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The capital of enchantment

As the capital of the UAE, a holiday in Abu Dhabi combines a 21st Century cityscape with traditional values and hospitality style. Magnificent skyscrapers and water parks rub shoulders with pristine gardens and palatial hotels and mosques. The cultural desert excursions are spectacular.

Climate averages

Essential information for Abu Dhabi

Local time

Language

Flag of the United Arab Emirates
Arabic

Currency

UAE Dirham
Official currency of Abu Dhabi

Flight information

7h 20m
Abu Dhabi (AUH)
Direct flight

Flight schedule

  • Virgin Atlantic flights to Dubai depart daily from London Heathrow. Direct flights to Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways.

Do I need a visa?

If you’re a British citizen, you can get a 30 day visa on arrival.

Find out more about Travel Visas here »

When is Ramadan?

Ramadan is estimated to be from 5th May–4th June 2019 (followed immediately by Eid). Ramadan is a festival like no other, and visiting during this period offers a fascinating insight into Emirati culture and religious traditions.

Abu Dhabi Holidays: where the old meets the new

Ancient traditions live side-by-side with contemporary architecture and world record-breaking feats in Abu Dhabi. Constantly developing, renovating and changing, the city always has something new to offer. From its sun-kissed white beaches to an ultra-modern skyline, holidays in Abu Dhabi are where city trips and beach breaks come together.

Abu Dhabi is the UAE's showcase of glamour and luxury, and the its hotels are no different, famous for their extravagant interiors and world-class personal service.

  • For a relaxing break, head to St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort. The waterfront hotel resembles a slice of the Caribbean in the UAE. If tropical décor weren’t enough, their menus offer food from all around the world, from Mediterranean cuisine to a New York grill bar. If you're relaxing on the beach, don't be surprised if you get to see a bottlenose dolphin – the clear blue waters are home to all sorts of marine wildlife.
  • Get the royal treatment at Emirates Palace. Famous for its opulent architecture (the ceiling alone is gold leaf), everything about the hotel is the epitome of regal. A prime example of old-meets-new in Abu Dhabi, its design contrasts with the hi-tech facilities, with iPad controls in every room. Be sure to stop by for high tea if you want a relaxing afternoon.
  • Discover island life at Desert Island Resort & Spa by Anantara. Start the day with a mini safari, move swiftly on to archery and then finish up in the spa (we recommend making full use of the massages on offer).
  • You can have breakfast whilst watching the F1 cars at Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Hotel. If you don’t stay, it's still worth a trip to marvel at the contemporary architecture.

When you take a holiday to Abu Dhabi, you're never far from the beach or one of the many inlets which criss-cross the city. From party beaches with bars and DJs to relaxing sunspots, there’s no shortage of coastline to choose from. And the breathtaking city skyline makes a slick setting for sunset.

  • Saadiyat Public Beach is an unmodified nature spot that’s quiet enough  to relax with a book for a few hours. If you’re lucky, you might even spot hawksbill turtles nesting.
  • The best spot to watch the sun go down is Yas beach. Here, you can enjoy watersports and a DJ during the day; it gets quite lively in the evening, so it's perfect when you’re in the mood to party.
  • For a photo op with the most famous Abu Dhabi landmarks, head to Corniche beach. This stretch of white sands along the northwest shore is the peaceful in the evenings, making it ideal for a walk or a jog.

If you're looking for something more adrenaline-fuelled, Abu Dhabi's got plenty to offer, from roller coasters for thrill-seekers to waterparks for a more relaxing choice.

  • Booking a driver experience at the Yas Marina Circuit Tour is a must for F1 fans. Take a tour or get out on the track in anything from a Chevy Camaro to a Formula 3000 car.
  • Ferrari World is home to the fastest roller coaster in the world, but if that's not your thing, you can browse the ranks of classic cars instead. There’s enough to fill a whole day with fast-paced fun, so get there early to make the most of this amusement park.
  • Yas Waterworld is the perfect spot to let off steam for an afternoon, with shallow play pools for little ones and relaxing spots for the adults. Queues for rides aren’t as long as other amusements either, so dropping by for a few hours is an option.
  • For a more relaxing choice, head to Murjan Splash Park. With shallow pools, it’s ideal for infrequent swimmers and young children. It’s worth noting that this park is cash only, so leave your cards at home.
  • Make some feathered friends at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital. Located a short drive out of the city, this wildlife reserve is a serene place to spend an afternoon and learn about the birds. The tour lasts two hours and if you’re feeling brave you can have a photo taken with one on your arm.

Abu Dhabi's skyline is world-renowned, with the famous Corniche home to awe-inspiring modern skyscrapers, including the Sky Tower at over 1000 feet high. But look a little closer and you’ll find plenty of traditional Gulf-style buildings – should you want to discover the city’s traditional side.

  • The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is one of the ten largest mosques in the world. You can lose hours marvelling at the attention paid to detail in its intricate carvings and perfect symmetry. If you have time, visit once during the day and again at night to see it in an entirely different light. The dress code is strict, but you can borrow appropriate cover-ups from the office before you head inside. There’s a free guided tour that lasts around 45 minutes to discover more about the mosque’s history.
  • Observation Deck 300 is the highest place to have high tea, based on the 74th floor of the Jumeirah building, where you can take in a stunning 360-degree view of the city and its unique skyline.
  • Once you’ve seen the modern architecture of Abu Dhabi, learn about the city’s history at the Qasr Al Hosn museum. Entrance is free and it’s a great way to get out of the sun for a few hours during the day. If possible, go in February for the Abu Dhabi festival, celebrating classical art and music.

An Abu Dhabi holiday is a tranquil way to discover the storied history of the United Arab Emirates and discover its ever-changing modern architecture and cityscapes. Book in at one of our Abu Dhabi hotels today. 

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