Hey there! If you’re planning a trip to the United Arab Emirates, then you absolutely must visit Abu Dhabi. I recently had the pleasure of exploring this stunning city and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. From the endless desert landscapes to the luxurious shopping malls and modern architecture, there’s something here for everyone. In this post, I’ll share some interesting facts, the top 20 things to do, traditional foods and drinks to try, and the best holiday accommodations in Abu Dhabi. Let’s dive in!
Abu Dhabi is a fascinating place with a rich history and culture, and one interesting fact about this amazing city is that it is known as the “land of gazelle.” At first, you might wonder why a city in the desert would be associated with a graceful animal like a gazelle, but there’s actually a fascinating story behind this nickname.
Back in the early days of Abu Dhabi, the Bedouin people who lived in the area relied on the gazelle for survival. These agile and fast animals provided both food and transportation, and the Bedouin people learned how to live in harmony with the gazelles, respecting and appreciating them for their many uses.
Over time, the relationship between the Bedouin people and the gazelles became an important part of Abu Dhabi’s culture and heritage. Gazelles were often depicted in art and poetry, and they became a symbol of the city’s connection to nature and the desert landscape.
Today, while the gazelle population in Abu Dhabi is much smaller than it once was, the animal remains an important part of the city’s identity. The city’s emblem features a stylized image of a gazelle, and the animal is still revered for its beauty, grace, and importance to the city’s history.
So, the next time you’re in Abu Dhabi, be sure to keep an eye out for these majestic creatures and take a moment to appreciate the important role they’ve played in the city’s culture and heritage. Who knew that a nickname like “land of gazelle” could tell such an interesting story?
Before embarking on a trip to Abu Dhabi, it’s important to have some basic knowledge about the city to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. Here are some important things to know before you go:
The currency used in Abu Dhabi is the United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED). It's a good idea to have some cash on hand for small purchases and tips, but most places also accept credit cards.
Arabic is the official language of Abu Dhabi, but English is widely spoken and understood, especially in tourist areas.
Depending on your nationality, you may need a visa to enter Abu Dhabi. It's important to check the visa requirements well in advance of your trip to avoid any surprises at the airport.
Abu Dhabi has a desert climate, which means hot temperatures and low humidity year-round. During the summer months (June to September), temperatures can soar above 40°C (104°F), so it's important to dress appropriately and stay hydrated.
Abu Dhabi is well-connected by public transportation, including buses and taxis. It's also easy to rent a car if you prefer to explore on your own.
Abu Dhabi International Airport is the main airport serving the city, and it's located about 30 km (18.6 miles) east of the city center. Many major airlines offer direct flights to Abu Dhabi from around the world.
Abu Dhabi is a Muslim city, and it's important to respect local customs and traditions. Dress modestly (covering shoulders and knees) in public areas, especially when visiting mosques and other religious sites. Alcohol is only served in licensed establishments, and it's illegal to drink in public.
Abu Dhabi is a safe city, with low levels of crime and violence. However, it's always important to take precautions when traveling, such as keeping an eye on your belongings and avoiding dark or isolated areas at night.
By keeping these important details in mind, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip to Abu Dhabi. Don’t hesitate to ask locals or your hotel staff if you have any questions or concerns during your stay.
Visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: This stunning mosque is one of the largest in the world and features intricate architecture and design elements.
Take a desert safari: Explore the vast sand dunes of Abu Dhabi by 4×4, camel or quad bike, and experience traditional Bedouin hospitality with a desert dinner and entertainment.
Go on a dhow cruise: Experience the beauty of Abu Dhabi from the water on a traditional dhow boat cruise, complete with dinner and entertainment.
Visit the Louvre Abu Dhabi: This iconic museum features stunning architecture and houses a collection of art from around the world, including masterpieces by Da Vinci, Van Gogh, and Monet.
Go shopping: Abu Dhabi is home to some of the most luxurious shopping malls in the world, including the Abu Dhabi Mall, Yas Mall, and the Galleria.
Visit the Abu Dhabi Corniche: This beautiful waterfront promenade is perfect for a leisurely stroll or bike ride, with stunning views of the city skyline.
Visit the Al Ain Palace Museum: Learn about the history and culture of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family at this grand palace-turned-museum.
Check out the Abu Dhabi Art Hub: This creative hub features workshops, exhibitions, and events showcasing the work of local and international artists.
Take a tour of the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Centre: This museum offers a glimpse into the life and legacy of Sheikh Zayed, the founder of the UAE.
Go kayaking in the mangroves: Explore the stunning mangrove forests of Abu Dhabi by kayak or stand-up paddleboard.
Visit the Abu Dhabi Falconry Centre: Learn about the art of falconry and watch these majestic birds in action.
Relax on a beach: Abu Dhabi is home to some stunning beaches, including Saadiyat Beach, Corniche Beach, and Yas Beach. Best of all, many of them are free!
This iconic hotel is one of the most luxurious in the world, featuring opulent amenities, a private beach, and stunning architecture.
This sleek and modern hotel is located on Yas Island and offers easy access to attractions like Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld.
This elegant beachfront resort features stunning views of the Arabian Gulf and luxurious amenities like a spa and multiple restaurants.
This luxurious hotel is located on Saadiyat Island and features stunning architecture and a private beach.
This sleek and modern hotel is located in the heart of Abu Dhabi and features stunning views of the city skyline.
Shawarma: This Middle Eastern classic features slow-roasted meat (usually chicken or lamb) wrapped in warm pita bread with vegetables and sauces.
Manakish: This savory pastry is similar to a pizza and features a variety of toppings, including cheese, herbs, and meat.
Machboos: This spicy rice dish features tender meat (usually chicken or lamb) cooked with tomatoes, onions, and spices.
Luqaimat: These sweet, fluffy dumplings are a popular dessert in Abu Dhabi, often served with date syrup or honey.
Arabic Coffee: This strong, flavorful coffee is a staple in Abu Dhabi and is often served with dates as a traditional welcome drink.
Laban: This refreshing yogurt drink is a popular way to cool off in the heat of Abu Dhabi.
Camel Milk: Camel milk is a traditional drink in the UAE and is known for its nutritional benefits and unique taste.
This is a question I’m being asked frequently, and the answer is…
Absolutely! Abu Dhabi is a fantastic travel destination that offers a wealth of experiences and attractions for visitors. From stunning architecture and world-renowned museums to thrilling theme parks and beautiful beaches, Abu Dhabi has something for everyone.
The city is also known for its rich cultural heritage, with many opportunities to explore Emirati traditions and customs through various events and experiences. Visitors can enjoy traditional cuisine, visit historic landmarks, and attend cultural festivals and celebrations.
In addition, Abu Dhabi is home to some of the most luxurious hotels and resorts in the world, offering world-class amenities and services to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay.
Overall, Abu Dhabi is definitely worth visiting and has something to offer every type of traveler, whether you’re interested in history, culture, adventure, or simply relaxing by the beach.
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