The Corniche Abu Dhabi
Whether you run, cycle, rollerblade or just walk it, no holiday to Abu Dhabi is complete without a trip along The Corniche. Explore the 8km-long beachfront promenade, which sweeps along the western curve of the island and stretches from the Hilton Hotel to the harbour. It's simply the finest way to see the city. Stroll along the fantastic stretches of wide paved boulevard that run along the white sand. Rest on benches near fountains, relax in serene parks or run around in children's playgrounds. You can hire bikes at several stations along the route and even small pedal cars, which are great fun for kids.
The Corniche is clean, very well maintained and safe for all ages. You'll appreciate the added safety of clearly marked separate walking and cycling paths. This area used to be the haunt of pearl fishers and some of the promenade was built on land reclaimed from the sea. Until 2003 the line of hotels was at the water's edge, but now The Corniche takes you right up to the sand.
As you walk or cycle along, take in the captivating architecture on one side and the clear blue sea of the Arabian Gulf on the other side. You might spot a fishing boat bobbing about. Among the buildings you'll pass are Marina Mall, Etihad Towers, World Trade Center and Baynunah Tower.
If you're a cat lover, you'll be pleased to meet plenty of friendly local moggies. Gardeners will enjoy looking at all the flowers and plants which add colour and natural life to The Corniche. You should also look out for Baywatch-style lifeguards and the Abu Dhabi police patrolling on bicycles. Keep an eye out for beach volleyball matches or stop to watch the skateboarders showing off their tricks.
Head over to the free beach, hire a lounger and sunshade for a luxurious day, or simply throw a towel on the sand to keep it low key. You'll have no concerns about swimming, as the beach can boast a Blue Flag for its clean and safe water. You don't even have to dodge the traffic to get to the parks across the road, as there are pedestrian underpasses decorated with mosaic murals. Check out the family park, with trains and boats in the toddlers' village and even a Treasure Island, complete with a pirate ship for older kids to climb on.
You'll discover no shortage of things to see as events take place on The Corniche all year round, such as the Red Bull Air Race and Red Arrows displays, live music and outdoor cinema screenings. Enjoy the gentle breeze from the water. You'll find that the boulevard is cooler, and particularly photogenic, at sunrise and sunset. After an afternoon strolling, running or cycling, take a break at one of the cafés along the way. The Corniche is one of those spots which is great for people watching, so take a seat, order a drink or an ice cream and let the world go by.
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