Despite being culturally rich and extraordinarily charming, Abu Dhabi often goes unnoticed, as visitors to UAE always bang on about its more glitzy and flamboyant counterpart, Dubai. But the reality is there is something unique about Abu Dhabi, being an exquisite land where rich Arabian heritage seamlessly mingle with avant-gardism. In other words, there is no denying that Abu Dhabi boasts more than enough punch to ensure that your trip to the capital city a memorable experience. In fact, a trip to this fascinating city will enable you to:
10 Reasons to Put Abu Dhabi on Your Bucket List
See some of the planet’s astounding architecture
From Reem Island’s Sun and Sky Towers and luxurious Etihad Towers to Viceroy Hotel, Sheik Zayed Bridge and Al Dar HQ with its revolutionary architecture, Abu Dhabi’s architectural marvels continue to evolve. Perhaps the real stunner is the mammoth, all-white Abu Dhabi Sheik Zayed Mosque that mesmerizingly blends Fatamid, Mameluke, and Ottomon architecture styles. With a capacity to hold 40,000 worshippers at a time, this is the UAE’s largest mosque. One of the best ways to take in the panoramic views of Abu Dhabi’s iconic skyline is to choose a high point, preferably from the Etihad Towers Hotel’s observation deck.
Discover rich culture and heritage
Abu Dhabi takes much pride in its distinct art and culture scene. Unsurprisingly, you’ll trip over the rich Emirati art, tradition and heritage at the city’s every turn, with a slew of cultural attractions including The Cultural Foundation, Heritage Village and the 18th century Al Hosn Palace that once served as the residence of the Al Nahyan family to several interactive museums and visitors’ centre like Saadiyat Cultural District’s Louvre Abu Dhabi, Women’s Craft Centre, and Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, where you’ll come to know more about the noble art of falconry.
Get swept away by the beauty of Corniche
At the heart of Abu Dhabi, the pristine corniche area is both stunning and distinctive. This well-manicured seaside promenade stretches for more than eight kilometers, along the Corniche Road. Stroll along its picturesque pathways or dine at one of its many cafes or restaurants savoring beautiful views, or enjoy rollerblading as well as cycling, among many other such activities. Quite evidently, it’s simply wonderful to spend a relaxed evening amidst the quaint charm and awe-inspiring views of corniche.
Sample exciting world-class cuisines
Scrumptious cuisine is always a genuine reason to tour any destination, and Abu Dhabi has one of the finest assortments of dining options offering ethnic specialties. That said, the city’s dining scene is also influenced by its ever-increasing multicultural population, which bring together some of the world’s most dynamic flavors, from Indian, Pakistani, Japanese, and Chinese to Continental, Italian, French, and American cuisines.
Get your dose of retail therapy
Perfumes, traditional handicrafts and intricately woven carpets – you can choose from a wide variety of uniquely Emirati-made souvenirs in Abu Dhabi that enable you to bring the UAE home. With a plethora of historic markets with quirky finds, decadent boutiques selling luxury goods, and glitzy mega malls like Marina Mall and Abu Dhabi Mall, you can easily while away an evening or even a whole day shopping in Abu Dhabi.
Romp across its exciting islands and lush verdant spaces
You may not think of greenery in a desert city but Abu Dhabi has quite a lot to its credit in this regard, from its many well-maintained parks and gardens and the scenic beauty of Al Ain to the breathtaking mangrove scenery and Masdar City that is touted as the world’s greenest city. Not only these, Abu Dhabi is also home to numerous islands. While some including Sir Bani Yas Island provide access to unspoiled beaches and wildlife sanctuary, some – mainly Saadiyat Island and Reem Island – are renowned for their world-class leisure facilities like golf.
When it comes to action-packed adventure, you’ll find no dearth of options in the city. Take a desert safari with dune bash, sand boarding and quad biking or venture out to the Abu Dhabi’s water for a thrilling session of jet skiing or deep sea fishing.
Unleash the child in you at Yas Island’s family attractions
No visit to Abu Dhabi is complete without a visit to Yas Island and rightfully so. This man-made island boasts an impressive collection of attractions including award-winning Yas Links (golf course), Yas Waterworld and Ferrari World that offers ultimate in adventure, with its rides including Formula Rossa. Additionally, it is also home to the Yas Marina Circuit that has been the venue of the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix since 2009.
Experience the mysticism and quaintness of Liwa Oasis
There is no better way to explore the mystic allure of the Arabian Desert and experience the traditional lifestyle of Bedouins than with a drive down to the mesmerizing Liwa Oasis. Lying on the outskirts of the world’s largest sand desert, Rub Al Khali (Empty Quarter), Liwa is not only popular for its spectacular dune formations that rise to more than 300 meters but also for its unique camel rocks as well as ancient fossil rocks.
Visit gorgeous beaches
Abu Dhabi is quite popular as a beach destination. Thanks to its many private and public beaches which are both picturesque and spotless. To enjoy swimming and fishing, Al Bateen Beach is open to the public. If you’re looking for ultimate in beach facilities, head over to options including Emirate Palace Beach, Beach Rotana, or Hilton Beach Club.