Once considered the quieter sibling city to nearby Dubai, the United Arab Emirates’ capital has expanded rapidly. As headquarters for many of the world’s largest oil companies, Abu Dhabi is characterized by extreme wealth and opulence. With 1.5 million residents, Abu Dhabi is a dense urban center and home to some of the world’s tallest buildings. Explore the stunning city skyline, beachfront resorts and fine dining that this expanding metropolis has to offer.
Abu Dhabi exhibits strong adherence to Islamic cultural and religious traditions. Head coverings are not required in public, but dress modestly and be aware of and follow any cultural requirements at specific venues. Women can drive and travel freely here.
As the only places that can legally sell alcohol, the hotels of Abu Dhabi create the city’s nightlife and restaurant culture. The Emirates Palace, located on a coastal tip of the city, is among the most lavish. Stay at the hotel for access to a private beach, a multitude of sporting facilities and some of Abu Dhabi’s finest restaurants. The hotel is conveniently located near the best shopping in the city. Take a trip up the Etihad Towers to reach the Observation Deck at 300 to enjoy panoramic views or head to Abu Dhabi Mall for three stories of retail bliss.
Drive for just 30 minutes and you’ll come to Yas Island, one of the most popular destinations in Abu Dhabi. The site of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is a destination for thrill-seekers and families, with two exciting theme parks built side by side. Ride one of the fastest roller coasters in the world at Ferrari World. Yas Waterworld is an ideal way to make the most of Abu Dhabi’s year-round very warm weather.
The summer heat can be overwhelming, so few people choose to move between attractions on foot. Rent a car at the international airport or use the city’s air-conditioned bus service, which serves even the farthest reaches of the city.