Visit Abu Dhabi
Captivating culture, breath-taking luxury, exhilarating adventure and the warmth of Arabian hospitality await you in Abu Dhabi.
Feel awed by one of the world’s top landmarks – the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – take on the planet’s fastest roller coaster at Ferrari Would Abu Dhabi, zoom to the pace of a speedboat tour of the UAE capital’s coastline, tune to the sound of the wind while sand skiing in our Western Region, and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of a stroll through Al Ain’s cooling oases.
Choose from a myriad of hotels and apartments, from the iconic Emirates Palace, Yas Viceroy and Hyatt Capital Gate to exciting island and beachfront resorts and desert retreats. Experience ultra-modern breaks in the city centre, family adventures on Yas Island or luxurious havens on Saadiyat Island.
Dine at an 18 degrees incline in the world’s furthest leaning tower, savour a romantic BBQ at Emirates Palace, one of the world’s most opulent hotels, enjoy 360 degrees city views from revolving restaurants or taste the masterful cuisine of Michelin-starred chefs!
Abu Dhabi is an eventful capital with an action-packed calendar, including a Grand Prix, the World Cup of Sailing, a PGA golf championship, international art, music, sport, gourmet, heritage and cultural festivals, high profile business conferences and vibrant trade fairs.
Marvel at Abu Dhabi’s evolving skyline while discovering the emirate by land, air or sea, experience the genuine feel of authentic Arabia while watching the sun set behind red sand dunes, play golf on any of six distinctly diverse golf courses, or savour local and international cuisine sensations.
Boasting three main regions – the UAE capital and its surrounds, Al Ain or the Eastern Region and the Western Region (Al Gharbia), the emirate is a destination of geographic diversity, where visitors can explore natural islands, vast deserts, modern cityscapes, rocky heights, cooling oases and pristine beaches.
Hallmarked by a cultural diversity and an intriguing mix of old and new, we have UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ground-breaking architectural icons, headline adrenalin attractions, award winning golf courses, luxury resorts and some of the region’s best shopping malls.
From Abu Dhabi city’s famous Corniche to the Oasis City of Al Ain and the massive dunes of the western region’s Empty Quarter desert in Al Gharbia, culture, history and adventure are encapsulated in the emirate. Experience the architectural prowess of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, enjoy the peace and tranquillity of a stroll through Al Ain’s cooling oasis, learn about the ancient sport of falconry, experience an adrenaline rush on the world’s fastest roller coaster, or marvel at the history of an emirate dotted with ancient forts and historic sites – several of which have been listed as official UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
And whether you’re marvelling at the always-changing views of Abu Dhabi while experiencing the emirate by land, air or sea, or experiencing the genuine feel of authentic Arabia while relaxing under the stars on a desert safari, playing golf on one of our championship-standard courses, or spending a fun day – and money – in one of our luxurious malls, you’ll discover that Abu Dhabi is a genuine leisure haven that will convince you to return again and again.
More carriers than ever are now flying to award-winning Abu Dhabi International Airport – one of the most customer-friendly airports around.
Cheap taxis, a well-planned road system, highly cost-effective public transport and plenty of sidewalks make Abu Dhabi easy to navigate. Visitors may opt to rent a vehicle. People often rely on landmarks to give directions.
A one and a half hour drive from Abu Dhabi city, Al Ain is one of the world’s oldest permanently inhabited settlements, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city abounds in picturesque forts. One of the UAE’s most historic buildings, Al Jahili Fort was erected in 1891 to defend the city and protect precious palm groves and is home to a permanent exhibition of the work of British adventurer Sir Wilfred Thesiger and his 1940s crossings of the Rub Al Khali (The Empty Quarter) desert. The redeveloped Al Qattara Fort is now home to a brilliant arts centre and gallery, offering hundreds of modern exhibits within its walls and with spaces for a variety of workshops – from pottery and painting to music and calligraphy.
Get to grips with our culture and heritage with a visit to the city’s museums. With three main sections – archaeology, ethnography and gifts, Al Ain National Museum lets you explore various aspects of UAE life, including Bedouin jewellery and traditional musical instrument collections. The former home of the late UAE founder, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Al Ain Palace Museum houses a large collection of material about the ruling family. Visitors can tour the private rooms and gardens once occupied by the ‘Father of the Nation’.
For stunning views of the city, drive, take a cab or, if you have the stamina, cycle to the top of Jebel Hafeet – a rocky height dominating the city – via a winding highway. Rising 1,240 metres, this is the emirate’s highest peak, and UAE’s second.
Other attractions include the Al Ain oasis with its cool, shady walkways and a 3,000-year-old falaj irrigation system, and the camel market-one of the last few remaining. This date palm oasis has been recognised by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for its importance as a repository of genetic resources, biodiversity and cultural heritage.
Families should head to Al Ain Zoo – home to over 4,000 animals, and enjoy giraffe feeding, camel riding and ‘Elezba’ petting zoo. There are plenty of green public spaces for picnics and also playgrounds, a cafeteria and a train tour of the wildlife area. For a fun day out, try the renovated Hili Fun-City, the Gulf’s oldest theme park, which now offers one of the cheapest days out, with entry no more than AED 40 (US$ 11).
Watersports lovers need to try Wadi Adventure, the region’s only man-made white water rafting, kayaking and surf facility built in the foothills of the majestic Jebel Hafeet. The park’s 3.3 metre man-made surf wave is the world’s largest and its 1.7 kilometre kayaking channel network is the world’s longest. For a taste of the fast track, head to Al Ain Raceway and burn rubber at its 1.6 km go-karting track – Arabia’s largest.
For a real taste of the UAE’s most adventurous off-road driving and some of its most incredible and dramatic scenery, including the biggest dunes this side of the Sahara, take a trip to Al Gharbia – the emirate’s western region.
‘Where the desert meets the sea’, Al Gharbia makes up over two thirds of Abu Dhabi emirate. Along its hundreds of kilometres of coastline are stunning beaches and islands and its history is encompassed in the myriad of ancient forts, set against dramatic landscapes.
A great reason to start exploring this vast region is the drive to Liwa – a historic oasis town at the entry to the Rub Al Khali (Empty Quarter) the world’s largest uninterrupted sand mass. Liwa will blow you away with massive expanses of awesome desert and huge dunes. This oasis town sits at the entrance to the famed Rub Al Khali, or the Empty Quarter, the world’s largest single expanse of desert. It’s a landscape of ever-changing endless dunes made famous by the British explorer Wilfred Thesiger and his Emirati and Omani companions in the 1940s and 50s.
Despite being the gateway to one of the world’s largest deserts, Liwa is also home to a large date palm plantation consisting of more than 100,000 trees. This date palm oasis is one of a growing number of ecosystems that have been formally recognised by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for their importance as repositories of genetic resources, biodiversity and cultural heritage.
The oasis has been designated as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) and the FAO has praised the UAE’s active conservation efforts.
Almost a fairy tale from ‘1001 nights’, the magnificent Qasr Al Sarab or Mirage Palace is luxurious oasis in the midst of Liwa Desert. Resembling an old Arabian fortress town nestled in the valley of mountainous dunes, this is actually a five-star resort letting you experience lots desert activities – dune dawn walks, camel trekking, dune bashing, falconry shows and camp fire barbecues.
To get a real taste of Al Gharbia’s authentic heritage, visit one of the many events and festivals throughout the year such as January’s Tel Moreeb Festival, the pinnacle hill climb event for desert driving enthusiasts, and Al Dhafrah Festival, which includes of the world’s richest camel beauty contests, April’s Al Gharbia Watersports Festival, a 10-day event that pulls in adrenaline seekers from across the world to compete in everything from Dragon boating and kite surfing to dhow racing and swimming, and July’s Liwa Date Festival, a showcase for this valued desert fruit.