In recent years, UAE has become the Middle East's defining tourist destination. Abu Dhabi and Dubai have enjoyed a sustained boom, which has resulted in the phenomenal growth of vast cities that cater for Western tastes without ever losing their Arabic sensibility. Both are home to soaring glass tower blocks, five-star resorts and sandy beaches, with an undoubted air of glamor. The lesser-known Emirates, though, are perhaps even more fascinating. Conservative Sharjah has a real charm, while Umm al-Quwain is the perfect escape from the big cities, with oases and dunes that make for an arresting and beautiful landscape.