How many have you ticked off? 

From seven-star hotels to the world’s largest waterpark, the UAE is packed with things every visitor or resident must do at least once in their lifetime. While it would be impossible to list them all, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best to get you started.

Here are 14 incredible places in the UAE that you need to visit at least once: 

Snoopy Island, Fujairah

snoopy island

Named after the cartoon dog, which the island is said to resemble in shape, Snoopy Island is a marine paradise offering some of the best snorkeling in the GCC. Turtles, fish every colour of the rainbow, and even little white-tip reef sharks have made this sparkling cerulean sea their home. Take a daycation at Sandy Beach Resort for direct access to the island with snorkeling equipment to rent and non-motorised water sports. Sandy Beach Resort also has a mini waterpark for little ones and a beautiful infinity pool with a swim-up bar.

Aquaventure Waterpark, Atlantis The Palm

With 22 hectares of water-based fun to discover, Aquaventure is a Dubai day out worth braving the summer heat for. Across three super-sized towers there’s more than 100 rides to discover, whether you’re just looking to chill out on the rapids, or face your fears on The Leap Of Faith. You can pick up free aqua socks to protect your feet and leave your shoes behind, and when you’re not on the rides there’s spots like Aquaventure Beach where you can take a break, or Splashers’ Island, where little ones can enjoy endless hours of fun. To avoid the biggest queues head down early and tick your bucket list slides off first, but with so many rapids, rides and racers to try out, you won’t ever have to wait too long. For real water-lovers, there’s the option to upgrade your ticket to also include access to The Lost Chambers Aquarium after, where you can explore tanks teaming with marine life. Fuel up at the waterpark with a trip to Wavehouse, or feast on unlimited pizza for just Dhs95 at Gordon Ramsay Street Pizza.

Aquaventure Waterpark, Atlantis The Palm, daily, 9.45am to 6.30pm, from Dhs199. Tel: atlantis.com

Jebel Jais, Ras al Khaimah

JEBEL JAIS

We can create a huge list of all the activities at this popular mountain peak alone. Jebel Jais is the highest mountain peak in the region and is home to a number of fun adventurous activities. There’s the popular Jais Sky Tour, Jais Flight (the world’s longest zip line), Jais Sledder, Jais Rope Course, and more. For those who want to learn to rough it out in the wild, there’s The Bear Grylls Explorers Camp (you can read our review here), or you could pick a “simpler” route and go hiking or just soak in the views at the Viewing Deck.

visitjebeljais.com

Al Wathba Fossil Dunes, Abu Dhabi

They may be just a 30-minute drive from downtown Abu Dhabi, but these twisting, wind-swept rock formations feel worlds away from the capital. Take the Al Ain truck road and the E30, then head south of Al Wathba Wetland Reserve.

Museum of the Future

Dubai’s very own hub of the future opened its doors to the public in February 2022. It’s located by the World Trade Centre and features a stunning facade of Arabic calligraphy – lines of poetry written by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum about the future of the city. You can’t really miss it when you’re driving down the Sheikh Zayed Road – it has a unique design shaped like an eye with a hollowed-out middle. It houses and exhibits all things innovation and the future. You can take a tour of the exhibits on display and visit the balcony viewing deck in the middle of the structure. Ensure you book well in advance.

Museum of the Future, Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, 10am to 7.30pm, starts at Dhs149, Tel: (800) 2071, museumofthefuture.ae

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The largest mosque in the UAE, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, is easily one of the most beautiful mosques in the world. With a total of 82 domes and over 1,000 columns and surrounded by reflective pools, just the sight of the mosque takes your breath away. From marbled halls to gold-plated chandeliers, mosaic artwork to amethyst-and-jasper-embedded columns, the place of worship is a sight to behold. Sheikh Zayed Mosque was the vision of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan – the Founding Father of the UAE. Its open-door policy welcomes visitors from all over the world and up to 50,000 worshippers daily.

szgmc.gov.ae

Burj al Arab, Dubai

 

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Often referred to as the only seven-star hotel in the world, a stay at the Burj Al Arab is on many residents’ bucket lists. But unless you’re in a position to afford to splurge on one of the priciest room rates in the city or luxury restaurants, the chances are, what goes on behind closed doors remains a mystery. The good news is Burj Al Arab offers visitors the chance to see inside the ultra-luxury hotel with a sunset tour, or for a chic adult-only escape, you can book a dreamy daycation at the hotel’s beach club Sal.

Hatta Dam, Dubai

 

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Hatta is one of our favourite spots for escaping the city with a myriad of adventures on your doorstep.  From mountain biking to waterslides, a honey bee farm to a swan lake, it is the ultimate adventure haven. There’s an affordable new way to get to Hatta from Dubai: the Hatta Express Bus from Dubai Mall costs only Dhs25 per person and only takes one and a half hours. On arrival in Hatta, there’s the Hop On and Off bus from Hatta bus station to transport visitors around the main attractions, for just Dhs2.

visithatta.com

Al Ain Oasis

Al Ain Oasis had the honour of becoming the UAE’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 2011. Spread over 3,000 acres, the oasis is one of the world’s oldest permanently inhabited settlements, dating back more than 4,000 years. You can wander through its tranquil pathways, with more than 147,000 date palm trees providing a lovely green canopy.

Dubai Opera

dubaiopera

Dubai Opera is a stunning venue for any event and has played host to a diverse array of events from lavish dinners to tear-jerking musicals and everything in between. Glam up and head to one of the venue’s ever-changing shows or if you want a tour of the stunning venue, you can take a Dubai Opera Tour and learn more about all its hidden secrets and architecture. The venue was crowned as one of the world’s most beautiful theatres, so you really don’t want to miss checking it out.

Louvre Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is home to a treasure trove of galleries, museums and culturally significant awesomeness. We recommend you take a quick look at our guide to some of the local highbrow highlights. But if we were to pick one, it’d be Louvre Abu Dhabi. In addition to housing one of the most beautifully curated, story-telling collections of art and objets-de-wow, they host movie nights, there’s a children’s museum, make and play sessions, paint and grape nights, special exhibitions (right now you can catch Bollywood Superstars) and even guided drawing tours. Held every Wednesday and lead by the Museum Educator you’ll learn insider skills, artistic trickery and see a different side to this world-class museum.

louvreabudhabi.ae

Old Dubai

The Dhs1 abra rides in old Dubai should be on everyone’s UAE bucket list – at least once. They are a great way to explore both sides to the historic old town – from Deira to Bur Dubai. Many locals use the boats to get from point A to point B and avoid traffic but it is a charming experience, especially if you go around sunset.

Jumeirah Mosque

jumeirah mosque

The Jumeirah Mosque is a significant piece of Dubai’s history. Opened in 1979, it was a gift from the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the former Ruler of Dubai, and can accommodate around 1,500 worshippers. The guided tour of the Jumeirah Mosque is an integral part ‘Open Doors. Open Minds’ programs of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU). Aside from the guided tour of the mosque, your visit will also include an authentic Emirati buffet, tours of the Once Upon a Time Museum and Mosque of the World Gallery, henna art for women and a commemorative picture with a falcon. The mosque offers two slots for the visit – 10am and 2pm, with registration opening 30 minutes before the program starts.

Jumeirah Mosque, Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 1, Dubai, Saturday to Thursday, Tel: (0) 4 353 6666, jumeirahmosque.ae

Ski Dubai

Ski Dubai

One of Mall of the Emirates’ most popular attractions offers a lovely break from the sun and the sizzling temperatures of the city. The indoor ski resort has loads of fun things to do, including hitting the slopes for some real skiing fun (with lessons if you can’t quite ski), a snow cinema, a chance to meet penguins and a snow park. You can even host the coolest birthday party in there (pun absolutely intended). The summer family pass is priced at Dhs1,200 and includes a bunch of different experiences.

Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates, Mon to Fri 10am to 12am, Sat to Sun 9am to 12am, Tel: (0) 4 409 4000, skidxb.com

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