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5 Best Places To Visit In The UAE That’s Not Dubai


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Alvera Smith


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is famed for its stunning architecture, luxurious resorts, and vibrant nightlife, with Dubai being the city that instantly comes to mind. However, beyond the glitz and glamour of Dubai, there are several other captivating destinations in the UAE that are equally worth exploring. If you’re looking to escape the bustling city life and discover hidden gems, then you’re in for a treat. In this article, we will delve into the 5 best places to visit in the UAE that are not Dubai. From the futuristic city of Abu Dhabi to the cultural hub of Sharjah, these destinations offer unique experiences and a glimpse into the rich heritage of the UAE. So pack your bags, and get ready to uncover the lesser-known but equally enchanting side of the UAE.

The Beautiful Oasis of Liwa

If you’re looking for a stunning escape from the bustling city life of Dubai, the Liwa Oasis should definitely be on your bucket list. Located in the western region of the UAE, this picturesque oasis is surrounded by rolling sand dunes and offers a serene retreat for nature enthusiasts.

With its lush date palm groves, tranquil freshwater springs, and traditional Bedouin culture, Liwa provides a unique glimpse into the rich heritage of the UAE. Explore the vast expanse of the Empty Quarter, the largest contiguous sand desert in the world, or embark on an unforgettable desert safari to witness the mesmerizing beauty of the golden dunes.

The Liwa Oasis is also home to the Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort, a luxurious retreat that offers world-class accommodations and breathtaking views of the desert landscape. Indulge in traditional Arabian hospitality and experience the ultimate relaxation at its finest.

Whether you’re interested in desert adventures, cultural immersion, or simply seeking a tranquil getaway, the Liwa Oasis is the perfect destination to experience the untouched beauty of the UAE.

The Majestic Musandam Peninsula

Escape the hustle and bustle of Dubai and venture to the remote and enchanting Musandam Peninsula. Located on the northernmost tip of the Arabian Peninsula, this hidden gem offers breathtaking views of towering cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and secluded bays.

Explore the mystical fjords of Musandam on a traditional dhow cruise and witness the stunning juxtaposition of the rugged mountains and the serene turquoise sea. Snorkel or dive into the pristine waters to discover the vibrant marine life that calls this region home.

For the adventure seekers, indulge in exhilarating activities such as kayaking, fishing, or even paragliding, and soak in the unparalleled beauty of the peninsula from new heights.

Immerse yourself in the local Omani culture by visiting the charming fishing villages dotted along the coast, and experience the warm hospitality of the locals. Sample delicious fresh seafood and traditional Omani cuisine, and marvel at the traditional wooden dhows that line the shores.

The Musandam Peninsula is a true haven for nature lovers and explorers, offering a serene and picturesque escape from the vibrant city life of Dubai.

The Historic Heritage of Al Ain

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the historic heritage of Al Ain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Garden City” of the UAE. Located in the eastern region of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain offers a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the country.

Visit the Al Ain Oasis, a vast expanse of date palm plantations and falaj irrigation system, showcasing the traditional agricultural practices of the region. Explore the Al Jahili Fort, an impressive fortress that has stood for centuries, or wander through the Al Ain National Museum to discover artifacts and exhibits that depict the region’s fascinating past.

Experience Emirati traditions and customs by visiting the Camel Market, where you can witness the bustling trade of these magnificent creatures. Take a relaxing stroll along the picturesque Al Ain Corniche and enjoy the serene atmosphere and stunning views of the Jebel Hafeet mountain range.

For a touch of adventure, head to the Hili Archaeological Park, home to ancient tombs and Bronze Age remnants, or visit the Al Ain Zoo to get up close and personal with a diverse array of wildlife.

Al Ain offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, making it a must-visit destination that’s not Dubai.

The Vibrant Cultural Hub of Sharjah

Just a short drive away from Dubai, you’ll find the vibrant cultural hub of Sharjah. Known as the “Cultural Capital of the UAE,” Sharjah is a treasure trove of art, history, and traditional Emirati heritage.

Explore the Sharjah Heritage Area and visit the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization to delve into the rich Islamic art and heritage. Discover the traditional Emirati architecture and learn about the customs and traditions of the region at the Sharjah Heritage Museum.

Experience the vibrant arts scene at the Sharjah Art Museum, which houses an impressive collection of contemporary and traditional art. Stroll through the charming Sharjah Art Square, filled with art galleries and creative spaces.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the bustling Blue Souk, a vibrant marketplace where you can find traditional handicrafts, jewelry, and textiles. Indulge in authentic Emirati cuisine at one of the many local restaurants and cafes in the area.

Sharjah is also home to a number of beautiful parks and outdoor spaces, providing a welcome respite from the city’s hustle. Spend a leisurely day at Al Noor Island, a lush oasis with stunning flora and fauna, or take a relaxing walk along the picturesque Al Qasba waterfront.

With its rich cultural offerings and vibrant atmosphere, Sharjah is a destination that should not be missed when exploring the UAE beyond Dubai.

The Coastal Charm of Fujairah

Nestled between the rugged Hajar Mountains and the crystal-clear waters of the Arabian Sea, Fujairah is a coastal paradise known for its pristine beaches and rich marine life. Escape the crowds and indulge in the tranquil beauty of this lesser-known emirate.

Relax on the stunning beaches with their powdery white sands and turquoise waters. Explore the vibrant coral reefs while snorkeling or diving, and encounter a colorful array of tropical fish and marine species.

For history enthusiasts, a visit to the Fujairah Fort is a must. Dating back to the 17th century, this beautifully preserved fort offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and provides insight into the region’s past.

Embark on a mesmerizing drive through the mountainous terrain of Fujairah and discover hidden wadis (valleys) and natural pools. Fujairah is also home to some of the finest hiking and trekking trails in the UAE.

Indulge in delicious seafood at the local restaurants lining the coastline, offering freshly caught fish and traditional Emirati dishes.

With its captivating coastal charm and natural beauty, Fujairah offers a peaceful and idyllic getaway from the bustling city life.


In conclusion, the United Arab Emirates offers a wealth of incredible destinations beyond Dubai. From the picturesque capital city of Abu Dhabi to the cultural hub of Sharjah, and the natural beauty of Ras Al Khaimah, there are plenty of places to explore and experience in this diverse country. Whether you’re interested in architectural wonders, pristine beaches, or thrilling adventures in the desert, the UAE has something to offer every type of traveler. So why limit yourself to just one destination when you can discover the hidden gems of the UAE beyond Dubai?


1. What are some must-visit places in the UAE that are not in Dubai?

Answer: Some top places to visit in the UAE beyond Dubai include Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, and Al Ain.

2. How far is Abu Dhabi from Dubai?

Answer: Abu Dhabi is approximately 150 kilometers away from Dubai, and it takes around 1.5 to 2 hours by car to travel between the two cities.

3. What attractions can I find in Sharjah?

Answer: Sharjah is known for its rich cultural heritage and offers attractions like the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, Al Noor Island, Sharjah Fort, and Qanat Al Qasba.

4. What makes Ras Al Khaimah a great destination?

Answer: Ras Al Khaimah is renowned for its stunning mountains, beautiful beaches, and outdoor activities such as desert safaris, hiking, and water sports.

5. Can I visit these places in the UAE on a day trip from Dubai?

Answer: Yes, it is possible to visit some of these places on a day trip from Dubai, depending on the distance and your itinerary. However, it is recommended to allocate more time to fully explore each destination.