Abu Dhabi, despite being the capital of the UAE, is often overlooked by it’s glitzy next door neighbour, Dubai – but things are changing. Formula 1 arrived in 2012, and the world’s third Guggenheim museum will be opening later this year. There has never been a better time to experience all that Abu Dhabi holidays have to offer, and here are our favourite 6 reasons to visit Dubai’s quieter, less crowded neighbour:
Amazing beaches & year round sunshine
Abu Dhabi is a really attractive city – you’ve got the shimmering skyscraper skyline, surrounded by crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches lined with palm trees (it’s an island after all). Planned for growth from the start, it’s easy to navigate and traffic flows freely. A highlight is The Corniche, a seaside promenade that runs the length of the city where locals go jogging, skating, cycling and picnicking.
Classy hotels and restaurants
Abu Dhabi has it’s fair share of extravagant, spectacular architecture. Take for example, the Emirates Palace (a hotel that’s a tourist attraction in it’s own right). Located within a 1 million square metre plot of beachfront land, the complex boasts it’s own waterpark, a 1200 seat theatre, 104 lifts… it’s so large, guests can be chauffeured from one end to the other in golf buggies. There have been around 30 big hotel openings over the last couple of years. Emirates Palace
English is widely spoken
Arabic is the official language, but most people speak English so there’s no trouble communicating. A family enjoy an evening stroll along The Corniche
Abu Dhabi rivals Dubai for hotels, shops and attractions
Ferrari World, the largest indoor theme park in the world, is home to the fastest rollercoaster in the world. Abu Dhabi also has a strong cultural and heritage flavour. Saadiyat Island will be the destination for art and culture in the Middle East. The third Guggenheim is due to open this year, as well as the world’s second Louvre museum and a partially submerged Maritime Museum.
A nature lover’s paradise
An unlikely claim, we know, but Abu Dhabi’s island environment is still largely untouched. You can take a guided kayak tour of Abu Dhabi’s mangrove forests. Alternatively, explore Sir Bani Yas Island (formerly the private nature reserve of the late ruler and UAE founder Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan), home to a safari with 10,000 free roaming wild animals, including cheetahs! Sunset at Sir Bani Yas Island Nature Reserve
Scenes for the new Star Wars film are being shot in Abu Dhabi!
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