Visit Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is the richest and largest of the seven emirates that together make up the United Arab Emirates. It comprises 85 per cent of the oil-rich country's total area and, along with the emirate of Dubai, is the UAE's economic powerhouse.
Within Abu Dhabi emirate is the nation's attractive and green capital, Abu Dhabi City, where industry, construction and financial services form the basis of this burgeoning and globally important business hub. Its not all work, work, work however, as the city and its surrounds are fast becoming a world-class leisure destination, set to rival Dubai's long-established Jumeirah Beach as the region's go-to holiday hotspot. Nowhere is this more apparent than at Saadiyat Island, a sand island located just 500 metres off the Abu Dhabi coast. As well as boasting some of the region's best beachfront hotels, Saadiyat also features the Gulf's first tidal and ocean golf courses, a world-class shopping and commercial hub and several kilometres of pristine white sand beach.
Alongside the gleaming skyscrapers and five-star resorts, visitors to Abu Dhabi will find a rich culture and history, firmly rooted in the heritage and traditions of Islam, which is evident in the spectacular palaces, mosques and forts found throughout the emirate, as well as the colourful, traditional souks, which sell everything from spices and textiles to handicrafts and carpets.
Beyond the capital lie vast salt flats and gravel plains, which merge into the enigmatic desert landscape of the Empty Quarter. This spectacular sea of sand dunes covers much of the Arabian Peninsula and can be explored on a four-wheel-drive desert tour or camel trek. Towards the Oman border lie the oasis towns of Al-Ain and Liwa Oasis, welcome stop-offs from the desolation of the desert.
Top itineraries in Abu Dhabi
Combine palm-studded beaches, duty-free shopping and stays in some of the world's most opulent hotels with desert resorts that seem plucked from the Middle Eastern folk tales of The Arabian Nights.
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Top places to stay in Abu Dhabi
The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, a luxurious beachfront hotel combining classic Mediterranean architecture and contemporary design, is the latest offering from the iconic St Regis brand, located on stunning Saadyat Island, just 500 metres off the Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
With its very own souk and small fleet of traditional Arabic boats that transport guests throughout the hotel, this enchanting Abu Dhabi resort oozes both style and luxury. It's all complemented by a private beach, a superb spa and a range of world-class restaurants.
Abu Dhabi may not be the first place you'd consider for a safari, but Sir Bani Yas Island, a short flight from the city and the former retreat of the late Sheikh Zayed, is the surprising location of the Arabian Wildlife Reserve, home to oryx, eland, giraffe and cheetah.
Where to go in Abu Dhabi
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