Abu Dhabi is more than just the capital of the UAE; it’s an ultra-modern city where vast desert, epic adventure and next-level luxury come together to offer the perfect getaway. Looking for fine dining? You’ll find it on helipads, in revolving restaurants and beneath a blanket of a million twinkling stars. Searching for the perfect gift? Look no further than the soaring Marina Mall and the traditional souks of the Central Market. Whatever you’re looking for—big or small, relaxing or invigorating—you’ll find it in Abu Dhabi.
Culture and Heritage
Abu Dhabi has come a long way since its days as a sleepy fishing village. Nowadays, the city is one of the world’s most exciting and energetic metropolises—and one that’s often navigated by supercar. Although that doesn’t mean it has lost sight of its past—you can explore the city’s traditional culture and heritage at Heritage Village, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Qasr al Hosn (the Palace Fort).
Sky, sand and sea
One of the most astonishing things about the glass-and-steel city is the magnificent world that lies on its doorstep. This is a place of camels and soaring skyscrapers; of endless sand dunes and world-class beaches; of wildlife parks, lake camps, safaris and helicopter tours. In other words, Abu Dhabi is a city of contrasts. Can’t decide between a city break, a beach break or a desert break? No need to choose—you can do it all on one epic getaway.
Abu Dhabi has carved out a reputation for being one of the world’s great luxury spots—and it’s a reputation that’s well earned. The glittering Corniche is a huge attraction, bringing breezy California style (and plenty of cruising Lamborghinis) to the emirate. For a more opulent look at the city, book a stay at a private island retreat, play a round of golf and watch dolphins at Saadiyat Island, go glamping at Jebel Hafit Desert Park and catch an F1 race on Yas Island. Your Instagram won’t know what’s hit it.
Desert and outdoor activities
The great outdoors offers the chance to slip into another world in Abu Dhabi. Here, you can thunder along the dunes in a roaring 4×4, surf the desert on a sandboard, and spot African lions and white rhinos on safari. For something more relaxing, you can work on your golf game, set sail on the Arabian Gulf and explore the Liwa Forts.
There’s a shopping experience for every taste in Abu Dhabi. Looking for hand-woven clothes, ceramics and the perfect souvenir? Then stop by Heritage Village, which not only functions as an epicentre for traditional goods, but acts as an open-air museum. Lovers of all things luxury should make haste for the Galleria Al Maryah Island, which caters to fans of high-end, haute couture houses. Families, meanwhile, can find their happy place at the Marina Mall, which not only offers over 400 brands, but is home to an ice rink, a cinema and a bowling alley.
Don’t just grab a bite when you’re in Abu Dhabi—grab hold of your seat and get ready for an adventure. You can enjoy innovative dishes from world-class chefs, high-end high teas and sunset cocktails on rooftop terraces—but that’s just the start of your culinary journey. Get ready to tuck into barbecue in a Bedouin camp in the desert; dig into Japanese-Cuban dishes while taking in views across the Corniche; enjoy brunch while spotting yachts at Yas Marina and soak up spectacular views in a revolving restaurant.
Adventure and theme parks
You won’t have to look far to find adventure for the whole family. Visit Ferrari World Abu Dhabi to enjoy a motorsport-themed entertainment complex, and head to Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi to get up close and personal with characters from Looney Tunes, DC Comics and more. If you’re looking for a different kind of wildlife, visit the National Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the Middle East. If that’s not enough, make your way to Yas Island to hit the rollercoasters, hit the road at the Yas Marina Circuit and hit the wall at CLYMB Abu Dhabi.
Looking for powder-soft white sands not far from the city? How about a remote island with thousands of free-roaming animals or a private island where you can literally swing over the sea? You’re in luck—Abu Dhabi’s got it all. The year-round sunshine makes Saadiyat Beach a must-visit location in winter—and its luxurious beach club offers respite from the everyday. Corniche Beach is a Blue Flag public beach with a promenade that’s just begging to be explored with kids, while Zaya Nurai Island is a private island resort that’s just a 12-minute boat ride from Saadiyat Island.