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:

  1. 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. Abu Dhabi Skyline

  1. 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 Emirates Palace

  1. English is widely spoken

Arabic is the official language, but most people speak English so there’s no trouble communicating. The Corniche A family enjoy an evening stroll along The Corniche

  1. 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.Culture in the Desert

  1. 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!Sir Bani Yas Island Nature Reserve Sunset at Sir Bani Yas Island Nature Reserve

  1. Scenes for the new Star Wars film are being shot in Abu Dhabi!Quad biking in the Desert

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