Abu Dhabi City Breaks
An Abu Dhabi City Break Guide
Many people have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the UAE for its rather showy lifestyle, but for a more down to earth alternative, Abu Dhabi is a great city break destination whether you're a couple on a romantic break or a family getting some sunshine.
While Dubai shows off its impressively high towers and opulent lifestyles, its sister city, Abu Dhabi is a little more relaxed. Ideal for a few days getaway in the sunshine or a stopover on your way to somewhere further afield, Abu Dhabi has a lot going for it.
Some would say just one night enough, while others would recommend a least a week or two to see and experience everything. We think a four night break is a good amount of time to explore Abu Dhabi, allowing time to see some of the city's main attractions, as well as have a bit of time to enjoy the sunshine.
Stopovers In Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is a fantastic stopover destination. Break up the long journey to Asia or down to Australia with a stopover and spend a few days enjoying Yas Island. You can even take a day trip up to Dubai or out into the desert for something a little different. Stopovers can usually be added free of charge when flying with Etihad Airways, you just need to pay for your hotel.
Getting to, from and around Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways, the UAE's national airline is based out of Abu Dhabi airport and flies several times to the UK with flights from London Heathrow, Manchester and Edinburgh to Abu Dhabi. British Airways also offers direct flights with a number of other airlines offering indirect flights to the UAE capital city.
Once you've arrived, if you're not hiring a car, taxis are a relatively inexpensive way to get around, and can be picked up from outside the airport terminal. Hotels can also order a taxi for you if there aren't any nearby. Public transport is somewhat lacking in Abu Dhabi and if it starts to get hot, taxi is probably the better way to explore.
Things to do in Abu Dhabi
While the Summers have been known to reach over 50 degrees, the year round sunshine is one of Abu Dhabi's main draws for many people. There are various hotels dotted around the city which offer beach side locations or outdoor pools so that visitors can soak up some sunshine while they are in town.
For families, Yas Island is a 'must do' and an ideal base if you're staying a few days on a stopover as the island is just a ten minute drive from Abu Dhabi airport. The Yas Waterworld Waterpark is a must for some outdoor fun to cool off in the heat, while across the road, Yas Mall is a shoppers haven. Also on the island is Ferrari World and Yas Marina Racing Circuit where the Formula 1 is held each year. There are several very affordable hotels on Yas Island too, all with outdoor pools, meaning you can stay in the area and keep the travelling to a minimum.
If it's the culture you want to explore, halfway between Yas Island and downtown is the stunningly impressive Sheikh Zayed Mosque, or head to the Corniche and visit the Emirates Heritage Village to learn more about the history of the UAE.
Where to stay in Abu Dhabi
If you're stopping over in Abu Dhabi for a short time, Yas Island is a great place to stay. Just 10 minutes from the airport, Yas Island is a destination in itself with a number of budget friendly hotels (each with outdoor pools), plus Yas Waterworld water park, Ferrari World, Yas Mall and the Yas Marina circuit.
Head into downtown and you'll be in the heart of it all. Towering skyscrapers may not suit you but there are a few lower rise options with pool or beach access. There are also a number of resorts, like Emirates Palace at the higher end of the budget, or Le Meridien on the cheaper end of the scale.