Luxury Multi Centre Holidays
With its airport links to destinations across the Middle East to the Indian Ocean and beyond, Abu Dhabi has established itself as a major global transport hub. This makes it a perfect stopover on a multi-centre itinerary.
For a multi-centre holiday in the Middle East, Abu Dhabi is the ideal stop-off point, with easy connections to iconic destinations such as Dubai, Fujeirah and Oman. If you fancy going further afield, Abu Dhabi has direct links to the Maldives, the Seychelles and Mauritius, and because its airlines include Cathay Pacific and Virgin Australia, there are direct flights to destinations like Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Featured Hotels in Abu Dhabi
Luxury Abu Dhabi Holidays
Abu Dhabi encapsulates all that represents the Arabia of storybook and legend -- burning deserts, camel racing at dawn, date palms, spice souks, mosques and minarets. Yet, superimposed on the romantic Arabian Nights image, is an opulent and glamorous metropolis, which is not just ultra-modern but truly futuristic. Unlike its ostentatious neighbour Dubai, its focus is less on glitz, and more on genuine luxury, which, combined with a laid-back relaxed ambience, plus legendary Middle Eastern hospitality, makes it an irresistible magnet for visitors from all over the globe.
Abu Dhabi is the largest, richest and most powerful of the seven UAE sheikhdoms, and the city is the UAE's capital. Its situation, spread over a rocky part of the mainland plus more than 200 closely-packed islands, gives it a uniquely scenic aspect, and offers immense variety for visitors to explore. One of these islands, a wedge-shaped island jutting out from the shore, is the location of the city centre, and this is where most visitors stay.
Where to Start
When you arrive in Abu Dhabi, the best way to get your bearings is to head for the Corniche, the spectacular waterfront boulevard stretching the four miles of shoreline from the Emirates Palace to Mina Port, with palm-tree gardens and sandy beaches. It has walkways along the full length, but to see it in comfort it is possible to hire a bicycle or a 4-seater pedal car. The middle section of the Corniche has a charming selection of cafes and restaurants.
At the Emirates Palace end of the Corniche is the Breakwater, which as well as protecting from the waves, provides a magnificent view across the water to the city skyline, from a network of enchanting ocean walkways. Two things here will immediately catch your eye, one being the Emirates flag flying from the world's tallest flagpole. The other is the astonishing leaning Capital Gate Building, the world's furthest leaning building at 18 degrees (the Leaning Tower of Pisa is 4 degrees).
Near the flagpole is the Heritage Village, which offers a fascinating glimpse into the city's past. It replicates a traditional Bedouin nomad camp, and provides a re-creation of the desert way of life that was normal in Abu Dhabi, before oil revenues changed the landscape completely. Visitors can take part in traditional activities like camel riding and falconry.
City of Superlatives
The flagpole and Capital Gate Building are not the only superlatives in this city of superlatives, which also claims the world's most expensive mosque, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque -- something not to be missed. It is an architectural marvel, decorated throughout in white and gold, and surrounded by several artificial lakes. The best time to see it is just before sunset, when it is bathed in golden light.
Abu Dhabi's superlatives also extend to the world of fun and entertainment, if this is your priority. Ferrari World, on Yas Island, is the world's largest theme park, and what's more, it boasts the world's fastest rollercoaster, the Formula Rossa. Yas Island is also home to the newly opened Water World, the world's biggest water park, themed around Abu Dhabi's traditional pearl fishing culture.
This region does in fact have an extraordinary maritime heritage, and if this is something that interests you, one of the most fascinating places to visit is the restored Al Bateen shipyard on Al Bateen Island, one of the city's oldest inhabited areas. Alternatively, the island location offers the chance to enjoy a dhow cruise, or a cruise in a traditional pearling vessel, for the best way to see the outer islands. You could even have a speedboat tour of the coastline.
And then of course there is the fascination of the desert -- Abu Dhabi is located on one of the world's great desert seas, the Rub' al Khali. You can be picked up from your hotel for a camel safari, early in the morning or at sunset. Less cultural, but more comfortable, are the 4x4 desert safaris, which include dinner under the stars.
Abu Dhabi, with its island-dotted coastline and majestic sand-dunes, ranks among the world's most beautiful cities. When this is combined with year-round sunshine, stunning cultural attractions and world-beating shopping malls, it is no wonder that it is attracting visitors from all round the world in ever-increasing numbers. Its reputation as a stellar luxury destination is matched by few places in the world.