The United Arab Emirates continues to attract tourists from around the world for its opulence and flamboyance. The country’s capital, Abu Dhabi, has a number of marvels up its sleeve that will leave you and your family with an unforgettable holiday. If you're planning a family vacation soon, here are eight outstanding experiences that you must seek out.
1. Kayaking in the Arabian Sea
Where: Louvre Abu Dhabi
If you like visiting museums and learning about art, culture and history, then you will be blown away by the unique and incredibly stunning Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed as a micro-city and “an archipelago out at sea,’’ according to the Louvre Abu Dhabi website. To learn more about the museum's architecture and just enjoy the stunning space, you can actually kayak beneath its beautiful dome, and around the structure. Beginners with no experience are welcome, and kids can also join in on this hour-long experience, as long as they’re between the ages of 6 and 12 and are with their parents or guardians. You’ll be accompanied by professional instructors and given a safety and paddle briefing before the tour. Could there be a better way to expose your children to the world of art and architecture?
2. Riding the world's fastest roller coaster
Where: Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
Are you an adventure enthusiast who's always looking to climb the highest, dive the deepest and ride the fastest? Well, here's one big thing that you can check off your bucket list in Abu Dhabi. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi’s star attraction, the Formula Rossa is the fastest roller coaster in the entire world. The roller coaster reaches its top speed of 240 km/h, before you can even catch your breath, in just 4.9 seconds!
3. Golfing at a seafront course
Situated on Saadiyat Island, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club Abu Dhabi is known as one of the world’s “most uniquely captivating golf projects,” according to the club’s website. Designed by Gary Player, the legendary golfer himself, the club offers a ‘Member for a Day’ experience that comes highly recommended. Purchase a one-day pass and spend your day playing golf at this spectacular beachfront golf course. Dotted with saltwater lagoons, sand dunes and lakes, the club overlooks the vast Arabian Sea and paints a beautiful picture. The club has been designed keeping in mind the surrounding natural environment. You may even spot mountain gazelles, dolphins, and protected hawksbill turtles from the golf course! For golf enthusiasts, a day at Saadiyat Beach Club Abu Dhabi is what dreams are made of.
4. Gorging on food and drink sprinkled with gold
Where: Emirates Palace
Everyone loves adorning themselves in gold jewellery, but Abu Dhabi takes its love for the yellow metal to a new level. At Emirates Palace, you can enjoy food and drinks that aren't just delicious and exotic, but sprinkled with gold! Redefine your morning coffee by grabbing a cappuccino sprinkled with 24-carat gold flakes. If you’re a meat-eater, another delicacy that you must try here is the scrumptious, melt-in-your-mouth Emirates Palace Camel Burger featuring a camel mince patty flavoured with local spices, complemented with a dash of truffle mayonnaise, and served on a gold-dusted bun.
5. A 5D water cinema
Where: Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi
If you're looking to experience 5D rides, Cinesplash at Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi will show you how it's done! It takes the 5D experience up by several notches. Watch the Legend of the Lost Pearl, which isn't just a film, but a family-friendly experience that boasts of cinematic genius and cutting-edge water effects. To give you an idea, the theatre is donned with waterfalls, water explosions and moving seats! Don't be surprised if you find yourself drenched in water as you watch the film. The water-park takes the phrase ‘immersive cinematic experience' seriously – and it’s super fun!
6. Hiking Abu Dhabi's highest peak
Where: Jebel Hafit
Situated on the border of Abu Dhabi and Oman, Jebel Hafit is Abu Dhabi's highest peak. The reason why the peak merits a visit is the fact that it has been formed out of craggy limestone, resulting in a stunning landscape, with surrounding caramel-coloured sands and golden hills as far as the eye can see stunning you with their beauty. You can take a hike to the top, however, remember that while regular hikers may find this four-hour-long trek fairly easy, if you’re a beginner, you may want to consider driving to the peak. Once you’re there, keep an eye out for prehistoric beehive tombs from the Bronze Age, circa 5,000 years ago. To make your visit even more memorable, consider driving up to the peak during sunrise or sunset to be dazzled by mesmerizing views of Al Ain, an inland oasis city.
7. Exploring a Presidential Palace
Where: Qasr Al Watan
You may have visited presidents’ residences and important government offices around the world, but how many of those were palatial? Qasr Al Watan, or Palace of the Nation, is open for the public to explore the UAE’s culture and governance. Marvel at the palace's exceptional architecture and design during an interactive journey. Standout experiences include an impressive library housing centuries-old books, an exhibition featuring cherished diplomatic gifts, as well as great restaurants, and a stylish gift shop. If you're interested in learning even more about the past, present and future of the nation, watch the palace's spectacular daily light and sound show.
8. Chilling at the beach and wildlife-watching
Where: Sir Bani Yas Island
This pristine island is home to an 87 km² wildlife reserve housing thousands of animals that roam freely! You will find a variety of animal species, like giraffes, gazelles, deer, cheetahs, hyenas, sea turtles and dolphins, in addition to myriad flora endemic to the region. You can stay at any one of the family-friendly resorts situated on the island and experience ‘living in the wild’ in style. A stay at the island will serve as an excellent reminder of how nature flourishes best when not encroached by us humans.
Your ideal family vacation spent enjoying Abu Dhabi's adrenaline-pumping activities, culinary delights, architectural marvels and natural wonders is only a few clicks away. What are you waiting for? Head to Visit Abu Dhabi to learn more about the city, then book your tickets and pack your bags because a trip to Abu Dhabi is going to be an adventure of a lifetime!