Abu Dhabi Holidays

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Abu Dhabi is one of the most popular destinations in the United Arab Emirates. It features a beautiful skyline with numerous towering buildings, and it is a true image of a flourishing city. Make sure that you check ebookers when looking for flights to get the best out of your journey.

Two places that you shouldn't fail to visit are the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and the Abu Dhabi Corniche. The historic Sheik Zayed Mosque, the country's grand mosque, features an exquisite design from Arab, Mughal and Moorish architecture. If you love beaches, then the Corniche is great for you. It boasts its prestigious Blue Flag status, which assures that its beaches are safe, clean and definitely exciting.

Best time to take a vacation to Abu Dhabi

  • It is usually hot all year round in Abu Dhabi due to its desert climate. The best time to visit is from November to April, when temperatures vary from 15 to 35°C. This is the coolest of the seasons, and it is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities and hit the beach. If you want luxury hotels at discounted prices, you should travel to Abu Dhabi during the summer. Temperatures during this time can rise above 40°C, so make sure you wear cool clothing. You should also take note of when Ramadan occurs, as all restaurants are closed during the day and eating and drinking in public is strictly forbidden.

Insider tips for Abu Dhabi travel

  • Oasis Courtyard

    A refreshing restaurant with a poolside bar, the Oasis Courtyard serves various refreshing drinks and snacks.

    Al Ain Zoo

    Feed a giraffe or ride on a camel in this wonderful zoo, which houses over 4,000 animals.

    Zenith

    In this well-decorated club with a nice dance floor, you can enjoy the club's amusing presentations with the local crowd.

    The Arabian Palace

    This eatery offers very affordable foods and an excellent shisha. You can also gaze at the towering skyscrapers while enjoying your meal.

    Heritage Village

    Buy dried herbs and handmade soaps at the spice shop in this reconstructed traditional oasis village.

Abu Dhabi highlights

  • Abu Dhabi holidays

    Picnic on the Corniche

    Stretching along four miles of the Abu Dhabi coastline, the Corniche is the ideal place to take a breath and soak up the magnificent skyline of Abu Dhabi.

    Turn around to gaze out at the crystal-clear waters of the gulf. Dotted along the route are fountains and lush gardens, perfect for a pit stop and a picnic.

    To cool off, move to the beach that runs parallel. It has lifeguard-patrolled swimming areas, volleyball nets, and sun umbrellas. If a stroll is just too slow for you, there are cycle lanes, and the road makes for a charming drive.

    Find a Bargain at a Souk

    Crammed with stalls, silver-tongued salesmen, and almost anything you could want to buy, Abu Dhabi's souks are unique markets. Haggling is a way of life here and merchants would be disappointed if you did not get involved in this traditional way of doing business, so drive a hard bargain.

    Different souks specialise in different things: the Meena Souk is the place to go for carpets, and the fish market is worth a visit just for the chaotic atmosphere of Middle Eastern commerce in full swing.

    Take to the Skies

    One way to avoid the neck pain you may develop after staring up at so many incredible skyscrapers from the street is to turn the tables and look down on them from the vantage point of a helicopter.

    A tour in a chopper gives you a complete picture of Abu Dhabi and its desert isolation. All of the city's major sites and the fantasy islands being created off the coast are included in the route.

    Sample Some Shisha

    Even for non-smokers there is something fascinating about shisha. In traditional cafes, locals seem to be able to sit all day, sucking flavoured smoke from these burbling, otherworldly contraptions. What attracts you first is the wonderful smell, as the tobacco is infused with apple, strawberry, coffee and just about any flavour you can think of.

Top Abu Dhabi attractions

  • Sheikh Zayed Mosque

    Aside from its grand beauty, this mosque is large enough to hold more than 40,000 worshippers.

    Abu Dhabi Corniche

    The Corniche offers white sandy beaches where you can enjoy various recreational activities, such as biking.

    Emirates Palace

    Despite its name, this world-class hotel is not a home to royalty but is just as luxurious.

    Yas Viceroy

    Another architectural wonder, this iconic hotel features a grid shell with colour-changing glass panels.

    Ferrari World

    If you are a fan of fast Ferraris and thrill rides, you should definitely check out this amazing theme park.

    Al Ain Paradise Garden

    As its name suggests, this garden is truly a paradise and features about 10 million flowers.

    Hili Fun City

    Featuring a family amphitheatre and 28 attractions for all ages, the Hili Fun City is a favourite attraction in the city.

    Al Ain National Museum

    Learn some of the city's unique traditions and customs in this museum, which features plenty of interesting artefacts.

    Capital Gate

    A modern contender to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Capital Gate is the world's furthest leaning man-made tower.

    Al Ain Palace Museum

    This site was once a home to the country's founder, and you can tour the private rooms and gardens in this historical museum.

  • Heritage Village Museum

    Before black gold was struck and billions of petrodollars flooded the UAE, there were no gleaming skyscrapers, just Bedouin settlements. No less beautiful, these gatherings of tents and mud-built houses are commemorated at the city's Heritage Village Museum. Traditional crafts are brought to life by local tradesman, along with exhibits on the ways of life of farmers and fishermen. All the while camels roam among the verdant gardens.

    Sheikh Zayed Mosque

    Named after the father of the United Arab Emirates, the sprawling, pristine white Sheikh Zayed Mosque is a sight to behold. Finished in 2007, the huge structure can hold 40,000 people and borrows architectural styles from all over the globe. The largest mosque in the UAE, it features a carpet weighing nearly 50 tonnes. Visitors are advised to cover up before making a visit.

    Saadiyat Island

    It is not even finished yet, but Saadiyat Island is already a major tourist attraction. Developers have named it the “island of happiness”. The plan is to build a cultural paradise on this small atoll next to Abu Dhabi.

    The Guggenheim and the Louvre have signed up to build sites here, but for now, content yourself with the Manarat Al Saadiyat, an information centre detailing this ambitious endeavour.

    Al Ain

    An easy day trip is a visit to the oasis city of Al Ain. The city houses not one but seven oases—little pockets of calm and tranquillity, away from the hustle and bustle of the city and the oppressive heat of the desert. Ingenious irrigation systems dating back millennia allow date palms to flourish here.

    The city also lies close to Jebel Hafeet, the second-tallest mountain in the Emirates. The spectacular views are worth the steep road to the summit.

    Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation

    The artistic hub of Abu Dhabi, the Cultural Foundation promotes new events as well as safeguarding the creative heritage of Abu Dhabi. Here you will find the national library.

    Tip * Booking your Tours, Transfers & Airport Parking before you go will save your money & time and ensure a stress free start to your holiday

Where to stay in Abu Dhabi

  • Costing close to £2 billion to build, the Emirates Palace hotel is a monument to luxury. As you approach the terracotta splendour of the hotel, the view is absolutely jaw-dropping. The enormous hotel sits just back from its private beach, stretching 1.3 km. Away from the beach, perfectly kept lawns, swimming pools, and tennis courts provide the backdrop to 394 luxury rooms. If you are feeling peckish, you won’t be short of options, as there are 12 restaurants and bars on the grounds. Alternatively you can get the private butler assigned to your room to fetch you something to eat.

    The deep blue glass of the Le Royal Meridien hotel mirrors that of the Arabian Gulf which it faces. A short walk from the commercial heart of Abu Dhabi and the Corniche, the hotel is perfectly situated for the visitor. Swimming pools, a spa and luxurious rooms make it difficult not to have a relaxing stay.

    The Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al Beri has the capacity to cater to the whims of every type of visitor. From rooms, to villas, to serviced apartments, you may come here for a holiday and decide to never leave. You will certainly be well fed during your stay, with restaurants boasting Chinese, Vietnamese, French and Mediterranean cuisine.

    Looking out upon the beautiful Gulf waters, the Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort is in the perfect location for all that Abu Dhabi has to offer. Just yards away from the Corniche, this five-star hotel will cater to all of your leisure or business needs.

How to move around in Abu Dhabi

  • Arriving by Air

    Visitors arriving by plane will land at Abu Dhabi international Airport. Offering duty-free shopping and quick check-in times even at peak periods, it copes with the burgeoning number of travellers well.

    A taxi to downtown Abu Dhabi should take no more than 45 minutes.

    A public bus service is also available and certain airlines run free shuttle services.

    Another option is to fly to Dubai International Airport and make your way on to Abu Dhabi by bus. The journey should take around two hours.

    Buses

    Abu Dhabi's buses are cheap and run all night. The downside is that the service is not extensive and the timetable not observed as strictly as European tourists might expect.

    Inter-city buses are another matter. Every ten minutes comfortable buses leave from the main bus terminal for Dubai and Al Ain. The service runs from mid-morning to around 10pm at night.

    Taxis

    White-and-gold painted taxis are easy to find in Abu Dhabi. They are metered, but check to make sure it is on before starting your journey. Fares are cheap but the driving can be hair-raising.

    Silver-painted taxis are more expensive, but the cars are of better quality and the drivers safer and with better language skills. They also give receipts.

    Car Hire

    If you feel like a more independent way to get around Abu Dhabi, consider one of the many Abu Dhabi car hire options.

    Travel Tip

    Hotels in Abu Dhabi often offer complimentary bus and taxi services, so check with the reception desk when you arrive, it could save you a lot of money over the course of your stay.

Abu Dhabi restaurants

  • A great place to relax for afternoon tea, Cafe Columbia is the elegant eatery tucked away in the lobby of the Beach Rotana Hotel. As incongruous as clotted cream, jam, and sconesmay seem in the desert, as soon as you glimpse the traditional English fare on offer, you will be thinking about second helpings. From your vantage point in the lobby you can watch other guests come and go or turn your attention to the beach the cafe looks out upon.

    Set inside the opulent Emirates Palace hotel, Diwan L'Auberge is a wonderful place for special occasions or if you just feel like treating yourself. The enormous dining room is filled with the sound of local musicians plying their trade. The food is Lebanese and has all of the expected staples along with some fantastic fresh seafood dishes.

    If Italian is your thing, Boccaccio is the place to go. Specialising in pastas and pizzas, this family-friendly restaurant is part of the InterContinental hotel. Boasting a wonderful view of the marina, a table outside is a great option if you can stand the heat.

    Try Miss J's Café (Dana Plaza, Al Kalidiyah) for something a little different. A great spot for an all-American breakfast, the pancakes and doughnuts from this bright and colourful cafe come highly recommended.

Health & Safety

  • Vaccinations and Hygiene

    Abu Dhabi is an area of low malaria transmission. You do not need to take preventive treatment, however long you plan to stay, but make sure you visit your doctor if you come down with fever. As a precaution, you should always protect yourself against mosquito bites.

    There are no compulsory vaccinations although you should make sure your standard booster schedule (for tetanus, diphtheria etc.) is up to date.

    Be careful to avoid dehydration in the intense heat—drink bottled water to be on the safe side.

    Abu Dhabi has a good infrastructure of clinics and hospitals but the standard of treatment can vary between establishments and even between departments of the same establishment.

    Safety

    Security is good in Abu Dhabi, but there is still a small risk of terrorism.

    As ever visitors should be sensible and follow basic safety guidelines like not walking at night or showing off expensive items.

    General Advice

    Clothing: visitors should, where possible, adapt to local customs. Clothing should cover the body and for women this means the head as well, using a head scarf.

    Photography: due to heightened security measures, taking pictures of places guarded by police or army is forbidden. This can also include major travel hubs like bus stations and airports.

    Driving: the price of petrol is cheap and the roads are well maintained. Take care not to break the speed limit.

Abu Dhabi Holiday Packages

Hotel only £61.72

1 Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana, Abu Dhabi

5 stars
4.3 / 5 4 reviews

4010, Corniche Road West, Near Emirates Palace, Map

With Private Beach and Pool available

A summer holiday getaway topped with luxurious Arabian accommodationsFrom posh accommodations matched with authentic Arabian culture, Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan Hotel features a spectrum of business,... More

Hotel only £42.70

2 Millennium Hotel Abu Dhabi

5 stars
4.0 / 5 9 reviews

Sheikh Khalifa Street, P.O Box 44486 Map

Stay 3 nights & SAVE 20%

As per Abu Dhabi Police requirement effective immediately, driving license is not acceptable as guest ID for guest check in. The only acceptable documents for guest check in are: Passport Emirates... More

Hotel only £40.18

3 Al Manzel Hotel Apartments

5 stars
4.0 / 5 1 reviews

Zayed the 1st Street Map

Stay 4 nights or more SAVE 18%

Al Manzel Hotel Apartments have 216 spacious suites, all of which feature fully equipped kitchenettes, laundry facilities, seating areas, satellite TVs, and air conditioning. Located in the heart... More

Hotel only £67.90

4 Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi

5 stars
4.6 / 5 13 reviews

Al Zahiyah Map

Book in advance and SAVE 25%

Posh Abu Dhabi hotel with private beach and spaBeach Rotana Abu Dhabi invites corporate and leisure travellers to well-appointed accommodations, a wide selection of dining options, spacious event... More

Hotel only £45.39

5 Cristal Hotel Abu Dhabi

4 stars
3.8 / 5 6 reviews

Zayed the 1st Street, adjacent to Madinat Zayed Shopping Center Map

FREE Wireless Internet and FREE Parking

Cristal Hotel Abu Dhabi first opened its doors in 2009, located in the downtown banking district just a short drive from Abu Dhabi Airport. We offer our guests 192 rooms and suites. State of the... More

Hotel only £40.75

6 City Seasons Al Hamra Hotel

4 stars
3.6 / 5 5 reviews

Electra Street Map

Advanced Purchase

City Seasons Al Hamra Hotel Abu Dhabi welcomes you with the warm tradition of Arabian hospitality combined with a variety of services making it the ideal hotel and destination for business and... More

Hotel only £38.58

7 Nehal Hotel by Bin Majid Hotels and Resorts

3 stars
4.0 / 5

Hamdan Street Map

Including Half Board, click for more details

Nehal Hotel offers you the opportunity to experience the heart of the capital from the centre of Abu Dhabi's most prestigious business and shopping district. Explore and enjoy the walk to the... More

Hotel only £86.94

8 Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche

5 stars
5.0 / 5 1 reviews

Corniche Road East Map

Save 30% on your stay

Sofitel Abu Dhabi, part of Capital Plaza building, is ideally situated in the heart of the city, a stone's throw from the seafront and close to the business and financial center. It enjoys a... More

Hotel only £50.50

9 Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort

5 stars
4.2 / 5 17 reviews

P.O. Box 640 Map

Save 20% on your stay

Elegant comforts close to Abu Dhabi main districtShearton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort is on the Abu Dhabi Cornich, overlooking the Arabian Gulf and just few moments from the main district in Abu... More

Hotel only £48.06

10 Grand Millennium Al Wahda Hotel

5 stars
3.3 / 5 9 reviews

Hazza Bin Zayed Street, Al Wahda complex, Between Al Wahda Mall and AlWahda stadium Map

Happy Hour Promotion @ Porters

Luxurious accommodations close to Al Wahda MallGrand Millenium Al Wahda Hotel is a luxuriously styled Abu Dhabi hotel situated in the city centre and in shopping distrcit, adjacent to the prime... More

Hotel only £40.98

11 One To One - The Village

4 stars
4.0 / 5 3 reviews

Al Nahyan Camp Area Map

An elegant boutique-style hotel stands alone in the heart of the city offering home away from home both for business and leisure travelers. Experience a menu full of services from world-class... More

Hotel only £160.99

12 Emirates Palace

5 stars
4.4 / 5 8 reviews

West Corniche Road P.O. Box 39999 Map

GCC Residents Summer Package (please read terms)

Built as an iconic landmark showcasing Arabian culture and hospitality at its finest, Emirates Palace has created an enviable niche in the luxury resort industry, welcoming holiday makers from all... More

Hotel only £27.21

13 Centro Capital Centre by Rotana

3 stars
3.5 / 5 11 reviews

Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre Map

Get 20% OFF -Super Saver Rate

Centro Capital Centre is the perfect place for you with its unique location close to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre in the UAE capital and only 20 minutes from the airport. The hotel... More

Hotel only £30.45

14 Al Rawda Arjaan by Rotana Abu Dhabi

5 stars
4.3 / 5 3 reviews

P.O. Box 5821, Near Al Wahda Mal, Old Airport Road Map

Advance Purchase 15% OFF

The Al Rawda Arjaan by Rotana, a renowned residence in Abu Dhabi, offers all the traditional Arabic hospitality only associated with Rotana Hotels. Our hotel in Abu Dhabi offers exquisite... More

Hotel only £136.94

15 The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi

5 stars
5.0 / 5 1 reviews

Saadiyat Island Map

Save 20% on your stay

The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi is situated on the 27-square-kilometer Saadiyat Island, which is being developed into a premier location for business, culture, architecture,... More