Arabic. English is widely understood.
• Visas are not required for UK passport holders
February: Qasr Al Hosn Festival – Visit the historic Qasr Al Hosn Fort to celebrate Abu Dhabi's history and heritage
April: Abu Dhabi Festival – A spectacular cultural festival offering music, theatre, dance and traditional arts.
June-July: Ramadan – The holy month. During this period there may be restrictions on alcohol consumption, restaurant facilities and entertainment.
October: Islamic New Year – A cultural event on the first day of the first month in the Islamic calendar. ISAF Sailing World Cup Final – ten Olympic events contested in and around Lulu Island off Abu Dhabi’s Corniche over six days.
November: Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Watch the races and soak up the atmosphere at the Yas Marina Circuit.
For foodies, restaurants endorsed by celebrity chefs are popping up in world-class hotels throughout the United Arab Emirates. With cuisine here influenced by the surrounding Middle Eastern and Asian countries and increasingly by the international culinary stage, restaurants serving solely Emirati dishes can be difficult to find. Many of Abu Dhabi’s independent restaurants serve North Indian cuisine, Lebanese and Persian.
Gourmet seafood is a favourite with locals and visitors alike, with contemporary dishes made with locally-sourced products such as tuna tartare with lemon capers, oestra caviar with crème fraiche and grilled scallops with tomato and basil ice cream. Traditional shisha cafés serving the flavoured water pipes are perfect for passing time with friends while enjoying light refreshments.
As with Dubai, there’s no shortage of extravagant shopping experiences in Abu Dhabi. These include the magnificent three-storey Abu Dhabi Mall and the popular Marina Mall, famous for its musical fountain and ceilings that sound with the roll of thunder and the tinkle of rain. Here a variety of retailers including super-brands, high street and boutique stores enable you to purchase everything from the latest gadgets, to designer clothes and traditional jewellery.
• A tourist tax applies to all hotels in Abu Dhabi and is only payable locally.