With COVID-19 vaccines already being rolled out across the globe, the scope for international travel in 2021 is growing all the time. While we’re not quite ready to pack our bags just yet, now is the ideal time to start planning your next international vacation.

Our top pick for international travel in 2021 is the UAE (also known as the United Arab Emirates). You’re probably familiar with star-studded Dubai, but UAE has far more to offer than just its most famous emirate. 

Here are a few stops you won’t want to miss when you travel to UAE.

1) Ras Al Khaimah (RAK)

Just prior to the global pandemic, the once largely unknown emirate of Ras Al Khaimah began to gain global recognition under the strong leadership of His Highness Sheikh Saud

Located only an hour and a half’s drive from busy Dubai, RAK makes an ideal getaway for travellers who need a break from the larger city’s crowds. The extremely picturesque emirate is also home to UAE’s largest mountain, Jebel Jais. If you’re a thrill-seeker, you can’t afford to miss booking a ride on the world’s longest zip line, also located in Jebel Jais.

For shutterbugs and mystery lovers, be sure to check out RAK’s abandoned Jazirah Al Hamra village.

Rumoured to be haunted by jinns (spirit creatures based in Islamic folklore), the village makes for a fascinating glimpse into the past and provides some amazing photographic opportunities.

2) Dubai

As one of the most famous Emirates, Dubai had to make this list. Striking a balance between the traditional and the modern, the bustling city is known for its shopping and glamour. In fact, it’s home to the only 7-star hotel on the planet, Burj Al Arab. 

Additionally, this gorgeous emirate is known around the world for its breath-taking architecture. For an unforgettable view of the city’s most beautiful buildings, head up to the top of the 800 metre Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world and watch the sunset.

After a day of shopping and sightseeing, make sure to head out for a taste of Dubai’s famous nightlife. The city boasts dozens of bars and clubs, many with unique themes and décor.

3) Fujairah

Nestled on the East Coast, Fujairah is not to be missed. Just a short drive from Dubai, Fujairah is known for its picturesque mountains and pristine beaches. If you love the sea and the sand, you’ll be blown away by the huge range of water sports on offer. 

For memories that’ll last a lifetime, why not book a scuba-diving tour in the crystalline waters of the Indian ocean? Or, if you’re looking for something more daring, try your hand at parasailing. 

If you’re looking for fun-filled family activities, Fujairah is also known for its fishing hot spots and kayaking tours.

4) Umm Al Quwain (UAQ)

Umm Al Quwain is another less famous emirate, but that’s part of what makes it such a lovely place to visit. With far less traffic than its sister cities, it offers a glimpse at more traditional Arabic life. It’s ideal if you’re planning to stay for a while as food and accommodation is much cheaper than Dubai.

If you fancy yourself a bit of a history buff, the UAQ museum is a must-see. In 1700, the fort was the Sheikh’s residence. Over the centuries, it has survived many attacks and is home to fascinating memorabilia from the royal family, including jewels and weaponry.

 Nearby, you’ll find an old-fashioned marketplace where you can stock up on gifts or stop for a coffee.

5)Abu Dhabi

Until recently, Abu Dhabi (despite being the capital of The United Emirates) was overshadowed by Dubai. However, it’s now just as revered for its strong culture, luxury hotels and beautiful skyline. 

Along with all the regular tourist favourites, Abu Dhabi is home to the family favourite Ferrari World, a Formula One inspired theme park. Ferrari World has stacks of exhilarating rides, including a record-breaking roller coaster that can reach speeds of 240km/h. 

For car enthusiasts, the next stop should be dune bashing, which involves a tour company taking you on a fast-paced ride bouncing over the desert dunes in a 4×4 at high speed.

Ready to slow down? Check out the more sedate and family friendly Al Ain Zoo, where you can feed giraffes and even take part in animal rides.

With so much to see and do, the United Arab Emirates is an unmissable destination for your next holiday!