From cultural landmarks to theme parks and desert safaris to the finest hotels and restaurants, visitors of the FIFA Club World Cup 2017 will be able to enjoy some of the best that the UAE’s capital has to offer.
Abu Dhabi, meaning “father of the gazelle”, has a population of over 1.5 million, made up of native Emiratis and expatriates from all around the world. It is home to the UAE’s government and is the hub of the country’s political and economic activities.
The city, like the UAE in general, has come a long way from the desert coastline that relied on pearl trade in the early part of the 20th century for survival, and thanks to the leadership of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the father of the nation, it now stands shoulder to shoulder with the most prominent cities in the world.
For those looking to engage in Gulf culture, Abu Dhabi offers plenty of opportunities to learn about the UAE’s history through museums, exhibitions, and tours. Emirati heritage and daily traditions can also be experienced through visits to the dhow harbour, haggling in souks and taking in the atmosphere of historical building.
One of Abu Dhabi’s most stunning sights is the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which was completed in 2007 and can host over 40,000 worshippers. This architectural marvel, which features 80 domes, over 1,000 columns, gold plated chandeliers and the world’s largest hand-woven carpet, welcomes visitors from all religions and countries.
Emirates Palace is one of the world’s most famous hotels with its luxurious rooms, outstanding restaurants and access to the gulf waters.
The 8km of the landmark Corniche is one of the city’s oldest roads, which has over the last decade been reshaped to provide a waterfront that includes parks, cycle and pedestrian pathways, cafés and restaurants.
At Heritage Village on the Corniche Breakwater you can step back in time to experience what was like for the country’s forefathers, and a trip to Al Ain, the Garden City, will showcase one of the UAE’s greenest regions and home to the imposing Jebel Hafeet.
December in Abu Dhabi will coincide with the most pleasant temperatures of the year, and visitors can enjoy the pristine Saadiyat and Yas public beaches, a spot of luxury at Saadiyat Beach Club or kayak session at the natural mangroves. And if you enjoy water activities, you can partake in wake-boarding, surfing, snorkeling and parasailing over the sea, and even cruising in a traditional pearling boat.
Visitors to the island can also ride the world’s fastest roller coaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, have a splash at Yas Waterworld, and tee-off at the region’s only links course.
Shoppers can enjoy the city’s modern malls or the souk-like shops which provide the world’s biggest as well as gold, perfumes, handicrafts, spices and carpets.
To explore Abu Dhabi’s culinary lifestyle and its unique nightlife, head to The Collection at The St Regis, Saadiyat Island Resort or the Galleria at Maryah Island. There you will find some of the most famous restaurant brands, and world class chefs, side by side with the trendiest night spots in the Middle East.
Whatever your preferences, it is guaranteed that Abu Dhabi will cater to them.