Luxurious hotels, warm sea, amazing entertainment – only a small part of the tourism industry of the Arab Emirates. This hot Middle Eastern country offers a vacation full of unique experiences. But if you are looking for where to vacation in the UAE, find out in advance about the features of different resorts. They differ in climate, infrastructure and prices. Knowing the specifics of each emirate, you can easily pick up a place for a family vacation, a romantic trip or a quiet vacation in the lap of tropical nature.
Where to go for a beach holiday in the UAE
The country is administratively divided into seven emirates, which are washed by the waters of the two great bays, the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.
The Arab Emirates are located in the subtropics, so they are suitable for swimming all year round. There are hotel areas with comfortable beaches along the coastline of the country. Each of the emirates has its own coast and its own resorts.
In addition to comfortable beach areas, resorts offer interesting attractions, dance clubs, water parks. But each emirate has its own unique face. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are famous for their stunning architecture and excellent shopping malls, but Sharjah offers a quiet holiday for the whole family. The quiet Fujairah area is perfect for parents with young children, lovers of diving and snorkeling.
In deciding which resort to choose, consider the climatic features of the country. In winter and autumn it is more pleasant to swim in Dubai, Sharjah or Fujairah, as the water in the Persian Gulf keeps the summer heat for a long time. The heat in the spring and late summer is better in Fujairah on the Gulf of Oman.
Tip: Start your acquaintance with the Emirates in Dubai.
This megalopolis resort is adored by lovers of leisure, full of luxury and comfort. White beaches along the clear sea, five-star hotels and futuristic buildings have become the hallmark of Dubai. The beauty of the city is complemented by an artificial island in the form of a giant palm tree, lying in the Persian Gulf. Right from the beach chair you can see one of the highest skyscrapers in the world – Burj al-Arab, built in the form of a sail.
If you are thinking in what city in the UAE to go for a beach holiday, no doubt you choose Dubai. The warm sea and sunbathing are available all year round. Even in winter, from December to March, the water temperature is about 17 degrees Celsius.
Dubai’s countless beaches are divided into three types:
- hotel beaches;
Among this variety it is easy to find a place that suits your mood – a quiet romantic corner or a young beach with bars and restaurants. The most popular place is Jumeirah Open Beach. Here is everything that creates an atmosphere of serene pleasure – sun loungers, umbrellas, jet skis and catamaran rentals. Children can have fun in the playground and see hundreds of kites soaring in the sky.
If you’re looking for the best place to go for water sports, head to Sunset Beach. For the keen surfers there are boards and instructors for rent.
Dubai is considered an expensive resort, but there are different levels of accommodation – from luxury hotels to bed and breakfast hotels offering only room and breakfast. Luxury lovers are advised by luxury hotels on the island of Palma, where gourmet meals are held by the pool, accompanied by jazz bands. Tourists find a variety of entertainment here – water park, diving center, dolphinarium. The hotels have spas with over 50 beauty treatments.
Those who prefer less posh resorts should take a closer look at the Deira district. There are no hotels located on the 1st coastline, so the prices here are lower. The local beach Mamzar is no less comfortable than Jumeirah Open Beach.
Fans of maritime adventure will love the Marina area. The beach overlooks the majestic skyscrapers. The jewel of the Marina is the largest inflatable water park on the planet, as well as many surfing and parasailing stations.
The third largest emirate in the UAE, Sharjah is located 40 km from Dubai. Its coastline is bathed by the waters of both the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. The climate is, as in most parts of the UAE – warm and dry from December to March, hot and humid in summer.
Holidays in Sharjah are no less comfortable than in Dubai, but the prices are lower. The reason is that Sharjah is the oldest of the Emirates, and there is still a strict observance of the laws of Islam. Even tourists are required to be modest in dress and avoid drinking alcoholic beverages outside the hotel. All-inclusive hotels in Sharjah do not include alcohol.
If you are interested in where to spend your holidays with your family, you will find Sharjah to your liking. The beaches are sandy and comfortable. Each beach has sun beds and umbrellas, cafes, toilets. The most popular beaches are Al Corniche and Al Khan. There you can not only swim and sunbathe, but also ride jet skis. There is also a coral bay at the resort, where divers dive.
Sharjah is a resort with a measured and relaxing atmosphere where you can go with children of all ages. Toddlers will love the playground on the beach with a gentle descent into the sea. School age kids will love the water park, aquarium, and Al Montazah amusement park.
In the city and its surroundings is about 200 hotels, among which prevail hotels three or four stars. Some of them do not have their own beaches. Those looking for where to relax in the UAE by the sea should choose a hotel that provides a shuttle to the public beaches. In Sharjah there is practically no public transport, and cab rides are not cheap. But even local hotels without beaches offer services comparable in quality to the five-star hotels in Egypt.
Sharjah deservedly bears the title of the cultural capital of the country. History buffs will enjoy visiting museums and architectural monuments during hot hours.
The emirate of Ajman is a quieter and cheaper resort in the UAE. Prices here are lower than in Sharjah and Dubai, with the same quality of service.
The Emirate is the smallest in the country. The length of the coast is only 16 km, but it is famous for its clean white sand and comfortable gentle descent to the sea. A vacation in Ajman is a combination of beach vacation and sightseeing with a cozy atmosphere that is lost in the larger cities of the UAE. But like all authentic neighborhoods, it’s a favorite.
Swimming is best, as throughout the Arab Emirates, in the spring and fall. Most hotels are on the beachfront. Public beaches are not inferior in comfort – everywhere there are sun beds, umbrellas, deck chairs. For entertainment there are water slides, amusement rides and cafes. An interesting feature of Ajman’s beaches is a lot of areas for barbecues. Fans of water sports will enjoy diving, surfing and parasailing.
In addition to the beach, there are many original activities including:
- Walking in the Al Zoro Nature Reserve, home to pink flamingos;
- A visit to the fish market with auctions of fish and marine animals;
- Ajman Fort.
If you wish, you can easily reach Dubai and Sharjah by public transport or cab. You can also see the sights of other emirates as part of tours.
The capital of the country is slightly inferior to Dubai in the organization of holidays and festivals. But the local tourist infrastructure is more harmonious, you can feel the high culture. Abu Dhabi will suit the tourist who is hesitant about choosing a resort. There are first-class beaches, interesting places for family holidays, many historical and cultural attractions. True, this emirate is the most expensive.
Whatever time you choose to vacation, the emirate will welcome you with warm and sunny weather. The most pleasant period is from October to April, when the temperature remains +28 ° C.
The name Abu Dhabi means both the capital of the country and the largest of the seven emirates, where 80% of the total area of the United Arab Emirates. Its territory includes an archipelago of 200 islands, as well as vast mountains and deserts. The length of the coastline of the emirate is 400 km. In the eastern region of the emirate is the famous resort of Al Ain.
Most of the hotels are located on several interconnected islands off the west coast. The area is home to the stunning beaches of Saadiyat Island, the entertainment complexes on Yas Island and the famous landmarks – the Corniche promenade and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
You do not need to stay in a luxury front line hotel to relax by the sea. In Abu Dhabi, it is easy to find a well-maintained paid beach. Just seven minutes from the city center is an island Saadiyat with snow-white sand. Here you have everything to relax in comfort – sun loungers, umbrellas, changing rooms, toilets. For those who like to have fun there are beach clubs and restaurants.
Lovers of leisure will love the beaches of artificial island of Yas. Local authorities prohibit noise in the area, providing guests a quiet merging with nature against the background of white sand, palm trees and warm sea. And if you get bored with swimming, you can go to Ferrari World, an indoor theme park located on the island. On Yasa, tourists visit interesting attractions, including:
- A water park with 42 rides;
- Fun Works family recreation area;
- Yas Shopping Center;
- a yacht marina.
Another popular beach spot is Corniche, known for its landscaped 8-kilometer promenade with children’s playgrounds, cafes and restaurants, and biking paths. Here is the beach, awarded with the Blue Flag for purity of the sea and excellent service. It consists of three sections – for families, singles and the general public. There is a small fee to enter the first two sections.
Tourists are offered to rent deck chairs, aqua motorcycles, snorkeling equipment. There is a playground for kids. You can rent a bike to ride around the surrounding area.
If you have long dreamed of flying to an exotic country on the ocean coast, feel free to choose Fujairah. It is the only one of the seven Arab Emirates located on the Gulf of Oman of the Indian Ocean.
The resort has a cooler climate during the hot season than the rest of the country. Hajar Mountains protect it from the winds from the desert. Even in May and September, when other emirates are soaking from the heat of + 40 C, the water and air in Fujairah is cooler by four or five degrees.
But in winter it’s a couple of degrees warmer than in the other emirates and you can almost always swim in the sea.
This year our friends were in Fujairah in January – the water is +26 and the air is +24ᵒ C – of course they were swimming. It was a lot cooler in Sharjah at the same time with sea waves and no desire to take a dip. From minuses – far from Dubai and a bit boring. The main attraction of the resort is the ability to adapt to a wide range of situations.
This resort is much quieter than Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Sandy beaches stretching for 90 km along the coastline are framed with palm trees and mangroves. Hotels on the coastline offer a full range of services – from sun loungers to massage parlors. There are also plenty of private beaches with water slides, scooter rentals, playgrounds and restaurants.
Fujairah has many free beaches without infrastructure, including:
- Umbrella, a vast strip of coastline in the city of El Fujairah;
- Kalba – an unequipped sandy beach in the town of Kalba;
- Banana – the shores of the island of the same name opposite El Fujairah;
- Sambraid – public beach area in the town of Dibba.
The seabed off the coast of Fujairah is a true paradise for divers. Coral bushes, motley fish, turtles and shipwrecks all attract diving enthusiasts. Local diving centers offer instructors and equipment. Saltwater fishing is common in the Al Aqa area.
Bathing in the Gulf of Oman has its drawbacks – many beaches are strewn with fragments of coral and sea urchins. Enter the water without special slippers is impossible. In some parts of the bay a lot of jellyfish and poisonous plankton, leaving burns on the body of bathers. But in such places there are usually no equipped beaches.
Apart from beach holidays, Fujairah offers interesting excursions – trips to the mountains and dry river beds, visits to ancient forts, swimming in healing mineral springs. Children will be fun in the indoor amusement park Fun City, or in shopping malls, where there are play corners.
The cost of recreation in Fujairah is much cheaper than in Dubai or Fardjah. That said, most hotels are all-inclusive.
Umm Al Quwain
The name of this emirate is translated as the “mother of two elements” – water and earth. The coastline is 50 km long. The waters lapping over the Gulf are always warm, never dropping below +17° C, even in winter. In late spring and early summer, when the heat in the Dubai area is stifling, Umm Al Quwain enjoys a cool sea breeze.
Unfortunately, the sea in the small emirate is used more for fishing. Tourism here is underdeveloped. There are no 5-star hotels, the guest houses are mainly concentrated on the peninsula in the old part of Umm Al-Quwain and the islands near the coast. But all hotels on the 1st coastline and beaches with white sand are equipped with everything you need, from sun beds to animation. The descent to the water is sloping, easy for swimming with children. The islands are many free beaches, surrounded by mangroves.
Lovers of outdoor activities can do canoeing, sea fishing, diving and windsurfing. Romantic couples choose sailing boat trips to uninhabited islands and mangrove swamps. You can spend a fun day with the whole family at Dreamland Water Park.
Umm Al-Quwain does not offer the luxury and glitz, unlike the major resorts, but the rest here is quieter and cheaper. And the emirate also allows the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages. If you want to see Dubai, it is easy to get there by cab – the distance is only 38 km.
Ras Al Khaimah
The northernmost emirate of the country offers its guests a real atmosphere of an Arabian fairy tale. The azure sea, terracotta deserts and picturesque mountains – all this is Ras Al Khaimah, which is located just 45 minutes from Dubai Airport. The resort has earned a reputation as a fun and harmonious, it is interesting to all – beach lovers, family tourists, lovers of history and culture.
The climate here is hot, especially in summer, when high humidity adds to the heat. Experienced tourists recommend to come here in winter, when the air is drier and the temperature drops to +20-25 ° C. Those who come to rest in summer will have to spend most of the day in hotels, shopping centers and restaurants with air conditioners.
Most of the coast is occupied by first-line hotels. Tourists from the more remote parts of the resort are allowed in for a fee. During the day you can find all kinds of water activities – jet skis, catamarans, yachts and parasailing. In the evenings there are beach parties with hot drinks, which are legal in Ras Al Khaimah.
The public beaches are free, but there are few sun loungers or umbrellas. Since there are always a lot of locals here, you have to follow a dress code. Women must wear closed swimsuits, men must wear loose shorts.
You don’t have to swim and sunbathe to have fun at sea in Ras Al Khaimah. Tourists enjoy cruises, fishing on sailing boats, canoeing between islands overgrown with mangroves. Children can be taken to the water park Ice Land or entertainment Sacr Park, where you can ride a rented electric car, roller skates and even a camel. Next to the park is a zoo with animals of local fauna.
The tourism industry in Ras Al Khaimah offers a variety of excursions – in the mountains, to the UAE’s greatest peak Jebel Jais, to the healing hot springs of Hutt, to ancient forts. Both adults and children are interested in visiting the camel race.
But the most striking impressions are the desert safaris. The striking scenery, fascinating ride through the dunes on a camel and a traditional dinner at the fire is an immersion in the atmosphere of Arab life, as it was in the old days. The desert is especially beautiful in spring, when the sands are covered in blooming plants.
Which resorts are worth flying to
The peak tourist season in the UAE falls in winter. From December to March, tourists from all over the planet flock to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Although the country has subtropical heat all year round, winter temperatures are almost halved.
The best period to visit the Emirates is from November to March, when the weather is pleasantly warm and not too humid. During this time it is comfortable to swim in the sea, take walks and make excursions. Even in the middle of winter the temperature rarely drops below +17 ° C, which corresponds to the Russian weather in May.
Summers in the country are extremely hot and very humid. The temperature sometimes exceeds + 55 ° C. In such heat tourists must spend most of the day indoors with air conditioning. Visits to the beach are drastically reduced, trips and excursions become dangerous to health.
It does not rain at all from June to September. At night, it gets a little cooler as the winds from the desert blow, but by six in the morning the stifling heat sets in again. At this time to travel to the Arab Emirates is not recommended, although the cost of tours is reduced significantly. The only exception is Fujairah, which is washed by cool ocean waters, but even here the summer temperatures reach + 38-40 ° C.
From November to March a long-awaited coolness descends on the country. The temperature is set at +25-28 ° C. Winter holidays in the Emirates for compatriots is an opportunity to bask on the beach and see the greenery after a long cold spell. This time is comfortable for mothers with small children and the elderly.
In autumn and winter, it is better to choose Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah or Sharjah. The warm weather is favorable for beach holidays, city walks, desert safaris. Winter and early spring in the UAE – the time of festivals and fairs.
In October and April-May it gets hotter. The temperature does not reach critical heights, but the beaches and attractions are less tourists. People who are good with the heat can choose these periods to save money. The cost of tours during these months is usually reduced.