There are countless reasons why Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, is catching up to Dubai as the region’s most exciting and enigmatic city. Rich in local traditions and beautiful Arabian culture, Abu Dhabi blends its historical heritage with contemporary development remarkably well. Jaw-dropping architecture and cutting-edge facilities stand side-by-side with old-style souks, sand dunes and even a falcon hospital.
Abu Dhabi has grown considerably as a tourist destination, with a long line of luxury hoteliers building beautiful properties in the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Visitors can explore Abu Dhabi in whatever way suits them. Families with young children can enjoy thrills and spills at the many theme and water-parks waiting for you to make amazing memories. Young professionals can experience the heights of hospitality at some of the region’s most luxurious resorts and spas, while those with a thirst for knowledge can visit the only Louvre museum outside of Paris, the biggest mosque in the UAE and the waterfront entertainment and leisure hub, Al Qana.
With so many forward-thinking developments being scheduled for the next few years, it’s inevitable that Abu Dhabi will soon become one of the world’s great tourism hubs. For now, it remains a destination that piques curiosity, but only those who have ‘been there and done that’ with Dubai are currently making the switch to the federation’s capital. Some might argue that this impressive city is actually more interesting than its glamorous cousin (it’s certainly more down-to-earth), but we’ll let you be the judge of that.
One of the great things about Abu Dhabi is its year round warmth and sunshine. Most people visit between October and April as temperatures hover at between 20-30 degrees Celsius. The hottest months occur between May and September where temperatures can soar to over 40 degrees Celsius.
It’s also polite not to eat and drink in public during Ramadan as Muslims are fasting during daylight hours at this time.
Being the UAE’s capital city, there’s a wealth of incredible restaurants here, satiating your tastes whether you’re in the mood for some local fast food or a once-in-a-lifetime fine dining experience. No matter where you go, you’ll never be short of flavour. Shawarmas and falafels can be enjoyed for as little at 4 or 5 AED while more adventurous visitors might enjoy a camel burger, known for its rich and gamey flavour.
Even salads seem exciting in Abu Dhabi, with Fattoush being served with fresh lettuce, diced tomato, cucumber, mint, onion, lemon, garlic, olive oil and topped with delicious Levantine bread.
Some form of identification should be carried with you at all time, as well as a photocopy of your passport. A tourist visa will be required on arrival. For more information on travelling to Abu Dhabi, including visa requirements, visit the FCDO website (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/united-arab-emirates), or the Abu Dhabi Tourist Board’s website (https://visitabudhabi.ae/en/plan-your-trip/essential-info/getting-a-visa)