30 October 2017
Abu Dhabi’s rich, cultural heritage isn’t its only asset. Hundreds of kilometres of coastline, luxury accommodation and amazing attractions await in the glittering emirate.
Luxurious and charming, Abu Dhabi is a fantastic destination. From its captivating culture to its exhilarating adventure, Abu Dhabi’s appeal is universal.
In Abu Dhabi, daily temperature averages hit around 18°C in January – the coldest month on the calendar. In the UAE you are almost guaranteed sunshine all year-round, so make sure you check out Saadiyat Island, Yas Beach and the Corniche, which all boast golden sands and sparkling blue waters.
As an exciting, cosmopolitan playground, Abu Dhabi has a great range of affordable luxury hotels such as the Yas Viceroy and Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal. The destination has numerous dining options and a diverse choice of restaurants to choose from.
And if it’s retail therapy you’re looking for, Abu Dhabi fits the bill. A selection of first-class malls combine to offer a fantastic portfolio of stores, while more traditional markets present the chance to buy fresh produce and handmade crafts.
The countless generations which have called Abu Dhabi home have left their mark on the city, so there’s a plethora of architectural marvels to discover. The crowning jewel is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which is admired the world over for its grand marble flooring and columns, Swarovski-adorned chandeliers and for housing the largest carpet on Earth.
Abu Dhabi is also a dream for art lovers. Be one of the first to visit the Louvre Abu Dhabi when it opens in November 2017. Based on Saadiyat Island, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will serve as a piece of art itself, with a 180-metre dome composed of nearly 8,000 unique metal stars. Wander through its 23 galleries and marvel at exhibitions featuring both ancient and contemporary works, which will include everything from a holy Qur’an from the Mamluk period and one of Bellini’s iconic ‘Virgin and Child’ paintings, to works created by 20th century Dutch painter Pier Mondrian.
The spot on which Abu Dhabi now stands has been inhabited for thousands of years, giving you a treasure trove of archaeological sites to explore. The Heritage Village offers a reconstruction of a traditional oasis village which provides an interesting glimpse of the emirate’s past, looking at aspects concerning the desert way of life. There are also workshops where craftsmen demonstrate traditional skills such as metal work and pottery which you can have the chance to try it out.
Or opt for a culture-laden experience on the Abu Dhabi Pearl journey, where you will experience sailing on a traditional Jalboot, the demonstration of pearl diving and oyster opening and traditional snacks onboard, all in addition to the warm Arabian hospitality.
And animal lovers are sure to enjoy Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, the world’s foremost falcon welfare institution and the first of its kind. Here you can gain insight into the noble sport of falconry, which has been a popular aristocratic pastime in the region for centuries.
90 minutes away from Abu Dhabi is Al Ain. Known as the Garden City due to its greenery, Al Ain is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a range of picturesque forts. One of those is the Al Jahili Fort – a 19th century castle with landscaped gardens that offers impressive tours. It also includes a permanent exhibition of the work of British adventurer Sir Wilfred Thesiger and his 1940s crossing of the Rub Al Khali desert. In addition visitors should explore the tranquil Al Ain Oasis where you can wander along shady palm-lined paths past the water channels of the ancient irrigation system that once brought water to local farmers. Or, visit Qasr Al Muwaiji, a modern museum which has been built around the ruins of a century old fortress which was once home to Abu Dhabi’s ruling dynasty.
To get a real taste of the UAE, head to Al Dhafra. With its authentic heritage and incredible scenery, including the biggest sand dune east of the Sahara Desert, it makes up two-thirds of the Abu Dhabi emirate and has a rich history tied up in a selection of ancient forts.
Be adventurous and try your hand at off-road driving, go camel trekking or explore hundreds of kilometres of beautiful coastline. The magnificent Qasr Al Sarab or Mirage Palace are luxurious resort options in the midst of the Liwa Desert, with their five-star offerings including dune dawn walks, falconry shows and camp fire barbeques.