Explore the Middle East in Abu Dhabi

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Sponsored by Etihad

If you love discovering exotic places but could do without long-haul flights, Abu Dhabi might just be the golden ticket. With Etihad now offering direct flights from the UK, you could be exploring the UAE’s capital in just seven hours’ time.

In addition to the glorious weather, Abu Dhabi benefits from a wealth of culture and history, which is not to be missed.

Here’s a look at what’s on offer…

Eating out

Abu Dhabi is firmly established on the global food map with a number of Michelin Stars scattered among the region’s top chefs, as well as many highly esteemed foreign restaurateurs planting flags in the region. The city’s restaurants cater to all manner of tastes, from French to Chinese, and all are represented to exceptionally high standards: guests seeking any cuisine will not be disappointed.

Feel like sampling traditional Middle Eastern delicacies? Choose an Emirati restaurant. The traditional style of UAE cooking is a fusion of South Asian and Persian tastes and uses a lot of chicken, seafood and rice. You’ll notice plenty of aromatic spices, such as saffron and cumin, for a touch of Middle Eastern magic in each dish.


Abu Dhabi is developing into a cultural hotspot, with several public and private art galleries on offer. Perhaps most impressive is the recent addition of the Louvre Abu Dhabi – the sister site to the gem in Paris. Newly built, the architecture alone is an aesthetic extravaganza, and the collections are easily on par with the leading galleries around the world. Thoughtfully curated exhibitions brim with antiquities from both East and West, with a somewhat anthropological outlook, representing a journey through humanity.


Abu Dhabi isn’t just a city, there’s plenty of natural beauty to be discovered too. Just off the coast, an archipelago of natural islands awaits. At Sir Bani Yas Island, about 170km from Abu Dhabi, you’ll find a version of paradise. With unspoilt beaches and crystal clear waters, the island is a haven for nature lovers, full of impressive plants and animals, including cheetahs and hyenas.


Winter sun wouldn’t be complete without a beach, and in Abu Dhabi you’re spoiled for choice. From private beaches to small islands and hotel beach clubs, the white sands and turquoise waters won’t disappoint.

There are a number of popular beaches on offer, with Blue Flags a testament to the high standards of cleanliness maintained. Saadiyat beach offers an almost unrivalled expanse of beautiful sand, lapped by the warm sea.

Formula One

Abu Dhabi is well known for its Formula One racing, and visitors with a thirst for speed have the chance to experience the thrill first hand. Yas Marina Circuit, where some of the world's biggest races have taken place, offers racing experiences for guests who can hire cars and drive the circuit for themselves.

If you're not ready to get behind the wheel, but still want to pump a bit of adrenalin, try Ferrari World. You can have a go in the Ferrari simulator or, if you're brave enough, try the Formula Rossa roller coaster. It's the fastest roller coaster in the world and accelerates to 240km/hr in under five seconds.

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