Visit a selection of carefully-chosen highlights of the UAE’s lovely capital. From its remarkable buildings featuring some of the most stunning architecture to be found anywhere, to glimpses into the past. You will be able to sample Abu Dhabi’s unique blend of culture and fine traditional arts and crafts in the oriental markets and handicrafts center. Enter a world where Islamic designs and elements feature on modern architecture, blending the new with ancient traditions of the East and the West, in this city where the glorious greens of its gardens vie with the blues of the sea and sky. Places to visit: Heritage village, Dates Market, Grand Mosque, Gold Market
The trip to Hatta will take you into the striking Al Hagar Mountains. Travel across the mountain passes and wadis with their rocky tracks, where the fresh-water streams and the crystal clear pools of Wadi Hatta will offer you a chance for a quick swim or paddle – the mountain springs can be very refreshing indeed. Discover the ancient oasis of Hatta and its Portuguese Fort. After lunch, drive through the sandy desert and take advantage of the opportunity to experience a camel ride on one of these proud ‘ships of the desert’, before heading back to Abu Dhabi
Corniche Road now has an impressive eight kilometres of manicured waterfront that includes children’s play areas, separate cycle and pedestrian pathways, cafés, a wake-boarding park and restaurants, and the Corniche Beach – a new life-guarded beach park. Individual parks are themed and signposted accordingly. The Family Park near King Khalid Bin Abdul Aziz Street (26th Street), is noted for its creative climbing structures; the Urban Park near Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street, has beautiful gardens; Lake Park near Muroor Street, is known for its ‘lake’ while Formal Park by Baniyas Street, is noted for its architecture and maze. Off Corniche Rd, Central Abu Dhabi
This creative initiative is run by the Abu Dhabi Women’s Association as a showcase for local art and crafts. The small museum within is the chance to examine and learn about local artists’ handiwork. There is also a shop on-site. The round buildings near the museum are workshops where female artists display distinctive Arabian oils, handmade souvenirs, incense, local dress, silver thread work, and weaving.
Al Ain, the traditional seat of the Sheikhs is perhaps the most traditional of the main cities in the UAE and it is here that the desert life is best demonstrated. A true series of oases, there is evidence that habitation in this glorious corner of the world has continued for millennia. A visit to the Al Ain National Museum and Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum is a must, as is a trip to the camel race track and the livestock market. The wealth of culture to be found in this formerly vital desert trading center includes bazaars that date back to the 18th century.
A four-hour journey takes you to one of the most popular beaches on the East coast. You can admire the beautiful and dramatic Hajar Mountains, stop at the traditional and popular ‘Friday Market’, pass through agricultural areas and see the picturesque fishing villages of Khorfakkan and Dibba. After a swim and a break for lunch at the Sandy Beach Hotel, visit the oldest mosque in the UAE and discover the ancient ‘Ghost City’ and the Emirate of Fujairah’s Portuguese fort. Fujairah is a remarkable emirate, with the coast extending from the mouth of the Arabian Gulf down to the Indian Ocean, it has long been a major trading port.
This architectural work of art is one the world’s largest mosques, with a capacity for an astonishing 40,000 worshippers. The mosque’s first event was the funeral of its namesake, Sheikh Zayed, who is buried at the site. It features 80 domes, approximately 1000 columns, 24-carat gold-plated chandeliers and the world’s largest hand-woven carpet. Unlike other mosques in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is open to non-Muslims. Complimentary one hour guided tours start at 10am, 11am and 5pm Saturdays to Thursdays.
This is a rehabilitation and breeding center for endangered species, operating as a non-profit agency.