Highlights

From idyllic islands to sophisticated cities, many exotic holiday destinations are just a short flight from the UAE; so many, in fact, that it’s easy to forget how many fantastic gems can be reached without even leaving the country. The UAE comprises seven very different emirates – Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain – and each has a weekend break or overnight stay in them. They are all within easy driving distance of each other, and even a trip from Dubai to the northern-most emirate of Ras Al Khaimah takes less than two hours. In this sense, the UAE is the ultimate ‘staycation’ destination.

Glitzy cities
Living by the mantra that bigger is better, Dubai boasts architectural icons like Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab, and gargantuan resorts such as Atlantis, The Palm. Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, is not far behind in the opulence stakes, from the $5 billion Emirates Palace to the thrill-seeking Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld. History buffs will find plenty to marvel at in the cultural capital of Sharjah, with its myriad of heritage attractions, and neighbouring Ajman has picture-perfect beaches.

When it comes to exploring the great outdoors, there’s no beating the smaller emirates of the north like Ras Al Khaimah  and Umm Al Quwain. Meanwhile, nearby Fujairah is an adrenaline junkie’s paradise, with activities designed to make the best use of the rugged landscape, including wadi bashing, mountain biking and hiking.

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