A heady combination of tradition and modernity, Abu Dhabi is a world-class holiday destination. The capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Abu Dhabi offers a diverse selection of cultural attractions, leisure activities and entertainment. Among the city's numerous, Saadiyat Island, the incredible Louvre Abu Dhabi, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and the Zayed National Museum are must-visits.
The city also offers numerous adventures for sports enthusiasts, such as a variety of water sports in its warm, calm waters and the largest indoor theme park in the world, Ferrari World. For most visitors, a holiday here will include a trip into the desert to enjoy an adventure in the sand, whether it’s dune bashing, camel riding or savouring a traditional Arab meal under the stars.
Why visit Abu Dhabi
- It’s the most politically important city in the UAE as it’s the capital and home to the president.
- Discover the country’s most exquisite mosque, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
- Learn all about local traditional culture.
- Attend a music concert – Paul McCartney, Lionel Richie, Beyonce and Coldplay have all played here.
- Enjoy island hopping to neighbouring islands in the archipelago.
- Watch a Formula One Grand Prix event.
- Spend a night in the desert.
Golf is a favourite pastime in Abu Dhabi, and there are three championship all-grass golf courses in the city to enjoy, as well as the Warner Bros. theme park comprising six different lands to enjoy, the legendary Yas Water World island water park, the palace of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to explore and the UNESCO-listed Al Ain Oasis in the midst of the desert. Experience it all on a 2023 holiday package to Abu Dhabi with Thompsons Holidays.
The capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi offers a more traditional experience than a holiday in Dubai as well as numerous cultural and sporting adventures. Sure, you can enjoy trips into the desert to ride a camel, or even sleep under the stars, but you can also visit The Louvre Abu Dhabi that takes visitors on a journey through time to explore the development of different civilisations. There are plenty of water activities at Yas Water World, thrilling motoring-inspired rides at Ferrari World, the legendary Yas Marina Circuit where the Formula One Grand Prix Abu Dhabi is held every year – and much, much more.
Things to do in Abu Dhabi
- Race around the Yas Marina Circuit in a 2-seater open cockpit Le Mans racing car.
- Ride the one of the highest rollercoasters on earth, the Flying Aces, at Ferrari World.
- Explore the iconic and decorative Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
- Discover the incredible Al Ain Palace Museum to learn about the country’s ruling family.
- Enjoy sandboarding and dune bashing on a desert safari.
- Walk under a dome made of 8,000 metal stars at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
- Meet Batman and other superheroes at Warner Bros. World™ Abu Dhabi.
- Ride on a hydromagnetic-powered 6-person tornado waterslide at Yas Waterworld.
- Discover the magical Al Ain Oasis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Enjoy an evening desert dinner and belly dancing.
- Spend the day exploring nearby Dubai.
- Ride a camel in the desert.
Of course, there’s also excellent shopping in Abu Dhabi, great dining experiences in a variety of restaurants, a boat tour from the water to see the capital city from a different perspective, a falcon hospital to view the UAE’s masterful bird and spectacular Yas Island, home to numerous hotels and a beautiful beach. Thompsons Holidays can organise your Abu Dhabi holiday package, so give us a call for a dream travel experience.
When is the best time to visit?
- The best time to visit Abu Dhabi is in the cooler months, April and May, or September and October.
- Summer (May to October), is extremely hot and humid.
- July and August are the hottest months.
Getting there & getting around
- Flight duration from Johannesburg Abu Dhabi: 8 hours, 5 minutes.
- Getting around Abu Dhabi is easy using taxis and buses.
- There is a local e-hailing taxi service available.
- Islam is the official religion in the UAE.
- When visiting sacred sites and temples, dress conservatively. (See ‘What to pack’).
What must I pack?
- Lightweight clothing in summer with layers for the cooler months.
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Instead of using plastic bags, take fabric shopping bags with you.
- Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
- If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.