For most people, the United Arab Emirates means just one place: Dubai, the sci-fi like city of iconic skyscrapers, stunning palm-shaped islands, city-sized shopping centres, and palatial beach resorts. But beyond the glitter of Dubai awaits a diverse mosaic of six more emirates, each with its own unique character, experience and allure.
Oil-rich Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital, is positioned as a culture and leisure hub. Beyond looms the vast Al Dhafra region, home to the northern reaches of the Rub Al Khali (Empty Quarter) desert’s rippling dunes. Its magical silence is interrupted only by the whisper of shifting sands rolling towards Saudi Arabia.
North of Dubai, Sharjah is the UAE’s art and heritage centre while Ras Al Khaimah is all about the beach – with a host of adventure-activities thrown in. Head east into the jagged embrace of the Hajar Mountains to experience a side of the UAE far removed from Dubai’s gloss.