Abu Dhabi holidays

Abu Dhabi is an exciting Middle Eastern hotspot. It’s the capital and the second biggest city of the United Arab Emirates after Dubai, with a population of more than 1.5 million people.

Joined to the mainland by three bridges, Abu Dhabi is located on a T-shaped island which extends into the Persian Gulf.  It’s more quiet and conservative than flashy Dubai, 90 minutes to the north, but that’s part of its charm. Come here for beautiful mosques, stunning modern architecture, traditional markets and relaxing beaches.


Map of Abu Dhabi

18°C - 42°C

Adu Dhabi has a desert climate, which means rainfall is unlikely. The highest temperatures are usually recorded in August when days can reach 40°C or higher. For those wanting to experience the city without the intense heat, we suggest heading here during winter when temperatures are more bearable, around the 20°C mark. 

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Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) is the main airport serving Abu Dhabi and is the second largest in the UAE.

Abu Dhabi is best for...

Sightseers: When you come to Abu Dhabi, you have to tick off the top sights. The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is a must-visit, whether you come to admire its 24-carat-gold gilded chandeliers or walk on the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet. It’s also home to Louvre Abu Dhabi and Ferrari World.

Big-spenders: Much like its neighbour Dubai, Abu Dhabi doesn’t scrimp on luxury. The hotels  here are easy on the eye, as are its malls. The man-made Yas Island is where you’ll find the city’s most high-end hotels, usually fronted by a blanket of white sand.

Formula One fans: Home to Yas Marina Circuit, which hosts Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, you don’t even have to attend the main event to experience the buzz. Just being here during race weekend is exciting with celebrations right across the city. 

Fast facts for Abu Dhabi

Language: Arabic is the official language of Abu Dhabi, though, most people understand English. Due to the increased amount of expats, you’ll hear plenty of other languages spoken, from Urdu and Arabic to Tamil and Bengali. 

Currency: The currency in Abu Dhabi is the UAE Dirham.

Local time: Abu Dhabi is 4 hours ahead of the UK (GMT+4). 

Fly to: Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) is the key airport, which is 19 miles from the city centre. There are plenty of public buses and taxis waiting to take you to the centre, which will take around 25 minutes. 

Flight time from UK: 7 hours

Tourist Information: Further tourist information can be found at Abu Dhabi’s tourism website.

Visa / Health: Before you travel, check the latest advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

Holiday destinations related to Abu Dhabi:


Abu Dhabi safety and security

For up-to-date advice on travelling to Adu Dhabi, please visit the FCDO website.

Abu Dhabi weather

If you’re a sun lover, you’ll be in your element in Abu Dhabi, where it’s blue skies, dry days and high temperatures all the way. Enjoy up to 13 hours of glorious sunshine in May and June, and a daily average of 10 hours of sunshine in December.

As it rarely rains in this subtropical desert country, you’d be unlucky to catch any showers at all in the summer months. It might rain briefly around three days a month in the winter, so chances are you won’t need an umbrella. The ‘rainy season’, if you can call it that, lasts for less than two months from January 21 to March 10, with frequent showers around February 6. The highest amount of rain likely to fall in a year is only 8cm.

The mercury in the thermometer climbs to 36°C in July and August and can even top 40°C. Make sure you pack plenty of sunscreen, wear a hat, keep hydrated and stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm.
If you’d rather stay cooler, visit Abu Dhabi in January, when the temperature can drop as low as 12°C but averages around a balmy 18°C. It can be as warm as 24°C with nine hours of sunshine, so you can still make your friends jealous by topping up your tan while you’re out there. There’s also more of a pleasant breeze in the winter.

You might find the weather in Abu Dhabi just right during the transitional spring and autumn months of March, April and November, when temperatures average around 26°C. Perfect for relaxing on the beach and working on your tan, swimming or sightseeing, while crowds are manageable and hotel rates reasonable.If you’re the type of person who gingerly edges into the sea and hates swimming in bracingly cold water, you’ll find the waters off Abu Dhabi surprisingly warm. In fact, you almost feel like you’re in your bath at home, except with much better spectacular views. The sea temperature is a toasty 33°C in August and only drops to a very pleasant 22°C in January.

Humidity is fairly constant throughout the year, averaging around 60%. It can get quite sticky at the height of the summer so you’ll be glad to have your hotel air conditioning. Visibility is six miles with skies more overcast and cloudy in the summer, but still more likely to be clear and sunny.

Even though you’ll mostly be in lightweight, loose t-shirts and shorts because of the heat, you should take a few more layers and conservative clothes for trips to mosques and public areas. Here you will need to cover your shoulders and knees and preferably wear long-sleeved tops, trousers or long skirts. Another layer can also be handy indoors to take the chill off powerful air conditioning and for winter evenings.

Best hotels in Abu Dhabi