The United Arab Emirates sits at the northeast end of the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman to the east and Saudi Arabia to the southwest. With its unique biodiversity — deserts, oases, mountains, valleys, salt plains, mangroves, beaches and rich marine life, the UAE is an ideal tourist destination for families, adventurers, golfers and couples. Well-connected by major airlines, UAE is a peaceful home to more than 200 nationalities from different religious and cultural backgrounds and a wonderful range of accommodations and attractions.
Amalia Lazarov’s 12-day United Arab Emirates Itinerary
DAY 1: ARRIVE IN ABU DHABI
Arrive at the Abu Dhabi airport, where a Marhaba (“welcome”) greeter will escort you through immigration to your chauffer. With a stay at Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi in Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi Corniche), you’ll be convenient to Open Beach and Marina Mall. This 5-star hotel is within close proximity of Al Khubeirah Garden and Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club.
Where to stay: Mandarin Oriental Emirates Palace (3 nights)
© Mandarin Oriental Emirates Palace
DAY 2: ABU DHABI
Take a driving tour of Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates and the residence of the Federal National Council. Recognized as one of the world’s largest producers of oil, Abu Dhabi is undergoing a massive diversification of its economy and is investing in many different areas such as commerce, tourism and culture. Visit the Grand Mosque, Union Square, the Corniche, and the Heritage Village. Before heading to dinner, we will pass through Saadiyat Island to visit the new Louvre.
DAY 3: ABU DHABI
Transfer to Ferrari World, the world’s first Ferrari theme park. After a day of high-speed fun, dine at Li Beirut — Lebanese cuisine at its best!
DAY 4: EMPTY QUARTER
Transfer to the Rub’ al Khali desert, or “Empty Quarter,” in the western part of Abu Dhabi Emirate. In Mahdar Bin Usayyan, you will check into the Anantara resort ar Qasr al Sarab. In the late afternoon, take a sunset camel trek — climbing aboard the “ship of the desert” to explore the valleys around the hotel, with a stop for traditional Arabian refreshments. Dine on top of a sand dune with Middle Eastern specialties like local hummus and fresh pita.
Where to stay: Qasr al Sarab (3 nights)
© Qasr al Sarab by Anantara
DAY 6: EMPTY QUARTER
Rise early for a desert bike experience, exploring the awe-inspiring beauty of the desert aboard a fat bike — the only type of bicycle that can be ridden on sand dunes. Afterward, relax at the pool before heading back to the desert in the afternoon to learn the traditional sport of falconry, and the method of hunting with Saluki dogs, practiced in the region four thousands of years.
© Jumeirah al Naseem
DAY 8: DUBAI
Head to Dubai Creek, where you will catch a seaplane for an aerial tour above Dubai’s ever-changing coastline. Then, cross the peninsula to the emirate of Fujairah and the Indian Ocean, where you will land and cross into Dibba, an exclave of Oman. There, you will board a traditional wooden dhow four a cruise around the fjords of Musandam, where dolphin sightings are common — and even the occasional whale shark or orca. Transfer back to Dubai for dinner at one of Dubai’s best Turkish restaurants.
DAY 9: DUBAI
Visit the famous Al Fahidi Fort, also known as the Dubai National Museum.This is the place where once rulers of Dubai lived. Afterward, we will have a lovely ride aboard an abra, or traditional ferry, to Dubai’s famous old markets in the spice and gold souq. Next, we will drive to the palace of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum — Dubai’s ruler, and Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates – and then to Jumeirah Mosque, the Islamic Art Museum, and finally, the 148th floor of the Burj Khalifa. In the evening, cruise on the Arabian Gulf around Palm Island, one of the largest man-made islands in the world.
DAY 10: DUBAI
Take a morning hot air balloon flight over the desert of the UAE. View the giant dunes, the moon-like landscape of the rugged Hajj Mountains in the East, and the majestic skyline of Dubai in the west. After landing, we will see a falcon show before taking a dune buggy tour of the desert’s extraordinary terrain. Later, tour the Burj Al Arab waterfront area by jetski.
DAY 11: RAS AL-KHAIMAH AND DUBAI
Ras-al Khaimah is an oft-overlooked emirate of teh UAE, but it is one of the most spectacular, known for its Arabian Gulf Beaches. Take a spin on the world’s largest zipline, starting at the highest point of the UAE in the Jebel Jais mountains. Later, transfer back to Dubai for a guided tour of Dubai’s best markets with a personal shopper and souq expert — you’ll find textiles, gold, and spices, as well as Indian fashions and Afghani carpets.
DAY 12: DEPART FROM DUBAI
Check out and transfer to Dubai Airport for your flight home.