Abu Dhabi – is the federal capital of the United Arab Emirates and is the largest Emirate in the UAE. The name Abu Dhabi means ‘Father of the Gazelle’. Abu Dhabi City is a beautiful garden city of boulevards, green parks, and water fountains. Abu Dhabi is geographically located on the northeastern part of the Arabian Gulf in the Arabian Peninsula.
The island city is located just 250 meters from the mainland, which consists of many other suburbs linked to the Emirate Abu Dhabi. A special feature of the city includes the Abu Dhabi Corniche which offers the chance to walk, cycle or jog along the island’s coastline which has a breathtaking view.
The United Arab Emirates has a federal government with seven regional subdivisions, called Emirates. The head of the federal government is the president, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Abu Dhabi is the name of both the capital city and the largest of the Emirates. The seven Emirates are: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah.
The UAE’s population is about 8.3 million and it is one of the most ethnically diverse in the Middle East. Roughly 11 percent of the population is Emirati; with other major demographic groups including South Asians, other Arab nationals, East Asians and Western expatriates.
Arabic is the official language of government and business in the UAE, although English, Persian, Hindi, and Urdu are also spoken. All signs (road, store, restaurant, etc.) are either in English or in both English and Arabic. It is quite easy to navigate the city using English. As a general rule, a wider range of languages is spoken — and with a higher level of fluency — in major cities than in rural areas.
The official religion of the UAE is Islam, although other religions are respected and practiced freely.
The currency of the UAE is the dirham, which is divided into 100 fils. The UAE dirham is fixed to the US dollar at a rate of 3.67 dirham to the dollar.
The UAE is in Greenwich Mean Time plus four hours or nine hours ahead of New York in Standard Time. During Daylight Savings Time, Abu Dhabi is eight hours ahead of New York.
The Emirate Abu Dhabi makes up approximately 87 percent of the country’s total landmass. About 70 percent of the land is desert, but the Emirate also has 700 kilometres of coastline and some 200 islands.
December through March is considered the mild season with average temperatures ranging from 20°C to 22°C (about 68.5°F to 71.6°F). August is the hottest month of the year with an average temperature of 40°C (104°F). Humidity is high in the summer months. There is very little rain in Abu Dhabi from May to October; January is the wettest month, typically yielding a minimum of 22 mm of rain.
There is a city bus system in Abu Dhabi but metered taxis are inexpensive and readily available throughout the city.
Abu Dhabi is considered conservative but tolerant when it comes to dress code. Given the diverse nature of the population, one can see many different types of dress in Abu Dhabi (jeans, saris, business suits, dishdashas, and abayas). Visitors are free to wear the same clothes that they would wear at home but both men and women typically refrain from wearing excessively revealing clothing out of respect for the local culture and customs. For most of the year, lightweight summer clothing is suitable. Warmer clothes are needed during the winter months, especially in the evening.
Abu Dhabi is the one place on earth that encompasses everything that is ancient and modern, amazing and adventurous, magnificent and mysterious. If you are visiting Abu Dhabi for a weekend or during a transit on a long trip, it is important to have information about the unique attractions in order to get the maximum of your Abu Dhabi short break. The below attractions are some of the most popular places to visit in Abu Dhabi.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque reflects the spirit of Islam, a religion of peace, education and tolerance. It is also arguably one of the most important architectural treasures of contemporary UAE society; and one of the most beautiful in the world. It is seen as a globally unifying landmark from its conception to completion, bringing together designers, features, materials and suppliers from nearly every corner of the globe. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is open for everyone and travelers of all nationalities can visit and appreciate the artistic splendor of the mosque, take an informative tour or simply get in to soak up the tranquility and architectural greatness. It is one of the best attractions to see in Abu Dhabi during your stay in the city.
Yas Marina Circuit
Yas Marina Circuit – is the only Motorsports venue in the world where all of the grandstands are covered and part of its pit lane exit runs underneath the track for premium motorsport events. Visitors can enjoy a complete driving experience, with tuition and driving packages available at the Yas Racing School, Yas Drag Racing Centre and Yas Kartzone. Yas Marina Circuit encourages the growth of sporting culture in the UAE and has become the centre for motorsport excellence in the Middle East. The Circuit is the venue for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and considered one of the most technologically advanced circuits in the world.
Abu Dhabi Corniche
The Corniche will take a special place in the minds of all the travelers who take an opportunity to spend a few moments along this picturesque beauty. Located along the north-western shore of Abu Dhabi, the Corniche is marked at one end by the Breakwater where the Marina Mall and Abu Dhabi theatre are located, while the other end hosts the traditional port and Iranian souk.
The magnificent Emirates Palace – is a national landmark and one of the most impressive hotels and conference venues ever built. Perfect for corporate and leisure travelers, Emirates Palace offers a variety of luxury services to suit every need, whether you come on vacation with your family or for a business meeting or international conference. The Palace is the second most expensive hotel ever built; only surpassed by Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Set in over 100 hectares of landscaped gardens, Emirates Palace offers 1.3kms of exclusive beach, two swimming pools, one designed for adventure and one for relaxation, tennis courts, cricket, a rugby pitch and soccer facilities, fitness suites and a spa, besides water sports.
Ferrari World – is the world’s largest indoor theme park. It features a host of rides and attractions to create an unforgettable experience for every member of the family. The park hosts more than 20 unique rides and attractions for visitors of all ages and interests; from speed thrill rides to the world’s most advanced simulators and family friendly attractions. It has a wide variety of Italian restaurants, unique shopping experiences and dedicated entertainments.
Heritage Village provides an interesting glimpse into the country’s past. The Heritage Village is located at the extreme end of the Abu Dhabi Corniche, the Breakwater. If you are residing near the Abu Dhabi Corniche or the Emirates Palace, then remember you are very close to the Heritage Village. Take a chance to see the fantastic place which is very near the Marina Mall and Abu Dhabi Theatre. If you intend to take a journey to the history then the Heritage Village is the best place to visit in Abu Dhabi. If you are at some point of the very long Abu Dhabi Corniche and not sure of the location, it is better to get a taxi and ask to take you to the Marina Mall side where the large flag is located.
Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital
Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (ADFH) – is the first public falcon hospital in the United Arab Emirates. Opened on 3rd of October, 1999, as an affiliate of the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD), it has become the largest falcon hospital in the UAE with a patient influx of more than 42,000 patients in the first eleven years of existence. This is a state-of-the-art hospital in Abu Dhabi where pampered patients stay in air-conditioned rooms and are fed a daily diet. High standard diagnosis, treatment and disease prevention are available here for falcons, all kinds of birds including pet birds and poultry farms. The ADFH laboratory performs accurate and advanced lab examinations for all avian and pets in a fast and reliable way with its latest high-tech equipment and highly experienced, committed staff. Through its award winning tourism program, ADFH had proven its importance as one of the major tourist attractions in Abu Dhabi and continuously promoting the Emirate as a tourist destination.
Emirates National Auto Museum
The Emirates National Auto Museum – is an amazing private collection of H.H.Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan. The museum hosts a vast array of cars and other vehicles; some seemingly bought from owners there and then, such as a customized camper van, others received as gifts from all around the world. Some of them have been displayed as originally received and others have been modified to suit the Sheikh’s preference.
Al Hosn Palace (White Fort)
Qasr Al Hosn Fort – is the former home of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The interior courtyard is a haven of tranquility in traditional Arab style, in marked contrast with the glass and concrete of the modern city beyond its walls. Al Hosn Palace also commonly called as the Old Fort or the White Fort is the oldest building in Abu Dhabi.
The center holds a collection of documents on the heritage and history of the UAE and the Gulf region. The courtyard and the magnificent tile work over the main north gate are outstanding features. There is a museum of traditional artefacts and historical photographs within the palace. Displays include a natural history section featuring animal life from the desert and historical section with displays of the history of Abu Dhabi as well as pottery and other artefacts. The tower contains a display of weapons used throughout history in Abu Dhabi.
Manarat Al Saadiyat
Manarat Al Saadiyat that means the place of enlightenment is a purpose-built 15,400 square meters visitor centre, designed to bring the vision of the island alive. Visitors will find a rich educational experience for all, especially for families looking for a fun, weekend activity.
Located on Saadiyat Island, this exciting artistic venue will house international exhibitions from around the world.
The main galleries of Manarat Al Saadiyat include Abu Dhabi Arts Gallery; a permanent space for a series of exhibitions and educational programs, the contemporary art gallery, the Universal Gallery and the Central Events Gallery.