The United Arab Emirates is, as the name suggests, not one emirate, but seven. The most famous emirate is Dubai, but here you will also find Abu Dhabi (the capital city), Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain.
Dubai is the emirate that most tourists come to on their first visit. And often it becomes almost a bit of a culture clash. In the middle of the desert, the city appears as a glittering mirage - large, stately and well-ordered. Dubai is one of the Middle East's - if not the world's - most modern cities. What is not here, is not there. Once upon a time, Dubai was a hub for the gold trade in the region, but nowadays it's tourism that brings gold. Dubai is today one of the ten most popular tourist destinations in the world. Here old and new meet in a magical mix of culture and innovation. Here you can find everything for families, sun worshippers, shopping fans and adrenaline junkies alike.
Ras Al-Khaimah is the quiet emirate in the far north, on the border with Oman. Here there is more nature and mountains and fewer skyscrapers. Here are also some of Persian vikens most beautiful beaches. If you are not looking for shopping, but just want a quiet and luxurious family holiday - then Ras Al-Khaimah is the perfect choice. In addition, you often get a little more hotel for the money here than in Dubai.
The capital city Abu Dhabi is high on my list to visit. Not only to experience the city, but also to visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, but also to look at world art at the Louvre.
11 attractions you shouldn't miss
1. Go up to floor 124 of the Burj Khalifa
2. Dine in the desert by the light of an open fire
3. Throw yourself down the dunes on a jeep safari
4. Play tired in one of Dubai's many water parks
5. Visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi
6. Window shopping in Dubai's shopping mall
7. Live life at an afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai
8. Shop for souvenirs at the gold and spice market in Dubai
9. Experience the wild side of Ras Al-Khaimah in the Hajar Mountains
10. Stay at a resort in an oasis in the middle of the desert
11. Visit the Louvre and check out art in Abu Dhabi
Six travel tips
Climate and weather
The United Arab Emirates has a desert climate with mild winters and really hot summers. If you like Swedish summer, winter is preferable for a visit. I have visited the UAE five times - all in June, July or August. And it is very hot. But if you're still not a person who wants to lie in the sun and fry yourself, summer is still an option. Sure, it's 40+ degrees and very humid, but it works if you avoid the hottest hours in the middle of the day. Hotel prices are also significantly lower during the summer, so you can find really cheap luxury hotels.
The United Arab Emirates is a Muslim country and it is recommended that both women and men dress with knees and shoulders covered. Normal swimwear is used on the beach. It is not allowed to sunbathe topless. I usually pack longer dresses, baggy trousers, tops with short sleeves and big sun hats. In Dubai, you can never be too overdressed, so take the opportunity to bring your best outfits.
Once a year it is the holy month of Ramadan, when you fast from sunrise to sunset. This affects the opening hours of restaurants, the serving of alcohol and also the opening hours of some attractions. In 2022, Ramadan is from April 2nd to May 2nd in the UAE, but the dates move slightly each year. I have traveled in the UAE during Ramadan, but I found it added value to the experience rather than detracting from it!
In the United Arab Emirates, British type G sockets are mainly used. Bring an adapter.
Alcohol is not sold freely, but most hotels and more luxurious restaurants are licensed to serve alcohol. There are slightly different rules in the different emirates, so check what applies before you buy duty free or book a hotel.
It is not possible to travel to the United Arab Emirates on a provisional passport.
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