The UAE is fast becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Home to major hotspots like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the UAE has something to offer every kind of traveler, whether you like to spend your time shopping in the world’s biggest malls or riding camels in the desert.

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While the UAE is highly developed and advanced, boasting futuristic-looking cities full of contemporary architecture, you’ll also get a chance to learn all about the local history, traditions, and culture, dating back centuries. Keep reading to discover 10 things you have to do while in the United Arab Emirates.

10 Check Out A Fishing Village

Many travelers assume that the United Arab Emirates will be all desert. While there are certainly desert experiences you can have, there are also coastal destinations to add to your itinerary. One of the best places to go is the fishing village known as Ras al Khaimah.

The stunning village has been developed in recent times, meaning it is tourist-friendly and accessible. There are plenty of things to see and do in the village, including relaxing by the scenic beach and taking in the picturesque landscape.

9 Trek Through The Desert

Though there’s more to do in the UAE than just trekking through the desert, there’s definitely ample desert to trek through if that’s what your heart desires. Planet Ware recommends the stretch of desert that straddles the coastline, just outside the main cities. Although there doesn’t sound like much to do in the desert, there’s more than enough to keep you occupied.

Travelers can go on four-wheel-driving trips through the sand dunes, partake in sandboarding, hike through the rugged landscape, or even go down the traditional route and ride a camel. You can take a guided day trip to the desert from the major cities of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Fujairah.

8 Visit Jebel Hafeet

If you’re an outdoors enthusiast, then you have to add Jebel Hafeet to your UAE itinerary. A quick day trip away from Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, this is the second-highest mountain in the United Arab Emirates, so it’s definitely worth climbing.

When you get to the peak, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping vistas of the surrounding desert. But there are amazing views all the way up the twisting mountain path. This is probably one of the best places in the entire UAE for photos, so don’t forget to take advantage of it!

7 Visit The Sheikh Zayed Mosque

There are some iconic landmarks to check out while in the UAE, and one of the most famous (and most sacred) is the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi. The modern monument features a contemporary design and is one of the most famous mosques in the world. The inside is just as stunning as the outside and is well worth a visit.

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Always remember to be respectful of local customs and traditions when visiting religious sites. Visitors to the mosque are expected to dress modestly and be reverent around those who are praying.

6 Admire The Art At Sharjah Art Museum

A hidden gem of the UAE, Sharjah receives fewer visitors than major cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Still, you won’t want to miss all the attractions in Sharjah, including the iconic Art Museum. The largest of its kind in the United Arab Emirates, the museum boasts some of the most prominent Arabic artwork.

Besides that, there’s also the Science Museum and the Heritage Museum to check out while you’re in town. Keep in mind that no alcohol can be brought into Sharjah as it is a dry Emirate, unlike Dubai.

5 Stand In Awe Of The Burj Khalifa

One of the most well-known landmarks in Dubai is the Burj Khalifa, which has a few titles under its belt. The structure is most famous for being the tallest building, not just in the UAE, but in the whole world. It is also the world’s tallest freestanding structure and hosts both the world’s highest observation deck and the world’s longest elevator ride.

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Make sure you take a ride on the famous elevator up to the observation deck, where the views are said to be second to none. This is definitely something to tick off the bucket list!

4 Travel Back In Time In The Bastakia Quarter

Much of the UAE is highly developed and features advanced infrastructure and technology. But if you’re interested in seeing more of the old Middle East, you should check out Dubai’s Bastakia Quarter. This is essentially what the city looked like before it was filled with skyscrapers.

Here, you’ll get a chance to see several examples of traditional Arabic architecture. There is also a surviving remnant of the original Dubai city wall, and a variety of museums where you can see inside the old buildings and learn about the local lifestyle.

3 Shop Up A Storm In The Dubai Mall

It’s true that most major cities offer fantastic shopping opportunities, and we normally wouldn’t recommend wasting valuable time doing something you can do anywhere. But when you visit a city that is home to the largest mall in the world, you have to set at least one day aside for shopping (although one day hardly seems like enough).

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A visit to the Dubai Mall is a treat in itself, even if you leave empty-handed. Although considering there are around 1,200 stores in the mall, the chances of you leaving without buying anything are slim to none.

2 Trek Through The Hajar Mountains

For the adventurous traveler, a trek through the Hajar Mountains is a must. Cutting through the desert, the mountains offer phenomenal views of the untouched surrounding desert scenery. Along the way, there will be plenty of chances to look out for native birds and explore the charming villages that are scattered throughout the region.

If trekking and/or hiking isn’t your thing, you could always take a road trip through the area. You’ll have lots of opportunities to stop and take photos of the dry river beds and local townships.

1 Relax By The Beach In Ajman

The heat in the UAE can be pretty exhausting if you’re not used to it. Though there are so many things to do here, sometimes all you’ll feel like is an afternoon of relaxation. You can either check out the array of day spas in the major cities or relax by one of the beaches.

Many experts recommend Ajman as the place to go if you’re looking for peaceful beaches. The hotels have their own private beach facilities, but you can usually gain access with a day pass. Spend the day lounging in the sun and end your trip feeling totally rejuvenated.

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