Abu Dhabi is the largest of the United Arab Emirates. Its confusingly-named largest city, Abu Dhabi, is the capital of the UAE even though it’s often overshadowed by its glitzy little brother Dubai.
The city of Abu Dhabi is the epicentre of everything in the Emirate and home to amazing hotels, fabulous shopping and sugary beaches.
While it’s still a huge and hectic cosmopolitan city, Abu Dhabi has a far more relaxed and friendly feel than Dubai. You’ll still find the plush shopping malls and the huge range of restaurants, but the crush of people isn’t as fearsome and the shortage of taxis not as dire.
By Middle Eastern standards, Abu Dhabi is a relatively liberal country (although not compared to the western world). The people are very friendly, respectful and always ready to help if you get lost or need advice.
The native Emiratis now make up only a small minority of the whole population with many expatriate workers coming from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and east Africa. This impressive mixture of cultures has given Abu Dhabi a truly international flavour.
Why visit Abu Dhabi?
Powdery white-sand beaches like the Seychelles combined with an upmarket city experience like Dubai
Hotels seemingly competing to come across as the most ludicrously lavish – if you’re looking for once-in-a-lifetime luxury, Abu Dhabi can provide it
Yas Island is a true modern playground with the high-octane Ferrari World boasting the world’s fastest rollercoaster and the sprawling Yas Waterworld water park
This is one of the world’s premier shopping destinations with a mixture of high-end malls and bargain-price markets
Much less stressful than Dubai making it a more relaxed experience where you can have just as much fun