Abu Dhabi is a diverse emirate with desert landscapes, oases, mountain heights, fabulous beaches, warm, clear waters, multiple islands, an ancient heritage city and a modern, cosmopolitan capital city. It is also the largest of the seven Emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates.
The United Arab Emirates is a federal monarchy that is home to over 9 million people, of which more than 80% are non-nationals. The United Arab Emirates is home to over 200 nationalities, and has welcomed over 14.4 million international visitors in 2015, making it the perfect place to host the World in 2019.
Abu Dhabi is a destination of historic buildings, thrilling headline attractions, engaging tours and a packed calendar of headline events covering the arts, culture, sports, concerts and trade shows.
Abu Dhabi is also steeped in history, with evidence of human settlement in our lands stretching back 7,000 years and UNESCO World Heritage sites of our Oasis City of Al Ain to explore. With an emphasis on conservation and heritage preservation, the culture and traditions of the emirate are an integral chapter in our story.
Abu Dhabi is where stunning desert landscapes and traditional Arabian culture merge together to create a memorable visitor experience. Abu Dhabi is blessed with distinct diversity of terrain, peoples and traditions and has 700 kilometres of stunning coastline, beautiful natural islands, awe-inspiring deserts, bountiful oases, towering mountains and vibrant cities for you to explore.
Abu Dhabi is a vibrant emirate rich with history and heritage which is reflected in the variety of activities available both on land and at sea.
A one and a half hour drive from Abu Dhabi city, Al Ain is one of the world's oldest permanently inhabited settlements, and contains the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in the country - Al Ain Oasis.
The city abounds in picturesque forts. One of the UAE’s most historic buildings, Al Jahili Fort was erected in 1891 to defend the city and protect precious palm groves and is home to a permanent exhibition of the work of British adventurer Sir Wilfred Thesiger and his 1940s crossings of the Rub Al Khali (The Empty Quarter) desert. The redeveloped Al Qattara Fort is now home to an arts centre and gallery, offering hundreds of modern exhibits within its walls and with spaces for a variety of workshops – from pottery and painting to music and calligraphy. The former home of the late UAE founder, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Al Ain Palace Museum houses a large collection of material about the ruling family. Visitors can tour the private rooms and gardens once occupied by the ‘Father of the Nation’.
For stunning views of the city, drive, take a cab or, if you have the stamina, cycle to the top of Jebel Hafeet - a rocky height dominating the city - via a winding highway. Rising 1,240 metres, this is the emirate’s highest peak, and the UAE’s second. Other attractions include the Al Ain oasis with its cool, shady walkways and a 3,000-year-old falaj irrigation system, and the camel market - one of the last few remaining.
Things to do and see
Abu Dhabi is where stunning desert landscapes and traditional Arabian culture merge together to create a memorable visitor experience. A vibrant emirate rich with history and heritage is reflected in the variety of activities available on land and at sea. Visit one of the emirate’s old forts, ride the dunes on an exhilarating desert safari, take a boat tour of the mangroves, or attend an international art exhibition or major sporting event.
Abu Dhabi is a year-round destination. It offers a rich programme of events and entertainment throughout the year stretching across Abu Dhabi city, our heritage heartland of Al Ain and Al Dhafra (formerly known as the Western Region).
The emirate also has an expanding range of fabulous hotels and iconic buildings including Emirates Palace, one of the world’s most majestic and opulent hotels, the signature Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi, the only hotel in the world straddling a Formula 1® race track and Capital Gate Tower – the world’s furthest leaning tower which houses the five-star Hyatt Capital Gate.
Yas Island – the emirate’s entertainment destination – is home to an array of fabulous visitor experiences such as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas WaterWorld, world-class facilities of Yas Marina, numerousn hotels, a Championship ready links golf course, and the emirate’s largest mega-mall.
The stunning development of the emirate supports its evolution into a world-class, sustainable destination. And yet, the Emirate is rich in historical sites, forts and museums which chart the diversity of the nation’s cultural heritage.
Getting to know the UAE
The combination of international influences and a strong commitment to local heritage has created an intriguing mix of new and old. Abu Dhabi's culture is firmly rooted in the region’s Islamic traditions. Islam is more than a religion; it is a way of life that governs everyday events from what to wear to what to eat and drink. The UAE’s culture and heritage is inextricably linked to its religion and it is a shining example of Islam's true commitment to tolerance and hospitality. Foreigners are free to practice their own religion and the dress code is liberal. Women are able to drive and walk around unescorted. Among the most highly prized virtues are courtesy and hospitality, and visitors are sure to be charmed by the genuine friendliness of the people. Despite the speed of economic development over the last 30 years, Abu Dhabi continues to promote traditional cultural and sporting events such as falconry, camel racing and traditional dhow sailing.