United Arab Emirates

Capital:
Abu Dhabi

Currency
Dirham

Best time to visit:
October, November, March and April coincide with the most pleasant period: the heat is intense but not unbearable (30 ° C during the day and 20 ° C at night). 

In a word:
Marhaba (hi)

Vaccines
None

Warnings:
- One in two tourists find themselves having stomach problems: avoid drinking tap water (even if officially safe) and do not even use it to brush your teeth, not even in 4-star hotels.
- In the month of Ramadan it is forbidden to eat, drink and smoke in public during the day. The ban does not apply in international hotels.

At the table:
Emirati cuisine is affected by the Lebanese influence. Everywhere you can find shwarma (sandwiches made with pita bread) which are tasty, nutritious and cheap. 

Essential experiences:
A morning dedicated to surfing on the sand dunes before launching on the snow slopes of Ski Dubai, the indoor ski resort located inside the Mall of Emirates; Pay a visit to the Burj-al-Arab which has the shape of a sail hoisted over the water to admire true luxury, that of 7 stars; Experience an excursion in the desert, starting from Abu Dhabi in 4 × 4 or on the back of a camel, followed by a dinner in a tent with the Bedouins.

At the foot of the Burj Al Arab

The skyscrapers rise majestically into the sky, 7-lane roads, gigantic shopping malls, unbridled luxury, you can ski even if you are 50th out: United Arab Emirates.

The United Arab Emirates is a confederation of hereditary monarchies (emirates), in each of which the emir is absolute sovereign in his state.

The country is usually identified with the city of Dubai, but there are seven emirates that make up the federation: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaima, Sharjah and Umm al-Qaywayn. 

This time we only visited Dubai and Abu Dhabi with the plan to return soon to experience the other 5 emirates.

The federation's wealth is based almost exclusively on oil and natural gas 

The United Arab Emirates are the symbol of sudden changes: only two centuries ago their territory was desert and poor, today it is home to one of the richest and most luxurious places on the planet.

“The Pirate Coast” (as the Emirates were called in the past) was an area known for the exchange of spices and slaves; the discovery of oil in 1966 and its importance in the global economy changed the face of the Arab Emirates in a very short time: today cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi are very popular destinations for luxury tourism. 

Land of contrasts and contradictions, within them coexist the tallest skyscrapers in the world and the expanses of the desert with the Bedouins, the ultramodern shopping centers together with the ancient fishing villages. 

21 october Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)

Abu Dhabi, the political and economic capital of the United Arab Emirates, is a modern, very rich city. Until fifty years ago it was only a small fishing village, with a fort and some coral houses. 

It offers endless sports and entertainment possibilities, as well as a crystalline and warm sea, and unique attractions in the world, such as the Ferrari World Theme Park, the first theme park dedicated to Ferrari, on the Island of Yas, or the new Warner Bros Wolrd, the Louvre Museum in Saadiyat which will be followed by the Zayed National Museum, Guggenheim Museum of Abu Dhabi, The Performing Arts Center, a multifunctional space for theatrical performances, dance performances and concerts and the Maritime Museum, still in the planning stage.

Thanks to the many top-notch hotels, located right on the waterfront, and the wonderful white beaches lapped by crystal clear waters, Abu Dhabi is also an ideal destination for a seaside holiday.

Today it is one of the richest cities in the world, the capital of a country that holds about 8% of the world's oil resources and is experiencing growing economic development. 

If you are looking for what to do in Abu Dhabi, stroll along the seafront, known as the Corniche, which stretches for 8km and is deliberately reminiscent of the Nice Promenade. This is the best way to get to know the city lifestyle. In fact, La Corniche is the most popular waterfront in the city and attracts both tourists and locals every day.

It is dotted with playgrounds for children, cycle areas, pedestrian paths, cafes, restaurants and Corniche Beach, a supervised seaside park that has been awarded the Blue Flag, a prestigious international recognition that certifies beaches and marinas with clean and safe bathing areas. while around there are splendid natural islands, each with different characteristics.

There is no shortage of gastronomic specialties: from sophisticated trendy cafes to international restaurants up to local delicacies to be found in the souqs, following the scent of saffron or cardamom, peeking into the windows of the jewelers in the meantime. 

22 october Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)

In Abu Dhabi you absolutely must visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the most important architectural work in the country.

Considered one of the wonders of the modern world, it is the largest and most beautiful mosque in the Emirates.
The mosque was built in 2007 at the behest of Sheikh Zayed and is presented in a fascinating oriental style, with 82 domes and two splendid minarets.
The whole building is built in fine white marble and consists of 1096 columns with capitals in gold and precious stones. Instead, the inner courtyard is home to stunning mosaics spanning 17,000 square meters, as well as seven gold and Swarovski crystal chandeliers measuring 10 meters in diameter.

It can accommodate up to 41,000 people!

The one that the Emiratis had planned to be larger even than that of Mecca, arousing the protests of the Saudis which led to the downsizing of the majestic initial project ...

The interiors can also be visited by non-Muslims at set times as long as they wear white tunics and turbans. You can then admire the largest Persian carpet in the world, handmade and coming from theIran.
The mosque also houses an Islamic library among the richest in the world, a real world heritage that houses an immense collection of sacred texts.

The building also has a strong cultural and social value at its base, as it was built at the behest of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in order to unite the cultural diversity of the Islamic world through the historical and modern values of architecture.

With a passage we reach the prestigious "Emirates Palace", parking right outside the main hall while a long line of butlers watched us perplexed. This building is famous because it is the hotel where all the political figures or Hollywood stars stay ...

It is in fact the most expensive hotel in the Emirates and is one of the rare 7-star hotels on the globe.

This incredible structure is located in front of one of the most beautiful beaches in Abu Dhabi, and is built in classic Arabic style with a central dome 70 meters high surrounded by 114 other smaller domes.
Consisting of 302 luxury rooms and 92 suites overlooking the Persian Gulf, the prices are not exactly affordable. In fact, a night at the Emirates Palace can cost between 500 and 10,000 euros!

However, it is possible to visit this wonderful building even if you are not a guest of the hotel. Furthermore, along the kilometric central corridor, you can discover the archaeological finds kept inside and you can take pleasant walks in the beautiful Arab gardens.

In addition to the grand mosque, you can also find beautiful beaches in Abu Dhabi. The city in fact overlooks the Persian Gulf.

Among the most beautiful we indicate: Yas Island and Saadiyat.

Other monuments and interesting places?

The Ferrari World Theme Park, the first theme park dedicated to Ferraris.

The Louvre Museum, the Zayed National Museum, the Guggenheim Museum of Abu Dhabi.

The Heritage Village, a typical spice and textile market.

The Etihad Towers Observatory.

In short, you certainly don't get bored!

23 october Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)

Today we leave to Dubai, by bus!
The transfer, although very cheap, was very tiring ...
Almost four hours in traffic despite the roads even with seven lanes but super crowded!

Dubai rises among the desert dunes: a city made of skyscrapers, artificial gardens and malls where everything can be built and bought.

City of records, the place that everyone is curious to see.

Here you will be enchanted by the Burj Khalifa skyscraper (the highest in the world with its 830 meters) or the Rotating Tower, a skyscraper that rotates on itself, or the famous "Vela" (the 7-star hotel Burj Al Arab) or “The Palm”, a series of artificial palm-shaped islands, visible even from space.

But Dubai is also chosen for its sea: the beautiful Jumeirah Beach, world famous for the unmistakable Burj Al Arab, is the area called Dubai Marina, which not only allows direct access to the sea, but is also surrounded by the elegant residential district The Walk, a vast commercial area full of elegant shops in Dubai Media City and a large water park dedicated to children (Widi Wadi Waterpark). 

Very well, we have a few days, what attractions we absolutely cannot miss when visiting Dubai?

Let's start with the Burj al-Khalifa

As we said, the tallest skyscraper in the world. However, although full of futuristic features, it too does not depart from the Islamic tradition: its shape in fact recalls that of a spiral minaret.

What's inside it?

Everything: offices, shops, apartments, hotels and even panoramic terraces. In particular, on floors 124, 125 and 148 you can see all of Dubai, from 5.30 to 23.30, from Friday to Saturday.

Dubai Mall

In the center of the city, right next to the Burj Khalifa, is the Dubai Mall.

This huge building is the most visited shopping mall in the world!

A shopping center that covers the extent of 50 football fields with more than 1200 shops and hundreds of restaurants, you will surely find something that will suit your tastes and your budget.

And there's more:
This shopping temple is also home to indoor waterfalls, an aquarium, an ice rink, a go-kart track, a flight simulator, cinema, arcade games and more!

The Dubai Mall is open daily from 10:00 until midnight.
Restaurants and refreshment areas until one in the morning.

Burj al-Arab

The Burj al-Arab is one of the few 7-star hotels in the world.

Of course, staying in a luxury sea view suite is quite expensive!

But even if this hotel is not for everyone's pockets: you can enter the most luxurious hotel in the world for a few hours by booking a lunch, snack or dinner at the Burj al-Arab restaurant.

Here are the different options available:

  • Snacks and tea at SkyView Bar on the 27th floor - Enjoy the view accompanied by pastries and cakes.
  • Al Yam ball lunch or dinner - The restaurant is located on the ground floor and offers a breathtaking view of the Arabian Gulf.
  • Access to the SkyView Bar + 2 free drinks
  • Lunch or dinner at the Al Mahara Aquarium restaurant - Enjoy the unique experience of tasting the dishes of an award-winning chef in the middle of an aquarium!

The Dubai Fountain

This fountain (the largest water fountain in the world) is one of the main tourist attractions in Dubai.

The fountain show takes place several times a day on the artificial lake located at the exit of the Dubai Mall, at the foot of the Burj Khalifa.

The best thing is to go there at nightfall, when the tower is illuminated. It is simply magical to admire the ballet of water jets dancing to the rhythm of the music.

The show takes place every 30 minutes between 6pm and 11pm (there are also some during the day).

Access is free.

A tip: to get an optimal point of view, try to be there as soon as possible, as the fountain show attracts thousands of tourists!

If you want to see the sound and light show up close, you should take an abra (a traditional boat) on the artificial lake.

The Deira district and its souks

Dubai is not just luxury and excess: there are still traditions and authentic neighborhoods to visit!

During your trip, you should really take a walk in the Deira district, a picturesque and popular place with several souks:

  • The Gold Souk and its huge number of shops with magnificent jewelry displays. It is the largest of its kind in the Middle East.
  • The Perfume Souk, on Sikkat Al Khail street.
  • The Spice Souk and its colorful stalls where you can stock up on curry, saffron, cinnamon and much more.

Dubai Museum / Al-Fahidi Fort

The Dubai Museum is located in Bur Dubai, in the Al Fahidi Fortress.

It traces the entire history of Dubai, from the first tribes who lived there during the economic boom of the 1960s, to future plans for the next few years.

Here you have the opportunity to see: the life of the Bedouins, sea travel, flora, fauna, dances, weapons, local crafts and architectural development. The museum is interesting and allows you to get an idea of what the city looked like before its impressive development.

This time we focused only on the two most famous Emirates; in the next trips we will go to the discovery of the other five, each of which retains its strong identity and traditions.

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