Everyone has heard of Dubai – even if you don’t know where it is, you have heard of it, you know it’s dripping in money, and you know it’s big and brash. Despite that fact, Dubai is part of a much larger area, full of seriously fast growing leisure options, with resorts sat smartly on the Arabian Gulf, also within very easy reach of the fun of the desert oasis.

Obviously if you’re in the United Arab Emirates, or UAE for short, then you must call in to Dubai to check out the money mad amazement that this destination is famous for, but it’s also certainly worth noting that the UAE is about much more than Dubai itself.

Here are five other destinations you might like to check out to go alongside a jaunt to bright and vibrant Dubai.

Abu Dhabi

This is possibly one of the most beautiful places in the region, with blinding beach resorts and a plethora of tax free shopping opportunities. Luxury resorts line the area, with tourist attractions aplenty, amazing golf for those who enjoy that kind of thing, and a very romantic atmosphere – perfect for a honeymoon or romantic getaway. Head into the desert for a spot of nature, or visit the historic Al Jahili Fort and Al Ain Palace Museum.

Sharjah

Home to a top university, Sharjah is actually a tourist resort in its own right too, where you will find many entertainment options. Al Qasba is an entertainment dream all in one place, very much in-keeping with the Arabic theme. Here you’ll find restaurants and shopping, as well as traditional souks. The Eye of the Emirates is a must do, and on a clear day (of which there are many), you can see right across the Gulf, back over to Dubai. Al Hisns fort is a must visit too.

Ra’s al-Khaimah

This is a relatively new tourist destination, which means it has kept a lot of its authentic Arabic charm. The newly opened Bassata Desert Village is great for traditional desert-themed activities, as well as Banyan Tree Al Wadi – the first spa resort based in the desert in the Middle East.

Ajman

Life tends to revolve around The Corniche in Ajman, and rightly so, as this 16km stretch of amazing beach gives you breathtaking views over the Arabian Gulf, and is perfect for soaking up the sun. Al Naseem Nature Reserve and Al Zorah Nature Reserve should also be checked out, to give you an overview of the natural wildlife of the UAE, before finishing up with a relaxing break in Al Rashidiya Park.

Umm al-Qaiwain

This is a small area, but growing in term of tourism. If you love culture and history, this is probably the most authentically unspoilt area to visit, with around 7 castles to explore. Of course, you also have those obligatory clear waters for beach time. A very authentic place to visit.

As you can see, the UAE is about much more than just Dubai!

Photo Credit: Paolo Margari

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