Abu Dhabi

The brash, bold city of Abu Dhabi is a modern marvel, with futuristic skyscrapers and wide tree-lined boulevards, perfect base to discover the fascinating culture of the vast Emirate itself, with its miles of desert and fresh oases.

Abu Dhabi now rivals Dubai for its top-of-the-range hotels, luxurious shopping malls and the huge variety of activities on offer. Abu Dhabi is the most dynamically cosmopolitan and modern of the UAE’s countries. It’s also arguably the most cultural with the icing on the cake being the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Opened in 2017, it contains a collection of worldwide significance spanning the whole gamut of human artistic endeavour. There are more hugely ambitious museum and gallery projects in the pipeline; Abu Dhabi is determined to punch above its weight when it comes to high culture.

Beach action is also plentiful in Abu Dhabi which has beautiful stretches of sand to please everyone. One of the best beaches open to the public is Saadiyat Island and there’s also the Corniche, Al Bateen and new to the scene Hudayriat Island. On Yas Island you can find plenty of action to keep you amused. The renowned Abu Dhabi Grand Prix takes place here, attracting F1 followers from around the world.

You can even have a go yourself! For real adrenaline lovers only go to Ferrari World, the world’s largest indoor theme park, to experience the stomach-churning Formula Rossa roller coaster. Warner Brothers World offers an epic selection of rides to entertain the whole family – as long as they’re thrill-seekers par excellence! Finally, Yas Waterworld is a Florida-style theme park.

If you want to see an outstanding example of Islamic architecture at its most opulent and triumphant make your way to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This staggering building incorporates Islamic sacred styles from the empires of the Mughals to Egypt around and within its luminescent white marble facade, though at its heart is some truly stunning contemporary design. This is the only mosque in the city which non-Muslims are allowed to visit, and is unmissable.

For a nature fix, and to see a very different side to this city famed for its cutting edge modernism, go to Abu Dhabi’s Mangrove National Park. You might be lucky enough to see birds like herons and flamingoes during a kayak ride through the calm waterways of this magnificent mangrove forest. Take a drive two hours south and you’ll find yourself in an even more remote setting, Abu Dhabi’s Emply Quarter, which stretches all the way to Yemen. This apparently endless expanse of rolling dunes seems a million miles from the towering, gleaming skyscrapers of downtown Abu Dhabi. Here you can go traditional with some camel riding, or get with it on a fat bike running down the dunes. Exciting stuff!

For real adrenaline lovers only go to Ferrari World, the world’s largest indoor theme park, to experience the stomach-churning Formula Rossa roller coaster.

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