Abu Dhabi is the capital city and the second most populated city of the United Arab Emirates, the most populated being Dubai. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western coast. Abu Dhabi has a sub-tropical, arid climate with sunny blue skies and high temperatures expected most of the year. The climate is one of the reasons it has become a very popular tourist destination. Mike and I recently spent 8 days there, it was sunny every day and we didn’t see a drop of rain – bliss!!!
Here are my 5 top things to do if you visit Abu Dhabi, there is so much to do there that the below is really a fraction of what is on offer in this fabulous city.
If you only have a few hours in Abu Dhabi I highly recommend your first stop to be Jumeirah hotel at Etihad Towers. The luxurious shops on the ground floor of Etihad Towers are worth a look around as they prepare you for the opulence of the Jumeirah hotel.
Make your way to the Observation Deck 300 on the 74th floor where the most spectacular views of Abu Dhabi await you. This 360 degree view is the highest vantage point in Abu Dhabi and enables magnificent views of The Emirates Palace, The Breakwater area, the City skyline and developing areas of Abu Dhabi.
Everyone deserves a treat and no better treat than a nice meal here in the Observation Deck 300. The food and service is as spectacular as the views.
If you have a bit more time or are staying overnight then why not dine at the most luxurious hotel in Abu Dhabi – The Emirates Palace. This hotel absolutely lives up to it’s 5 star luxury status! Luxurious and classy with down to earth staff who offer incredible service and a warm welcome.
I highly recommend to book a table at BBQ Al Qasr where you can enjoy evening drinks on the private beach as the sun sets followed by dinner al fresco in one of the beachside verandas.
Even though the weather is very hot in Abu Dhabi it can get a little chilly by the beach in the evening. No need to worry as the Emirates Palace staff will provide you with blankets to keep you cosy.
The Corniche is an 8km long stretch starting at the northern end of the City and making it’s way down to the Breakwater area. The Corniche contains walking and bicycle paths, parks and beaches. There are many ways to experience the Corniche. You can take a leisurely walk, run or hire cycle bikes from any of the 4 FunRideSports bike hire stands that are located at numerous places along the Corniche. This is an excellent way to pass a few hours and help you to navigate your whereabouts in Abu Dhabi.
The Sheikh Zayed Grande Mosque is a must see. A unique structure surrounded by intricate architecture and design, every part of the magnificent building is a feast for the eyes. Inside the Grand Mosque you will be greeted by the world’s largest chandelier and the world’s largest carpet upon which generations of prayers have been said.
The Grande Mosque is an immensely respectful place and so visitors are asked to show the same respect by dressing accordingly, do research the dress code before you go.
The Grande Mosque is a photographer’s dream with it’s abundance of reflections and leading lines.
The following paragraph is taken from Visit Abu Dhabi’s website, this is an excellent summary of what the Grand Mosque is,
‘This architectural work of art is one the world’s largest mosques, with a capacity for an astonishing 40,000 worshippers. It features 82 domes, over a 1,000 columns, 24 carat gold gilded chandeliers and the world’s largest hand knotted carpet. The main prayer hall is dominated by one of the world’s largest chandeliers –10 metres in diameter, 15 metres in height and weighing twelve tonnes. The mosque’s first ceremony was the funeral of its namesake, Sheikh Zayed, who is buried at the site.
Reflective pools surround the mosque, amplifying its beauty. The striking white and gold colours shining in the sun are transformed at night by a unique lightning system which reflects the phases of the moon.’
Photo Credit: Mike Downes
Photo Credit: Mike Downes
Immerse yourself in the culture and traditions of the United Arab Emirates on this excellent desert safari. Starting with what can only be described as a rollercoaster ride in a jeep you will be driven up and down sand dunes at almost 90 degree angles!! Once out in the middle of the desert you are introduced to a real bedouin camp. The following activities are available to take part in, I highly recommend you do as many as possible.
- Sand Boarding
- Camel Riding
- Traditional Dress
- Quad Biking
- Henna Tattoes
After a tasty BBQ al fresco you will be treated to a traditional belly dance after which you are invited to take a moment to enjoy the star filled sky and the peace of the desert. This is a most enjoyable evening and an absolute must if you are staying in Abu Dhabi!
Photo Credit: Mike Downes
That’s it, as mentioned above there is so much more to do in Abu Dhabi. The above list is a fraction of what this fabulous city has to offer.
Until the next time,
x x x