A travel destination that couldn't be more different: from superlatives and luxury cars to breathtaking silence in the vastness of the desert. There is so much to discover that you can barely grasp the diversity of this region of the world on just one trip.
Country & people
The most popular travel destinations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE for short) are Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Fujairah. In the east, the Federation of the Seven Emirates borders on Oman, which is slowly becoming another holiday favorite in the Arab world. The capital of the union of states is Abu Dhabi, which, along with Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Al-Ain, is one of the country's five largest cities.
The UAE is one of the richest countries in the world with a rapidly growing population. The estimates are now at around 9 million inhabitants, but this is due to the strong economic growth, as 80% of the population are so-called “migrant workers”. A movement that occurred primarily in the last few decades and brought about social and societal changes for the country. Small, homogeneous pearl fishing settlements on the coast and farming villages inland became a modern, diverse and multicultural society. The influences of the different cultures have more of an effect on the exterior such as the architecture, which you will experience very impressively on your trip to Dubai.
The predominantly Islamic religious affiliation characterizes life in the UAE. The call to prayer sounds five times a day across the country and clothing, food, music and lifestyle are very closely linked to faith in the individual states. Due to the very high population growth of migrants, the country is extremely liberal and shows respect for other cultures and religions.
You will experience the most extreme contrasts when you move a little through the country. About two thirds of the UAE are sand or scree deserts. Savannah-like semi-deserts are also part of the picture. The wind, which blows over the land from the sea, moves the sand and new formations of dunes are created. In the east you will find the Hajar mountain range, which is up to 1,000m high in places. The west is much more populated due to regular rainfall (Masafi, Hatta) than the east. In the emirate of Abu Dhabi you can explore Al Ain and Liwa - two extensive oasis settlements.
The cuisine in the Emirates is very traditional and consists primarily of rice, fish and meat. For religious reasons, Muslims are not allowed to eat pork, so lamb and sheep are preferred - goat and beef are also common meats in Arab cuisine. Seafood is a key ingredient in local dishes and is often freshly caught.
The Arabs drink coffee and tea a lot and love it. You can get fresh mint tea or a delicious brewed coffee almost everywhere. If you have a particularly fine palate, you can also taste saffron or cardamom.
Faith-related abstinence from alcohol should also be respected by you, if possible. Where the offer is primarily aimed at tourists, alcohol is also served.
Many dishes originally come from neighboring states and other countries. So you can read that Iran and Oman have shaped Arab cuisine. In Dubai you will find many restaurants and cafes that serve tasty dishes from the Near and Middle East. You can often find foods like dates, raisins, almonds, pine trees, and pistachios. Spices are used in a wide variety of ways. To name just a few and whet your appetite for local food: saffron, cinnamon, lime flavor, turmeric, cumin, aniseed, coriander. Hmmmmm….
If you dine in traditional locations, be polite and wash your hands again before eating. When serving dishes that you eat with your hand, be sure to use only your right hand. And bend your legs, if possible, because legs outstretched under the table are perceived as impolite in Arab culture.
We want to offer you a great vacation in which you can do everything you always wanted to do. We have therefore put together a few highlights and insider tips for you.
Excursions & Activities
With the catamaran out to sea: Enjoy the sensational view of the Dubai skyline and let the catamaran take you out to the Persian Gulf. Below you the azure blue water, in front of you the vastness of the sea and the impressive architecture of the buildings of the city of superlatives. Shipper past Palm Jumeirah and visit the incredible New World archipelago. Depending on the provider, you can still get a delicious barbecue at sea and swim in the middle of the golf.
The only waterfall in the Emirates: Wadi Wurayah is home to the Emirates' several year-round waterfalls, and that in the middle of the desert. The valley (wadi) is only a few kilometers from Dibba in the UAE Fajaira. Steep rock walls rise up to the right and left if you follow the eleven-kilometer-long tarred road through the wadi. If you get off at the end of the route, you can hear the rushing waterfall. A steep footpath leads down to the river bed.
Sand instead of snow: Anyone who is an experienced snowboarder - or who would just like to try it out - can use the endless expanse of the desert and let off steam while sandboarding. There are a few differences to the "winter variant" to note, as sand behaves a little differently than snow, but you always have fun. Maybe you just try it out as part of the program of a complete desert safari ?!
Pure adrenaline over a length of 2,830 m: Higher faster further! Three descriptions that couldn't fit the Emirates and especially this attraction better: The longest zipline in the world. You can find them in the small emirate of Ras al-Khaimah, on Mount Jebel Jais, the highest mountain in the Emirates. On the almost three kilometers long route you accelerate to almost 150 km / h. If you still have a look to the right and left: Enjoy the view! It is really unique.
AVisit to the mosque Should be on the program: Not all mosques are allowed to be visited by non-Muslims, so you should inform yourself before your trip. One of the most beautiful and magnificent mosques in the Emirates is the an-Nur Mosque on the east bank of the al-Khaleed lagoon in Dubai (northern part of the city). There are guided tours every Monday at 10 a.m. Please pay attention to appropriate clothing: Both men and women should cover the shoulders and knees. It is also allowed to take photos inside the mosque.
Street food in Dubai: The mega-city is a melting pot of various cultures and where better to experience this than “on the street”? We therefore recommend a visit to the street food market on the Creek. In addition to Arab traders, countless spice stands and Indian snacks, you will find a colorful variety from all over the world. Be brave and feast your way through this uniquely diverse cuisine.
Roof top restaurant in Abu Dhabi: There are many Indians and Asians among the many immigrants to the Emirates. As a result, you can often find restaurants and cafes that specialize in local cuisine. In the Azura Panorama Lounge in Abu Dhabi, you can relax in the comfortable lounge in the evening with excellent (Asian and Mediterranean) food and let your gaze wander.
Climate & weather
As you might have expected, the UAE has a predominantly dry climate. Maximum daily temperatures of 40 ° C are not unusual. Here and there even 50 ° C is measured in the shade - so please always take enough drinking water with you when you are out and about. Up to eleven hours of sun a day are not uncommon.
On site you will notice that it is relatively quiet in the country around lunchtime. This is because the local population wants to escape the extreme midday heat and is more likely to spend time in the cooling shade or indoors. Take this behavior to heart during your vacation and the heat will not bother you too much.
The temperature fluctuations during the day and at night are considerable. There can be a difference of up to 20 ° C between the peak values during the day and the lowest temperatures at night (from 45 ° C down to 25 ° C). A dusty northwest wind (Shamal) blows in the United Arab Emirates in winter and at the beginning of summer.
The precipitation in the country is relatively low with 100 mm per year (i.e. 100 l per square meter) (especially for the rather "waterproof" Europeans). As a rule, there is practically no rain at all between May and October. And when it rains, then only for a few minutes. The rainiest time is February with a maximum of 36 mm of precipitation for the entire month
However, the very high humidity of 90% in the coastal areas makes the climate very humid. This contributes to the fact that the heat is subjectively perceived as more extreme than in a very dry climate such as in the desert.
Flight time: About 8 hours (depending on the destination airport)
Airports / direct flights: Dubai, Abu Dhabi
Currency: UAE dirham (1 UAE dirham = € 0.24)
Time shift: plus 2 hours
Best travel time: November to April
Preparations for the trip: For German citizens, entry into the United Arab Emirates is only possible with a passport. This must be valid for at least six months after the intended departure date. Children's passports are recognized as long as they contain a photo.
There are no compulsory vaccinations. However, the Federal Foreign Office recommends checking the standard vaccinations. Please talk to your family doctor about this.