Where to stay
If not staying with friends or family, then one of the hotels on Yas Island is the perfect place for sports fans to stay. Either the five star splendour of the Yas Viceroy with views of the Yas Marina Circuit or in any of the Golf Plaza of hotels. Alternatively, Al Forsan International Sports Resort should be opening its hotel any time now, which would be super sporty. If you're a member of the Starwood loyalty programme then staying at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr will give you access to their fleet of Mercedes bicycles, branded golf clubs should you be planning a game and they can even supply you Reebok workout gear for use in their gym.
Monday: Beach time
Morning: Acclimatise to the weather with a trip to Yas Beach. If you're staying at a Yas hotel then entry is free and there's a regular Yas Express bus that runs around the island including stops at the hotels, the beach and the Yas Marina. For everyone else the entrance fee is Dhs.50 on weekdays and Dhs.100 on weekends, although ladies often only pay Dhs.50 at weekends. The beach has a liscenced bar and cafe so you'll be fine for food and beverages throughout the day.
Afternoon: If you get bored of lounging then there's a volleyball net that's free to use, or you can visit Noukhada Adventure at the end of the beach. They'll rent you out stand-up paddleboards, windsurfers and kayaks, but will also give sailing lessons. A mangrove tour with one of their guides towards the end of the day can offer an insight into the local ecology and can also reward you with some fantastic sunset scenes. It's best to go when the tide is high so you can actually kayak through the mangroves rather than around the edges.
Evening: Head to one of the restaurants at the Golf Plaza (also known as the Yas Plaza). Italian restaurant Fillini at Radisson Blu has a delightful outside area, with views over the Yas Links golf course and water...so long as you're there before the daylight disappears completely.
Tuesday: Watery fun
Morning: Try your hand at fishing with a trip through Arabian Divers and Sportfishing Charters, or through trips organised by through the Hilton on the Corniche, or Sheraton hotel. Trips should last around three to four hours. Alternatively, if you don't fancy hooking fish, you can go and look at them instead with a snorkelling trip or, if you're PADI trained, a scuba diving trip. Generally, the immediate coastal waters aren't great for this so you'll need a boat trip to take you out to better spots.
Afternoon/ Evening: Save some energy during the day for a trip to Yas Marina Circuit in the evening. Every Tuesday the track opens up to let people walk, run or cycle around it for TrainYAS. Cycle hire is available. If you still have energy left, how about a spot of go-karting at the track right by the venue, followed by a meaty feast in the adjacent Johnny Rocket's burger restaurant.
Wednesday: Golf and desert tour
Morning: Get up early and go for a round of golf. The range of courses in Abu Dhabi is world-class; Yas Links and Saadiyat Beach Golf Club are by the water, with the latter home to some small deer that may run across your fairway. Abu Dhabi Golf Club is home to the HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship and has an amazing falcon shaped club house. There's also the course at Abu Dhabi City Golf Club which is a slightly cheaper option, yet still good, or you can try playing on the sand at the 'brown' golf course of Al Ghazal.
Afternoon/ Evening: In the mid afternoon head out on a desert safari and be taken dune bashing. At the desert camps there's often the opportunity to take a quad bike or dune buggy out (at extra cost), while some have boards available so that you can try sand surfing. The camp's evening entertainment and usually tasty buffet dinner will see off the day nicely.
Day: A trip to Al Forsan will have any sports fan wondering what to try first. Most famous perhaps is the cable boarding park, where you can try wakeboarding while being pulled along by the huge cable system. The shooting range is an awesome experience with very capable instructors, while you can also hop on a horse, try some off-road buggies or take to the themed paintball fields.
Evening: As it's the beginning of the weekend, head down to Le Meridien near Abu Dhabi Mall in the evening. Their outside courtyard area has a choice of restaurants, a traditional pub and the NRG Sports Cafe to spend the night in. There are plenty of onward options if the night looks set to continue, including the Zenith nightclub at the nearby Sheraton hotel.
Friday: Tennis and brunch
Morning: Wake up early and head to Zayed Sports City for a game of tennis before the day gets too warm. It costs Dhs.100 for an hour and they can rent you tennis raquets too. If you still have energy, the grounds are a popular place to go jogging.
Afternoon/ Evening: You should be finished in time for a brunch. The Bubbalicious brunch at the Westin Abu Dhabi is not only deservedly popular, it is also in the Abu Dhabi Golf Club complex, so keeps the sporty vibe flowing.
Saturday: Race around the track
Day: Try to book in for an experience at Yas Marina Circuit (you may need to do this well in advance). They have a dedicated drag strip if you fancy trying to race up the quarter mile, a drift area if you want to learn how to drive sideways and a selection of different cars that you can drive around the circuit, or be taken for passenger rides in. They're not cheap experiences generally, but they will be memorable ones.
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