Three reasons to visit Abu Dhabi
As the colder months begin to work their way into your joints, and the wind exposes the little gaps and holes in your clothing, you may find your mind wandering towards warmer climes. Where could you go for a short, hot break to chase away those winter blues?
We would like to highlight three reasons to visit Abu Dhabi, the largest of the Emirates: culture, excitement and deserts It was founded in 1971, and although development is happening swiftly, it is well planned, retaining enough of its cultural and traditional identity while still presenting itself as a modern and exciting city well placed to welcome the world’s visitors.
It perhaps suffers from comparison with the glitzy Dubai, but when you begin to scratch under the surface, you will find so many reasons to visit Abu Dhabi. It has a bit of a reputation as a stop over place, where you might go out for a few hours while in transit, and, for example visit the famous Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Some Airlines will provide really good rates in local hotels for a one night stop over, but if you visit Abu Dhabi for a few hours or overnight, you will be missing out on so much to discover. Come for at least three days….. then visit again!
Flight time from London is about 7 hours direct, and there are a number of daily flights. It is therefore a great alternative to the Caribbean or to North Africa for those seeking some Winter sun. It is relatively easy to get a metered taxi from the airport to your hotel. A number of hotels will also provide complimentary shuttles from and to the airport
Abu Dhabi is a Muslim country, but far more relaxed than most of its neighbours. That being said, it is important to respect its culture and traditions, especially when it comes to dress code
Tourists are not expected to be fully covered, but women should cover their shoulders and to below their knees. Men are expected to wear long trousers, or if shorts, they should be below the knee. If you are visiting government buildings and especially mosques, you will be expected to be more formally covered. Woman can hire an abaya and head covering.
In any event, although it is. Hot all year round in Abu Dhabi, it is a good idea to bring with you a jumper or jacket. The air conditioning inside some buildings can be fierce!
On the beach, you can be a little more relaxed. A number of beaches, however, will require adults to wear a T shirt over their costumes and anything overtly revealing, such as thong, or possibly even two piece suits are not acceptable.
Alcohol may be available in some hotels, but not widely outside, and definitely should not be consumed outside.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The Grand Mosque regularly features in Trip Advisor’s list of the world’s top landmarks, surprisingly beating sites like the Taj Mahal or Maccu Picchu. So what is so special about it?
Firstly its size will surprise you. It can accommodation more than 40,000 worshippers, it has 82 domes and more than 1000 marble columns, and the world’s largest handmade carpet. Entrance is free, as are the escorted tours. You might, however want to visit at sunset, when there is the most amazing lighting.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi
The museum was opened in November 2017, and has about 600 pieces from around the world and across civilisations across its 23 start of the art galleries. The architecture is amazing, and as they regularly host exhibitions, you may well want to visit again and again.
The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital
Falcons have been used for centuries by the Bedouins for hunting, and while hunting is now forbidden, falcons are still used for sport. The Falcon hospital is one of the emirate’s most popular attractions, although only open from Sunday to Thursday between 10 am and 2 pm
The Pearl Journey
Before Abu Dhabi discovered oil, one of its main sources of income came from pearl fishing. The pearl journey experience will share with you a troop on a traditional pearl fishing boat, known as the Jalboot, a view of the mangroves, a demonstration of pearl diving and an oyster opening demonstration, and, of course, traditional Arabian hospitality and snacks on board.
Abu Dhabi’s Mangroves is a unique eco-system hosting herons, egrets, flamingos and other sea birds who feed on a diverse range of fish.
The Corniche is a 8 km promenade along the sea front with beaches, restaurants and cafes, play areas, cycle and pedestrian pathways. It is often described as the beating heart of Abu Dhabi. This is where you will come to see and to be seen!
Yas Island is a multi purpose leisure complex like no other, providing leisure, shopping and entertainment. It is the UAE, so it is enormous, and everything is bigger and better. It holds the Yas Marina Circuit, which has hosted the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix since 2009, and provides a racing experience when the professionals are not showing us how to do it. Ferrari World has the world’s fastest roller coaster as well as the world’s largest space frame structure. The theme park is often voted to be among the best in the world, with real and simulated rides.
Yas Waterworld is one of the most impressive water parks, with a host of rides, slides and attractions. Bubbles Barrel is a drop through a giant funnel on a 6 person raft.
Yas beach is a hideaway (of sorts) from the hustle and bustle of the island. The facilities are excellent with a shaded kids pool, splash pool, kayaking, wind surfing, jet skis, and a DJ booth and infinity pool
Saadiyat Beach is a 9 km stretch of fine sand beach, with a pool, workout room, private cabanas. Between April and August you might catch a sight of the endangered hawksbill turtles.
The Meridien is well located in the area known as The Tourist Club, next to the Abu Dhabi Mall. it provides 248 spacious rooms, with modern colours and artworks by local artists.
The gardens boast a surprising variety of flowers, fish, turtles and birds. There are a number of sporting activities available including tennis, squash and beach volley ball, and the Eden Spa has over 50 treatments from which to choose.
The Meridien has a number of restaurants and the Captains Arms, a traditional English pub
The Radisson Blu is situated on the Corniche and provides beautiful views of the Arabian Gulf from its 326 rooms and suites. There are 12 restaurants and bars, including the Hemingway Sports Bar and the famous Jazz Bar & Dining.
The Hotel provides a good spa and excellent fitness facilities, a tennis court and plenty of water sports
The Sheraton is situated on the Corniche and provides 272 comfortable rooms as well as 3 club floors and a number of suites.
There are a number of restaurants, including the Bravo Tapas Bar, and Cloud Nine, a famous cigar bar complemented by a decadent menu of fresh oysters and champagne. The Mexican restaurant, El Sombrero has won a number of awards so you have a world of choice should you choose to eat in the hotel.
A number of pools (included a heated pool) complement the fitness facilities as well as a tennis court.
The sand in Abu Dhabi is not limited to the fine beaches. No trip to Abu Dhabi is complete without some desert fun: one of our three reasons to visit Abu Dhabi. That could be staying in a desert hotel or an exhilarating 4 x 4 ride, camel trekking, or a romantic dinner under the stars before returning to your hotel.
The Empty Quarter
The Rub Al Khali is the largest expanse of sand in the world. You might recognise it from Star Wars: the Force Awakens in the desert planet Jakku.
Sir Bani Yas Island Safari
Sir Bani Yas Island is a nature based and adventure destination with wildlife, stables, and historical sites.The Arabian Wildlife Park is 1,400 hectares, and offers visitors the chance to see Barbary Sheep, gazelle, giraffe, and even cheetahs on an open jeep safari. The Anantara have three luxurious hotels