ROL Cruise recommends…
The city offers diverse architecture that ranges from traditionally Arabian to shamelessly futuristic. The brilliant white Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a must see, its opulent interior boasts intricate mosaic floors, the world's largest hand-woven carpet, Swarovski crystal and Murano glass chandeliers, plus acres of gem-stone and mother-of-pearl adorned marble. As well as being a work of art, you can learn about its importance in Islamic worship. The Emirates Palace hotel and Etihad Towers are dramatic examples of this wealthy region’s penchant for extravagance, while the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain is an authentic Arabian palace.
Picking up a bargain
Shopping is a much-favoured pastime of residents and visitors - duty-free options are an added bonus! Browse new stores and familiar brands at modern centres such as The Galleria, Marina Mall and Abu Dhabi Mall before making the most of their restaurants and leisure facilities. If you’re looking for souvenirs, visit a traditional souk like Central Market, where carpets, spices, perfumes and gold are regional treasures.
With blissful beaches aplenty, finding somewhere to unwind is easy. Close to the port is Corniche Beach so head here for a five mile stretch of white sands, turquoise waters and a striking backdrop of skyscrapers. For a more upmarket destination, make your way to Saadiyat Island where you can lounge on the public beach or pay a small fee to also enjoy one of the clubs and spas along it. Swim in the warm seas or enjoy watersports such as snorkelling, surfing, exploring on a speedboat or kayaking through mangrove forests. Of course, for more sand than you can imagine, zoom over dunes in an exhilarating desert tour.
Experience the excitement of Formula One with a trip to the Yas Marina Circuit. Take to the stands during the annual Grand Prix to watch racers rocket around the winding, anti-clockwise track as the sun goes down or burn rubber for yourself on a non-race day. Speed enthusiasts should also head to Ferrari World, an indoor theme park boasting decades-worth of supercars and Formula Rosso, the world’s fastest rollercoaster. If there’s time to explore the rest of this luxury island, admire oodles of exclusive yachts, enjoy the exhilarating rides at Yas Waterworld and marvel at the five-star Yas Viceroy hotel which straddles the F1 track under a sweeping glass and LED roof.