An oasis of hedonism is an epitome of the United Arab Emirates’ capital: Abu Dhabi. This is a city where art lovers and all who love shopping can enjoy.
Abu Dhabi is the largest, most populous and capital of the UAE. Although there are more oil reserves than Dubai, Abu Dhabi has long been in the shadows. In the late 1950s, oil or “black gold” was discovered here. This is the main reason that from a small desert-nomadic-fishing village, Abu Dhabi has developed into one of the richest cities in the world. Although it changes every year, Abu Dhabi is a more peaceful and relaxed city than Dubai. Futuristic design buildings are being built almost every day. This city of the future is located across the Persian Gulf Islands. Thanks to the built attractions, it has become a favorite destination for tourists and world travelers.
Saadiyat is the most dynamic island. The first “annexes” of the Paris Louvre Museum opened here. It has 24 thousand square meters, of which 8000 occupy the gallery space. That’s why this is the largest art museum in the Arabian Peninsula. French architect Jean Nouvel was the designer. The construction cost 600 million euros. Here are 300 masterpieces by various artists: Leonardo da Vinci, Monet, Van Gogh, Matiss. The Louvre Abu Dhabi is one of the reasons for visiting Saddiyat. Saadiyat is 5 minutes by car from the city center. City officials want to turn this island into an island of culture and art. The dance center has designs by architect Zaza Hadid. The Maritime Museum was designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando. Ando designed the Zayed National Museum dedicated to Zayed bin Sultan Al Nayhan the first president of the United Arab Emirates.
There is Warner Bros. Adrenaline Park on Yasu Island. Here, visitors can enjoy the world of Batman, Superman, Tom & Jerry, etc. Here is a Ferrari World theme park where Formula Ross is the fastest roller coaster in the world. A three-hour adrenaline party costs about 60 euros / person. Next to Ferarri World is the Yas Marina Circuit. This is where Formula One rides for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. For visitors who are lovers of contemplation, there is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It was built in late 2007. The mosque can accommodate 40,000 people. It is one of the few in this part of the world that can be visited by those who are not of the Islamic faith. The cosmopolitan of the Grand Mosque is that construction and decoration materials are imported from all over the world. The crystal chandeliers are from Germany (one chandelier weighs 12 tonnes), the carpets are from Iran (the largest carpet occupies more than 5000 square meters), the white marble is from Prilep (Northern Macedonia).
December and January are ideal months to visit Abu Dhabi. Daytime temperatures are comfortable (23-26 degrees Celsius). Then it is a time of great bargains. The malls organize sweepstakes (where customers can win a car or a few pounds of gold). Sea temperatures are from 21 to 27 degrees Celsius. It can be enjoyed on the city’s many beaches. Thongs and toppings, drinking alcohol and moving away from the shore are prohibited when there are large waves. Dubai is 1 hour drive away. Currency in UAE is Dirham (AED).
Abu Dhabi does not have hotels like Burj Al Arab or Atlantis The Palm Dubai, but luxury is not lacking. Overnight at Zaya Nurai Island Resort is from 600 to 11 thousand euros. There are 55 villas with private pools, direct beach access and personal butlers. It is located on a natural island and can be reached by helicopter or sea. The Emirates Palace Hotel opened in 2005 and is worth $ 3 billion. The lowest price per night is 370 euros. A part of the action film “Fast & Furious” was filmed here. Fans of the desert landscape will love Qasr Al sareb (the lowest price is € 270). This hotel is built among the dunes reaching up to 280 meters in height. Visitors to the oasis in the Rub’Al Khali Desert are offered swimming pools and wellness centers. In the evenings, camel riding or adrenaline riding in the sand is offered. Cheaper hotels are: Rotana Park, Southern Sun, Marriot Hotel Down Town, Hyatt Capital Gate or The Ritz-Carlton where rates are between € 70 and € 150.
Typical foods in Arabic gastronomy are: lamb, chicken, camel meat, saffron, hummus (chickpea spread), dates. You can find all the cuisines of the world in Abu Dhabi. You can try dishes with Asian, Caribbean or Latin influences (tuna with goose liver and Asian pear, shrimp with sweet potatoes and wasabi or duck drumstick with brown rice, Thai basil and egg. Top restaurants are: Byblos Sur Mer (Hotel InterContinental, King Abdulah, King Abdulah) Bin Abdulaziz Street) and Al Mayass (Sheraton Hotel & Resort, Corniche Road).
Italian and French cuisine is served by Le Beaujolais (Mercure Hotel, Hamdan street), Brasserie Angelique (Jumeirah Etihad Towers) and Villa Toscana (St. Regis Hotel). Fans of Japanese, Chinese and Indian cuisine should go to Tori No Su (Jumeirah Etihad Towers), Saravana Bhavan (Madinat Zayed Shopping Center) and Michelin starred Hakkasan (St. Regis Nation Towers, Corniche Road).
The large shopping centers have top-class air conditioning, cinemas, theaters, sports facilities and are a great place to spend time and socialize. In summer, temperatures do not drop below 36 degrees C on average. Abu Dhabi has about 15 shopping centers. The largest is the Yas Mall with more than 400 stores. Those who want to buy authentic souvenirs should go to the souq (market) or traditional market near the port. Here you can buy fish, spices, fruits, vegetables, carpets, gold. Traders are not assertive but bargaining is required.
In Abu Dhabi, alcohol is banned in a public place. You must have a special license to sell alcohol. There are plenty of places for crazy nights out (Butcher% Still at Four Seasons Hotel, La Cava Wine Bar at Rosewood Hotel, Belgian Beer Cafe at InterContinental Hotel, etc.). There is a women-only party organized at Cooper’s Club (Rotana Park). Maya Island is a great place to spend 20 minutes by boat. Clubs are open until 3am. Admission is permitted for ages 21 and over. Alcohol cocktails cost from € 15 and up.