Top 13 Must-See Forts & Palaces in Dubai

It’s easy to get lost with awe at the remarkable infrastructure and skyline Dubai holds today. Elite hotels, a world-class metro, gleaming malls and towers, and a state of the art infrastructure are achievements of Dubai’s present.

Venturing just a few decades back would bring about the traditional infrastructure of this booming emirate.

This is a ranking of the best forts, palaces, and notable archaic residences in Dubai that will allow you to peak into the past and get a grasp of the brilliant heritage and traditional architecture that was once a standard in Dubai.

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1. Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House Dubai – Best Traditional, Archaic Palace in Dubai


While a museum now, this Sheikh Saeed al Maktoum House in Dubai used to belong to a late ruler of Dubai. It features impressive traditional architecture and gallery. Ranked: Best Heritage Locations in Dubai (Almost GONE 2017)

Cost: AED 3 for Adults, AED 1 for children

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8.30am to 9pm, Friday from 3pm to 8.30pm

Contact: 800-4003

Dubaing ScoreTM: 5/5


2. BONUS: Qasr al Hosn Abu Dhabi – Most Popular UAE Fort Among Tourists


Qasr al Hosn is the first constructed building in Abu Dhabi. It has been developed into a fort and showcases a location for the Abu Dhabi throne till 1966 and the history of the city’s rulers. Ranked: Best Things to Do & See in Abu Dhabi (STUNNING)

Cost: Free

Timings: Daily from 7.30am to 6.30pm

Contact: 800 724

Dubaing ScoreTM: 5/5


3. BONUS: Al Hisn Fort Museum Sharjah – One of the Oldest Forts in UAE


Sharjah’s al Hisn Fort was built in 1823 and today lives as a tool to teach about Sharjah’s royal family, how Sharjah’s people have lived for the past 200 years, and a look into classical architecture.

The museum features archaic photos and artifacts cored on Sharjah’s heritage. It still holds on to the genuine cannons that were built at the time of the Fort’s construction. Also Try: 10 FREE Time Outs in Dubai (Yes, FREE!)

Cost: AED 10 per Adult, AED 5 per child

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8am to 8pm, Friday from 5pm to 8pm

Contact: 06 5685500

Dubaing ScoreTM: 4.5/5


4. BONUS: Bait al Naboodah – Oldest Merchant Fort in Dubai


Bait al Naboodah is a house that belonged to a prominent pearl merchant. Touring the now-museum house allows you to see the principles and customs of the country’s ancestors. The house is made of coral and gives a view of how Emirati houses looked during the 1800s. Also Try: Ranked – Best Souks in Dubai (Only 2017!)

Cost: AED 10 per Adult, AED 5 per child

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8am to 8pm; Friday from 4pm to 8pm

Contact: (971) 06 556-6000

Dubaing ScoreTM: 4/5


5. BONUS: Umm al Quwain Fort – Oldest Fort in UAE


The Umm al Quwain fort dates back to 1768!

The fort is now a museum featuring valuable pieces from the Ed-dour historical site and the pieces’ history goes back to the Roman Empire.

Cost: AED 4 per person, free for children under 15

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8am to 1pm and 5pm to 8pm, Friday from 5pm to 8pm

Contact: 06 7650888

Dubaing ScoreTM: 4/5


6. BONUS: Bait Shaikh Saeed Bin Hamad al Oasimi in Sharjah – Popular Traditional, Archaic Palace


Bait Sheikh Saeed Bin Hamad al Qasimi house belonged to one of the country’s royals and is a spectacular display of the local architecture and heritage. Its artifacts include valuable pieces from Islamic history.

Cost: AED 5 per Adult, free for children

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8am to 8pm, Friday from 4pm to 8pm

Contact: (971) 09 568-0006

Dubaing ScoreTM: 4/5


7. BONUS: Naitonal Museum of Ras al Khaimah – Most Popular Tourist Fort in UAE


While not clear from the name, the National Museum of Ras al Khaimah is essentially a fort.

The museum features valuable artefacts discovered across the emirate and give a valuable insight into the country’s traditional architecture and heritage Ranked: Best Science Museums in Dubai

Cost: AED 5 per person

Timings: Wednesday to Monday from 10am to 5pm

Contact: (971) 07 233-3411

Dubaing ScoreTM: 4/5


8. Al Oqaili Museum Dubai – Archaic House of Country's Most Revered Poet


The al Oqaili Museum in Dubai used to belong to one of the country’s most celebrated poets.

The residence has been maintained and turned into a museum featuring Oqaili’s poetry and a view into his life. Ranked: Best Art Museums in Dubai

Cost: Free

Timings: Sunday to Thursday 8am to 2pm

Contact: (971) 04 234-2385

Dubaing ScoreTM: 4/5


9. BONUS: Al Manama Fort Ajman – Best UAE Fort for Viewing Artefacts


The al Manama Fort in Ajman houses a large collection of archaeological artefacts, manuscripts, and old weapons. This is the only museum in Ajman.

Cost: AED 5 per person

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8am to 8pm

Contact: 06 7116666

Dubaing ScoreTM: 3.5/5


10. BONUS: Al Meraikhi House – Archaic House of Country's Most Revered Pearl Diver


Al Meraikhi House belonged to the country’s most celebrated pearl diver and is located on its own island.

It’s about a 90-minute from Dubai and needs a ferry ride. The island features some of the most preserved houses in the country.

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Cost: Free

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8am to 4pm

Contact: (971) 04 343-8843

Dubaing ScoreTM: 4/5


This ranking is competitive; Contenders 11, 12, and 13 are currently omitted as their Dubaing ScoreTM fell below 2.5. The ranking is updated every week; they will be visible again if their score rises above 2.5.

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