Abu Dhabi is the largest of the seven emirates and offers everything from luxury hotels, shopping malls, desert safaris and sandy beaches to museums, ancient forts, theme parks and wildlife reserves.
Visiting without blowing the bank
One of the city's well-kept secrets
5 of the best places to rest your head in Abu Dhabi...
Take to the dunes on a buggy, board or camel
The territories of the Middle-East are too-often tarred by the same brush, misinformation making it tricky to know quite where is safe and where best to avoid. The United Arab Emirates, with its unique blend of traditional and contemporary culture, has strived to build a reputation as tolerant, multi-faceted, and surprisingly cosmopolitan, and a must-see on any Middle-Eastern adventure.
You might wake early in your luxury hotel to the evocative ululating chant of the Muslim call to prayer, the sun ascending a vivid pink behind the towering Dubai skyline. From there, the nature of your day can change at a whim. The hedonist will want to hit the chic boutiques and bedeck themselves in the latest designer clothes for lounging on the pristine beaches of Ras Al-Khaimah on the sparkling Gulf Coast, or settle in for a six course meal at an indulgent restaurant to line your stomach for a hard night at a hip bar or pulsing club. The adventurer will crave a camel ride into the unfathomable deserts beyond Abu Dhabi and sequester themselves in the acacia groves of Liwa Oasis, hike high into the spectacular Hajar Mountains to escape the heat, or haggle over authentic souvenirs in the humming souqs of Sharjah. If you prefer exploration to be air-conditioned, make the climb to the summit of Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest building at a staggering 2723ft.
Like many Middle-Eastern countries, the temperature can sometimes prove overwhelming, and visitors are expected to exercise caution and respect in relation to local etiquette. Rigidity of dress code differs across the country, so bring a variety of outfits (or a well-prepped credit card) to make sure you don’t miss out on anything the UAE has to offer.
"Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote" - Michael Palin