A destination for the whole family, Abu Dhabi has the awe-inspiring Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, world’s fastest roller coaster in the largest indoor theme park, relaxing Al Ain Oasis, to feed the animals in the emirate’s engaging zoos, or you can have a great day out on the UAE capital’s landmark Corniche.
While in Abu Dhabi, don’t forget to get on the water! From wake-boarding to surfing and parasailing, from cruising in a traditional pearling boat to kayaking through our natural mangrove forests, from zooming to the pace of a speedboat tour to diving, cruising, snorkelling or swimming, the emirate’s waters are yours to discover.
For a 360˚ entertainment experience, head to Yas Island where you can burn rubber at Yas Marina Circuit – home to the annual Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, have a coffee or stay at the iconic Yas Viceroy – the world’s only hotel to straddle an F1 race track – ride the world’s fastest roller coaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, have a giant splash at Yas Waterworld, play Arabia’s only links course and relax on a white sandy beach.
Shopping is something of a national pastime in Abu Dhabi, perhaps because it’s so diverse and tax-free: everything from luxurious and ultra-modern malls with the latest brands, to small, souk-like shops where you can buy traditional perfumes, handicrafts, spices and carpets.
To explore the lifestyle, head to The Collection at The St Regis, Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi and enjoy high-end shops, restaurants and cafés – all within a Mediterranean-style ‘village’ complete with terraces, courtyards and piazzas. Alternatively, visit the Eastern Mangroves Promenade for a mix of restaurants, health & beauty and leisure venues, with an arch-fronted open pedestrian zone and stunning mangroves-view terraces. For a more-community orientated experience head to Al Raha Beach Plazas and shop, dine or relax on the promenade with stunning Arabian Gulf views.
If you’re interested in culture and heritage, catch a cab to the Heritage Village on the Corniche Breakwater and step back in time to a traditional desert lifestyle. Bargain with souvenir sellers and watch craftsmen at work producing pottery, weaving and metal work.
When to visit
The best time to visit Abu Dhabi is between April and May or from September to October. The spring and fall shoulder seasons yield pleasant weather, manageable crowds and reasonable hotel rates. For the best weather, not too hot and not to humid, you’ll want to visit in the wintertime (December through March).