From the world’s tallest building to traditional souks and stunning beaches, here are the must-see places to visit in and around the United Arab Emirates
The cornerstone of modern-day UAE; ships dock only a stroll away from Dubai Creek, one of the most historic areas of the city state, with its souks, water taxis and bustling waterfront – although the terminal does offer free shuttles to two shopping malls. A comprehensive city tour might be in order as this is a spread-out place, although you can hop on the space-age, elevated Metro for great views and swift transit to spots such as the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper.
The new terminal at Zayed Port is in the heart of Abu Dhabi city, close to must-see places such as the architectural sweep of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the emerging cultural destination of Saadiyat Island, with its soon-to-arrive Guggenheim and Louvre museums. Whether you want to explore the coast with its beaches and towers, the oasis city of Al Ain or the huge dunes of the Empty Quarter desert in Al Gharbia, there’s plenty to see.
Sir Bani Yas Island
Off the coast of Abu Dhabi and packed with archaeological sites (including a monastery from 600AD) as well as a wildlife sanctuary created by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan with cheetah, giraffe and an endangered Arabian Oryx herd. Activities include snorkelling, kayaking through mangrove swamp, mountain biking and much more.
The Gulf’s most northern city, which guards the Ormuz strait that separates the Arabian Sea from the Indian Ocean, sits in a self-contained enclave of Oman. Founded by the Portuguese at the start of the 17th century, the strategic naval base is home to various forts. It’s here that you can take a dhow into the fjord that cuts into the Musandam Peninsula to see dolphins, and Telegraph Island, a 19th-century British communications station.