5 hidden gems in the United Arab Emirates
Dubai off-track: 5 hidden gems in the UAE
5 Places • ago
Free

The UAE has a lot to offer other than the glittering malls of Dubai!

I have been living in Dubai for 4 years now and, as a real lover of trying to look for more unique and off-beat places, I got to see the face of the UAE that not many travellers are aware of.

Here I will show you some of my favourite hidden gems in the country 🧡 which combine both adventures and real taste of the Bedouin culture. 🐪💛

Al Wathba Salt Lake

Al Wathba Salt Lake (Sabkha)
@vanillanoor
A mezmerizing destination nestled in the outskirts of Abu Dhabi. Step into a world where vast salt flats stretch as far as the eye can see, forming a breathtaking landscape that beckons explorers and nature enthusiasts alike.
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⛺ It's a place to chill, with BBQ spots and campgrounds by Al Wathba Lake, just 30 minutes away from the salt lakes

🚗 Getting there: for easy access, a big vehicle or rental car is the way to go. You will be off-road in the desert, so make sure the car can handle sandy terrain by releasing some air from the tires.

Abu Dhabi Mangroves

Abu Dhabi Mangroves
@vanillanoor
You can visit the mangroves on a day trip from Dubai and the activities include riding on a donut boat and kayaking through the narrow water lanes naturally shaped by the vegetation, which is a pretty cool thing to do.
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Details

Go if you like: Outdoor activities, desert, natural wonders

🚗 Getting there: you can reach the location from Yas Island or Dubai, or vice versa from downtown Abu Dhabi and Saadiyat Island. Simply type "Jubail Island" on your GPS, and once you get there, follow the signs for Mangrove Park

Dalma Island

Dalma Island
@vanillanoor
With more than 7,000 years of history, Delma Island is one of the oldest inhabited places in the UAE and, perhaps, in the whole Arab Gulf, as well. The island is one of the very few places in the country which still has a very visible cultural heritage, with plenty of date farms and a strong fishing culture. For beach lovers, here you will find the best beaches in the country, which are practically empty and have crystal-clear blue water.
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Details

Go if you like: Nature, outdoor activities, camping, sea

🚗 Getting there: accessed by ferry from Jebel Dhanna terminal near the Saudi Arabia border. Keep in mind it's about 470 kilometers from Dubai, so a day trip might be tough.

⛺ The island has a few hotels, and if you like camping, there are endless sandy beaches to explore.

Fossil Dunes

Fossil Dunes
@vanillanoor
It is a protected reserve area that is free to access. With nearly 2,000 fossil dunes, this is an area you are free to walk through and includes a cafe in the middle of the desert and has pop up art installations and booths to learn more about Emirati culture and traditions.
Add to
Details

Go if you like: Outdoor activities, desert, natural wonders

🚗 Getting there: To get to the here, hop in your car; it's just a half-hour from the Salt Lakes. Follow Google Maps for a scenic desert loop in Abu Dhabi, with plenty of sand shades and camel sightings!  

Liwa Oasis

Bateen Liwa
@vanillanoor
Home to one of the highest dunes in the world, the largest oasis in the region and the only place where you can see the real, local Bedouin culture, Liwa Oasis is an impressive desert oasis that sits at the edge and beginning of the famous Empty Quarter, the largest continuous sand dune sea in the world.
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Details

Go if you like: Outdoor activities, desert, camping, natural wonders

🚗 Getting there: Located in the southeast, it's 250km from Abu Dhabi and 350km from Dubai, close to the Saudi Arabia border. The oasis is on the northeastern edge of the Empty Quarter (Rub-al-Jali), the world's largest stretch of continuous sand dunes, spreading across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Yemen.

⛺ The area has a few hotels and, if you love off-road driving, you can have fun with a 4x4 car on the massive sand dunes.

Take Me Here!

Inspired to visit more? Check out my custom outdoor adventures itinerary services below:

* * *
CURATED BY
Hey guys! My name is Claudia, a passionate content creator, video editor, freediver, and mountains & sea lover. I lived in Italy for most of my life and a couple of years ago I relocated to the United Arab Emirates, and I am now based in Dubai.  Growing up surrounded by majestic mountains and stunning nature in Italy, I've developed an insatiable thirst for exploration.  I started to explore the beauty of the Arabian peninsula since I relocated, and currently I am focused on the United Arab Emirates and Oman. As an expat, I have been exploring and documenting every corner of these countries, and I am still surprised to find new hidden gems and delighted to visit my favourite places again and again. I want to be helpful to make your Middle East experience as smooth as possible - and as well as Italy, my beautiful home country. My maps and guides have a lot of spots saved and organised, including hikes 🥾, lake 🚤, waterfalls 💦, wadi 🏞️, beaches 🏖️, coffee ☕️, lifestyle 🏙️ etc. What else? 🗺️ customs itinerary UAE 🇦🇪, OMAN 🇴🇲, ITALY 🇮🇹: tailor/made trips just for you (disponibile anche in Italiano - также доступно на русском языке) 📌 curated recommendations: discover hidden gems and local favourites. I really hope you like my products and thank you so much for supporting my business, it means the world to me! ————— Subscribe to my Thatch profile to keep up to date with new map releases and special offers. Follow my Instagram 📷 @vanillanoor to check my adventures to get inspired! Let’s start talking about your next trip to the United Arab Emirates, Oman or Italy: email me at vanillanoordxb@gmail.com
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5 hidden gems in the United Arab Emirates
Dubai off-track: 5 hidden gems in the UAE
5 Places • ago
Free

The UAE has a lot to offer other than the glittering malls of Dubai!

I have been living in Dubai for 4 years now and, as a real lover of trying to look for more unique and off-beat places, I got to see the face of the UAE that not many travellers are aware of.

Here I will show you some of my favourite hidden gems in the country 🧡 which combine both adventures and real taste of the Bedouin culture. 🐪💛

Al Wathba Salt Lake

Al Wathba Salt Lake (Sabkha)
@vanillanoor
A mezmerizing destination nestled in the outskirts of Abu Dhabi. Step into a world where vast salt flats stretch as far as the eye can see, forming a breathtaking landscape that beckons explorers and nature enthusiasts alike.
Add to
Details

⛺ It's a place to chill, with BBQ spots and campgrounds by Al Wathba Lake, just 30 minutes away from the salt lakes

🚗 Getting there: for easy access, a big vehicle or rental car is the way to go. You will be off-road in the desert, so make sure the car can handle sandy terrain by releasing some air from the tires.

Abu Dhabi Mangroves

Abu Dhabi Mangroves
@vanillanoor
You can visit the mangroves on a day trip from Dubai and the activities include riding on a donut boat and kayaking through the narrow water lanes naturally shaped by the vegetation, which is a pretty cool thing to do.
Add to
Details

Go if you like: Outdoor activities, desert, natural wonders

🚗 Getting there: you can reach the location from Yas Island or Dubai, or vice versa from downtown Abu Dhabi and Saadiyat Island. Simply type "Jubail Island" on your GPS, and once you get there, follow the signs for Mangrove Park

Dalma Island

Dalma Island
@vanillanoor
With more than 7,000 years of history, Delma Island is one of the oldest inhabited places in the UAE and, perhaps, in the whole Arab Gulf, as well. The island is one of the very few places in the country which still has a very visible cultural heritage, with plenty of date farms and a strong fishing culture. For beach lovers, here you will find the best beaches in the country, which are practically empty and have crystal-clear blue water.
Add to
Details

Go if you like: Nature, outdoor activities, camping, sea

🚗 Getting there: accessed by ferry from Jebel Dhanna terminal near the Saudi Arabia border. Keep in mind it's about 470 kilometers from Dubai, so a day trip might be tough.

⛺ The island has a few hotels, and if you like camping, there are endless sandy beaches to explore.

Fossil Dunes

Fossil Dunes
@vanillanoor
It is a protected reserve area that is free to access. With nearly 2,000 fossil dunes, this is an area you are free to walk through and includes a cafe in the middle of the desert and has pop up art installations and booths to learn more about Emirati culture and traditions.
Add to
Details

Go if you like: Outdoor activities, desert, natural wonders

🚗 Getting there: To get to the here, hop in your car; it's just a half-hour from the Salt Lakes. Follow Google Maps for a scenic desert loop in Abu Dhabi, with plenty of sand shades and camel sightings!  

Liwa Oasis

Bateen Liwa
@vanillanoor
Home to one of the highest dunes in the world, the largest oasis in the region and the only place where you can see the real, local Bedouin culture, Liwa Oasis is an impressive desert oasis that sits at the edge and beginning of the famous Empty Quarter, the largest continuous sand dune sea in the world.
Add to
Details

Go if you like: Outdoor activities, desert, camping, natural wonders

🚗 Getting there: Located in the southeast, it's 250km from Abu Dhabi and 350km from Dubai, close to the Saudi Arabia border. The oasis is on the northeastern edge of the Empty Quarter (Rub-al-Jali), the world's largest stretch of continuous sand dunes, spreading across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Yemen.

⛺ The area has a few hotels and, if you love off-road driving, you can have fun with a 4x4 car on the massive sand dunes.

Take Me Here!

Inspired to visit more? Check out my custom outdoor adventures itinerary services below:

* * *
CURATED BY
Hey guys! My name is Claudia, a passionate content creator, video editor, freediver, and mountains & sea lover. I lived in Italy for most of my life and a couple of years ago I relocated to the United Arab Emirates, and I am now based in Dubai.  Growing up surrounded by majestic mountains and stunning nature in Italy, I've developed an insatiable thirst for exploration.  I started to explore the beauty of the Arabian peninsula since I relocated, and currently I am focused on the United Arab Emirates and Oman. As an expat, I have been exploring and documenting every corner of these countries, and I am still surprised to find new hidden gems and delighted to visit my favourite places again and again. I want to be helpful to make your Middle East experience as smooth as possible - and as well as Italy, my beautiful home country. My maps and guides have a lot of spots saved and organised, including hikes 🥾, lake 🚤, waterfalls 💦, wadi 🏞️, beaches 🏖️, coffee ☕️, lifestyle 🏙️ etc. What else? 🗺️ customs itinerary UAE 🇦🇪, OMAN 🇴🇲, ITALY 🇮🇹: tailor/made trips just for you (disponibile anche in Italiano - также доступно на русском языке) 📌 curated recommendations: discover hidden gems and local favourites. I really hope you like my products and thank you so much for supporting my business, it means the world to me! ————— Subscribe to my Thatch profile to keep up to date with new map releases and special offers. Follow my Instagram 📷 @vanillanoor to check my adventures to get inspired! Let’s start talking about your next trip to the United Arab Emirates, Oman or Italy: email me at vanillanoordxb@gmail.com
Send A Tip
Support Claudia | vanillanoor’s work.
Select your tip amount
$5
$10
$20
$50
Or type in other amount
Powered by Thatch
The home for unique & authentic travel
Powered by Thatch: Where great trips are made.
© Claudia | vanillanoor Privacy Terms