Abu Dhabi Accommodation

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Where to stay in Abu Dhabi

Exploring Abu Dhabi

Set on an offshore island in the Persian Gulf, Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates and its second-largest conurbation. It’s a fast-growing, cosmopolitan metropolis that is home to a large number of expat workers in the oil, manufacturing, and financial industries. An ancient centre of population, it boasts archaeological evidence of settlement as long ago as the 3rd millennium BC and, in olden days, was a hub for the Persian Gulf’s pearl-diving industry.

Due to increasing interest from tourists, Abu Dhabi has relaxed its strict anti-alcohol laws and is encouraging the greening of the city with large parks and gardens. Tourism infrastructure includes luxury hotels such as the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi, opulent shopping malls, and fine-dining international restaurants. The annual Formula 1 Grand Prix attracts many thousands of racing car enthusiasts and new attractions include two world-class museums, the Guggenheim and the Abu Dhabi Louvre, located in the new Saadiyat Island Cultural Zone.

Sights nearby

Abu Dhabi and its surroundings are an interesting mix of desert, ocean, mountains, green areas, and urban sophistication, giving visitors a varied choice of sightseeing and activities.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque
The gleaming white domes and minarets of Sheikh Zayed Mosque, one of the largest Islamic places of worship in the world, overlook the azure waters of the Persian Gulf. Construction on the complex is almost complete, and non-Muslims are allowed to visit Saturday to Thursday mornings.

The Corniche
Much more than just a promenade, the Corniche is a spectacularly developed waterfront running for miles along the coast, from Mina Zayed Port to close by the Marina Shopping Mall and the Hilton Abu Dhabi hotel. Sandy beaches, open-air stages for concerts and events, children’s playgrounds, and activities such as go-karting are all here, and it’s a favorite location with locals for evening walks.

Khalifa Park
Set along and back from the seafront, close by Sheikh Zayed Mosque, is Khalifa Park, a green oasis in the busy city offering formal and informal gardens, an aquarium, a museum, play areas, and a train. Built at a cost of US$50 million, it’s a favourite with nationals and visitors alike.

Yas Island
Yas Island is a must-see for Formula 1 fans, with its racing circuit and Ferrari Theme Park, and shopaholics will love its selection of huge malls. Families with children can spend a great day out in the water park and there’s plenty of choice of restaurants and informal eateries.

Eating and drinking and shopping nearby

Although the city gives a good choice of places to eat, the variety of the cuisines on offer is somewhat restricted. Budget Indian and Chinese eateries are easily found, and fast food outlets are everywhere, but the best, albeit most expensive, food is had in the restaurants at luxury hotels such as the superb Emirates Palace. Vegetarian dishes are popular here, and every eatery―from upscale hotel haunts to streetside shacks and Burger King―delivers for free. The best evening meals are found during Ramadan, when it’s forbidden to eat or drink from sun-up to sundown, with local Muslims breaking their fasts at the end of the day in a magnificent manner. The city is a shopaholic’s dream, with everything from massive malls to Arab souks crammed with gorgeous carpets, jewellery, antiques, and art.

Public transport

Abu Dhabi’s international airport is the arrival point for the majority of visitors and offers ground transportation to the city via flat-rate taxi, public bus, and shuttle bus. The most convenient ways to get around the city are by hire car or inexpensive taxi, and the cheapest way to travel is by local bus. Buses are modern and air-conditioned, and run to all the major districts as well as to neighbouring emirates.

Abu Dhabi travel guides

Abu Dhabi travel guides