Introducing Abu Dhabi
With the oil predicted to run out sometime after 2100 AD, you’d forgive Abu Dhabi for wanting to just sit pretty and count the money. But this attractive, green and distinctly Arab city just appears to be hitting its stride. While not as cosmopolitan or as sophisticated as Dubai, Abu Dhabi also lacks traffic jams and the poseurs that plague its neighbour, making it a much more liveable city if you don’t crave clubbing. After closely watching Dubai’s phenomenal growth, Abu Dhabi has chosen its development projects wisely, and while the laid-back feel might eventually change, the local Emirati flavour of the capital appears certain to remain.
The emirate of Abu Dhabi is huge by comparison to the other emirates, comprising almost 87% of the country’s total area. Just as 50 years ago Abu Dhabi was little more than a fishing village comprising a fort, a few coral buildings and a smattering of barasti huts, the rest of the emirate is very ‘Arabian Sands’ with its enigmatic empty desert, dotted with oases such as Al-Ain and Liwa. While the ruling Al-Nahyan family may have become rich from what lies beneath, you get the sense that their connection to the desert and the sea is something that remains more important than petrodollars.
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Best places to stay in Abu Dhabi
A tour of the world's best amusement parks
When we found out that Lonely Planet reader Lisa Scheinin had visited more than 500 amusement parks (and ridden more than 1300 roller coasters in 36 countries on six continents), we had to ask: which ones are her favourites? Here are just a few: Amusement parks may be the most overlooked of all travel destinations...
Abu Dhabi destination guides
Affordable luxury: Abu Dhabi’s top 10 best hotels
Abu Dhabi used to be a cheap destination. Today it ranks among the most expensive cities for living in the world. Luxury here, however, is much more affordable for visitors than many imagine, and few cities in the world offer such comfort at such prices...
Abu Dhabi Shore Excursion: Sheikh Zayed Mosque and Falcon Hospital
Explore Abu Dhabi on a full-day shore excursion, and visit two of the city’s star attractions: Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan Mosque and Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital. After exploring inside one of the world’s largest mosques, travel around town and see more opulent city sights like Emirates Palace Hotel.
Dubai and Abu Dhabi Super Saver: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tours
Combine two United Arab Emirates hop-on hop-off tours on this exciting Super Saver, and enjoy 24 hours of sightseeing in Dubai followed by 24 consecutive hours of sightseeing in Abu Dhabi! Ride around each city by open-top, double-decker bus and look out for top UAE attractions such as Burj Khalifa and Abu Dhabi Corniche.
Abu Dhabi: the city of superlatives
As one of the richest cities on earth, Abu Dhabi is the king of bling and an expert at showcasing the sublime. Picture white domed mosques, candy cane minarets and sweeping romantic deserts; it is the essence of Arabia, from camel racing at dawn to burning-red sand dunes at sunset...