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The UAE's understated capital has long been overshadowed by Dubai, its flashier and more flamboyant neighbour. Now, though, Abu Dhabi holidays are increasingly in demand. With a Manhattan-esque skyline that's constantly in flux, a constellation of newly-opened international art galleries and a proliferation of all-inclusive Abu Dhabi deals to tempt visitors, the largest emirate is slowly spreading its petals to the world.
The two real must-see buildings on any Abu Dhabi holiday are the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the unbelievably luxurious Emirates Palace Hotel - stay here on an affordable Abu Dhabi package deal to enjoy the yoga classes, champagne bar and caviar-based spa treatments.
Other feats of 21st-century engineering include the Capital Gate Building, which leans four times more than the Tower of Pisa, and pioneering zero-carbon development Masdar City.
Behind Abu Dhabi's high-rise facade is a traditional culture that's still very much alive. One essential stop on your Abu Dhabi holiday is the Heritage Village, a reconstructed oasis village where craftsmen labour in traditional workshops and people trade goats for dates in the reconstructed souk.
For a more authentic experience, lose yourself in the Mina Zayed Fish Souk near the main port and watch fishermen haggling over their catch, or take your pick of the freshest and cheapest Abu Dhabi produce at the nearby Al Mina Fruit and Vegetable Souk.
Those endless butterscotch beaches are the highlights of any Abu Dhabi holiday. A marine promenade called the Corniche stretches for six kilometres along the coast, linking some of the more central beaches and all-inclusive Abu Dhabi hotels.
Off the coast you'll find a smattering of sand-fringed islands - Nurai, Lulu and Al Maya are all secluded spots worth checking out, while Saadiyat combines beautiful beaches with a brand-new booming Cultural District. For a sand-themed adrenaline shot, take a 4x4 trip into the rolling desert dunes that surround Abu Dhabi.
Being hit with unexpected fees on holiday is nobody's idea of fun. So, to help you avoid any nasty surprises, we reveal seven sneaky charges that can drive up your final bill.Read moreabout 7 unexpected holiday charges to look out for
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