Abu Dhabi Mini Guide
Where is Abu Dhabi?
Abu Dhabi is the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. The city is on an island 250m from the mainland and connected by 3 bridges. It is famous for its skyscraper skyline and seafront corniche overlooking the Arabian Gulf. Its name in Arabic is translated to’ Father of the gazelle’.
How Would I get There?
You can fly into Abu Dhabi International Airport and get the 901 bus into the city or take a taxi. If you have a hire car you can drive on route 33 and then route 2 into the city – watch out they drive very fast! From Dubai
, you can take an Emirates coach – it takes around 2 hours to get to the city, depending on traffic. Within the city you can choose from 21 bus routes, although these often become very crowded. Taxis are plentiful in the city, be prepared to talk about cricket, it is the driver’s favourite subject! Of all customers that hire a car in UAE
, Abu Dhabi is the second most visited city.
So, What can I see in the City?
Abu Dhabi is a city of heritage and traditions, to explore this more go to Heritage Village and see how the locals used to live. Qasr Al-Hosn or the white fort is the oldest building in the city dating from 1793 and used to be residence to the cities rulers. A must see is the incredible Sheikh Zayed Mosque, it is one of the largest mosques in the world and inside it is decorated with crystal, marble and gold. Saadiyat Island is soon to be home to the new Louvre and Guggenheim Museum and Art Gallery as well as a maritime and national museum.
What Else is There to do?
Stroll along the Corniche and stop off at the 7 star Emirates Palace Hotel and have high tea for a special treat. If shopping is your thing, there are plenty of souks and shopping malls – Al Wahda Mall or Marina Mall are great for high street shopping and head for Madinet Zayed for more traditional local shops and the Gold Souk. For the quiet life take a picnic to Lulu Island and then take a sunset cruise on an old dhow. Visit Yas Island to see Ferrari World and the Formula One track.
Is There Much to see Outside the City?
Visit the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital on the outskirts of the city and see a display of falconry, they are the city’s most prized bird and often kept as pets. Further afield you can go to the oasis town of Al Ain near to the border of Oman
. The town lies under the Jebel Hafeet mountains and is very picturesque against the changing colours of the sand dunes. There are many heritage sites there for you to explore and you may well see a tribe of Bedouins trekking into the desert with their camels.
What is the Food Like?
You can try local Arabic food at small cafes in the city – order shish tawook (chicken kebab) and the spicy lentil soup is delicious. Schawarma is the local take on fast food, a flatbread filled with chicken and salad with a garlic sauce. Sitting in coffee shops and smoking is a major past time for the locals there, try the Arabic coffee and take in the aroma of the shisha. Curries and stews from South Asia are widely favoured too.
Surprisingly, there is quite a lot of nightlife in the city! This tends to be centred around the 5 star hotels, as they often have bars and nightclubs. Heroes Bar in the basement of the Crowne Plaza Hotel is a popular spot for expats to meet over a beer and a traditional pub meal. In the same hotel, Level Lounge is a rooftop club and bar, with views all over the city – enjoy a cocktail by the poolside and listen the best in chill out music. For the unique night spot, look out for Tequiliana, a nightclub lined with palm trees and beach huts. The Captains Arms is an English style pub at the Le Meridian Hotel and always busy, get there early for a table!
Are There any Special Events?
Hundreds of events and exhibitions take place every year at ADNEC centre. You must not miss the famous Red Bull Air Race that brings thousands of people to the corniche and waterfront area.
There’s enough to keep all the family occupied in Abu Dhabi,the capital of the Emirates. The kids will love Khalifa Park, a $50m theme park with just about everything you could ever want to do in a theme park, including shopping for mums! Car hire in Abu Dhabi is availble from the Airport and Abu Dhabi city centre with Rhino.
If you want to find out more about the Emirate, a short trip in your Abu Dhabi hire car will bring you to the Culture Centre where interactive displays and vignettes show the development of the region over the centuries. There too there are lots of activities for everyone including a children’s workshop and lending library.