When visiting the United Arab Emirates, most people are likely to head to Dubai because of all the world-class attractions it offers. However, the UAE’s capital city, Abu Dhabi, is also a must-visit location in the region. This city offers unique destinations and attractions as well.
Abu Dhabi is well-known for its superb mosque, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It is also recognized for hosting the Formula 1 race that happens every November by the Yas Marina. But beyond these are the stunning beaches, unique desert experiences, luxury dining establishments, and the mangroves that are rising in popularity.
Here are the top five things to do in Abu Dhabi that make this part of the world truly worth exploring this 2019.
1. Enjoy the sun at Saadiyat Island Beach Club
A Saadiyat beach resort is a truly essential stop in any Abu Dhabi itinerary. Judging from its stunning scenery and views, visitors may think they are somewhere in the Caribbean, what with all the pristine white sand and shimmering turquoise waters.
Apart from swimming, you can take part in yoga classes and water sports activities like sailing and windsurfing. If you prefer, you could just pick your spot along the shore for relaxing or stay in one of the beach cabanas. And if you are lucky, you may even see some dolphins and turtles.
Also, you can enjoy the club’s facilities, that include:
- The Workout Room – Your routine workout regimen or yoga practice does not have to be interrupted by your UAE travel plans because this facility offers a great place to work out, equipped with the latest gym equipment. And while you are getting in shape, you’ll get to enjoy a beautiful view of the beach and the gardens. There are also personal trainers who can assist you, whether you choose to have private or group sessions.
- Pool – If you can’t bear the heat at the beach, you can still enjoy the waters at the club’s 650-square-metre outdoor pool. Stay in one of the cabanas that appear like miniature islands because it seems to float above the sparkling water.
When it’s time to grab a bite, Saadiyat Beach Island also has dining establishments that offer delectable menus. You don’t have to step out of the club to satisfy your tummy. All you have to do is to choose from these four restaurants:
- Safina – This is your go-to restaurant if you are craving Mediterranean cuisines. From fresh fish to other menus inspired by the sea, every dish is prepared by expert chefs. Enjoy your meal in the perfect table, surrounded by unique interior decorations.
- Library Lounge – This is your ideal lounge if you need some peace. Unwind with your friends over relaxing beverages and soft conversation.
- Cabana 9 – This is an indoor/terrace pool bar where you can tap your feet to the music while you splurge on sumptuous snacks and icy beverages. Witness the sky as it turns orange and the stars come out.
- De La Costa – This is a classic dining establishment where you can enjoy light snacks. As you spend time under a sun-shaded veranda, expect to hear birds sing. Once the sun sets, this place becomes the liveliest venue in the club where you can sing, dance, and socialize.
2. Go kayaking in the mangroves
Who would have thought that there are mangroves in the desert? But in Abu Dhabi, there are mangroves because of the humid climate and the many shallow lagoons. Today, there are kayaking tours offered, so don’t miss this unusual experience.
3. Explore Yas Island
In the early 2000s, Yas Island was just a stretch of sand. But it has grown into one of the city’s best destinations. In addition to the Formula 1 race, Yas Island also has a Ferrari-themed park where you can experience the fastest roller coaster in the world, a waterpark which is the largest in the whole county, and the recently opened Warner Bros. World. In 2022, Yas Island is opening the world’s first SeaWorld with no orcas.
4. Check out the animals at Emirates Park Zoo
Emirates Park Zoo is the UAE’s first private zoo founded in 2008. You will not just see magnificent animals but also get in touch with the wildlife, such as giraffes, flamingos, and snakes.
5. Observation Deck at 300
Best known for being the backdrop for the film “Furious 7,” the Etihad Towers gives you the opportunity to be on the 74th floor in one of them to witness the capital’s best view. If you are in the Observation Deck at 300, you will see some of the top views of Abu Dhabi’s landmarks as you enjoy your delicious refreshments and snacks.
Indeed, there is more to the UAE than Dubai’s tourist destinations. Abu Dhabi offers plenty of unique experiences and extraordinary attractions, leaving you and other guests impressed.
Soraya Abdul Azis is the Social Media and Design Manager for Saadiyat Beach Club in the UAE, the very first beach club on Saadiyat where guests can enjoy and celebrate a world of fine living, health and well-being. Soraya has worked in Design, Advertising and PR in Dubai and Beirut for the past 4 years.