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From a falcon hospital to a vast desert, from Ferrari World to the very tops of the skyscrapers, the length and breadth of Abu Dhabi is ripe for exploring. Shop stylishly, relax indulgently and dine lavishly.
Robots racing on camels and futuristic skyscrapers greet you when you dabble in Abu Dhabi. Take in the architectural magnificence of the five sparkling Etihad Towers and the snakelike structure of the Capital Gate. Visit the mosque — the best in the UAE and one of the most impressive anywhere; it can accommodate up to 40,000 people. The city’s your oyster and this is its pearl.
43 great rides to try at the island waterpark.
See some of the most exciting new architecture in the world.
A tour of three important sites, including the Grand Mosque.
A day trip to the oases and sights, with a buffet lunch.
Seeking out authentic Arabian culture in this modern city can be a treasure hunt among all the skyscrapers. Go on a pearl diving cruise on a traditional dhow and visit the old fish market. Visit the grand mosque, it’s the biggest in the UAE and lavishly decorated. Or visit the oasis town of Al Ain and drink in the sights at the historical fort.
You’ll be surprised to find a city with such good beaches. There’s 8 km of beach on the Corniche with Blue Flag quality waters and plenty of amenities on the sweeping promenade. For deep, white sand, choose the beach on Saadiyat island, in a protected area overlooking the gulf. Surrounded by great hotels, this easily has the most beautiful beach in the region.
Shop at the popular Marina Mall if you’re on the Corniche. Explore the souks and bring back precious-smelling oud. Gold trinkets can be haggled for in the Madinat Zayed Gold Center. Yas Marina Mall is an experience, not just a shopping destination, with musical fountains, cinemas and even rollercoasters. For luxury, try the Avenue at Etihad, hosting designer shops in impressive architecture.
Drift in a hot air balloon over the desert and see the sun exert an almost magical influence over the sand, or glide in a kayak through peaceful mangroves. Head to the Yas Island racetrack and you’ll be able to drive in an F1 car. Speed junkies of all ages will enjoy the record-breaking rollercoasters at Ferrari World.
Arabian cuisine is headily spiced and aromatic and lamb dishes and seafood dominate. Top class international restaurants serve the hotels. Eat luxurious Lebanese at Sambusek in the Rosewood Hotel. Try Tori No Su for extraordinary Japanese food in the Etihad Towers. Outside, try restaurants on the waterfront at Yas Marina.