A country rich in every sense of the word, the United Arab Emirates is filled with spectacular sights and sounds for the curious driver and the certified road tripper alike. A federation consisting of seven emirates, and numerous islands, it is best visited between the months of October and May when the weather is coolest. The seven emirates are Abu Dhabi (the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm Al Qaywayn.
Known for cultural spectacles like falconry and horseracing, the UAE has equally must-see modern splendors for the average traveler to see. From the only 7-star hotel in the world to the remarkable man-made islands shaped into world continents, you’ll never be bored. With mountains, beaches, and deserts, you’ll find the terrain of your choice and be sure that FAST Rent A Car will have the right vehicle waiting for you.
With a skyline comprised of domes, minarets and ultramodern high risers, Abu Dhabi is a vibrant and captivating city. It is the capital of the UAE and the largest emirate in the country.
Abu Dhabi holds most of the UAE’s rich oil reserves and is a major commercial hub, but there is more to Abu Dhabi than its polished business centers. When visiting Abu Dhabi, it is worth stopping by to visit:
Al Ain Zoo and Aquarium
Built in 1969, the Al Ain Zoo houses a large and varied collection of wildlife from all over the world. It also has on display some of the region’s indigenous wildlife, such as the Arabian Oryx.
This center is a living exhibition of Bedouin tradition and lifestyle. You will be amazed by the Bedouin tents, palm houses, fishing villages, and traditional marketplaces.
The place of birth of the ruling families of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, this oasis is one of the largest in the region and is the gateway to Rub Al Khali (the Empty Quarter).
Also known as the White Fort, this palace dates back to the late 1700’s and is the oldest stone building in Abu Dhabi.
Although it is the smallest state, Ajman isn’t so small when it comes to culture. It is rich in agriculture and farming, and is known for having the world's largest dhow building center, where these ocean-going vessels are built using traditional tools. While in Ajman, make sure to check out:
Housed in an 18th century fortress, this museum is worth visiting if you want to acquaint yourself more with the city’s rich heritage.
A short drive from Ajman’s city center is the boatbuilding yard on the north side of the Creek, and is one of the most active dhow-building yards in the country.
On the outskirts of the city is the archaeological site of Mowaihat. Amazing artifacts have been uncovered from its soil, many of which are on display in Ajman Museum
Dubai does not disappoint. You’ll be dazzled by the splendor of Dubai and quickly come to understand why it is a major tourist destination and the trade capital of the UAE. Dubai is full of life, full of business, and full of wonders. With camel rides, parks, beaches, desert villages, and so much more, you’ll need to be mobile to enjoy this city. A few places you should stop by are:
Al Qasr Hotel
If you fancy an unconventional tour, visit the Al Qasr hotel, part of the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. You can take a ride in an abras, a water taxi, to get around the complex which was built to resemble an Arabian citadel.
One of the original trading districts in old Dubai, it is now famous for its beautiful quaint houses with wind towers. Many of the houses have even been converted into art galleries.
Burj Al Arab
The world’s only 7-star hotel, the famous Burj Al Arab is a must-see. Located in Dubai’s harbor, it is designed to look like a traditional Arabian sailboat, and is even more spectacular inside.
The World Islands
Make sure to check out the 300 remarkable man-made islands shaped into the continents of the world, fittingly named The World Islands.
Fujairah is the only emirate located on the Gulf of Oman. Unlike its neighbors, it is a mountainous area with lovely valleys that sweep down to a green coastal plain. There are a few activities to keep you entertained. From water sports to relaxation, you’ll love Fujairah’s stunning beaches. Other attractions include:
Ain Al Madhab Gardens
The Ain al Madhab Gardens, also called the National Park, is an extensive park with a playground and heritage village around the ruins of an old fort where traditional costumes, pottery, and utensils are on display.
Watch out for bullfights in Fujairah, held on most Fridays. And not to worry, it is rumored to be a bloodless version of the sport in which two bulls test their strength against one another.
For nature lovers, it is worth a visit to the Hajar Mountains. This mountain range is of tremendous interest to geologists, but for the average traveler it is a picturesque scene, with castles, several old forts, and watchtowers.
Between a beautiful coastal plain and mountains, Ras Al Khaimah is a land rich in agriculture. A winding creek, the Khor Ras al-Khaimah divides the city into two distinct areas. Ras Al Khaimah produces a variety of fruits and vegetables including more than 45 different types of date palms. But if fruit is not your fancy, you could also check out:
Khatt Hot Springs
Ras Al Khaimah is all about scenic beauty. The Khatt natural hot springs is worth a visit, and the water is said to have medicinal properties.
The National Museum is situated in the old town of Ras al-Khaimah. The museum houses a fascinating collection of archaeological and anthropological artifacts.
Take in a bit of the city’s traditions and stroll through the Old Town of Ras Al Khaimah. Particularly interesting are the souks, especially those near the fishing port.
A blend of old and new, Sharjah offers the best in water sports, hiking terrain, parks, souks, and beautiful mosques. Its city streets are lined with waterfront hotels, lakefront apartment buildings, and restaurants. In addition to this, Sharjah’s history is showcased in numerous museums, while the village of Maleiha gives visitors a chance to see the location of century-old archaeological remnants.
Located in the heart of old Sharjah is this two-storey fort, originally constructed in 1820. Now a museum, each room exhibits a piece of Sharjah’s local history.
Located in the renovated Al Naboodah family house, the oldest in Sharjah, is this museum. Each room has a different theme. The Arabian Gulf Room, the Children's Room and the Kitchen are some of the major attractions.
If stargazing is your pleasure, Sharja’s Planetarium specializes in astronomy and celestial navigation. However, it is only open for groups by appointment.
Sharjah's most famous souk was constructed in 1979, a landmark with its design and popularity. The 600 assorted shops provide you with a trove of bargains, ranging from gold and precious stones to garments and perfumes.
Not to be left out, the city of Umm Al Qaywayn has also witnessed a boom in modern development with its modern buildings, roads, parks, and other sightseeing pleasures. Like its neighboring emirates, it has retained its beautiful culture. While visiting, stop by:
Al Dur Island
This is a famous site containing remains of a region dating a little over 2000 years. Several interesting objects including impressive tombs, stone houses, large storage jars, and glassware from Egypt and Syria have been unearthed here.
Al Siniyyah Island
Across the creek from Umm Al Qaywayn stands this lovely haven for birds. The bird sanctuary is also noted for its mangrove swamps, representing an extremely delicate and a fast-dwindling ecosystem.
Dreamland Aqua Park
Sprawling over 250,000 m2 along the coast is Dreamland, a huge entertainment complex. A collection of water games and rides, a souk to take care of your shopping needs, restaurants and fast-food outlets make it an ideal family destination.