Known for its vast deserts, blistering Formula One tracks and role in Sex and the City, Abu Dhabi is a destination suited to anyone – regardless of whether you want action-packed days, or sleepy sunbathing sessions.
If you’re a huge Formula One fan – or just fancy a day at the races – make sure your trip coincides with the yearly tours of Abu Dhabi. Set in an elegant, Arabian venue, you’ll see the best in the motor sporting industry battle it out on sticky tarmac tracks. Any car enthusiasts, young and old alike, should schedule in a trip to Ferrari World, a theme park documenting the Italian manufacturer’s story, complete with rides and fun information stands.
For something altogether more tranquil, head to Al Ain, the Emirate’s capital, and visit the Al Ain Oasis. The oasis is home to many palm plantations, and their long leafy branches keep the sun off. This secluded spot employs a 3,000 year old irrigation system, still pumping water through channels to keep the beautiful city as lush and green as it was when the plantations first opened. Eight entrances lead you into over 3,000 acres of greenery, and with free entrance, you can come as often and for as long as you want.
While you’re in Al Ain, pay a visit to the National Museum and the Al Ain Zoo. Complete with a petting area, you can stroke and feed animals from sheep and llamas, up to giraffes. Have camel rides, and enjoy the brilliant conservation work this zoo is doing. Try something different, and visit the Al Ain Camel Market. It’s like being transported back in time as you watch traders battle out over prices, and while it offers great photography opportunities, always ask before you capture something.
Abu Dhabi is home to one of the world’s largest mosques, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Capable of holding over 40,000 worshippers, its immense size, historical significance and sheer architectural brilliance is a must-see. For other amazing architectural works, visit the Al Ain Palace Museum.
Family fun can be found at Yas Waterworld, along the Abu Dhabi Corniche, and at Hili Fun City, and the Emirate’s most iconic landmarks, the Emirates Palace, the Etihad Towers, and the Sheikh Zayed Bridge cannot be missed. Head to the major landmarks at night, for beautiful sights, and ethereal light shows.
Abu Dhabi, the safest of all the Emirates, is without doubt an ideal day trip, long weekend, or brilliant holiday, and the perfect way to absorb Arabian culture, international sights, and wonderful weather.