Who needs The Maldives when you have these on your doorstep?

We know you already know Snoopy, Saadiyat and Sir Bani Yas, so here are some UAE islands you probably haven’t heard of yet. Abu Dhabi has more than 200 islands alone, and we couldn’t possibly cover off all of them. Instead, we’ve dug around to find you eight of the most beautiful and, in some cases remote, islands in the UAE.

Note: Some UAE islands listed are closed to the public.

Abu Dhabi

Shuweihat Island


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This beautifully unique island is surrounded by red rocks and erosion-carved cliffs, with pristine beaches. Unfortunately due to littering and mistreatment, these areas have now been completely fenced off to the public. However if you do make the trip, you can enjoy the view from a distance.

Dalma Island


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Dalma Island can be accessed via a ferry from Sir Baniyas ferry terminal, which you can take your car on for Dhs100, otherwise the price is Dhs20 per person.  Once you reach the island, you’ll feel a world away from any city. What the small community lacks in restaurants and leisure, it makes up for in culture and nature, including a large population of Socotra Cormorant birds. The picturesque surroundings have to be seen to be believed.

Bu Tinah


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This private turtle conservation area has been recognised globally for its efforts, protected by the UN Environment Programme. Found 80 kilometres off the coast of the capital, it’s a nest site for critically endangered hawksbill sea turtles, hundreds of species of fish, blacktip and whitetip sharks, cormorants, terns and osprey.

Ghagha Island


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Ghagha is the westernmost island in the UAE, with around 20 archaeological sites to its name. Explorers have discovered stone tools belonging to the Arabian bifacial tradition, ‘red-ridged ware’ pottery, likely originating from Bahrain, dated from around 2000-1700 BC.


Crescent Moon Island


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This tiny sliver of sand is located 50 kilometres off the coast of Dubai. You’ll need a boat to reach this moon-shaped sandbar – where, swimming, sunbathing and fishing await – but the view’s even better if you can capture it from above.

Island Michael Schumacher


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Amongst the World Islands is a plot of land solely owned by F1 legend Michael Schumacher. The private island features only one property, lined with exotic plants, a huge swimming pool and a helipad.


Sir Abu Nu’ayr Island


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Maldives, is that you? No, and while this breathtaking remote island lives 65 kilometres off the coast of Abu Dhabi, it actually belongs to the emirate of Sharjah. Utilised mostly for fishing, the four kilometre wetland is an environmentally protected area.

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Ras Al Khaimah

Saraya Island


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Known for its sparking turquoise seashore, Saraya Island is known as a camping spot amongst locals. And, who could blame them if you get to wake up to that view? It was originally intended to house hotels, a water park, shopping facilities, restaurants and more, but the project has been on hold for over a decade. You can find it next to Al Rams, overlooking the Hajar mountains.

Images: Instagram