More to Abu Dhabi than meets the eye

4 February 2016
Abu Dhabi Skyline Abu Dhabi Skyline

If your only thought of Abu Dhabi conjures up desert dunes and tasty dates, think again! Picture pristine, white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, the vibrant energy of a cosmopolitan city and adrenalin coursing through your veins as you brave the world’s fastest and steepest rollercoasters. Here’s our take on why Abu Dhabi is so much more than a stopover destination…

All shapes and sizes…

Formula Rossa - the world Formula Rossa - the world's fastest roller coaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

Kick the desert sand of your shoes and head into the marvellous city of Abu Dhabi. Touted as one of the world’s most photogenic cities, Abu Dhabi’s extraordinary architecture – from perfect circular buildings and the red dome of Ferrari World to the furthest leaning tower and a museum floating on water – combine to form a truly iconic and interesting skyline. This is a city where the future is perfectly aligned with the past by combining modern and ancient Arabian architecture.

 

Sheikh Zayed Mosque Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Pay a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi’s most important landmark and one of the largest mosques in the world. The mosque’s marble white walls and floors are inlaid with semi-precious stones and mother of pearl woven into a beautiful floral pattern; their reflection shimmers in the large crystal-clear pools that surround the mosque’s outside walls. See the world’s largest chandelier comprising hundreds of thousands of Swarovski crystals and a hand-knotted carpet that took two years to create. This is definitely a sight worth seeing when visiting Abu Dhabi.

The flavours of Arabia…

Abu Dhabi prides itself on being a cultural and arts hub to the extent that it has an entire island dedicated to the celebration of culture and the arts. The Louvre Abu Dhabi will be opening its doors this year, while the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is forecast to open in the coming few years.  For a sneak preview on what to expect on Saadiyat Island’s culture and arts scene visit Manarat al Saadiyat.

Saadiyat Saadiyat

Explore Abu Dhabi’s sailing heritage on an Abu Dhabi Pearl Journey that will take you sailing in the Arabian Gulf on a traditional wooden dhow. You’ll experience first-hand how the pearl divers operated and survived on these dhows for more than four months at a time. You’ll also learn how to open oysters and get to keep the pearls you find inside.

Tap your inner beach bum…

Hues of white and turquoise will fill your vision as the beach and ocean comes into full view. Abu Dhabi has no shortage of world-class, Blue Flag beaches on which to relax. Head to Yas Beach for a day of relaxation, swimming, volleyball and even kayaking or kick back on Saadiyat Beach where you can indulge in a yoga class right on the beach while your partner heads off to play golf on the Gary Player-designed golf course. Beware the bunkers! Abu Dhabi’s 8km-stretch of beachfront with walkways and scenic gardens also features the Blue Flag Corniche Beach, open to all.

Find solace in the desert…

 

Desert Experience Desert Experience

The sea of sand and silence of the desert is only occasionally interrupted by the odd camel. Time stands still in the world’s largest uninterrupted desert, recently the backdrop against which the new Star Wars was filmed. Go on a desert safari, your 4x4 expertly exploring the curves, dips and veritable sand cliffs. Enjoy traditional Arabian mezze under an uninterrupted star-spangled sky, sandboard down massive dunes or indulge in a shisha pipe while the resident belly dancer enthrals.

 

Come find out why you should visit Abu Dhabi at the Flight Centre Expo on 6 & 7 February at The Dome in Johannesburg for more information.

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