Luxurious in every way, Abu Dhabi is overflowing with opulence and style. As the capital of the United Arab Emirates, this lively city comes with Middle Eastern character and a rich culture that blends with the beautiful landscape. From traditional souks, stylish resorts and fine dining to amazing shopping, you will find plenty to see and do on your 2018 Abu Dhabi holiday.
Lying on a T-shaped island, the Arabian city boasts stunning year-round sunshine, pristine beaches and unmissable sand dunes that deliver wonderful spots for relaxing. Bridging the Eastern and Western worlds, you can get the best of everything, from world-class sporting events to a glimpse of local rural culture.
If you’re looking for a holiday swathed in luxury, Abu Dhabi has the perfect amount of understated chic to keep you captivated. From its rich culture to its stunning landscapes, you’ll find plenty to see and do on your Abu Dhabi holiday.
Whether you’re looking to bathe in glorious year-round sunshine and relax on beautiful beaches or shop ‘til you drop in some of the best malls in the world, Abu Dhabi holidays cater to a variety of tastes. From the minute you step off the plane and into this vibrant city, you’ll be greeted with a striking cityscape packed with top hotels, chic restaurants and stylish cocktail bars.
The Sheikh Sayed Grand Mosque is a must-see for anyone looking for a dose of culture, while the Saadiyat Public Beach offers an ideal spot to make the most of long sunny afternoons on your Abu Dhabi city breaks.
For a welcome retreat from the bustling city, pay a visit to nearby Al Ain. Known as the ‘Garden City’, this area is abundant in greenery – with the Al Ain National Museum boasting palm plantations and cool shady walkways that transport you from the noise of the city to a tranquil haven.
Wine and Dine
Abu Dhabi is blessed with a great choice of cuisine, boasting a vibrant mix of international flavours. From traditional Emirati cooking, authentic desert camps and contemporary restaurants to street-side cafes, Abu Dhabi is varied when it comes to dining possibilities.
Emirati dishes include many spices like cinnamon, saffron and turmeric, as well as nuts, limes and dried fruit. The most popular dish is Al Majboos - boiled meat with a unique blend of spices and dried limes.
To experience the best local produce, get up early to visit the Al Mina Fruit and Vegetable Souk and the Arabian Gulf at the Mina Fish Souk, which are overflowing with colourful ingredients. You can sample Emirati cuisine on the Al Dhafra Dinner Cruise on a traditional dhow with fantastic views of the Corniche.
Alcohol is generally only available in the resorts and hotels. However, if you enjoy beer, why not attend a pairing at the Belgian Beer Café, overlooking the marina.
A family holiday in Abu Dhabi will not be short of fun or adventure. Boasting high-adrenaline sports, theme parks, award-winning beaches and zoos, this city offers something for everyone.
One of the best family attractions is Yas Waterworld on Yas Island. With over 40 rides and slides, this futuristic waterpark promises an exciting day out for all ages. Also on Yas Island is the Ferrari theme park, the first of its kind in the world. As well as rides and the world’s fastest rollercoaster, the theme park is home to a gigantic Ferrari Store
For families who want a beach day, Corniche beach is popular thanks to its Blue Flag rating. With lovely shallow waters and floating fences, this beach is very safe and even has lifeguards on patrol.
If you love animals, then head to Al Ain Zoo in Jebel Hafeet. Home to over 4,000 animals, the zoo includes a train tour of the wildlife area where you can feed the giraffes, ride camels, interact with the animals at the petting zoo and lots more.
Action and Adventure
You’ll find many ways to explore Abu Dhabi’s landscape, especially if you’re looking for an active holiday. With the city surrounded by water, it’s no surprise that jet-skiing has become increasingly popular, with many locals escaping at the weekend to nearby uninhabited islands.
One of Abu Dhabi’s hidden gems is the Mangrove National Park. You can take a boat trip there to see turtles, dolphins and dugongs just metres away. With over 60 species of birds and 200 species of fish, this mangrove forest will certainly surprise you with its interesting wildlife. You can kayak down one of the many channels that run out of the mangroves.
If you’re feeling less adventurous on your holiday in Abu Dhabi, cycling along the Corniche offers spectacular views. You can rent a bike from one of the nearby stations. The self-powered go-kart style bikes, the ideal option if you’ve got the kids in tow.
The best way to escape from the city is to head to the beach. Abu Dhabi has many beaches where you can enjoy shimmering turquoise waters and soak up the rays.
Abu Dhabi is blessed with lots of Blue Flag beaches including Al Bateen, overlooking Island and Hudariyat Bridge, to the west of Abu Dhabi. The picturesque views and clear waters attract holidaymakers, and are ideal for swimming, fishing and waterfront picnics. The sands are also perfect for beach volleyball.
One of Abu Dhabi’s best kept secrets, Mirfa Beach in Al Dafra, is extremely quiet with few crowds and a children’s play area, as well as camping facilities. Plus, it’s home to the Al Gharbia Water Sports Festival, which attracts many visitors each year.
If you’re looking for an unspoiled beach on your Abu Dhabi holiday, head to Saadiyat Beach. Located on Saadiyat Island, the 9km stretch of sand is environmentally protected and flanked by dunes, which are the nesting grounds of the endangered hawksbill turtle.
You’ve got to sample the nightlife on your holiday to Abu Dhabi. From poolside parties and headline DJs to classy cocktail bars, you’ll find a diverse mix of glamorous venues and laid-back hangouts that cater for all tastes. It’s your chance to dress up and paint the town red at some of the best clubs in the Middle East.
The resorts in the city offer a range of brilliant bars for pre-drinks. Ray’s Bar offers excellent views of Abu Dhabi’s skyline and sits high above on the 62nd floor of the Jumeirah Etihad Towers Hotel. For the wine connoisseurs and cigar lovers, La Cava wine bar at Rosewood Hotel has an underground bar with over 1,500 wine labels and a cosy cigar bar.
If you fancy something a bit different, then check out The Sea Lounge at the Saadiyat Beach Club. This outdoor club is incredibly chilled, with resident DJs playing laid-back music that complement the sounds of the nearby sea.
Abu Dhabi holidays offer something for every couple. Whether you want a relaxing spa break, untouched beaches or the buzz of the Formula One circuit, there really is something for everyone.
The Corniche is a favourite romantic spot in the city, where both locals and tourists go to unwind and watch the sunset - perfect for you and your loved one. If you walk further along to The Breakwater, you have a choice of walkways with breath-taking views of the ocean.
Alternatively, you could take a boat to the luxurious Yas Island, where you’ll find a great range of attractions including a stunning marina that is ideal for romantic strolls among the super yachts. Or simply get away from the crowds and the secluded sands on Saadiyat Island. When the sun goes down, don’t forget to book a moonlight cruise on a traditional dhow and see the city from a new perspective.
Abu Dhabi has little in the way of historic attractions, but that’s not to say you’ll be stuck for things to do. Instead, embrace the Emirati culture on your Abu Dhabi holiday and spend a day at the Al Ain Heritage Village. A green oasis in the middle of the desert, you get the chance to learn textile making and traditional weaving at the handicraft market.
As the centre for arts and learning in Abu Dhabi, the Cultural Foundation at the Qasr Al Hosn Centre hosts various art exhibitions and musical performances from all around the world. Here you will find out about the city’s history through the artefacts and pictures on display.
An hour east of the city is one of the United Arab Emirate’s historic buildings, Al Jahili Fort. Situated in Al Ain with outstanding landscaped gardens, the fort dates back to 1891 and was built to defend the city and its valuable palm groves.