The United Arab Emirates is a popular destination during the UK's winter and spring months, when the comfortable warmth and something-for-everyone tourism industry serves holidaymakers well. Comprised of seven sovereign sheikhdoms – or emirates – the UAE's Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the best known and most visited. City breaks to the rapidly growing city of Dubai are a popular choice – with its sparkling shopping malls, gold souks, fine dining restaurants, desert golf courses, five-star beach hotels and architectural wonders such as the iconic sail-shaped Burj al-Arab and the Jumeirah Palm.
But this is also a country of contrasts. On the one hand there are the vibrant and modern cities of Dubai and the oil-rich capital, Abu Dhabi, while away from these dynamic business and tourism hubs can be visited open desert, breathtaking mountains and sweeping beaches.
Life in the other five emirates – Sharjah, Fujairah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain and Ras Al-Khaimah – moves at a far slower pace. But even in Dubai and Abu Dhabi it doesn't take long to get away from the bustle of modern city life to experience the Arabian desert.
Tailor made holidays in the UAE are a chance to see at first hand a mix of traditional Bedouin lifestyle and customs, juxtaposed with a very Western style of rampant consumerism. What's more, a number of the world's leading airlines are based in the Gulf region, making it is an extremely accessible and affordable holiday option.