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Despite being the capital of the UAE and largest of the emirates, Abu Dhabi has long stood in the shadow of its swish neighbour Dubai. But not anymore. Abu Dhabi holidays are increasingly in demand thanks to the city’s grand mosques, international art galleries, beautiful beaches and thrills during the day or night. Add in its many all-inclusive deals, and you’ll see why Abu Dhabi is well worth a visit.
Abu Dhabi’s modern architecture is knock out. The lavish Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the opulent Emirates Palace are two must-see examples of luxurious design. For impressive feats of 21st century engineering, visit the sleek Capital Gate Building, which leans even more than Pisa’s famed tower.
Explore the history behind Abu Dhabi’s high-rise facade at the Heritage Village, a reconstructed traditional village with craftspeople running demonstrations, a souk and a spice shops. Abu Dhabi’s simpler side to life is also on display at Mina Zayed Fish Souk, where fishermen haggle over the morning’s catch.
Talking of food, Abu Dhabi is a destination to tantalise your taste buds. Restaurants serve high-end international cuisine in ritzy hotels, but make sure you try Emirati dishes, too. They’re often flavour-packed single-pot stews with chicken, goat and lots of spices. Try hares (a wheat and meat porridge) or tharid (lamb or vegetable stew).
It’s probably best not to eat before taking on one of the adrenaline-fuelled theme parks, though. Challenge yourself to a ride on the world’s fastest rollercoaster at Ferrari World or rocket down waterslides at Yas Island. For a different sort of speed thrill, get tickets for the annual Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in late November.
If you prefer a slower pace, head to one of Abu Dhabi’s beaches. Walk along the waterfront promenade and choose your perfect spot of sand or head to a secluded island for the ultimate in barefoot luxury.
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