Abu Dhabi may lack some of the flair and international cachet of the United Arab Emirates’ crown jewel, Dubai, but it’s every bit as worthy of a visit. The nation’s largest emirate has evolved over the last half-century from a simple fishing village to a luxurious metropolis dotted with glittering architecture, sumptuous hotels, high-end restaurants and cavernous shopping malls catered to the well-heeled traveler. Those who travel to Abu Dhabi will still find it quite laid back, perfect for travelers who prefer to trade Dubai’s nonstop nightlife for a slightly more casual immersion in local culture.
Be sure to respect local customs and culture when you travel to Abu Dhabi. Locals tend to frown upon clothing that is considered tight or “revealing,” and women in particular may feel more comfortable covering up bare shoulders and knees and avoiding plunging necklines. From historic religious sites to modern dining and high-end shopping, Travel + Leisure’s Abu Dhabi travel guide will walk you through all of the emirate’s can’t-miss sights.
Things Not to Miss in Abu Dhabi
• The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
• The Emirates Palace
• The Corniche neighborhood
• The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital
• Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
• The Central Market shopping center
• The Qasr al-Husn palace fort
• The Women’s Handicraft Centre
When to Go to Abu Dhabi
It should come as no surprise that Abu Dhabi weather remains hot year-round. Travelers wishing to beat the excessive heat should visit Abu Dhabi from November through February, when temperatures are mild and cool – remember to pack a sweater and a light jacket! But if you’re making Abu Dhabi travel plans in the hopes of hitting the beach, consider visiting in October, March or April, when the weather is hot but not overwhelmingly so. Late May through July and August can be excruciatingly hot, with high humidity extending through September. However, no matter what time of year you visit Abu Dhabi, you’ll find hotel, restaurant and shop interiors very comfortable, and the air conditioning will be at full blast in the summer months.