While we finally seem to be seeing some light at the end of the Coronavirus tunnel, we’re not all the way out of this worldwide emergency just yet. That means international travel is still difficult or even impossible in many cases. The result of this is that the ‘staycation’ has suddenly become the holiday of choice for 2020, and in the UAE we’re blessed with some of the world’s most incredible destinations, right on our doorstep!

From epic desert landscapes to luxury spas, coastal resorts or mountain adventures, the staycation offers UAE residents the chance to explore their own region in all its glory. While Dubai may be the number-one destination for those who don’t already live in one of the world’s most exciting cities, there are plenty of other jewels scattered across the region that are well worth visiting this year. Here is our pick of the best:

The Hajar Mountains

One of the secrets of the UAE, this stunning mountain range has everything the adventure traveller could wish for. Expect fabulous roads for driving enthusiasts, mountain trails for hiking and cycling, and some of the most beautiful views in the entire region. Perfect for a weekend break or a longer touring holiday with a few stops at some of the region’s best luxury spa hotels along the way.

Jebel Hafeet

The second-highest mountain in the Emirates, this is the place to head if you love breath-taking views and winding roads. It’s perfect for a day trip from Abu Dhabi, and is ideal if you want to slot in a couple of days adventure-driving and hiking on a longer trip to Abu Dhabi or Al Ain. The view at sunset is simply stunning.

Al Bidyah

A staycation to Fujairah is a chance to explore our history and culture in all its glory. Top of your must-see list should be a trip to the oldest mosque in the UAE at Al Bidyah. The whole area is an archaeologist’s dream, and thousands of artefacts have been excavated from the surrounding area. Check out the local museums for more, or see if there’s a dig in progress, as they sometimes do guided tours of sites of interest.

Ras Al Khaimah

With 5-star hotels sitting underneath million-star skies, this is one of the best luxury destinations in the UAE. Relax on stunning sandy beaches, scuba-dive in crystal-clear waters, or visit some of the oldest historical sites in the region, including 4,000-year-old tombs at Shimal and the spectacular Falaya Fort.


It may be the smallest of the Emirate states, but Ajman in the north is the perfect spot to head for if you want to escape the crowds and discover a more authentic Arabian atmosphere. The coastline is now starting to become a major tourist attraction, and a host of new luxury resorts are catering to the more discerning client. The drive up to Ajam is truly spectacular too, and is a mini-break in itself.

The Empty Quarter

There is nowhere in the entire region more evocative, more secret, and more mysterious than The Empty Quarter. This fabulous desert lays across the south-eastern interior and is one of the last true wildernesses to be discovered and explored by adventure lovers in the UAE. The desert roads are excellent, but if you want to go ‘off-roading’ then you’ll definitely need a 4×4. Plan your journey carefully and remember to respect the desert. Make sure you include a trip to the Liwa Oasis.