By Expedia Team, on October 21, 2022
Abu Dhabi is more than just the capital of the UAE; it’s an ultra-modern city where big 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, and today the city is one of the world’s most exciting and energetic metropolises – and one that’s often navigated by supercar. That doesn’t mean its lost sight of its past, though, and 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 lays 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 drifting 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 dolphin watch at Saadiyat Island, go glamping at Jebel Hafit Desert Park, and catch an F1™ race on Yas Island. Your Instagram will never know what hit it.
Desert and outdoor activities
The great outdoors offers the chance to slip into another world in Abu Dhabi. Here, you can bash along the dunes in a roaring 4×4, surf the desert on a sandboard, and spot African lions and white rhinos on a safari. For something more relaxing, you can work on your golf game, set sail in 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 Galleria Al Maryah Island, which caters to 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 dive 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 soaking 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 to 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, find 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 in reach of 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. The year-round sunshine makes Saadiyat Beach a must-visit in winter – and its luxurious beach club offers a 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.
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