Tropical weather, sandy beaches and scrumptious food, exciting desert and oasis adventures, unlimited shopping and majestic hotels– welcome to Abu Dhabi. Just a hop, skip and a jump away from Cairo, Abu Dhabi is the perfect destination for you to indulge in all your hedonistic pleasures.
Egypt Air and Etihad Airways offer direct flights from Cairo for under 2000LE. Air Arabia offers great deals from Alexandria Borg El Arab Airport for as little as 850LE. Online websites such as Expedia, Kayak and Cheaptickets are excellent; especially if you’re looking to book a hotel as well.
Things to Do
Abu Dhabi is known for its spectacular waterfront that stretches for miles with white, sandy beaches and calm, captivatingly blue water. Spend a day on the Corniche enjoying the beach and recreational activities offered. Though the public beach is clean and easily accessible, you can also opt to pay the small entrance fee for the 'family beaches,' where you can rent comfortable lounge chairs. There, you can partake in a number of water sport activities including kayaking, paddle boating and parasailing, as well as windsurfing and jet skiing.
If you’re a thrill-seeking adventurer, head to Yas Island to check out the recently opened Ferrari World. This is the world’s largest indoor theme park and has the world’s fastest rollercoaster clocking in at 240km/h. Right next to Ferrari World is the Yas Marina Circuit, which hosts the annual Formula 1 car race. The Circuit is opened year-round and hosts a number of events, tours and racing activities.
Don’t miss out on the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque; it is breathtakingly beautiful, expansive and white! As the third largest mosque in the world, you will be in awe of its sheer size and space.
Only in the UAE would a hotel be a tourist sight destination; but when you enter the Emirates Palace Hotel, you will understand why. Everything in the hotel is glistening and shiny– probably due to the 1002 especially designed Swarovski crystal chandeliers featured throughout the hotel. Don’t forget to look out for the vending machine that dispenses only gold bars!
Recovering shopaholics beware; Abu Dhabi’s shopping scene is too tempting to resist. Head to Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi Mall or Khaldiyiah Mall (just to name a few) and you will find everything from designer brands to international department stores and brands such as the recently opened H&M.
For jewellery, head to Madinat Zayed Gold Souk. Be prepared for some intense haggling, but for Cairenes this should not be a problem. However, once a price is agreed upon, it’s bad taste not to actually make the purchase. Also check out Souk Qaryat El-Beri– Abu Dhabi’s modern, elegant and high-scale twist on the traditional Middle Eastern marketplace. Hop into the free water taxi for a beautiful and peaceful tour around the souk via its manmade canals.
Food lovers will delight in all the international cuisine offerings in Abu Dhabi. The emirate’s five-star hotels all boast a selection of high-end restaurants such as Hoi An’s Vietnamese food, Marakesh for a fine selection of Moroccan delicacies, or Al Fanar– a revolving restaurant offering unlimited champagne on Fridays. Indian, Lebanese and other Arabic local restaurants offer excellent quality food at reasonable rates. Check out India Palace or pop into Egypt’s ubiquitous food chain, Abu Shakra.
Abu Dhabi has a variety of bars, pubs and nightclubs, usually located in major hotels. If you’re looking for a dancing scene, check out Hemingway’s, where live music is played on most nights or Sax– a popular nightclub offers free drinks for women on Wednesday nights. For a more chilled scene, head to PJ’s, an entertaining Irish pub with a large expat crowd. For something classier, head to the bar at Hakkasan in the Emirates Palace Hotel; be sure to try one of their specialty cocktails. The strawberry and basil leaf martini is particularly popular. Check out TimeOut Abu Dhabi for more nightlife tips.
Taxis are the easiest and most convenient way to get around Abu Dhabi. Car rentals are also available as long as you have a credit card and an international driver’s license.
When to Visit
Avoid the summer months because the heat and humidity is stifling.
If you want an unforgettable weekend holiday, look no further than Abu Dhabi. You can wine and dine the night away, wake up to a lazy day on a pristine beach, and engage in retail therapy while staring in awe at the amazing manmade creations of Abu Dhabi.