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Abu Dhabi Holidays
The calm, cool and sophisticated Emirate, Abu Dhabi offers all you could want from a city with the added bonus of a pristine beachfront and vast, beautiful desert.
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates and the political powerhouse of the region. Fifty years ago, Abu Dhabi was little more than a fishing village but it has steadily grown into a cosmopolitan metropolis and has recently been declared the world’s wealthiest city. However, its development has been more planned and conservative than neighbouring Dubai and its Arabic heritage is still evident.
If you can drag yourself away from your luxury hotel, there is so much you can do! Why not head into the desert on a camel safari; enjoy a round of golf on one of the world-class courses; visit the Ferrari World indoor theme park; explore Yas Waterworld for an afternoon of fun; go shopping along the Corniche or wildlife-spotting on Sir Bani Yas Island.
The best time to visit is between October - April, when temperatures average 25°C. Overall, the weather in Abu Dhabi is arid sub-tropical with clear blue skies and year round sunshine.
You can combine your luxury holiday to Abu Dhabi with a holiday to the Maldives or the Seychelles with our multi-centre holidays.
To find out more about the exotic experiences of this United Arab Emirate and to plan your Abu Dhabi holiday, speak to one of our Middle East specialists who can give you first-hand knowledge of the area.
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Abu Dhabi Holidays Travel Guide
Several airlines offer flights to Abu Dhabi with the journey time taking around 7 hours when flying from London. Etihad Airways flies three times a day from London Heathrow, as well as twice as day from Manchester. British Airways and a number of other airlines also fly daily to Abu Dhabi from all over the UK and upgrades are available on all airlines.
The transfer time between Abu Dhabi and Dubai is only 1 hour, therefore it is possible to fly to Dubai as an alternative. The flight time is the same and Emirates, the national airline of Dubai, operates 12 flights daily.
In general we recommend using our private transfers as they are both safer and more economical; however distances in general (not allowing for traffic) are as follows:
Abu Dhabi International Airport – Downtown Abu Dhabi/ Corniche: 30 mins
Abu Dhabi International Airport – Marina Mall: 35 mins
Abu Dhabi International Airport – Grand Canal: 20 mins
Abu Dhabi International Airport – Saadyat Island: 25 mins
Abu Dhabi International Airport – QasrAl Sarab Desert Resort by Anatara: 2 hours 5 mins
Things to See and Do in Abu Dhabi
Dubai offers a wide range of sightseeing tours, adventure, activities, waterparks and shopping opportunities. All of the below can be explored on your own or with the added insight of a guided tour.
Families with young children
- A must see for everyone really – the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque is the second largest mosque in the world and beautiful both inside and out. Giving you a real insight into the culture and religion of the UAE, guided tours are child friendly.
- Camel Racing at the Sowaihan Racetrack is sure to get all members of your family excited and don’t worry – there is no danger here as the jockeys are in fact remote controlled machines.
- The Emirates National Auto Museum is just outside of Abu Dhabi but is an exciting day out for car lovers young and old.
- Ferrari world, the only Ferrari theme park in the world, is packed with rides and entertainment, as well as the world’s fastest roller-coaster!
Couples and groups of adults
- Golf is a very popular activity in the UAE which is why you can find so many world class golf courses and clubs around Abu Dhabi.
- Get your pulses racing with Dune Bashing in the Abu Dhabi desert, an adrenaline fuelled off-road driving experience across 300 metre dunes.
- The trendy Ghaf Art Gallery has various exhibitions showcasing local and international artists, as well as emerging talents.
- Put on a nose peg and head to the Fish Souk at Mina Zayed near the main port to watch local fisherman prepare their catch, as well as a fascinating insight into the way business is done here.
Health and Safety in Abu Dhabi
The UAE is a very safe place to walk around, both day and night, with crime rates very low and excellent medical facilities throughout Abu Dhabi itself. The emergency helpline number is also easy to remember as it uses the same 999 as the UK.
Food and Drink
Abu Dhabi hotels and resorts offer a huge range of restaurants and bars. The prices below are what you would expect to pay, on average, locally:
Soft drinks: £3.10
Bottle of beer: £5.80
Pint of beer: £7.80
Wine by the glass: £8.80
Meal in a reasonably priced restaurant: £50
Meal in an expensive restaurant: £120
Please note: prices are a guideline and subject to change (exchange rate used 6.1 AED)
British citizens do not require a visa
We suggest that all our customers review foreign office advice for Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates before travelling. Click here for the latest information from the foreign office.
The local currency of the United Arab Emirates is the Dirham (AED). Credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, Visa, Mastercard are generally accepted in the main hotels and the larger shops, small restaurants may only take cash or travelers cheques. Money exchange houses operate throughout the city and are in most shopping malls. Banks operate from 8 am - 1pm. Money Exchange houses operate from 8am - 1 pm and from 4.30pm - 8.30pm.
UK 3 pin plugs are used throughout Abu Dhabi
The national language is Arabic but English is spoken by hotel and restaurant staff , taxi drivers and in all shopping malls
Customs and Public Holidays
Respect for the main religion, Islam, is expected and discourteous or lewd behaviour will bring you unwanted attention. Local people, especially women, are highly offended if being photographed without their prior permission. You should not take photos of airports, government buildings or military subjects. Islam is the official religion of the UAE and mosques run throughout the city.
Bikinis, swimsuits, shorts, short skirts and revealing tops should be confined to beach resorts. Clothing should be sensibly modest. Most nightclubs require guests not to wear shorts, caps or sports shoes.
Most businesses close on Friday as this is Abu Dhabi’s holy day. During the holy month of Ramadan (28 June - 27 July 2014) shops are usually closed by day and open at night. It is considered disrespectful to eat, smoke or drink in public places during daylight hours in Ramadan. Hotels in Abu Dhabi will not normally serve alcohol in public places until after sunset (around 7pm).
Legal drinking age is 21 years old and electronic cigarettes are not allowed.