UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
The United Arab Emirates is known for its beautiful scenery which is often matched to none. After a cross country road trip through each of the Emirates, I found some of the best places to take free and affordable instagrammble shots. If you are a picture lover and an adventurer, explore not only the popular Emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, check out the most instagrammable places throughout the UAE.
The capital city of the United Arab Emirates and home to yours truly is the starting point for this road trip adventure. As previously mentioned in my post, Abu Dhabi is NOT Dubai, Abu Dhabi is often confused as Dubai, “The City of Gold”, but has it’s very own picturesque sites that shouldn’t be looked over. Take a look at the most instagrammable locations you should check out in Abu Dhabi.
1) EMIRATES PALACE/ETIHAD TOWERS
Made famous by the 2015 Hollywood film The Fast and the Furious 7, Emirates palace is sort of the creme de la creme of hotels. If you remember the hit film then you may recall the exotic walk down the stairs, albeit by the thieves of the storyline, still, very whimsical and sexy. The entrance to the hotel is free. Inside, you can find amazing interior, top of the line customer service, and if you catch them at the right time, you may hear a variety of violinist, pianist, and harpist. Moreover, the general vibes and asthetics of the palace are impeccable.
In addition to snapping your insta worth shots from Emirates Palace you can subsequently grab shots of the parallel apartment buildings, Etihad Towers. To clarify, these aren’t your run of the mill luxury apartments. These buildings were also caught on film in the 7th edition of the fast car franchise. Used to film exotic cars jumping from tower to tower in action-packed scenes, you can get your instagrammable photos by simply turning directions at 2 places all packaged into one. And the best thing is, if you don’t want to spend money, you don’t have to.
2) SHEIKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE
Moving further North-East for your road trip you can find the Sheikh Zayed Mosque which is usually a point of reference when talking about Abu Dhabi. It is, after all, one of the largest Mosque in the world and quite a site to see. The Grand Mosque, holding the largest hand-knotted carpet, is one of those “Must-See’s” if you visit the UAE, road trip or not. It is an incredible work of art and a breathtaking experience for visitors and residents alike.
Although the Mosque is a must-visit site, I suggest leaving 30 minutes in your road trip schedule to drive to the parallel Al Wahat Karama memorial. The memorial was built in honor of the fallen soldiers of the UAE and houses a museum honoring the achievements of the country, it’s defenders and the erection of the monumental grounds. In addition, it is a 2-minute drive from the mosque and in my opinion, gives you the best views of the holy grounds.
3) FUJAIRAH FORTS
Known for its beautiful beaches by residents of the UAE, Fujairah is often overlooked by the bigger Emirates and not thought of as a place that tourist should visit but those misconceptions should be debunked. Fujairah is full of history and landmarks that should be seen. The landmarks that I found most Insta worthy are the ancient forts. These forts are far from fairy tale castles but nonetheless breathtaking. There are four forts that you can choose to tour in Fujairah, but there are two that may fill your Instagram needs, Fort Fujairah and Fort Al Bithnah. Fort Fujairah is the oldest and largest fort in the Emirate while Fort Bithnah is the second largest but most famous fort. Viewing both forts is really easy. But note the roads have no clear pavement.
Upon entering you can find groundskeepers that will give you an extensive tour of the fort’s history. And if you are nice they will even take your pictures.
I suggest that when you visit to wear sneakers or a shoe that will support you on a rocky surface. And also, tip your tour guides. They don’t get much traffic and any donations are appreciated.
RAS AL KHAIMAH
4) TORVERDE ZIP LINE
Known for its beautiful mountains, Ras Al Khaimah has many instagrammable landscapes. One day is sufficient time to see each Emirate. But, I suggest making your road trip a multi-day adventure. Spreading out your trip gives you ample time to soak up the beauty of the country. In addition you have time to relax along the way. I would recommend staying overnight in Ras Al Khaimah to enjoy the beaches and adventure tours that the Emirate has to offer.
One of the most enjoyable and instagrammable scenes hands down are the Jebel Jias mountains. Standing at 1,910 meters, it is impressive for both mountain climbers and mountain bikers with the views from the summit. The tallest mountain in the UAE is easily accesible. The mountain is observable by hiking, picnicking or ziplining. I prefer the latter of the recommendations because, how often will you get to experience the longest zip line IN THE WORLD?!
BUT, if you are trying to keep the pockets full (which I always am) I recommend doing the beginner level hike at Wadi Monay. Similarly, the beginner level gives you all of that you may be looking for in the advanced trails . The three-to-four hour hike takes you through ancient settlements that vary in the terrain you cross. But, prepare yourself for a workout. There are options if you aren’t in a thrill-seeking mood. You can easily find many vantage points to stop and take in the scenery at the foot of the mountains.
UMM AL QUWAIN
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5) ILYUSHIN IL 76
Small & quaint, and the least populous of all of the Emirates, Umm Al Quwain has all of the desert feels and less of the hustle and bustle of the more popular Emirates. Driving through the city, you can get such an authentic feel of the archaeological Emirate. But don’t be fooled, Umm Al Quwain still offers a dose of amazement. Driving through you can’t miss the mysterious monument that may top your UAE instagrammable shots.
Located on the Umm Al Quwain to Ras Al Khaimah highway is the Ilyushin IL 76. The Ilyushin plane mysteriously landed and was abandoned over two decades ago. The Soviet aircraft was designed to be useful in remote areas like the UAE deserts. It operated well on unpaved runways which was a plus when delivering to areas like UAQ. There are several stories surrounding the planes abandonment. My personal favorite theory is that an arms dealer by the name of Viktor Bout, operated the plane from Sharjah to Ras Al Khaimah. His planes frequently carried arms and cargo from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa which eventually got him banned. Bout is subsequently serving a 25-year sentence in an American jail.
6) AJMAN BEACHES
Ajman is the smallest Emirate in the UAE and is known for its sandy beaches and luxury hotels. When Google searching Ajman, you may not get the exciting feels like other Emirates. But Ajman holds its weight in a class of its own, pure relaxation. After a long road trip what better way to unwind than kicking back on the beach? And Ajman does not disappoint. The sandy shores offer its beauty and calmness. That perfect instagrammable selfie is at your fingertip.
7) AL MAJAZ WATERFRONT
Sharjah has a lot to offer the traveler looking for a scenic experience. What it lacks in manmade islands and skyscrapers, Sharjah makes up for in culture. The city is famous for displaying Emirati values, showcasing art, and it’s many museums.
If you are still on a cultural high and thirsting to dive deep into the background of the UAE, Sharjah has what you need. Take a free visit to the Sharjah art museum for your best instagrammable locations.
For the times that you just want to “Do it for the ‘gram,” take a walk through Al Majaz Waterfront.
Aj Majaz Waterfront is located in the heart of Sharjah overlooking the Khaled Lagoon. This instagrammable location is iconic for leisure and relaxation. It also has some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes that show off Sharjah’s rich heritage.I love exploring new places where I live. It's refreshing and humbles me to learn about the small gems that can be found in my own backyard. I want to always explore Click To Tweet
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8) THE DUBAI FRAME
When researching the UAE, Dubai is more than likely the first result to pop up. It’s easy to find picturable spots around this Emirate but some just stand out more than others. As a matter of fact, my two favorite IG locations are the infamous Burj Khalifa and Dubai Frame.
Comparatively, both are beautiful and unique in their own right. The Burj, holding the title of the tallest building in the world stands beautifully beside the Dubai Mall. You can reach the top of the record-breaking building for a fee. However, why pay when you can catch your photo ops right outside of the mall for free-ninety-nine.
The Dubai Frame holds the record for the largest frame structure in the world. Not only does it break records but it gives you amazing backdrops for those IG worthy post. Entry cost 50dhs (13usd). Entry not only allows views of the gold plated frame but you can check out city views of both old and new Dubai from the observation deck inside the frame.
All things considered, the UAE is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and holds its own with its scenic views. So, if you are ever tripping around the Emirates, make sure you grab your camera, a good photographer or tripod and snap those instagrammable pictures.
Until next time,
Take the World!