Cities, beaches and sea, but also deserts and oases. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) offer quite a lot.
The two futuristic metropolises Dubai and Abu Dhabi stand for oriental luxury.
The result is a special mixture of modern and luxurious lifestyle and traditional oriental culture from 1001 nights.
Besides Dubai and Abu Dhabi we visit the oasis Liwa in the Rubl Al Khali desert and are impressed by the world’s largest continuous sand desert.
Practical travel tips for holidays in the UAE
Best travel time for Dubai and Abu Dhabi
It is best to travel during the winter months to the United Arab Emirates.
From November to March the temperatures are a pleasant 22 to 35 degrees.
From mid-April to September, the temperatures in Abu Dhabi and Dubai can easily exceed 40 degrees. At these extreme temperatures sightseeing is no fun anymore!
How to get there
From Zurich, Swiss and Emirates fly directly to Dubai and Strong.
In keeping with the city of superlatives, Emirates flies to Dubai on the world’s largest passenger aircraft. Namely with the Airbus A380. And it lands at the recently opened Terminal 3/strong.
To Abu Dhabi fly Swiss and Etihad directly.
Dubai is only about 90 minutes by car from Abu Dhabi. So you can combine the two cities very well.
With the Swiss (and the Italian) passport you will receive a free visa directly upon entry. The tourist visa is valid for 30 days. The passport must be valid for more than 6 months at the time of entry.
Be aware: Your passport must not have a stamp of the Israeli customs authority! If in such a case a new passport has to be issued, we unfortunately do not know (yet), we have never been in Israel.
In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the best way to get around is by rental car or taxi. Taxis are very cheap due to the low price of petrol.
This is because petrol is not taxed in the United Arab Emirates. The petrol price is currently around 45 centimes per litre. A bargain compared to our prices.
However, we take a rental car, even if driving in the Arab Emirates is not always as relaxed as for example in Oman’s Muscat.
But the easiest way to get to the extensive quarters of Dubai or Abu Dhabi is by car.
Currency and cash
In the UAE you pay with Dirham (AED). The exchange rate is currently around 26 centimes. This means that 4 Dirhams are worth about one Swiss Franc.
Although in Dubai as well as in Abu Dhabi practically everything can be paid by credit card, it is worthwhile to have some small change with you. Especially with taxis, you have to ask if they accept credit cards for short trips.
Arabic is indeed the official language. But English has established itself as the language of commerce.
Currency and cash
It is best to change money on the spot. Already after arrival you will find the first exchange offices in the airport hall. And there are plenty of other possibilities to change money in the city, for example in the malls. Or you can withdraw cash from cash machines.
Although Dubai and Abu Dhabi are modern cities, you should not forget that you are in an Arabic, Islamic country. There is a dress code here.
The local women traditionally wear a “Abaya“. The Abaya is a long, loose garment. It is often worn in combination with a headscarf, the “hijab”.
Of course, tourists do not have to wrap themselves in Arabic clothes. Nevertheless, also for the visitors of the metropolis of millions, there are certain dress regulations that one should follow as a tourist out of respect.
Especially women should not be too permissive. Hot pants and belly-free tops are taboo!
Of course you can wear a swimsuit and bikini on the beach. But under no circumstances walk around or swim “topless”. This is strictly forbidden!
A certain dress code also applies to men. Shorts that end above the knees and tank tops are not appropriate for men.