It is the perfect blend of culture, nature, adventure and enjoyment that makes the emirate of Abu Dhabi so attractive to travellers. Those that wish nothing more than to lie on the beach and do nothing will undoubtedly find what they were looking for. however, Abu Dhabi has far more to offer than sand, sun and sea – and those attractions simply should not be missed
Architectural wonder: Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Its fairytale beauty is breathtaking. The Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi City is one of the largest mosques in the world, offering room for over 40,000 believers. The opulent place of worship is an architectural wonder, undoubtedly one of the most impressive Islamic structures. The atmosphere and unusual dimensions of t
he Sheikh Zayed Mosque make a deep impression, as do the over 80 domes, approximately 1,000 pillars, the chandeliers coated with 24- karat gold and the largest hand-woven carpet in the world. The most popular of Abu Dhabi’s sites is also generous with admission. The mosque, including the Main prayer Hall, is also open to guests during the call for prayers and prayers themselves. Free tours are offered by local guides every day, with these not only providing visitors with interesting information about the Sheikh Zayed Mosque but also granting an exciting insight into the traditions and religion of the Emiratis. www.szgmc.gov.ae
A haven for sick falcons: Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital
The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital is the largest and bestequipped falcon clinic in the world. The hospital for these noble birds of prey lies just a few kilometres from Abu Dhabi International Airport. Here the precious birds receive the very best in medical care from a team led by German veterinarian Dr. Margit Müller. visitors can gain an insight into the desert sport of falconry during a tour of the hospital. They have the opportunity to view a facility for free-flying falcons and the “waiting room“ is also open at all times, allowing a glimpse of the feathered patients as they await their treatment on special perches. The falcon hospital is open to visitors who have registered in advance, Sundays to Thursdays, from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. www.falconhospital.com
For nature-loving climbers: Jebel Hafeet
The soaring, rocky outcrop that watches above Al Ain is an im pressive sight. The mountain of craggy limestone is marked by millions of years of weather. With a height of 1,240 metres, the Jebel Hafeet is the highest point in Abu Dhabi and the second highest in the UAE. Significant fossil finds have been made in this area. The summit can be reached by car among a spectacular serpentine road. Sporty visitors can also cycle to the top. Arriving at the peak, the reward is a grandiose view across Al Ain.
Clean waterside, chic cafés, first-class restaurants, a perfect beach park – this is what the ultimate promenade looks like. Corniche Road in Abu Dhabi City is eight kilometres of immaculate impressiveness.
A miniature Garden of Eden: Al Ain Oasis
Heavenly tranquillity and benevolent seclusion. visitors to Al Ain Oasis can enjoy idyllic silence. At the heart of Al Ain, around 160 kilometres from Abu Dhabi City, lies this impressive oasis, with cool, shady paths meandering through a Garden of Eden. no bustle, no noise. The singing of birds and the rustle of palm fronds are all that can be heard. With a 3,000-year-old falaj irrigation system, the Al Ain Oasis has a series of irrigation channels that fill this 1,200- hectare palm plant.
Fast-paced entertainment: Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
Fans of fast cars are in heaven here. The Ferrari World Abu Dhabi on the Yas Island amusement resort offers high-horse – power action for visitors of all ages. One of the main attractions at this theme park, unique of its kind worldwide, is the Formula Rossa. If that is not enough, there are over twenty more adrenalin-pumping rides to choose from. www.ferrariworldabudhabi.com
Refreshing action: Yas Waterworld
Also on Yas Island, right next to Ferrari World, is the futuristic water park Yas Waterworld. A site the size of 15 football pitches offers a wealth of fun and action with over 40 rides, slides and attractions. The park offers numerous superlatives: discover the first 238-metre-long hydro magnetic tornado water slide. Or surf in 3-metre-high waves. The Bubble’s Barrel makes this possible, offering the world’s longest surfable wave for flowboards and bodyboards. And we should not forget the Bandit Bomber. The 550- metre-long rollercoaster is the first to have water and laser effects on board. www.yaswaterworld.com
Hot Spots: Dine and more
A new place to be in Abu Dhabi City is the Pearls & Caviar Rooftop Bar at the Shangri-La Hotel. This stylish bar offers breathtaking views of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, good cocktails and live entertainment from Thursday to Saturday. www.shangri-la.com
Stylish relaxation with a drink, hip music and delicious snacks from the excellent kitchen: Ray’s Bar on the 62nd floor of the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers takes its guests to another world. www.jumeirah.com
The Stars ‘N’ Bars Abu Dhabi is a great place for a sundowner. The unique sports bar concept is based on Stars ‘N’ Bars in Monte Carlo. And here, surrounded by the marina with its luxury yachts and the formula 1 racetrack, there is indeed a Monte Carlo feel in the air. www.starsnbars.ae
Rooftop Gardens at the World Trade Center Souk is a green oasis at the heart of the city. High above the streets, visitors can take a break from the busy shops amidst lush plants. www.wtcad.ae
The Monte Carlo Beach Club on the island of Saadiyat is the only Monte Carlo Beach Club outside the Mediterranean principality. The exclusive club offers de luxe relaxation on white sandy beaches. www.montecarlobeachclub.ae
Hip nightclub and exquisite restaurant: the Yacht Club Bar & Galley at the Hotel Intercontinental Abu Dhabi offers Asian cuisine and oriental cocktails with fabulous views of the marina. Well-known international DJs ensure the dance floor is always full. www.dining-intercontinental-ad.ae
Information, news and facts about the emirate and the city of Abu Dhabi in nine languages: Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), www.visitabudhabi.ae. Tip: Discover Abu Dhabi without a guide or map with the free new app from TCA Abu Dhabi.
Fotos: ©TCA Abu Dhabi