Apart from being the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi is also the wealthiest city in the country, with artificial islands, silver skyscrapers, mega malls, and lavish palaces. Blessed with a beautiful waterside location, Abu Dhabi is a modern, cosmopolitan industrial city. Abu Dhabi accounts for nearly 80% of the United Arab Emirates and is only an hour and a half drive from Dubai.
The “land of the gazelle,” which is the Arabic translation of Abu Dhabi, has much more to offer than one can imagine. From its natural, lush green islands to the luxurious hotels and resorts, from the shifting dunes to the cold oasis, it has something for every traveller that visits. Offering the perfect combination of sun and sand with a city break, the doorsteps of Abu Dhabi await you with plenty of adventures and things to do.
One day you could be watching falcons hunt in the deserts, while the very next day you will find yourself exploring some of the world’s best museums.
Here is our pick of the top five things that you cannot afford to miss on your trip to Abu Dhabi:
A desert safari Abu Dhabi has to be at the top of the list and let us explain to you why. The desert is one of the most popular features of the United Arab Emirates. Enjoy a customized tour of a six-hour adventure ride through the deserts of Abu Dhabi that ends with a delicious BBQ dinner.
Feel the rush of adrenaline like you’ve never felt before as you surf on the sand in the soft rays of the setting sun. Visit a camel farm, followed by a traditional camp where authentic coffee and dates await you.
End this adventurous journey with an exotic BBQ dinner and a belly dancing show in the background.
Art Collections at Louvre, Abu Dhabi
Addressed as the most spectacular museum in the Middle East by many, Louvre Abu Dhabi is the Arab world’s first universal museum. Spanning from the neolithic period to the current period, it traces the entire history of humanity’s cultural exchange and diversity.
The layout, designed by the renowned French architect Jean Nouvel, resembles an Arab medina. The galleries are gathered under a silver dome that casts the visuals of an enchanting rain of light, inspired by the overlapping shadows of the palm trees in the oasis.
Witness the diversity of art, from the primitive Egyptian statute to the glorious paintings by the great Picasso.
There is no reason you would want to miss the thrill of the world’s fastest roller coaster ride and Formula One racing. This branded theme park is home to two record-breaking rides and is titled the world’s largest indoor theme park. Take a real Ferrari for a spin, ride the Flying Aces roller coaster (the tallest in the world with a 52-metre loop and speeds of 129 km/hour), or buckle up for a ride on the Formula Rossa, which is the fastest roller coaster in the world and clocks up to speeds of 240 km/hour. Ferrari World facilitates a collection of Ferrari cars dating back to 1947, a Ferrari knowledge game, and a Ferrari factory tour, pure bliss for true car nerds.
One of the largest mosques in the world and indeed the largest mosque in the UAE, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, was built in honour of the UAE’s founder, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Witness the true reflection of Arabic splendour with more than eighty domes and over a thousand columns that adorn the structure, and their astonishing image is reflected in the waters of the pools to amplify its beauty.
With a capacity of nearly 40,000 worshipers, the mosque is open to all, including non-Muslims. TripAdvisor’s 2017 Travellers’ Choice Awards has voted the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque as the second most popular landmark attraction worldwide.
A luxurious stay at the five-star private marina
Experience luxury like never before in the 114-dome palace that stretches over half a mile from wing to wing, amazing the visitor with its golden sandy colour that stands in contrast with the lush green gardens. As the night arrives, the colour of the walls drastically changes, featuring a rainbow effect over the central dome.
As you step into the building of the main palace, you will witness more than a thousand chandeliers hanging above your head, bound by gold pearl and opal designs, a mesmerising view.
You will be amazed by the Arabian hospitality at the Emirates Palace: 24-hour butler service, a huge variety of cuisines prepared by some of the world’s most renowned chefs, a lavish spa, 2 swimming pools with temperature control technology, a private marina, a kid’s club, and a lot more.