Ultra modern, wealthy and exotic, the sprawling capital of the United Arab Emirates is a feast for the senses. Around one million people call Abu Dhabi home and many more visit each year along with it’s more well known counterpart Dubai. On an island just off the north-east coast, it’s encircled by the warm waters of the Persian Gulf but is also close to the scorching deserts of Arabia.
With extravagant hotels, elaborate shopping malls, and towering skyscrapers around every corner, the city offers visitors a taste of life in one of the world’s youngest and most rapidly developing urban areas. Throw in a population as diverse as it can get and a penchant for the biggest and best money can buy, and you’ve got a city to characterise the modern day UAE. And while it might lack the charm of older or more distinguished capitals, Abu Dhabi has the energy of a city constantly evolving and striving for success. From the broad, tree-lined boulevards to the labyrinthine shopping malls, the surreal way of life in the UAE is bound to make an impression, and the novelty of wandering around a city younger than many of its residents isn’t quick to fade.
So be sure to stroll the stunning waterfront area known as the Corniche, check out the newly constructed but truly mind blowing Sheikh Zayed Mosque, and soak up the distinct Abu Dhabi atmosphere. Yet no trip to the city could possibly be complete without experiencing its impressive shopping scene, so don’t forget your wallet. Malls home to big-name stores stock pretty much anything you could ever want, while a range of privately-run boutiques deal in Indian antiques, Persian rugs, gourmet chocolates, spices, and much more. And if you feel the need to escape the sky-scraper madness of the city, it’s always worth considering a 4×4 desert safari or extreme ‘dune bashing’ session.
An ultra-developed and laid-back metropolis, Abu Dhabi has all the trims of a modern city but a distinct Arabian feel. Whether you’re out to live it up Gulf style or simply experience a city born of rapid globalisation and the fruits of the oil industry, Abu Dhabi is a good bet.