Abu Dhabi Holidays

Between Bedouin desert sands and gilded, white-washed mosques, discover an island of opulence under the sun on Abu Dhabi holidays.

The scorching heat hits you first, followed by the sultry scent of oud, and then the sight of those epic palace-style hotels – they don’t make them small in this part of the world. Neither do they scrimp on architectural marvels. Abu Dhabi’s leading Islamic mosque is hung with Swarovski chandeliers and covered with the largest Persian carpet ever made and a hotel’s colossal curved steel and glass LED canopy pretty much overlaps the renowned Formula One® racetrack.

We love Abu Dhabi holidays for the remarkable contrasts; fantastical dining and ostentatious shopping, Arabian desert, religious temples and world-class art – the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a futuristic filigree half sphere masterpiece museum, home to the world's most expensive painting, Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’. There’s the haze of shisha smoke drifting from one lavish bar to another, coconut and sandalwood coming from opulent spas, and shimmering waters in meandering pools overlooking the Arabian Gulf. Buckle up at Ferrari World for a ride on the world’s fastest rollercoaster, swim across Corniche Beach with a backdrop of spectacular Abu Dhabi skyline and take afternoon coffee at Emirates Palace where cappuccinos are laced with 24-carat gold flakes.

Middle Eastern tradition and culture also thrive – holidays to Abu Dhabi take you through hot springs and pools to some 500 tombs at UNESCO World Heritage Site Jebel Hafeet and to the Empty Quarter’s red hot desert sands filled with dune bashing, henna painting and sand boarding, ending with a sunset Bedouin dinner – tribute to the Arabia that came before the glossy restaurants and lavish resorts.

Speak to a Personal Travel Expert and we’ll help plan your Abu Dhabi holiday.

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Abu Dhabi Hotels

Our recommendations for the best places to stay in Abu Dhabi

W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island

Futuristic design collides with slick luxury and unparalleled Yas Marina Circuit views.

Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental, Abu Dhabi

This magnificent hotel is a palace of Arabian culture and ever-ready service.

The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi

Traditional Arabic elements and Mediterranean touches make this luxury hotel an alluring beachfro...

Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi

Part of the Qaryat Al Beri complex, a luxurious beachfront hotel with legendary hospitality and a...

Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas

Modern luxury on the white sands of Abu Dhabi’s exclusive Saadiyat Island.

Traders Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri

A modern retreat on a private beach, sharing facilities with sister hotel Shangri-La.

Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers

This ultra-modern West Corniche skyscraper has it all – a private beach, impressive views and opu...

Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas

Sun-baked Arabic architecture on a pristine natural beach with plenty of recreational facilities.

Get to know Abu Dhabi and those important practicalities when planning your perfect holiday.

Capital
TIME DIFFERENCE

GMT +4 hours

CURRENCY

United Arab Emirates Dirham

FLYING TIME TO DESTINATION

7 hours

RELIGION

Islam

LANGUAGE

Arabic

Where is Abu Dhabi? In the Arabian peninsula on the north-eastern side of the Persian Gulf, Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, is an island city just 250 metres from the mainland, connected by four bridges: Maqta bridge, Mussafah bridge, Sheikh Zayed bridge and Sheikh Khalifa bridge.

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Culture Despite the rapid rise of modern hotels, shopping malls and theme parks, you can still experience Arabic culture on a holiday to Abu Dhabi. Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a fine example of Islamic architecture that welcomes over 50,000 worshippers a day to its marbled interior. Wander through the souks where traditional handicrafts are for sale or take a trip into the desert for a glimpse of Bedouin life.

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Beaches If you’re looking for sand there’s plenty of it, particularly when it comes to Abu Dhabi’s beaches. Many are blue flag rated and there are stretches of both public and private beaches. Lined with a boardwalk of cafés and restaurants, Corniche Beach is one of the most popular. The beach at Yas Island is a favourite with families whilst on Saadiyat Island, the beaches are home to hawksbill turtles and its surrounding waters are a protected marine reserve. Many of the resorts and hotels in Abu Dhabi have access to a private beach, complete with shady cabanas and sunbed service.

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Getting around Bus services have networks throughout the emirate while silver taxis and metered limousines are also popular methods of transport. Hiring a car is easy and convenient and roads are good – although often gridlocked during rush hour.

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Shopping Abu Dhabi’s shopping malls are almost out of this world, packed not only with designer stores and high-end brands but also cinemas, entertainment and dining. You’ll find the very best of Arabic sweets and pastries, cult perfumeries selling hand-made scents and even ice rinks, bowling alleys and musical fountains. Shopping highlights include Yas Marina Mall, Al Wahda Mall, Avenue at Etihad and The Galleria. 

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Food and drink Red snapper and ceviche, Persian cuisine, omakase Japanese tables, restaurants with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto wild beaches and rooftop bars where cocktails come with a serving of smoke: nightlife in Abu Dhabi is exciting, innovative and lavish. Mostly found in hotels and resorts, you’ll find candlelit dining with Arabian Gulf views, stylish cafés with vegan menus and sky-high delights overlooking Yas Marina and afternoon tea 300 metres up at Etihad Tower’s Observation Deck 300.

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Multi-centres The emirate of Abu Dhabi has established itself as a major global transport hub by connecting Abu Dhabi International Airport to destinations all over the Middle East, the Indian Ocean and on to the wider world. This enviable connectivity makes Abu Dhabi a convenient stopover point and a fabulous component of an exciting multi-centre itinerary with dynamic Dubai, the peaceful sands of Fujairah or the traditional sights of Ras Al Khaimah and Oman all within easy reach. Further afield, Abu Dhabi can be combined with the cities of Hong Kong and Singapore or the beaches of the Maldives, Seychelles or Mauritius.

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Our experts have curated a wide range of handpicked Abu Dhabi offers to make your next holiday extra special. Make the most of great-value savings, exclusive upgrades and bespoke touches. 

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