From desert safaris to Ferrari races, the experiences and places in Abu Dhabi are endless. Abu Dhabi is a modern city with a rich history and a strong Bedouin element. Here you will find side-by-side markets for camels, Formula 1 tracks and Arabian palaces. As a modern city, Abu Dhabi has many modern buildings, such as the Hyatt Capital Gate, home to the National Exhibition Center (ADNEC), which holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the tallest building (18 degrees). Corniche, the city’s seafront, combines five-star hotels, bars and sandy beaches. In the central souk (Arab market) of the city you will find everything from handmade souvenirs and food to high fashion and fabrics. In addition to modern shops you will find many bars and restaurants for the necessary stop.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – One of the largest mosques in the world, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque can accommodate around 40,000 pilgrims. The imposing mosque has over 1,000 columns and 82 domes. A 24-carat gold chandelier hangs in the main prayer hall, while the corridors are surrounded by mirrors that make the golden details more intense.
Saadiyat Island – Abu Dhabi includes a number of islands in the Persian Gulf. One of them, Saadiyat, is an earthly paradise for golfers with white beaches, huge natural dunes and palm trees. Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, with an 18-hole golf course, is also available for hotel accommodation. If you are not so excited about golf, you can admire the dolphins, turtles and gazelles that roam the island.
The island also houses the Abu Dhabi Louvre, which is expected to open in 2017. The huge gallery is a partnership between the UAE and France and will house the largest art collection in the region, with 23 permanent exhibitions. The building stretches over the water, is a design by the Frenchman Jean Nouvel and stands out for its huge white dome and its traditional Arabic architecture.
Yas Island – If you are looking for a stronger experience and you are a fan of motor sports, there is Yas Island, where the Formula 1 race takes place every year in Abu Dhabi. The Yas Marina Circuit was inaugurated in 2009 and is the only one in the world with covers for shading over the stands. After the games there is usually a party with a laser show in the luxury bars and yachts in the marina of the island. On the island there is a Ferrari World theme park, where in addition to trains and simulators you can drive one of the fastest cars in the world, as well as a number of luxury five-star hotels such as the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi overlooking the track.
In the desert – In Abu Dhabi the desert is within walking distance of the city and is ideal for safaris or camel rides. Hunting, that is, hunting with the help of hawks, has a long tradition among Bedouin nomads. In the desert, however, you will find several tourist resorts with unsurpassed views of the city’s skyscrapers in the background, the dunes and the beaches. In Qasr al Sarab one can enjoy his dinner in front of a fire in the middle of the desert and the company of the stars.
Al Ain – About an hour away from Abu Dhabi is Al Ain, also known as the “Desert Garden City”. This city, which has been inhabited for about 4,000 years, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and stands out for its natural springs, oases and mountain landscapes. After a short break in the shade of an oasis, you can visit the Al Ain National Museum, which is full of palm trees, fountains and shady paths.
In the city you will find the Al Jahili Fortress, which was built in 1891 to protect the city and its valuable date plantations. Al Ain is home to one of the last major camel markets in the world each year, from late January to early February, the annual camel festival takes place, with races, auctions and a beauty contest.
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