For year-round sunshine and beautiful beaches against a backdrop of sweeping desert dunes, Abu Dhabi is your place. But there’s more than just luxury hotels, white-sand beaches and relaxation on offer – this is fast becoming the vibrant, modern, cultural face of the UAE with top-notch attractions such as Ferrari World, The Louvre Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld.
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Where to Go in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is an ideal stopover en route to the Indian Ocean – but its contemporary and cultural attractions, combined with glorious beaches and clear blue waters, make it a holiday destination in its own right.
The city has grown quickly with shiny skyscrapers and swanky shopping malls to rival neighbouring Dubai. However, it also remains very much in touch with its heritage and culture. The impressive Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world, is well worth a visit.
Beach lovers should head to Saadiyat Island. Its sweeping stretch of pristine beach is flanked by opulent 5* hotels and you may be lucky enough to spot nesting Hawksbill turtles and dolphins off the shore. The island is gaining a reputation as Abu Dhabi’s art and cultural district with world-class galleries, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Lively Yas Island is the city’s entertainment hub, home to Yas Marina Circuit and Abu Dhabi’s Formula One Track – a driver experience that’s a must for F1 fans! Thrill seekers can get their kicks on the world’s fastest rollercoaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi or race down the waterslides at Yas Water Waterworld. If that isn’t enough to keep the family entertained, there is also Warner Bros. World™ Abu Dhabi and Yas Mall with hundreds of shops and restaurants.
Perhaps one of Abu Dhabi’s more surprising attractions is the sprawling Mangrove National Park. Located just outside the city centre, it’s teeming with colourful birds, turtles and dolphins. A relaxing afternoon can be spent here exploring the waterways by kayak.
Venture two hours out of the city and you meet the expansive dunes of the Empty Quarter. Falconry displays, dune bashing, camel treks and fat tyre biking are among the activities on offer here. Or simply relax amidst the towering dunes and enjoy the mesmerising and ever-changing landscape.
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When to go
The best time to visit Abu Dhabi is October-April when the weather is hot and sunny with temperatures ranging from 25C-35℃. The summer months (June-August) are scorchingly hot and best avoided as temperatures can exceed 40℃.
Flights: Etihad operates direct flights from London with a journey time of just over 7 hours. Other airlines such as Qatar fly via their middle eastern hubs.
FCDO travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/united-arab-emirates
Time Zone: GMT+4
United Arab Emirates Dirham
Capital City: Abu Dhabi
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