Once a quiet coastal village, today Abu Dhabi is a thriving metropolis populated by international luxury hotels, futuristic skyscrapers and modern malls, all surrounded by the pristine beaches and warm waters of the Arabian Gulf. The capital boasts some of the biggest attractions in the UAE, including Yas Waterworld, Yas Marina Circuit and Sir Bani Yas Island.
Thrills & spills
For outdoor entertainment, there’s nowhere better than Yas Waterworld. The waterpark boasts several record-breaking rides that are sure to thrill adrenaline junkies. Slither down the world’s first ‘rattling’ waterslide complete with special effects, or defy gravity on the Liwa Loop. Yas Island is also home to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the largest indoor theme park in the world, which has more than 20 rides and attractions.
Sun, sand & sea
Located off the coast of Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island has a wide range of luxury accommodation, fine dining restaurants and leisure facilities – and its clean white sands and turquoise waters transport you to an island paradise. There’s beachfront golf at the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, watersports and sun loungers at the BAKE public beach, and VIP fun in the sun at the Monte-Carlo Beach Club, Saadiyat.
Walk on the wild side
The stunning Sir Bani Yas Island, located just off the coast of Abu Dhabi, is home to the Arabian Wildlife Park, a nature reserve with more than 10,000 species of animal including Arabian oryx, cheetahs, giraffes and hyenas. There are plenty of opportunities for enjoying the gorgeous landscape, from kayaking and mountain biking to hiking and horse riding. Stay over at the luxurious Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara.
Emirates Park Zoo
Both kids and adults are sure to enjoy a trip to the recently-renovated zoo which houses more than 2,000 species of animals, including white tigers, blue monkeys and brown bears. The emphasis is on allowing you to get close to your favourite animals through touch and interaction; for example, at the Giraffe Cafe, visitors can feed the giraffes and zebras.
Abu Dhabi Corniche
No trip to Abu Dhabi would be complete without spending some time on the Corniche, where some of the city’s best-loved attractions are found. Family Park is a definite highlight, with its leafy gardens, picnic areas and tree-lined walkways. At the Breakwater, you can stroll along wide pavements, watch fishermen casting into the Gulf and stop for lunch at Havana Cafe.
Hop on, hop off bus tour
When you have limited time for sightseeing, a great way to view as many tourist attractions as possible is through a city bus tour. The Abu Dhabi Big Bus Tour is a hop on, hop off service that takes in 11 stops, including the famous Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Emirates Palace and Saadiyat Island.
Abu Dhabi’s culinary scene is a highlight of any trip to the UAE capital. From afternoon tea at the Emirates Palace to the Marco Pierre-White-helmed Steakhouse & Grill at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, and Tiara, the revolving restaurant on the 55th floor of Marina Mall – many of the city’s restaurants are destinations in their own right.
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