The United Arab Emirates is an Arab country in Western Asia at the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf. Abu Dhabi, one of the seven emirates, serves as the capital of the country while Dubai, another emirate, is the country’s most populous city. The other emirates include; Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm Al Quwain.

Known for its iconic skyline of high-rise buildings, red dunes, and amazing spots for all ages and interests, the United Arab Emirates has gained the attention of the world with its various developments. From skyscrapers, shopping, and sandy shores, there are just too many things to do and see in the United Arab Emirates. The country has a rich history and a wide coastline even before the existence of the exotic buildings. UAE is home to historic buildings like the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, as well as the world’s only 7-star hotel – Burj Al Arab, artificial islands, archipelagos, the Ferrari World and so much more.

Below is a list of the 20 best things to do and places to see when you’re in the UAE.

1. Have a Great Off-road Time in the Deserts

One of the things the UAE is known for is the deserts. A visit to the Emirates without visiting the deserts is incomplete. For great off-road experience, you can try four-wheel-drive trips to the deserts in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Fujairah. Aside that, you can also try dune-buggy journeys, sandboarding, hiking; and camel treks.

2. Visit Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa is not a place to miss when you go on a trip to UAE. Located in Dubai, the world’s tallest building gives you a clear view of all its surroundings when you stay at the very top of it.

3. Visit Sharjah Art Museum

The Sharjah Art Museum is an art museum in the city of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. It was housed on Bait Al Serkal in Al Shuwaihean Area. It is one of the leading art institutions in the Gulf Area. It is a 3-story building featuring stylish galleries with more than 500 pieces by Arab artists.

4. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a Must-Visit

Located in the capital city, Abu Dhabi, The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is by far the largest mosque in the country. It is the key place of worship for daily prayers, Friday gathering and Eid prayers. During Eid, the mosque is visited by over 40,000 people. Even if you are not a Muslim, you can enter this mosque to see the great interior and the beauty provided you dress decently and you abide by the rules.

5. Sir Bani Yas Island is also a must

This incredible island located in Abu Dhabi, is dominated by the Arabian Wildlife Park which is home to more than 10,000 free roaming animals like giraffes, cheetahs, gazelles and many more; and takes up more than half of the island. The island also features multiple archaeological sites which include the ruins of an ancient Christian monastery, beaches, sea kayak routes and a shipwreck. Things you can do on the island include everything from wildlife and adventure-based activities, snorkeling, sunset kayaking trip to exploring the island with a sunrise Wadi walk.

6. Visit the Fujairah Fort

The Fujairah Fort is the oldest fort in the United Arab Emirates and it serves previously as a defensive building and a home for the ruling family. It was built in 1670 and it was badly damaged by a British attack in the early 20th century.

7. Head to Jebel Jais

About 55 kilometers northeast of Ras Al-Khaimah, Jebel Jais, part of the Hajar Mountain Range, is the UAE’s tallest mountain, with its summit at 1934 meters. Near the top of the road, a series of landscaped terraces with viewing platforms and cafes offer up spectacular view that’s perfect for photo lovers.

8. Bastakia is a must-see

Bastakia is one of the must-see tourist spots in Bur Dubai. Buildings are preserved in typical Arabian styles and it is also home to several museums. The museums allow you enter the houses and see typical Arabian interiors within the quarter, along with mosques and a small surviving segment of the original Dubai city wall.

9. Visit Jebel Hafeet

The second highest peak in the UAE, Jebel Hafeet gives you a perfect  platform for a road drive after which you’ll be able to see across the area’s vast sweep of desert located in Al Ain.

10. Visit Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization

Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization holds a wealth of fascinating and properly-laid out exhibits, which trace the Islam’s course from the very early years of the Islamic empire through its spread into Asia and Africa. Many displays feature rare manuscripts and religious documents, and tourist will find them easy to understand thanks to the excellent information boards placed in strategic spots in the Museum.

11. Al Bidya Mosque

Al Bidya Mosque is the oldest mosque in the United Arab Emirates and it is one of UAE’s most important historical sites. The entire surrounding area is an archaeological site, where many pottery and metal artifacts have been dug out.

12. Dreamland Aqua Park

This is the largest water park in the United Arab Emirates, located in Umm Al Quwain; and it fulfills multiple purposes like games, competition and dining places. The main attractions in the gaming area of Aqua Park are the Go kart competition, beach volleyball, water polo and the likes.

13. Emirates Motorplex

If you are a fan of car racing, this is definitely the best place for you to be. Located in Umm Al Quwain, Emirates Motorplex’s surroundings and settings for the racing are outstanding which make the environment very thrilling and amazing. There are 5 different tracks for every kind of racing like the quad bikes, drag ars, motocross and endurance race cars.

14. Miracle Garden

The Miracle Garden is a flower garden located in the district of Dubailand, Dubai. The garden is the world’s largest natural flower garden in the world with over 50 million flowers and 250 million plants on a space of over 72,000 square meters. The Garden holds the Guinness World Record for largest flower structure forming the shape of Airbus 380.

15. Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi is an art and civilization museum. The museum was inaugurated in November 2017 by French President Emmanuel Macron and UAE Vice President Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Getting a ticket will give you access to the museum galleries, exhibitions, Children’s Museum and public places underneath the dome.

16. The Lost Chambers Aquarium

Designed around the theme of the Lost City of Atlantis, the underwater tunnels serve as an immersive experience into a lost civilization of ship wreck and ruins. In the lost chambers, you will experience the most amazing and colorful collection of underwater life in 10 beautiful chambers. The Lost Chambers Aquarium is located in Atlantis, The Palm, in Dubai.

17. Ski Dubai

Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort with 22,500 square meters of indoor ski area. It is part of the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, one of the largest shopping malls in the world. It features a penguin enclosure with a theater complex located inside the Mall of the Emirates.

18. Wild Wadi Waterpark

An outdoor water park in Dubai situated in the area of Jumeirah, next to the Burj Al Arab and the Jumeriah Beach Hotel, Wild Wadi Water Park is the perfect getaway for families who want to cool down with 17 water slides and three indoor and outdoor pools.

19. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

The Ferrari World is an amusement park in Abu Dhabi. It is the first Ferrari-branded theme park and has the record for the largest space frame structure ever built. This amusement park is home to the world’s fastest roller coaster named Formula Rossa. In addition to that, there are several other roller coasters and family-friendly rides and simulators.

20. Emirates Palace

The Emirates Palace is probably the most luxurious attraction in the whole of UAE. Building this hotel cost over 3 billion dollars. No reservation is needed to see this building, although, you will want to mind what you wear as they have a very strict dress code. Most of UAE Ministers spend their leisure in this 5-star hotel.