When it comes to the Middle East, two cities stand out for their grandeur, economic prowess, and cultural significance: Dubai and Abu Dhabi. While these cities often find themselves in the same conversations, it is important to understand that they are not the same country but two captivating destinations within the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  

Check our blog to learn the distinctive attributes of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, exploring their unique charm, architectural wonders, and contributions to the UAE’s thriving economy. So, join us on this journey as we delve into the captivating stories of these two dynamic cities in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula. 

Here is a quick comparison of Dubai and Abu Dhabi’s differences: 

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are cities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They are located on the Persian Gulf coast but are about 140 kilometers (87 miles) apart.  

Where is the UAE?

It’s on the eastern side of the Arabian Peninsula. It has Saudi Arabia to the West and Oman to the South.  

The Seven Emirates of UAE are:

  1.  Abu Dhabi
  2. Dubai
  3. Sharjah
  4. Ajman
  5. Fujairah
  6. Ras Al Khaimah
  7. Umm Al Quwain 

How does their Government work?

The UAE has a President (the Emir of Abu Dhabi) and a Prime Minister (the Emir of Dubai). Each Emirate retains autonomy over its region. Both cities have their own unique culture and attractions that set them apart from one another. Yet, both are fiercely independent and governed by the local emirs. The concept is the same as kingdoms and sultanates, where the son becomes the next ruler, and dynasties continue to thrive.  

Standard of housing in the UAE

The standard of housing in the UAE is high, and you’ll have many options. Apartments have shared facilities such as a gym, parking, and swimming pool. Compound villas often have amenities such as a medical center, tennis court, gym, and restaurant. 

Both furnished and unfurnished housing is available. Be prepared for significant start-up charges if you pick this option because many unfurnished flats need more basic equipment. 

Dubai focuses more on tourism and entertainment, while Abu Dhabi focuses more on Government and business. Both cities are worth visiting and offer a unique experience to visitors.  

Types of properties in UAE

Two of the most well-liked tourism destinations worldwide are Dubai and Abu Dhabi. But what makes these two cities so different? Dubai is much more urbanized, while Abu Dhabi is more traditional. 

Dubai is a popular choice of property investment among investors and buyers. Hence, you can find various types of residential properties in Dubai. They range from affordable to affluent properties. 


An apartment is a unit of a residential building. Such property in the UAE is available in different configurations, ranging from studio apartments to multi-bedroom units.  

Different apartments vary in price based on the number of bedrooms and amenities. The price may also be impacted if you go for a furnished or unfurnished property.  

You may find an apartment of your choice from these listings:

Dubai is known for its modern skyscrapers and brightly lit streets, while Abu Dhabi features traditional buildings and a more relaxed atmosphere. There are many apartments for rent in Dubai, offering modern comforts, stunning views, and a prime location in this dynamic city. 

There are lovely beachfront properties in Abu Dhabi that are perfect for real estate investments in the UAE. You can even explore a wide selection of stunning apartments for sale in Abu Dhabi, offering luxurious living spaces and exceptional amenities. 

Check the below listings for apartments in Abu Dhabi:

Discover the perfect apartment for rent in Abu Dhabi, providing comfortable living spaces and convenient access to the city’s attractions and amenities. 


A villa is usually a single-level directory or more, built on a pre-demarcated plot. 

Villas often have a pool, terrace, front garden, or exterior patio. Whereas landscaping and lawn maintenance are an added responsibility if you go for villas. They are available in the UAE in different configurations with many bedrooms.  

There are two different sorts of developments in the UAE if you wish to live in a villa: villa communities and villa compounds. 

You can even buy or rent a villa in the below places as per your liking from these listings:

While most of us are only familiar with Dubai and Abu Dhabi among the other UAE nations, Sharjah city is also growing in popularity as a prime travel destination on a global scale. After Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Sharjah is regarded as the third-most populous city in the United Arab Emirates. Among other well-known locations in the UAE, Sharjah City has much to offer tourists. This city includes luxuries, beaches, people, food, hotels, clothing, and marketplaces. Filled with traditional Arab culture, the essence of this place typically revolves around the incredible Islamic architecture, music, attire, cuisine, and lifestyle. 

Check apartments in Sharjah from the below listings:
Check these below listings to learn about Villas in Sharjah:

Do you dream of an address by the beach, with spectacular views of the clear blue ocean? There are numerous areas to select from. Explore a wide range of exquisite villas for sale in Dubai, featuring elegant designs, luxurious amenities, and breathtaking views for a truly exceptional living experience. 

Discover a variety of stunning villas for rent in Sharjah, providing spacious living areas, serene surroundings, and convenient access to the city’s attractions and amenities. 

The Economy of Dubai and Abu Dhabi

  • The two emirates have a lot in common regarding their economies. Both are major oil and gas producers, and they both have thriving tourism industries. Dubai is much more developed than Abu Dhabi. It has a larger population and a more diversified economy. Tourism is a crucial sector of the Dubai economy, accounting for about 25 percent of revenue.
  • The primary difference between these two cities is their economies. Dubai is much more advanced, with high economic development and wealth. Abu Dhabi is one of the wealthiest places in the world because of its oil reserves. Abu Dhabi has everything Dubai has but on a smaller scale. Also, Dubai is one step ahead when adopting new trends and diversifying its economy. Yet, Dubai lacks one crucial thing that Abu Dhabi has – vast oil reserves. This makes a huge difference and may override Dubai’s advantages over Abu Dhabi. 
  • Dubai is known for its modern architecture, upscale shopping, and active nightlife. Abu Dhabi is smaller, cozier, and friendlier. Dubai can be too fast-paced, business-minded, and overwhelming at times.


There are many similarities between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, two of the most significant cities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi are situated in the Persian Gulf, have vast oil reserves, and boast skyscrapers that make them some of the most iconic cities in the world. Yet, if you intend to travel to either city, you should be aware of certain significant distinctions between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. 


1. How many emirates are in the UAE?

Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah are the seven emirates that constitute the United Arab Emirates.

2. Which emirate is the capital of the UAE?

Abu Dhabi, the largest emirate in terms of land size, serves as the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

3. What is the UAE’s most populous city?

The UAE’s largest city by population is Dubai. It is known for its stunning skyscrapers, bustling lifestyle, and vibrant tourism industry.

4. What are some notable cities or attractions in the UAE besides Abu Dhabi and Dubai?

Along with Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the UAE has several other notable cities and attractions. Some include Sharjah, known for its cultural heritage; Ajman, with its beautiful beaches; Ras Al Khaimah, offering outdoor activities and stunning landscapes; and Fujairah, renowned for its beaches and historical sites.

PM Editor

PM Editor

An expert writer and author, the editor specializes in creating content related to buying, selling, and investing in real estate. He profoundly understands the real estate industry, including current market trends, financing options, and legal considerations.

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