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Have it all in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. It’s also the largest Emirate and comes with a limitless list of things to do, see and experience. So, whatever type of holiday you have planned, there’s plenty here to keep you busy.

Of all the things to do in Abu Dhabi, the coast plays a big part. Unwind on sun-soaked beaches, snorkel in the sea, and try your hand at watersports. For something a little different, why not go kayaking through dense mangroves? Or take it easy on the shore, as you ride on Ferris wheels, or relax in the waterfront restaurants dotted along the Arabian Gulf.

Shopping is a big thing in Abu Dhabi. You’ll find shops on the beachfront at Al Bahar and heritage spice markets by the sea. But if you want to browse in comfort, Abu Dhabi’s enormous malls – like Marina Mall and Yas Mall – are the most glamorous place to shop – and the air-conditioning is a welcome break from the desert heat.

Adrenaline junkies will love Abu Dhabi’s theme parks and record-breaking rollercoasters, while culture enthusiasts can stroll around museums, visit grand mosques and learn the history of pearl fishing. To explore beyond the city, head for the Hajar Mountains and step back in time at Al Ain. Abu Dhabi’s second city, this place is the oldest, continuously inhabited settlement on the planet, and the UAE’s only World Heritage Site. You’ll discover colourful souks, camel markets and – surprisingly – white-water rafting.

Even the desert is entertaining. Dune-bashing is one of the top things to do in Abu Dhabi, but you can also try sand surfing or skiing on these mountainous dunes. Take a guided desert tour, see falconry displays or watch the sunrise over the aptly-named Empty Quarter. For a cultural experience, visit the Arabian Nights Village or spend an evening under the stars at an authentic Bedouin camp.

Top attractions

Shopping

Activities

Best time to go

Abu Dhabi’s top attractions

Stunning beaches may be reason enough to book your holiday, but sunbathing isn’t the only thing to do in Abu Dhabi. On the culture front, don’t miss Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Louvre Abu Dhabi and the enchanting Qasr Al Watan Palace. For theme park thrills, head to Yas Island and zoom along Ferrari World’s record-breaking rollercoasters. Alternatively, test your Grand Prix skills at Yas Marina Circuit or book tee-time at award-winning Yas Links.

 

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For a change of pace, head west to Al Dhafra and witness highly trained falcons and salukis in action on Rub Al Khali’s desert fringe. Spend an evening at the Arabian Nights Village for an authentic experience of Bedouin life, or time your visit to catch one of the world’s biggest Camel Beauty Contests at Al Dhafra Festival. And you should always make time for ancient Al Ain to explore Al Jahili Fort, where you can explore romantic souks and relax at one of Abu Dhabi’s loveliest and oldest oases.

 

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Show Less

Shopping

Of all the things to do in Abu Dhabi, shopping is usually high on the list. Retail therapy in Abu Dhabi covers everything from cute heritage villages and lively souks, to some of the world’s most spectacular malls.

For sheer extravagance, browse The Galleria on Al Maryah Island or the 150 shops of Marina Mall. And, if you want to combine shopping with rollercoasters, Yas Mall has a direct link to Ferrari World. For an interesting spin on tradition, head to The Souk at the World Trade Centre to see Abu Dhabi’s iconic Central Market reimagined for the 21st century.

 

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Show Less

Ancient Al Ain is the historic heartland of shopping, with some of the oldest souks in the UAE. Here, you can buy anything from glorious hand-knotted rugs to local spices by the scoop. If you’d like to see artisan workshops, crafts in the making and learn more about the Emirate’s trading past, visit The Heritage Village.

 

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Show Less

Activities

Pick just about any activity and there’s a high chance it’s here in Abu Dhabi. You can enjoy a low-impact safari at the Arabian Wildlife Park on Sir Bani Yas Island, where you’ll see cheetahs, giraffes and more. And, while you’re there, why not go snorkelling in the island’s protected, clear seas?

For desert thrills, head to Al Dhafra on the Rub Al Khali fringe for some of the UAE’s most thrilling off-road experiences. Only the Sahara has higher dunes than Rub Al Khali, so this is a fantastic area for sandboarding or skiing, as well as laidback camel treks at sunrise.

 

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Show Less

The beaches offer a whole host of activities, too. Yas Beach is famous for mangrove forest kayaking, while eco-friendly watersports are a speciality on Saadiyat Beach. Prefer to stay dry? Abu Dhabi Corniche is the place for waterfront cycling, beach yoga and luxury spas. 

 

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Best time to visit Abu Dhabi

Year-round sunshine and blue skies define Abu Dhabi’s weather, as temperatures range from hot to very hot. Winter and spring are the most popular holiday seasons, while the city is much quieter during the scorching summer months.

November to April is the best time to visit Abu Dhabi for desert activities and beach time. In the day, temperatures average about 30°C, although December and January tend to be slightly cooler. Evenings can be chilly, even in spring, but the Arabian Gulf’s waters remain around 25°C – just right for swimming, snorkelling and watersports.

 

Show More
Show Less

May to October is the hottest time of year in Abu Dhabi, when temperatures regularly top 42°C. Air-conditioned malls and restaurants offer some respite from the heat, but it’s not for the faint-hearted. If you’re planning to go on holiday to Abu Dhabi in summer, go sightseeing in late in the afternoon to avoid the heat, and pick a resort with plenty of shade by the pool. 

 

Show More
Show Less

Top attractions

Abu Dhabi’s top attractions

Stunning beaches may be reason enough to book your holiday, but sunbathing isn’t the only thing to do in Abu Dhabi. On the culture front, don’t miss Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Louvre Abu Dhabi and the enchanting Qasr Al Watan Palace. For theme park thrills, head to Yas Island and zoom along Ferrari World’s record-breaking rollercoasters. Alternatively, test your Grand Prix skills at Yas Marina Circuit or book tee-time at award-winning Yas Links.

 

Show More
Show Less

For a change of pace, head west to Al Dhafra and witness highly trained falcons and salukis in action on Rub Al Khali’s desert fringe. Spend an evening at the Arabian Nights Village for an authentic experience of Bedouin life, or time your visit to catch one of the world’s biggest Camel Beauty Contests at Al Dhafra Festival. And you should always make time for ancient Al Ain to explore Al Jahili Fort, where you can explore romantic souks and relax at one of Abu Dhabi’s loveliest and oldest oases.

 

Show More
Show Less

Shopping

Shopping

Of all the things to do in Abu Dhabi, shopping is usually high on the list. Retail therapy in Abu Dhabi covers everything from cute heritage villages and lively souks, to some of the world’s most spectacular malls.

For sheer extravagance, browse The Galleria on Al Maryah Island or the 150 shops of Marina Mall. And, if you want to combine shopping with rollercoasters, Yas Mall has a direct link to Ferrari World. For an interesting spin on tradition, head to The Souk at the World Trade Centre to see Abu Dhabi’s iconic Central Market reimagined for the 21st century.

 

Show More
Show Less

Ancient Al Ain is the historic heartland of shopping, with some of the oldest souks in the UAE. Here, you can buy anything from glorious hand-knotted rugs to local spices by the scoop. If you’d like to see artisan workshops, crafts in the making and learn more about the Emirate’s trading past, visit The Heritage Village.

 

Show More
Show Less

Activities

Activities

Pick just about any activity and there’s a high chance it’s here in Abu Dhabi. You can enjoy a low-impact safari at the Arabian Wildlife Park on Sir Bani Yas Island, where you’ll see cheetahs, giraffes and more. And, while you’re there, why not go snorkelling in the island’s protected, clear seas?

For desert thrills, head to Al Dhafra on the Rub Al Khali fringe for some of the UAE’s most thrilling off-road experiences. Only the Sahara has higher dunes than Rub Al Khali, so this is a fantastic area for sandboarding or skiing, as well as laidback camel treks at sunrise.

 

Show More
Show Less

The beaches offer a whole host of activities, too. Yas Beach is famous for mangrove forest kayaking, while eco-friendly watersports are a speciality on Saadiyat Beach. Prefer to stay dry? Abu Dhabi Corniche is the place for waterfront cycling, beach yoga and luxury spas. 

 

Show More
Show Less

Best time to go

Best time to visit Abu Dhabi

Year-round sunshine and blue skies define Abu Dhabi’s weather, as temperatures range from hot to very hot. Winter and spring are the most popular holiday seasons, while the city is much quieter during the scorching summer months.

November to April is the best time to visit Abu Dhabi for desert activities and beach time. In the day, temperatures average about 30°C, although December and January tend to be slightly cooler. Evenings can be chilly, even in spring, but the Arabian Gulf’s waters remain around 25°C – just right for swimming, snorkelling and watersports.

 

Show More
Show Less

May to October is the hottest time of year in Abu Dhabi, when temperatures regularly top 42°C. Air-conditioned malls and restaurants offer some respite from the heat, but it’s not for the faint-hearted. If you’re planning to go on holiday to Abu Dhabi in summer, go sightseeing in late in the afternoon to avoid the heat, and pick a resort with plenty of shade by the pool. 

 

Show More
Show Less

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