Proudly modern and cosmopolitan, Abu Dhabi is the UAE’s forward-thinking cultural heart where nothing stands still.
Opulent, dramatic and no expense spared: the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a triumph of Islamic architecture for the modern world. Architectural nodes to all the great Islamic empires of past from Fatimid Egypt to South Asia’s Mughal dynasty are represented among its blinding white marble facade, but this is a mosque thoroughly of and for the 21st century, with striking contemporary artistry at its heart. Non-Muslims may only be allowed to enter a single mosque in the city, but the one they can, is magnificent!
There’s no need to leave the city for a beach-break, Abu Dhabi offers a swath of sand for everyone. Saadiyat Island has one of the nicest slices of public beach (with a minimal fee) while Al Bateen, the Corniche and the brand-spanking-new beach on Hudayriat Island offer up completely free swags of sandy fun. On the water Abu Dhabi’s Mangrove National Park showcases a completely different dace to a city more known for glinting glass-and-steel skyscrapers than nature.
The nation’s largest emirate has evolved over the last half-century from a simple fishing village to a luxurious metropolis dotted with glittering architecture, sumptuous hotels, high-end restaurants and cavernous shopping malls catered to the well-heeled traveler.
It should be no surprise that Abu Dhabi weather remains hot year-round. Travelers wishing to beat the excessive heat should visit Abu Dhabi from November through February, when temperatures are mild and cool.
The 74th floor of the Jumeirah is about as high up as you can get in Abu Dhabi. The Etihad Towers are located opposite the Emirates Palace hotel and it features offices, apartments and a hotel.
The sunsets and the panoramic views are pretty spectacular, so consider timing your visit so that you’re at the top when the sun dips below the horizon.
Abu Dhabi is a great place to spend a few days as it can often be much cheaper than Dubai, plus there are more and more tourist attractions opening all the time. It’s also a very safe city, and whilst Arabic is the official language, English is spoken widely as there is a very large expat community.
This luxurious metropolis is definitely worth a visit.
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