Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is a fascinating archipelago of more than 200 islands, many of which are accessible to the public. The city of Abu Dhabi itself sits on an island, 250 meters from the mainland to which it is connected by several bridges.
There are countless experiences offered to visiting tourists, whether it is a solo trip or a family vacation: from wilderness to water sports, from mangrove forests to historical attractions-and much more. The entire archipelago includes so many islands that one vacation is not enough to visit them all.
Below are the most popular ones, along with useful tips on what to do and where to stay.
Sir Bani Yas Island
The incredible natural beauty of Sir Bani Yas Island takes your breath away. Located about 250 km from Abu Dhabi city, it is one of the eight islands that make up the Al Dhafra desert archipelago. The island is home to the extraordinary Arabian Wildlife Park, a nature reserve where more than 17,000 animals live in the wild, including Arabian oryx, giraffes, cheetahs and hyenas, which can be admired on a 4×4 desert safari with an experienced guide.
Zaya Nurai Island
Those who wish to have a unique luxury experience can enjoy the tranquility and privacy of Zaya Nurai Island. Just a 15-minute boat ride from Abu Dhabi city, the island is surrounded by sparkling turquoise waters, offers beaches of the finest white sand, breathtaking scenery, and luxurious five-star accommodations with views as far as the eye can see of the Arabian Gulf.
Al Maryah Island
Al Maryah Island offers a particularly dynamic atmosphere and is known as the temple of lavish lifestyle and business. A shopping session at The Galleria shopping mall, which was recently renovated and features many designer stores and famous brands (including Chanel, Jimmy Choo, Prada, H&M and Zara), as well as the best establishments in the restaurant world, making it an ideal destination not only for shopping, but for spending time with friends.
A top destination for family fun, there is nothing lacking on Yas Island. Electrifying theme parks include Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi. For those who love the sea, a stop at Yas Beach, ideal for soaking up the sun and water sports, is a must.
From art to culture to nature preservation to perfect beaches and beautiful golf courses, Saadiyat Island offers a variety of experiences in nature and culture. For a multi-day stay, visiting tourists can also enjoy luxurious five-star resorts, including the St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas, Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort and Saadiyat Rotana Resort and Villas.
One of the first places to be inhabited by humans in Abu Dhabi, Dalma Island is a historically significant location for pearl harvesting. Among the most interesting attractions to visit is the fortified house of the pearl merchant, Muhammad bin Jasim Al Muraykhi, made of sea stones and coral, supposedly built around 1931. To reach it, it will be sufficient to take a ferry from Marsa Jebel Al Dhanna.
Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi
The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) drives the sustainable growth of Abu Dhabi's culture and tourism sectors, fueling economic progress and helping to achieve the Emirate's broader global ambitions. Working in collaboration with the organizations that define the emirate's position as a leading international destination, DCT Abu Dhabi strives to unite the ecosystem around a shared vision of the emirate's potential, coordinate efforts and investments, provide innovative solutions, and utilize the best tools, policies, and systems to support culture, tourism, and creative industries. DCT Abu Dhabi's vision is defined by the emirate's people, heritage and landscape.