As Eid al Fitr approaches, it’s all about spending more time with loved ones. Whether that means you plan to get away or stick around, we’re here to help you decide where to spend your holiday.
For Muslims around the world, a month of intense prayer and fasting from dusk to dawn culminates with yet another religious holiday, this year expected to fall on 3rd June.
Eid al Fitr, which translates to ‘festival of breaking the fast’, marks the end of Ramadan and the first day of Shawwal. To commemorate the occasion, the UAE government declares start and end dates for Eid that usually includes days off for public and private sector employees and we’ve rounded up a list of nearby getaways to make the most of your time off.
Explore the UAE
You don’t have to fly away to enjoy your Eid break as the UAE is home to some great places to relax and have fun. Pack light, load up the car and take a family road trip to these nearby locales.
Ajman may be the smallest of the seven emirates but it packs big fun for families. The city is clean, safe and offers everything from pristine beaches to camel racing. You can explore the treasures and stories of the emirate at Ajman Museum, which has annotated displays of weaponry, jewellery, pottery and clothing along with models of dhows and barasti huts.
If you’d like a more mainstream day out, stop by Ajman City Centre Mall where kids can enjoy games and rides at Magic Planet or take in a movie at VOX Cinema.
After play time, grab a table at Qdemk Ndemk Café, and enjoy a kid-friendly lunch surrounded by bright murals and brass teapots that hang from the ceiling.
Before leaving, visit Saleh Souq, a picturesque Arabian market with a palm-frond roof and coral stone floor, to shop for souvenirs and gifts – and in the event you don’t find what you’re looking for, the Gold Souq is just next door. Visit: ajman.travel
Ras Al Khaimah
With mountains, beaches, ancient cultural sites and a beautiful desert oasis, Ras Al Khaimah – better known as RAK – is truly an unforgettable Arabian experience.
Located just a car ride away from Abu Dhabi, RAK is the UAE’s most northern emirate, which also borders Oman, making it easily accessible. While there’s a variety of things to do and see in RAK, there’s also a hidden gem that’s worth exploring.
Al Marjan Island is a destination within a destination that includes four manmade islands, three resorts and a host of entertainment.
You can take your pick and check into Rixos Bab Al Bahr, an all-inclusive resort located on Breeze Island, DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island or Marjan Island Resort & Spa for the ultimate staycation experience. Each property offers a unique combination of luxury spa, watersports, nightlife and dining options. Visit: rasalkhaimah.ae
If you’re down to branch out a little more, these regional destinations make great options for a short stay.
This Eid visit Georgia’s ancient and vibrant capital city for a memorable holiday.
Archaeological studies of the region indicate human settlement in the area as early as the fourth millennium BC, and you can tour the charming castles and monuments that are still around today.
Visit structures like Anchiskhati Church, the Church of Metekhi and Narikala fortress for a glimpse of the past. Or, if you crave something a bit different, try rafting or tour at the cellar in old Tbilisi where you can also shop for. Visit: georgia.travel
Getting there: Air Arabia and Etihad Airways offer direct flights from Abu Dhabi.
The capital of Jordan is a unique blend of old and new, ideally situated on a hilly area between the desert and the Jordan Valley.
Modern buildings, hotels, restaurants, art galleries and boutiques form the heart of the city with traditional coffee shops and tiny artisans’ workshops sprinkled among them.
When it comes to leisure, Amman offers an eclectic mix of experiences, including Waves Water Park for children, horseback riding and indoor rock climbing.
If you’re looking for a more adrenaline packed excursion, get off the ground with Royal Aero Sports Club by skydiving, micro-light flying, hot air ballooning or parachuting. You can also opt for a more calming experience with the popular Dead Sea tour and spa session. Visit: visitjordan.com
Getting there: Etihad and Royal Jordanian Airways offer direct flights from Abu Dhabi.
Beirut is a modern, cosmopolitan city where economy and culture meet. Known for its vibrant energy and storied past as a connector of east and west, the capital city is home to universities, hotels, hospitals, shops and a variety of leisure and entertainment destinations, too.
While families can create an enjoyable experience that appeals to everyone, this city is better suited for those who want to enjoy a faster pace.
From the bustling Gemmayzeh neighborhood, which houses the St Nicolas stairway where artists and painters exhibit their work, to the designer shops along Hamra Street, there’s always something to get into.
There are activities on offer for culture buffs, too. Bathe in the last Turkish bath in the district of Zuqaq that originally opened in 1920, or visit the fully restored National Museum to marvel ancient Lebanese treasures.
Round things out with a stroll down the Corniche, lined with seaside resorts, hotels and restaurants serving up a variety of cuisines. Visit: destinationlebanon.gov.lb
Getting there: Etihad and Gulf Air offer direct flights from Abu Dhabi.
Holidays are great but booking them can sometimes add a little stress to your life. Whether you’re lining up a solo trip or coordinating itineraries for friends and family, these sites can help take the edge off.
Holiday Factory bills itself as “the largest, most successful, most affordable” tour operating business in the UAE.
The site offers packages that are inclusive of flights and hotels to streamline your booking process. In addition, the company offers tour guides in select destinations such as Georgia, Armenia and Thailand. Visit: holiday-factory.com
Musafir.com is the UAE’s first premium-experience travel site, offering flights to over 3,000 destinations, hotel stays in over 85,000 properties around the world, and holiday experiences. Visit: musafir.com
Stay and Play
If traveling is not on the agenda, you can still celebrate Eid al Fitr in style right here in Abu Dhabi.
Leading up to Eid, The Galleria will be hosting a variety of family-friendly activities during the final five days of Ramadan. Henna artists, face painting for kids and lantern-making workshops are just some of the treats to look forward to.
Then, during Eid al Fitr, The Galleria will host traditional Ayyalah performers and daily arts and crafts workshops for kids. Even better, the first 100 visitors each day will take home souvenirs such as personalised Arabic calligraphy and bespoke sand bottle creations. Free. The Galleria, Al Maryah Island. 3pm-10pm. Contact: 02 616 69999, thegalleria.ae
Plenty more Eid al Fitr events and promotions are expected to be announced at attractions and malls closer to the time so stay tuned for updates at adwonline.ae
By Tamara Clarke