Abu Dhabi camel

Much like Dubai, Abu Dhabi has a reputation for year-round sunshine, fantastic beaches and luxury hotels and restaurants.

While the city has undergone a rapid progression in its modernisation efforts, it has not been quite as swift as that of Dubai, giving it a very unique atmosphere.

Islands close to Abu Dhabi, such as, Al Maryah and Saadiyat are still in the process of taking shape, but the skyline is nevertheless already an impressive site.

What to see

Abu Dhabi Skyline

The skyline is a great site for visitors and the best place to see it is up the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers Hotel, the highest point in the city.

Those not staying at the hotel will need to pay an entry fee, although the ticket price can be redeemed for food and drink from the observation deck's restaurant.

Back on the ground, the city's impressive Corniche is what many would consider to be the Middle Eastern answer to the British seafront.

Stretching for eight kilometres, the promenade along the beach abounds with things to see, including the impressive Emirates Palace and Mina Port.

The middle section is the most popular and is home a wide range of wonderful local cafés and restaurants.

Must see

Abu Dhabi sheikh zayed grand mosque

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is truly a sight to behold. Constructed with Macedonian marble, this magnificent building borrows Mameluke, Ottoman and Fatamid influences to create a truly breathtaking and altogether modern mosque. Opened in 2007, the UAE's largest mosque can hold 40,000 worshippers.  

Shopping

Abu Dhabi at night

The Women's Craft Centre is a great place to pick up a traditional gift, with local women on hand to demonstrate their skills in weaving, embroidery and basketry. For those with slightly more modern tastes, Abu Dhabi is home to several shopping malls, the newest being the 2.5 million square foot Yas Mall on the luxurious Yas Island.

Climate: Abu Dhabi attracts visitors from all over the world throughout the year, but the best time to visit is largely seen as being between November and May, which sees temperatures hover around 25 degrees Celsius.

August is the hottest month of the year, with average temperatures pushing into the upper 30s, although the constant presence of air conditioning makes it easy to visit at any time of year. 

Getting around

Abu Dhabi taxi

The local Department of Transport has perfected a modern bus service that runs throughout the emirate and contains around 100 bus routes. Standard fares are around 50p, while a ride to Al Ain, which is 90 miles away is just £2.50.

A number of hotels even run their own shuttle bus services running to and from the centre of Abu Dhabi, meaning that getting around is always easy.

Taxis are also widely available and are also reasonably cheap, although the only ranks are found outside shopping malls and airports so it's usually best to hail one down. Rates are always slightly more expensive in the evening, carrying a minimum price of around £1.70.

If you fancy venturing further afield, Rotana Jet operates direct flights form Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen airport to Sir Bani Yas Island, which is located in the Al Gharbia region close to Saudi Arabia. Fares are around £34 each way to £25 to Al Ain. 

Other essential information

Abu Dhabi currency

Currency:

The currency used is the UAE Dirham, which has an exchange rate of approximately 4.61 to the pound.

Local customs:

As with everywhere else in the UAE, Islam has a significant influence on everyday life. It is therefore best to dress modestly, especially during Ramadan, and keep items such as swimwear for the beach.

Swearing or insulting language in public can sometimes lead to dealing with the police, while the consumption of alcohol in public (except certain hotels) is also not permitted.

Public displays of affection are also a bad idea as are any disparaging comments about the UAE's rulers or taking pictures of locals without their permission. 

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