Going Beyond Glitzy Dubai: Exploring the Traditional Emirates of UAE

By Rohini Gulipilli

  ●   13 Jun 18

City & Culture

Middle East

UAE is not only Dubai & Abu Dhabi. With 7 Emirates, UAE has got a lot more to offer. There is no denying that Dubai & Abu Dhabi are magical places in the world with the glittering skyline, freewheel nightlife, mega malls, thriving food scene, and miles-long seashores. But, that’s not the end of UAE, it’s the tip of iceberg. The 7 Emirates of UAE have  distinctive traditional and modern flavors that wait to be explored.

Mapping the 7 Emirates of the UAE – One Destination One Time

Abu Dhabi – The Business Centre

Abu Dhabi

A trip to the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi involves everything from skyline to pristine seashores. The simple island formation has been turned into a modern, cosmopolitan city of Abu Dhabi boasting captivating culture, the warmth of Arabian hospitality, and breath-taking adventure activities. Choose from a myriad of hotels in Abu Dhabi and experience ultra-modern breaks in the heart of the city, family trips on the Yas Island and luxurious havens on Saadiyat Island.

And there’s lot more to come! As a part of Abu Dhabi’s sustainable development, Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 focuses on bringing more green spaces, extensive metro system, workspaces, active living, and lot more thrilling attractions.

Must visit attractions in Abu Dhabi

  • Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
  • Sir Bani Yas Island
  • Emirates Palace
  • Heritage Village
  • Emirates Park Zoo

Best time to visit Abu Dhabi

Months between April and May or September and October are the best time to visit Abu Dhabi with pleasant weather.

Fujairah – The Beach Emirate


Separated from its neighbors by the Hajar Mountains, Fujairah is the only emirate that does not have access to the Arabian Gulf. But the tranquil beaches of its coast, Fujairah has become home to ample hotels and resorts offering best snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. Day trip to Musandam is a must-do activity of your trip.

If you’re staying in Fujairah, a visit to the Friday Market is a must. It is a popular flea market in Fujairah mostly staffed by Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. It is a lively and colorful local market. Do not miss visiting the Al Bidya Mosque – the oldest in the UAE.

Must visit attractions in Fujairah

  • Al-Bidyah Mosque
  • Fujairah Fort
  • Bithna Fort
  • Fujairah Museum
  • Al-Hayl Castle

Best time to visit Fujairah

Fujairah experiences warm and pleasant atmosphere throughout the year. The months from October and March are the best time to explore this emirate.

Sharjah – The Cultural Emirate


Explore the vibrant outdoors of Sharjah. From deserts, beautiful mountains, beaches, to mangroves, Sharjah has a myriad range of landscapes and wildlife to delight every tourist. Sharjah is a place to explore if you want to get a glimpse of unique Arab life. Since Sharjah is near the Arabian Gulf, there’s so much to do near the seashore. Enjoy the Instagram-worthy adventures in Sharjah from dune driving, scuba diving, quad biking, to kayaking.

Don’t miss: With a number of museums to visit in Sharjah, the Sharjah Art Museum is arguably the best to explore.

Must visit attractions in Sharjah

  • Sharjah Art Museum
  • Central Market
  • Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation
  • Al Noor Island
  • Sharjah Maritime Museum

Best time to visit Sharjah

Winter season (October – April) is the best time to visit the cultural capital of the UAE – Sharjah.

The Fly & Flip Holiday at Ras al Khaimah

Ras Al Khaimah

Along with boundless natural attractions and things to do, Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) boasts aplenty archaeological sites giving tourists an interesting insight into it’s rich history and culture. The northern-most emirate of the UAE, Ras Al Khaimah is a must-visit with the plethora of  golden beaches, terracotta deserts, lush mangroves to the Hajar Mountains. Bask under the RAK’s golden sunrays and spend your stay to discover from delicious traditional cuisine, artisanal textiles, to finest local products.

Must visit attractions in Ras al Khaimah

  • Ras Al-Khaimah National Museum
  • Dhayah Fort
  • Jazirat al-Hamra
  • Jebel Jais
  • Khatt Springs

Best time to visit Ras al Khaimah

Ras al Khaimah experiences  extremes temperatures. Summers are hit with 45 degrees and winters are chilly from November to March.

Pocket-Sized Umm Al Quwain

Umm Al Quwain

Ajman and Umm al Qwain are not as popular as Dubai but that doesn’t mean to ignore. Situated in between Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, is the smallest of seven Emirates. During your visit to Umm Al Quwain, one can leave behind the bustling city life and immerse into the lush greenery! The major tourist attraction of this city is Dreamland Aqua Park – largest of its kind in the UAE. The beaches, mangrove forests, island clusters and fertile oasis reinforce the beauty of this tiny emirate.

Must visit attractions in Umm Al Quwain

  • Dreamland Aqua Park
  • Umm Al-Quwain Fort and Museum
  • Dhow Building Yard
  • Emirates Motorplex
  • UAQ Marine Club

Best time to visit Umm Al Quwain

The best time to visit Umm Al-Quwain is from November to March. During this period, the temperature will be average, which is ideal for sightseeing.

The Traditional Emirate Ajman


One of the lesser known of the seven Emirates – Ajman is an ideal getaway to enjoy a relaxed vacation. However, just forty minute drive from Dubai, the city is definitely worth checking out. Home to everything from ancient forts to luxurious resorts, there are several places to visit and things to do in Ajman.

The vibrant and soothing city boasts one of the stunning beaches in UAE, where people can enjoy the long walk, beach fun, and more. Make sure to visit Ajman Museum that showcases a recreated traditional life of Emirates with a collection of archaeological excavations. All the visitors should make sure to check out all that the Emirate has to offer.

Must visit attractions in Ajman

  • Ajman Museum
  • The Red Fort
  • Ajman Beach
  • Sheikh Zayed Mosque Ajman
  • Mowaihat Archeological Site

Best time to visit Ajman

You can find moderate weather conditions throughout the year. The temperatures in winter may reach until 25 degrees and it is the comfortable time to explore Ajman.

UAE Visit Visa 

Nationals of  the below countries can travel visa free to UAE

  • Bahrain
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • Saudi Arabia
  • European Union All European Union citizens (except Ireland and United Kingdom)
  • Honduras
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Montenegro
  • Norway
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Switzerland
  • Argentina
  • Barbados (from 1 July 2018)
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Seychelles
  • China
  • Japan
  • Ukraine

All other countries may have visa on arrival or need to apply for UAE Visit Visa. Check with your local embassy to travel to this amazing country that has been in focus for its extreme hospitality and creative attractions.

Rohini Gulipilli

For there's no greater love than the love for wandering – Rohini swears by this and follow this by heart. Her articles portrays the way she is – clear and confident.

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Going Beyond Glitzy Dubai: Exploring the Traditional Emirates of UAE