The capital city and political centre of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi is a growing regional business hub. The capital is also the country’s economic powerhouse, holding 94% of the UAE’s oil and 93% of the UAE’s gas.
However, tourism is of a growing importance of Abu Dhabi’s economy and the emirate has become a world class tourism destination with incredible beaches, fantastic restaurants and nightlife, quality golf courses, waterparks and the world’s first Ferrari themed amusement park.
As a result, the past decade has seen significant sums of money invested in developing facilities and infrastructure to help the emirate break into the highly competitive global leisure and business travel market.
Specialized visitor experiences have been developed, such as the Abu Dhabi Pearl Journey – an authentic and informative visitor experience operating from the Eastern Mangroves Marina that highlight the emirate’s pearling past aboard a traditional Jalboot dhow. There are also authentic dining experiences such as Mezlai, the emirate’s first fine dining Emirati restaurant, and Al Fanar at the Ritz-Carlton Venetian Village, the UAE’s first and only restaurant offering traditional authentic Emirati cuisine, that showcase the flavor of the Middle East.
48 Hours in Abu Dhabi
09h30 – Grab a quick breakfast at The Terrace on the Corniche, renowned as one of the best places to grab a seafood, sushi or grill lunch.
10h30 – Rent a bicycle from Fun Ride Sports and explore the 8km Corniche stretch.
12h00 – Explore Ferrari World, the world’s largest indoor amusement park, where you’ll experience G-force levels of 4.8 and take a drive around the Italian countryside. There is an array of rides for young and old, brave or tame.
14h30 – Grab lunch at Rogo’s at Yas Mall adjacent to Ferrari World. Enjoy American diner-style food ordered on iPads and delivered on roller coaster tracks.
16h00 – Head to Yas Marina for a sunset cruise that will take you past Al Raha Beach and the beautiful Samaliya Island. You’ll see a traditional emirati village on the beachfront, wild gazelles, mangroves, forests and views of Abu Dhabi’s skyline as the sun sets on the horizon.
19h00 – Enjoy a Middle Eastern dinner with a twist at Southern Sun Abu Dhabi’s Kahraman restaurant and drinks at the newly opened Blue Sky. This is the only contemporary style sports lounge in Abu Dhabi with its own dedicated VIP space and wall of fame.
10h00 – Take a cab to the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the most important architectural pieces in the United Arab Emirates and Abu Dhabi’s most recognised landmark. See its white marble walls decorated with flower motifs made of precious stones, the largest Swarovski chandelier in the world, and the world’s largest hand knotted carpet.
12h00 – Head to the Corniche for lunch and 360 degree views of downtown Abu Dhabi. Enjoy lunch at Li Beirut at the Jumeirah Etihad Towers with its exquisite Lebanese cuisine or a buffet that seems to stretch for miles at Le Vendome in the seven star Emirates Palace. Don’t forget to sample the Palace cakes and coffee with its renowned gold flakes. Head up to Jumeirah Etihad Towers Observation Deck at 300 for incredible views of the city.
14h00 – Visit Abu Dhabi’s Heritage Village, a great way to learn about the city and its origins before the oil boom. With a reconstructed desert camp, mud houses and old fishing villages, you can experience an accurate representation of the traditional Bedouin lifestyle.
16h00 – Head to Saadiyat Island and spend the rest of your afternoon relaxing on Saadiyat Beach. Enjoy sundowners over the ocean and a delicious Mediterranean dinner at the Beach House, located on a pristine stretch of Saadiyat Island next to the Park Hyatt Saadiyat hotel.