Abu Dhabi Travel Guide

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Most of the world has heard of the glitzy, self-promoting, chrome plated city-state of Dubai but few are acquainted with her less glamorous but wealthier sister 90 miles to the south, Abu Dhabi. Both cities are members of the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven Emirates (states) occupying the southeast corner of the Arabian peninsula. The Emirate of Abu Dhabi naturally is home to the City of Abu Dhabi, the capitol of the U.A.E. While Dubai built her fortunes with trading and financial services, Abu Dhabi has the vast share of petroleum reserves and most of the money. CNN recently named Abu Dhabi the “Richest City in the World”.

Dubai claimed the lion’s share of attention as of late but Abu Dhabi is catching up fast! The inaugural Abu Dhabi Formula One race was held here last year and many new projects are underway such as the Louvre and Guggenheim museum annexes. Ferrari World, an automotive theme park, is slated to open in a few months and is sure to be a hit with state of the art attractions for the entire family. Also under construction is Masdar City, the world’s first “clean sheet” designed carbon neutral community.

Abu Dhabi (loosely translated as “Father of the Gazelle”), has a modern, well maintained infrastructure. The roads are butter smooth and are designed in the British style with lots of roundabouts. Driving is on the right however. It is in all ways a modern city and the usual amenities of home are here.  A visitor can expect world-class luxury hotels and restaurants while experiencing a genuine taste of Emirati and Arabic culture.
 
Abu Dhabi is also a relatively young city as the U.A.E was not chartered until 1971, so don’t expect to see more than a few examples of ancient architecture downtown. There is a large inventory of green parks and quiet residential areas close to the city center though.  What you will discover is this city has a peaceful, relaxing pace and a much less western feel than rambunctious Dubai, but that doesn’t mean a wild time can’t be had here in the many trendy nightclubs and celebrity concerts.

Since Abu Dhabi is the capitol of the U.A.E., the city is home to the ruling family and is the cultural and diplomatic center of the country. International image is a priority and great pride is taken in keeping Abu Dhabi sparkling clean and crime free. Fulltime workers are employed to maintain the streets and sidewalks. Police are always discreetly nearby so visitors can expect complete safety. One can walk anywhere, anytime without concern.

Abu Dhabi is unique in the world as native U.A.E. citizens are but a tiny minority. Geographically located between west and east, the U.A.E. has historically been a crossroad of cultures. A full 80% of Abu Dhabi residents hail from Europe, U.S.A., India, Pakistan and Asia as expatriots that appreciate the lifestyle, weather and tax-free income. As a visitor, you benefit as you can rub elbows with folks from many cultures in one locale and experience the varied ethnic family owned shops and restaurants. Abu Dhabi is truly a bilingual city, so there is no need to know Arabic. English is the second language and just about every sign, menu, movie and TV show are in both idioms. Most people visitors will deal with speak English…. even the taxi drivers!

If a getaway in an exotic, clean, safe, multicultural city surrounded by sugar-white sands and calm aquamarine waters is what you are seeking, consider Abu Dhabi. You can create your own vacation here from relaxing at the world’s only seven star hotel to camping in the tawny desert dunes under the stars, the choices are here and you are only limited by imagination.
This introduction is but a broad brush stroke so explore all the other areas of the site to learn more about this enchanting city. Then plan a visit to Abu Dhabi for your next holiday venue, you won’t be disappointed!
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UPDATES FROM OUR TRAVEL TEAM

Opening Night at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival
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