You won’t find anywhere else on earth where you can ride a camel across the desert in the morning and the world’s fastest rollercoaster in the afternoon. Abu Dhabi packs a punch with fantastic holidays for all ages, whether you’re after adventure, relaxation or being pampered in the luxury of a 5-star hotel.
If you want culture, you’ll find it in spades in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. It’s the only place outside Paris where you can see world-class artwork in the Louvre. At the newly-opened Louvre Abu Dhabi, you can marvel at the amazing dome which appears to float in mid-air, before gazing at paintings by Da Vinci, Van Gogh and Monet. Or learn more about the UAE’s heritage by visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the biggest in the world with a jaw-dropping 80 domes.
Holidays to Abu Dhabi mean fun in the sun and adventure. Yas Island is packed with entertaining theme parks, including Ferrari World and Waterworld. You can also raise your heart rate by dune bashing, kayaking, sandboarding and camel riding.
Abu Dhabi holidays also mean time for yourself, relaxing on stunning beaches and in luxurious hotels. Saadiyat Beach stretches along 9km of golden sands and you won’t have to lift a finger if you book a poolside bed at one of the beach clubs.
If it’s family fun you’re after, head to Yas Island. There’s so much to do here, from the theme and water parks to golf courses and a Formula 1 grand prix circuit.
At Ferrari World you can ride the world’s fastest rollercoaster. Get launched up to 249km/h in under five seconds and experience a face-contorting G-Force of 4.8 on Formula Rosso. Experience the world’s highest rollercoaster loop on Flying Aces, or try something a little slower for the kids.
Formula 1 fans won’t want to miss Yas Marina Circuit where you can see behind the scenes of the track where the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has been held since 2009. Wander through the pit lanes and garages, see the race control room, stand on the finish line and even pose with a trophy on the winner’s podium.
Cool off at Yas Waterworld, which spans 15 football pitches and features a whopping 43 rides. And if you’re a golf lover, be sure to book a tee time at the award-winning Yas Links Golf Course, the only Links club in Arabia.
If all this isn’t enough, there’s even more fun from Summer 2018 with the opening of Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi, where you can see the likes of Bugs Bunny, Scooby Doo and Tom and Jerry rubbing shoulders with The Flintstones, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.
And coming to Yas Island in 2022 will be the massive marine park SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, the first outside the US.
If luxury is your thing, look no further than Abu Dhabi as the perfect holiday destination. You’ll find a selection of 5-star hotels to stay in, including Yas Viceroy, the only hotel in the world to span an F1 track, and Jumeirah at Etihad Towers which provides a 360-degree view from its Observation Deck.
Pop into the vast and opulent 7 Star Emirates Palace. You don’t have to be a guest to lap up the luxury of its 114 gold covered domes. Why not take an elegant afternoon tea, watch an opera or sip cocktails at the bar?
Find luxury brands galore in the countless malls and indulge in gourmet cuisine from American to Spanish and Indian to French.
You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to making the most of the 400km of coastline. Your hotel may well have its own private stretch of soft white sand or check out the 10km of public beaches, many with Blue Flags to mark their safe and clean conditions. Saadiyat Beach Club features a workout room, spa, sauna and steam room and the comfiest poolside beds. Or stroll along the 8km promenade called The Corniche, order an ice cream and watch the world go by.
If you want to get your heart racing, your Abu Dhabi holiday could be a non-stop adrenaline rush. Kayak the mangrove forests around the islands, or head out to the desert for a safari. Spend the day dune bashing through the sand valleys in a four-wheel drive car, or riding a camel, before finishing with an Arabian barbeque as the sun goes down.
Take a boat trip around the harbour and man-made Lulu Island to get another perspective on the Abu Dhabi skyline. You can bounce along the waves while RIB riding, set sail on a luxury yacht or traditional dhow. Back on land, test your balance while sandboarding or horse riding along the beach. Or why not try go-karting or cycling around the Yas Marina Circuit where F1 drivers like Lewis Hamilton have raced?
Don’t make the mistake of thinking Abu Dhabi is a brash modern city with no culture. You’ll find it’s well and truly on the world art map since the opening in November 2017 of the billion-pound Louvre Abu Dhabi. Discover why it’s a must-see, both for its ‘floating’ giant metal dome, as well as its famous works of art. Get close to masterpieces like Leonardo Da Vinci’s Portrait of an Unknown Lady. Wander through the peaceful, airy, white-walled halls to see beautiful paintings by Picasso, Gaugin, Pollock and Bellini, plus Whistler’s portrait of his mother and Claude Monet’s La Gare Saint-Lazare.
Discover why the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is ranked number two in TripAdvisor’s Top 25 Landmarks Around the World. Prepare to be stunned by the mosque’s 82 domes, 1,000 columns, 24-carat gold chandeliers and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet.
And get a taste of the UAE’s rich history by taking a 90 min drive out to Al Ain, where you can explore picturesque forts, palaces and oases. One of the oldest permanently inhabited settlements, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Al Jahili Fort was built in 1891 to protect the city, while Al Qattara Fort is now home to an art gallery. Explore UAE’s heritage at Al Ain National Museum with its exhibits of Bedouin jewellery, traditional musical instruments and archaeological treasures.
Abu Dhabi can be split into four different regions, all of which feature their own array of hotels:
The Corniche spans an impressive 8 km of waterfront and city skyline, all the hotels located here offer stunning views out over the sea as well as being the perfect location for an after-dinner stroll.
Our top hotel choices:
The best time to visit is during the winter months (November to February), when the temperature hovers pleasantly around the mid-20’s C. Visits during the blazing summer are possible, although temperatures can reach the high 40’s at this time, so locals mostly seek shelter in the city’s air conditioned skyscrapers. The Holy Month of Ramadan is the period when Muslims fast during daylight hours, and during this time, you may find restaurants are closed and alcohol restrictions are in place at the hotels.
Currency: United Arab Emirates Dirham.
Language: English and Arabic.
Flight time from the UK (London): Approximately 7 hours.
Arrival Airport: Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Entry details (for British passport holders): You do not need to obtain a visa before departure, a 30 day visa will be issued on arrival. Passports need at least 6 months validity from your date of entry. Before you depart, check the latest travel advice at www.fco.gov.uk.
Public Holidays: Ramadan starts mid-May 2018 (dates to be confirmed in May). Ramadan is the Holy Month when Muslims fast during daylight hours. Restaurants may be closed during the day and alcohol restrictions may apply at hotels.
A local Thomas Cook Signature representative will meet you at your arrival airport and direct you to your pre-booked transfer vehicle. You will receive a welcome pack containing local information and all contact details. A welcome meeting will be arranged at your hotel and should you need advice during your stay, local representatives will make regular visits to your resort.
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