt for mangrove kayaking to get a chance to spot some flora and fauna native to the region.
  22. Al Wathba Fossil Dunes - Abu Dhabi
    • Abu Dhabi’s Fossil Dunes are completely natural, and the formations are made of wind-swept sand that, when permeated with calcium carbonate, start to harden and form distinct, varied, and abstract structures. Each Fossil Dune keeps changing over time (decades), and no two formations are ever the same. Just like sand dunes, fossil dunes are also formed by the flow of sand-laden winds over a long span of time. And thus the structure of these fossil dunes keeps changing over time (decades). It is here that you will get a chance to view nature – the artist at work. The location is a great spot for a picnic during the early morning hours, and the evening is great for camping.
  23. Sir Bani Yas Island - Abu Dhabi
    • Sir Bani Yas Island is the largest island off the coast of Abu Dhabi and was the former private island of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the UAE. Thanks to decades of conservation work, it is now home to thousands of large free-roaming animals and several million trees and plants. A bird sanctuary, as well as a wildlife reserve, Sir Bani Yas, is a great place to experience nature through activities such as adventure safaris, kayaking, mountain biking, archery, hiking, and snorkeling. Taking up about half of Sir Bani Yas, the Arabian Wildlife Park houses some 13,000 animals indigenous to the Arabian Peninsula, including the endangered Arabian Oryx, Sand Gazelle, and Mountain Gazelle as well as free-roaming predators and scavengers such as the Sudan cheetah and striped hyena. 
  24. Big Red Sand Dunes – Sharjah
    • Located near Al Badayer, this location if for adventure aficionados as it is a perfect spot for dune bashing, quad biking, and sand skiing. Big Red is the largest sand dune close to the city, making it the ultimate spot for desert sports and scenic views. Adventurers needn’t bring motorized equipment since there are many services close by for quad bikes, dirt bikes, and buggy rentals.
  25. Moreeb Dune– Abu Dhabi
    • Situated in Abu Dhabi’s majestic Al Dhafra region, Tel Moreeb is considered by many to be the world's tallest sand dune, at over 300 meters high, with its 50-degree incline making it a prime destination for motorsports enthusiasts. Every February, the region's most powerful four-wheel drives, quad bikes, and dirt bikes compete in the Moreeb Hill Climb event, which is part of the Liwa International Festival. It's well worth the trip to Al Dhafra to check this out, especially if you’re looking for an authentic Abu Dhabi experience. The large flat area at the dune’s base is dedicated to competitors and spectators.
  26. Falaj Al Mualla Fort - Umm Al Quwain
    • Originally known as Falaj Al Ali, Falaj Al Mualla is one of the most important sites in Umm Al Quwain that attracts lots of visitors who want to check out the fort and the three watchtowers (east, west, and north) that protect the fertile wadi. The place has long been associated with farming. Approximately 60 families have made a living out of the 5,000 date palms in the oasis. It is also the first poultry farm in the UAE. The Falaj Al Mualla Museum has different sections featuring archaeological and ethnological displays.

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