Just over forty years after striking oil, Abu Dhabi has developed from a small fishing village to a vibrant metropolis that’s growing faster than anywhere else on the planet. While Dubai holidays may be a little more cosmopolitan and stylish, Abu Dhabi holidays have less traffic and pretention than their neighbour. The capital city-state of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi makes up over 85% of the country’s vast land and has much more to explore than just the state’s eponymous city. Abu Dhabi is a modern garden city with palm-tree lined boulevards, parks and fountains alongside the mosques and architecture you’d associate from an Islamic country. There’s no resting on one’s laurels in Abu Dhabi (construction on a myriad of outlandish projects is ongoing as you read), one of the most vogue up-to-the-minute cities on the planet.
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Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Mosque is regarded as one of the most beautiful on the planet. The UAE’s capital has transformed from what was essentially a small fishing port to a petrodollar funded metropolis over the last fifty years, but that hasn’t stopped it from forgetting its roots. The Mosque is a beautiful, white building with three iconic domes on top of the almost palace-like structure. The Mosque is extremely welcoming to tourists and provides religious dress, necessary for entry, free of charge. On Abu Dhabi holidays you’re bound to see mosques and if you’re inclined to visit just one, make it the Sheikh Zayed.
Yas Island is one of the most activity packed places you could possibly go on cheap Arabian Gulf holidays. There are attractions for everyone in this emerging Abu Dhabi location. The Ferrari World Theme Park and its iconic roof is home to the fastest roller coaster on the planet, while nearby you can enjoy the best of relaxing strolls along the marina. If you’ve got a taste for a burger or fancy a bang up meal you’re catered for in this materialistic destination.
Touched upon as one of the reasons to visit Yas Island on your holidays to Abu Dhabi, Ferrari World is one of the most hi-tech theme parks on the planet and boasts its fastest roller coaster; Formula Rossa, which has a top speed of 150mph. The majority of the park is situated under a giant three-pronged roof (that’s modelled on the side profile of a Ferrari GT) which makes it the biggest indoor theme park on Earth. With all these ‘biggest things on Earth’ titles, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Abu Dhabi is set upon surpassing neighbouring Dubai as the Arabian Gulf’s hottest destination.
The waterfront of Abu Dhabi is where visits to the city-state can be contrasted to neighbouring Dubai holidays. Whereas Dubai would have countless beaches owned by luxury Dubai hotels, Abu Dhabi has a waterfront you can take a stroll along, have a drink and relax. There are bikes for rental if you fancied, though the heat might dampen any exertion based activities! Abu Dhabi isn’t completely different to its neighbour however; the Corniche does have some beaches and malls, they’re just not as prevalent.
Abu Dhabi’s Marina Mall Tower is a shopping mall with a difference. Surprisingly the difference referenced isn’t either the climate-defying ski slope or ice-skating rink. The difference is in fact the tower that forms part of the mall’s name. You can find yourself shopping one-minute and getting lofted high above the city for some majestic panoramic views the next, completely free of charge.
Currency: UAE dirham
Visa: Visas are given to British passport holders upon arrival.
Vaccinations: Hepatitis A is recommended.
Dress code: Outside of hotels all tourists are recommended to cover up arms and legs.
Important numbers: +971 2 610 1100
Other info: N/A.