in the middle
The United Arab Emirates is a sun-glazed desert country based at the southeastern end of the Arabian Peninsular, bordered by Oman and Saudi Arabia, and fringed with an expansive Persian Gulf coast.
The UAE's city of Dubai is a sprawling metropolis of shimmering, futuristic high rises, luxury shopping, and flashy hotels, but there are plenty of old world heritage sites and traditional souk markets here, too. The capital city Abu Dhabi is speckled with magical mosques, cast with bountiful botanic gardens and lined with gold-sand beachfront.
Ras al-Khaimah, northeast of Dubai, is one of the 7 emirates that constitute the UAE. The coastal area of Ras al-Khaimah is flush with white-gold beachfront, and surrounded by sweeping green golf courses. Outdoor adventurers can take horseback tours through the desert and canyon-covered inland area.
Many argue that the best swimming, diving and sunbathing conditions in the UAE are found in the emirate of Fujairah, based at the UAE's eastern end. Fujairah is the only emirate to offer a coastline purely on the calm, pastel-blue waters of the Gulf Of Oman.
If beaches and big cities aren't your bag, find cheap hotels in the emirate of Dubai's Hatta exclave. This inland area is based in the Hajar Mountains, and offers cooler temperatures. It's a perfect getaway for active explorers, with hiking trails, camping sites, and safari tour routes strung throughout the copper-coloured hills. Historic 18th-century architectural relics are sprinkled throughout this area, too.
Search on dealchecker to find cheap hotels in the UAE's capital city of Abu Dhabi, based on a small island that strikes out into the Persian Gulf waters. Like its counterpart of Dubai, this glitzy city is a centre of culture, sports and, most importantly, leisure. Skyscrapers and mega-malls abound, and fine dining restaurants and golf clubs flourish. There are plenty of architectural marvels, too, like the 82 domes of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and the 18th-century Qasr al-Hosn fort.
In Dubai, the sleek neo-futurist skyscrapers, like the 160-story needle-sharp Burj Khalifa and the gigantic sail-shaped Burj Al Arab, make it seem like you're staying in a sci-fi city. Here, you can splurge in any number of upscale malls, take the kids to captivating aquariums and water parks and even enjoy an afternoon of skiing in the cave-like indoor Ski Dubai centre.
Dubai also celebrates a wealth of wide, unblemished beachfront – best experienced at the palm-fringed Jumeirah Beach.