Abu Dhabi

United Arab Emirates
Capital Garden showing modern architecture, a garden and a fountain

With its fine food, modern architecture and exhilarating amusement parks, the capital of the United Arab Emirates is the five-star destination on everybody’s lips.

Abu Dhabi was once the quiet sibling of nearby Dubai. Over recent years, the capital of the United Arab Emirates has grown exponentially. Today, many of the world’s largest oil companies are based here and the city is known for its magnificent wealth and affluence. With 1.5 million people living in Abu Dhabi, it has a populated urban centre. This expanding metropolis impresses with some of the world’s tallest buildings, an impressive skyline, fine dining and beachfront resorts.

Islamic cultural and religious traditions are strongly adhered to in Abu Dhabi. Dress modestly and be aware of cultural protocols and requirements in specific venues. Head coverings are not required in public and women can drive and travel freely.

Abu Dhabi’s hotels are the only places that can legally sell alcohol and are where the city’s nightlife and restaurant culture can be found. On the northwestern coastal bay is one of the city’s most opulent hotels, the Emirates Palace. This hotel has some of Abu Dhabi’s finest restaurants, a private beach and a host of sporting facilities. For retail indulgence, explore the three-storey Abu Dhabi Mall or enjoy panoramic views of the city from the Observation Deck at 300 in the Etihad Towers.

Yas Island, one of the most popular destinations in Abu Dhabi, can be found a 30-minute drive away from the city centre. This is the destination for fun-lovers and families. The island is home to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and has two theme parks side-by-side; Ferrari World, which has one of the fastest roller coasters in the world, and Yas Waterworld, where you can relax and cool off during Abu Dhabi’s year-round warm weather.

Abu Dhabi has a desert climate and the summer heat can at times be overwhelming, so the city is rarely negotiated on foot. The best way to get around is to rent a car at the airport or use the air-conditioned bus service, which services the entire city.