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Abu Dhabi is the exciting and vibrant capital city of the United Arab Emirates. Buzzing with activity, the city prides itself on offering exclusive experiences to travellers. With a wide variety of opportunities to cater to a range of interests, here are our top picks of Abu Dhabi’s unique adventures.
A trip to Abu Dhabi would not be complete without a trip to Heritage Village. Set against the backdrop of an oasis surrounded by palm trees and tents, travellers can immerse themselves in life in the emirate prior to the discovery of oil. From campfires with local coffee to artisans presenting traditional crafts such as pottery, this free attraction involves the reconstruction of scenes native to the Bedouins. Visitors can also meander through the souq and purchase handmade items such as soaps, jewellery, clothes and spices, while Bedouin women offer henna tattoos.
The dichotomy between the high-rise sky scrapers around the village and the goat hair tents within its walls demonstrates the whirlwind journey undertaken by the UAE in less than fifty years. Photos showcasing this development are also presented alongside artefacts of the old UAE, allowing a cultural look into the fast-developing nation.
The highest peak in Abu Dhabi, Jebel Hafeet is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most fascinating historical exhibits in the UAE. A hub of archaeological findings, the site has seen over 500 tombs discovered and excavated, revealing exciting clues about the lives of inhabitants between 3200 and 2700 BC. Skeletons, pearls, bronze works and ceramic objects are just some of the incredible remnants of past civilisations.
Journeying up Jebel Hafeet involves a scenic drive with stunning views of the landscape and parking bays to allow you to stop and take pictures. There are also hot springs, pools and Jacuzzis along the way to refresh and cool down. A café and the Mercure Grand Hotel at the peak offer opportunities to refresh and have a meal.
The Emirates National Auto Museum exhibits the private car collection of His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nayhan, also known as ‘The Rainbow Sheikh.’ With over 200 cars, including a collection of rainbow-coloured Mercedes S Class, hence his moniker, and the world’s largest truck, the museum is a hit with car enthusiasts and families alike. Housing a great mix of classic cars, rare vehicles, military tanks and international automobiles such as New York yellow cabs, the museum is definitely worth a visit on your trip to Abu Dhabi.
Falcons are the focal point of the UAE’s emblem, demonstrating their fundamental role in Emirati history. Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, the world’s first institution geared towards the care and welfare of falcons, offers the ‘Falcon World Tour.’ Increasing awareness and education about falcons, the tour highlights the role played by the birds throughout history, from aiding Bedouin hunters in the past to representing the nation in contemporary times. Visitors can explore a museum which explains the art of falconry and exhibits key tools used in the craft. Top off your visit by watching falcons flying free, and benefit from a unique photo opportunity with a falcon on your arm.
We obviously have to mention the Formula Rossa which, with a top speed of 240km/h (149 miles/h), cinches the title of the world’s fastest rollercoaster. The ride is designed to simulate the experiences of Formula One drivers and the delighted screams of visitors certainly reverberate like the sounds of a Grand Prix. As an integral part of the Formula One racing experiences offered in Abu Dhabi, the ride invites you to brave speeds faster than those of a race car. Visitors should not leave the capital without checking this off their bucket list.
This unique experience at the Yas Marina Circuit offers the opportunity to get behind the wheel and test out the famous race track. Suited in official racing overalls with exclusive access to drivers’ backstage areas, you can enjoy an immersive glimpse into the lives of Formula One Drivers. With options such as the Aston Martin GT4 and the Ferrari 458 GT, racing enthusiasts are truly spoilt for choice.
The experience also promises to be a learning opportunity with instructors offering feedback to improve your technique. The best part? On-board cameras capture your drifts and turns, and you can take a souvenir video home with you.