Exquisite beaches, bustling markets and towering skyscrapers come with an exotic twist during United Arab Emirates holidays. Most visitors to the seven emirates stay in sun-drenched Dubai, but there is plenty more to this fascinating Middle East country.
Holidays in United Arab Emirates, which is commonly referred to simply as Emirates or UAE, can be filled with high-end hotels, luxury shopping and world-class restaurants, all soaked in a large dose of heat and sunshine.
UAE holidays can be enjoyed in any one of the seven emirates, which are: Dubai; Abu Dhabi; Ajman; Fujairah; Sharjah; Ras al-Khaimah; and Umm al-Quwain. The country sits on the Persian Gulf and flights take around seven hours from the UK.
Most holidays in UAE are taken in Dubai, and direct flights run from six UK airports to Dubai International Airport (DXB). Dubai is dripping in bling and sizzles in year-round sun, and holidaymakers lap up the rays on miles of lovely beaches. Casting shadows on the city are some of the world's most impressive developments. The Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest structure, while the luxury Burj Al Arab is an iconic shape on the coastline. The equally impressive Palm Islands are manmade islands in the shape of a huge palm tree.
Dubai attracts holidaymakers keen to explore the shopping malls after a morning on the beach, and those who want to splash the cash in the gold markets (or souks) following an adrenaline-pumping jeep safari in the desert. It's a place of contrasts, where western ideas meet eastern principles.
To the east of Dubai are the Hatta Mountains, which are also worthy of exploration.
For a more traditional and authentic Arabian experience, give Abu Dhabi a whirl. The luxury is still set on full throttle and in Abu Dhabi you'll find the thrills of Ferrari World.
The other emirates are no less luxurious and retain a more authentic Arabian feel.
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It's hot, hot, hot in UAE. Summer highs past 40C are the norm, with little to no rainfall. Winter temperatures drop to a more comfortable average of 25C, with night-time temperatures falling another 10C.
Eid Al Fitr: Also known simply as “Eid”, this Muslim holiday marks the end of the fasting period of Ramadan and is a time for celebrating and feasting with friends and family. The date of Eid changes every year.
Shopping Festival; February: More than three million people make the pilgrimage to Dubai for a month of shopping heaven. Huge discounts are applied at shopping malls and fashion shows showcase the latest threads.
Dubai Desert Classic; February/March: An annual event on the PGA calendar, this popular competition tees off at the Emirates Golf Course in Dubai.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix; November: This is a country that loves fast cars and you don't see many faster than those that zip around the Yas Marina Circuit during the final race of the F1 season.
National Day Festival; December 2: The second day of the month sees celebrations all over the country to mark independence, which was granted in 1971. Fireworks crown cultural events in every emirate.