I’ve just got back from an action-packed week in the UAE with Rotana Hotels. After visiting Dubai for the first time last September, I was excited to see more of what this jewel of the Middle East had to offer. People often forget there are seven emirates in total, and while Abu Dhabi and Dubai shout the loudest, there are plenty of reasons to visit the other five.
From incredible encounters with wildlife, epic cityscapes and delicious international cuisine, to art, culture and exciting activities, it’s time to share a few highlights from my time in the UAE.
The UAE’s cultural heart, this city was a huge highlight for me. There are SO many things to do in Abu Dhabi, and as it was my first time visiting, I was keen to pack in as much as possible! With just over 24 hours there, here’s what I got up to…
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – This is one of the top places to visit in Abu Dhabi. It’s free to get in, and the architecture is simply stunning. I loved exploring the inner courtyard, with its sparkling white stone, picturesque archways and beautiful domes. It’s also worth looking around the inside too where you’ll find one of the world’s largest chandeliers, and the largest handmade carpet. As this is a place of worship, remember to cover up. Even if you dress conservatively, most women are asked to wear an abaya (available to borrow free of charge at the entrance) while men wearing shorts will be asked to borrow loose trousers.
Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi
The Louvre, Abu Dhabi– Opened in 2017, The Louvre has affirmed Abu Dhabi’s status as a cultural and artistic city. The architecture of the building is mesmerising with its impressive dome. There are 55 buildings, 23 galleries, a 1,200-seater auditorium, and more to wander around at your own pace. Allow some time to explore the courtyard areas, where steps lead down to the water, and mirror-like reflections will have you reaching for your camera over and over again.
The Louvre, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Exploring The Louvre, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Warner Bros. World, Abu Dhabi – One of the newest Abu Dhabi attractions, this theme park only opened in June 2018. Unlike theme parks I’ve visited before, this one is completely indoors, so it’s the perfect activity for times when temperatures outside are uncomfortable. There’s a mix of high-tech 3D simulators, rollercoasters and family rides, plus a few adventure activities too. We thought it was a really fun place to spend a few hours. As it’s pretty new, it wasn’t very busy when we visited, so we didn’t have to worry about lengthy queues. For adrenaline addicts, just across the road is Ferrari World – home of Formula Rossa a.k.a. the world’s fastest rollercoaster.