UAE Holidays

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Discover the United Arab Emirates

UAE holidays unlock a world of adventure and luxury. Dazzling buildings stretch high into the sky, white sandy beaches line the coast and the nation’s wonderful cities are home to the perfect mix of excitement and relaxation.  

Marvel at the awe-inspiring minarets and magnificence of Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque or gaze out across the dunes from the top of Dubai’s record-breaking Burj Khalifa tower. 

Adrenaline seekers will find plenty of thrills on the race track and rollercoasters of the capital’s Yas Island, while those in search of a quieter  beach getaway should head to the sands of Ras al Khaimah or Fujairah.

Enjoy unrivalled retail therapy in the nation’s malls, try your hand at dune bashing or soak up the heritage and natural beauty of Al Ain. Whatever kind of trip you choose for your UAE holiday package, you'll discover the perfect setting for the adventure of a lifetime. 

 

Things to do in the UAE

Whether you’re looking for a sun-filled escape, a family getaway or an active adventure, you’re sure to find something that excites your senses on a holiday in the UAE.  

Visit the grand landmarks

The UAE is renowned for its amazing modern architecture and iconic landmarks.

Abu Dhabi is home to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a masterpiece featuring more than 80 glistening gold domes. Its design is a dazzling celebration of the country’s cultural and artistic styles – both past and present. 

In Dubai, the towering Burj Khalifa stands at 2,723 feet (830m) high with no fewer than 163 floors. Jump in a lift to the top for unbeatable views from the 360-degree observation deck.

Where to stay in the UAE

Downtown deluxe

Indulge in the opulence of the UAE’s top destinations by staying in the iconic buildings that make up its city skylines. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi is a high-rise hotel overlooking the Corniche and much of the capital, with exceptional service and facilities to match.

Dubai has a similar array of luxury hotels, including the elegant Armani Hotel in the heart of the business district.  From here, you can catch the incredible music and light show from The Dubai Fountain, explore Dubai Mall and soak up the traditional atmosphere of Souk al Bahar.

All the action

For thrill seekers on active holidays in the UAE, Yas Island in Abu Dhabi is a great place to start your adventure.

Home to the Yas Marina Circuit, setting for the Formula 1™ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, you can experience the roar of the racetrack or simply cycle round it at your own pace.

If you’re looking for a nearby hotel, Yas Island Rotana is just minutes away from the circuit and the attractions of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.

You’ll find beautifully furnished modern rooms here, alongside a range of delicious dining options. 

Family friendly

There’s plenty to do on family holidays in the UAE. Most hotels have family-friendly pools – Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island is a stunning resort with spacious family rooms that offer a comfortable space to unwind after an exciting day spent in the water.

Saadiyat Rotana has a kids’ club plus games rooms, while you’ll find a small splash pool for younger ones at Marriott Al Forsan and exciting waterslides at Emirates Palace.

All you need to know about the UAE

Languages spoken

The official language spoken in the UAE is Arabic. However, English is also widely spoken. Hindi, Farsi and Urdu are among the other languages used across the country.  

Public holidays

Public holidays in the UAE include New Year (1 January), Commemoration Day (usually 1 December) and National Day (2 and 3 December). The Islamic holidays are also public holidays, though these are determined by the moon and change every year.

Local currency

The local currency in the UAE is the United Arab Emirates dirham (AED). Many places accept US dollars, while debit and credit cards are widely accepted in shops, restaurants and hotels.

Getting around

The best way to get around in the UAE is by using local taxis, which are inexpensive and easy to find. In Dubai, the Metro is a convenient way to get around.

More about the UAE

Emirati cuisine

You will find just about every cuisine from around the world in the UAE – from delicious Thai dishes to moreish pizza and gourmet burgers.

As most of the UAE’s population is concentrated on the Arabian Gulf, fish and seafood dishes are highly popular. Kanaad machbous (fried kingfish with spiced rice) and marak naggar (squid stew) are two must-tries for an authentic taste of the UAE.  

Lamb, beef, chicken and sometimes goat are combined with an array of aromatic spices in traditional dishes. Dates and camel milk are two local specialties that can be found for sale in the local souks.  

Rich history

Even though the UAE was only founded in 1971, the area has a long history and proud cultural heritage dating back to around 6000 BC.

The UAE may be known now for skyscrapers, contemporary hotels and modern marvels, but there are still plenty of places to get a glimpse of this fascinating past. 

The inland oasis city of Al Ain is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a history stretching back to the Bronze Age.

Meanwhile, the restored Sharjah Fort is another great place to explore, having served as everything from the residence of the city’s rulers to a jail.

Cultural considerations

Islam is the official religion of the UAE and forms the basis of the culture and political system. It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the laws of the country before you travel.

Visitors to the UAE should dress modestly, especially in conservative areas and public places. Loose-fitting clothes that cover shoulders, arms and legs are ideal, while also offering some protection from the sun.

When visiting a mosque, women will be asked to respect the Muslim tradition by wearing an abaya and covering their heads. You can sometimes borrow one of these, or take your own pashmina or shawl.

Dress codes are more relaxed in hotels and in the malls, although you should only wear swimwear at the beach, pool or waterpark. You will also need layers to warm up in areas which have powerful air conditioning.

Why we love the UAE

“With sunshine, beaches and cities brimming with luxury, the UAE has everything you need. Yas Island in Abu Dhabi is always a popular spot, whether you want to relax on a private beach, explore the mangroves by kayak or immerse yourself in art at Louvre Abu Dhabi."

People who love the UAE also enjoy…

Maldives

White sands, a tropical climate and laidback way of life await in a nation made up of over a thousand beautiful islands.
 

Seychelles

Discover a world of picturesque beaches and serene shorelines, in the idyllic setting of the Indian Ocean, with a visit to the glorious Seychelles.

Thailand

Cities packed with culture and cuisine, secluded islands and family-friendly resorts – Thailand is a wonderful destination for an eclectic vacation.

Singapore

Explore shopping malls on Orchard Road and botanical Gardens by the Bay in Asia’s ‘Garden City’, the sovereign island state of Singapore.