Located on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven Emirates, each with its own unique charm and character. The UAE is a patchwork of history, modernity, and natural beauty. In this article, we’ll answer some of the most commonly asked questions about each region's history, economy, and tourist attractions. We also share some fun facts that you may not know about the seven Emirates of the UAE.
What is the biggest Emirate? Approximately 87% of the UAE's total land area is located inside Abu Dhabi, making it the largest Emirate. Its vast stretch includes beautiful deserts, a coastline, and a bustling metropolis.
Abu Dhabi is an excellent destination for travellers looking for a mix of modern luxury and cultural immersion, and it’s also accommodating for the whole family. Tourists can visit the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, relax on beautiful beaches, and enjoy a rich cultural scene. It’s renowned for its stunning islands and huge theme parks, like Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi.
Dubai, often referred to as the “jewel of the UAE,” is surprisingly one of the smallest of the seven Emirates of the UAE. It makes up for its size with its larger-than-life skyscrapers and its glamorous societal scene.
Which Emirate is best for a holiday? Though the answer to this will probably have a lot of mixed reviews, Dubai is perhaps the most popular choice. It’s an unrivalled destination for travellers seeking a luxurious holiday experience.
It’s home to iconic landmarks like Palm Jumeirah, a man-made island paradise. It’s also the ideal Emirate to visit if you’re seeking retail therapy, where visitors can indulge in world-class shopping at places like Ibn Battuta Mall, which offers a superb shopping experience in a unique space inspired by the voyages of legendary explorer Ibn Battuta.
There’s something for everyone, as it offers a diverse range of leisure and entertainment options and a global and contemporary cultural scene.
Sharjah is regarded as the cultural capital of the seven Emirates of the UAE, even being designated as the "Cultural Capital of the Arab World" by UNESCO in 1998. It's known for its preservation and promotion of Arabic culture, heritage, and art.
In terms of a holiday experience, this Emirate offers a sophisticated, understated, and culturally enriching spectacle - hosting numerous museums, art galleries, and cultural festivals. Al Noor Island is an artistic and natural wonderland that’s worth visiting.
Often referred to as the "Rising Emirate," Ras Al Khaimah's diverse offerings make it a truly special destination within the United Arab Emirates. The beautiful Hajar Mountains are just one example of this Emirate's stunning natural scenery. It is also the location of Jebel Jais, the highest peak in the United Arab Emirates, which provides breathtaking panoramas and exciting adventures like zipping along the world's longest zipline.
Its well-preserved natural wonders include wadis, hot springs, and the beautiful deep red-hued desert. Ras Al Khaimah also has a rich cultural heritage, evident through its historic forts and archaeological sites.
Whether you're an adventure enthusiast or a seeker of tranquillity, this destination is a paradise for all outdoor activities, from rugged mountains to serene beaches on the Arabian Gulf.
Umm Al-Quwain is the least populated of the seven Emirates of the UAE and can be seen as the nation’s hidden gem. It’s known for its authentic charm and laid-back lifestyle. Those looking to soak up the local atmosphere would enjoy visiting Umm Al-Quwain, with its simplicity and rich traditional cultural landscape. Visitors can enjoy watersports and explore the historic Old Town.
Fujairah is the only Emirate with a coastline on the Gulf of Oman, and its beaches and coral reefs are perfect for scuba divers and snorkelers because of its isolated beaches. It lies at the centre of peaceful natural beauty in the Emirates, thanks to its vivid coral reefs and historic forts.
Which is the smallest Emirate? Ajman may be the smallest Emirate, but it's a coastal paradise with stunning beaches and a laid-back vibe.
Visitors seeking a relaxing coastal getaway will not be disappointed with Ajman. It features beautiful sandy beaches, a kind and inviting local community, and a deep and varied cultural history, providing an authentic glimpse into everyday Emirati life.
The Al-Murabaa Watchtower, built in the 18th century, and the Ajman Museum offer fascinating glimpses into the emirate's past. The souks of Ajman offer a cultural glimpse into the region’s art of craftsmanship and trade.
Whether you're in the market for the luxury of Dubai, the depth of culture in Sharjah, or the serenity of Umm Al-Quwain, you'll find it all within the seven Emirates of the UAE.
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