A Guide to Abu Dhabi's Best Islands

Yas Island
Yas Island | © Rob Alter/Flickr
Thais Kelly

Something that many people don’t know about Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, is that the city is actually comprised of several different islands. Located on the Arabian Gulf, some of the Emirate’s main attractions are located on these islands. Each is extremely different from the other, therefore it’s a great idea to find out what the Abu Dhabi islands have to offer in order to make the most of a visit to the city.

1. Dalma Island

Museum

For those who love history and archeology, Dalma Island is the perfect destination. The island, only 26 miles away for the coast of Abu Dhabi, is one of the oldest inhabited islands in the region. With easy access via ferry or even by catching a flight there, Dalma island is home to its own museum, the Dalma Museum. There’s evidence of life on the island dating back as far as 10,000 years, making it one of the most relevant historical sites in the UAE.

Dalma Island, Abu Dhabi

2. Yas Island

Hotel

Perhaps the most popular of all Abu Dhabi islands is the world-famous Yas Island. It can easily be accessed by car, which is great news for all who visit Abu Dhabi, as it holds some of the main attractions in the city. Yas Island is home to Ferrari World, Yas Viceroy Hotel and Yas Marina Circuit – places which any visitors coming to the capital simply must see. It’s hard to even notice that this is an Island, considering how massive it is.

Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

Yas Viceroy | © Jakob Pfeiffer/Flickr

3. Zaya Nurai Island

Resort

A stylish sitting room, with a marble table and chic chairs, in a room at Zaya Nurai Island
Courtesy of Zaya Nurai Island / Expedia
For those looking for a little getaway for the day from the capital, Zaya Nurai Island is the perfect spot. This is the perfect place for those who love luxury and have a flexible budget, as the island is home to an elegant resort where people can either stay overnight or buy a day pass to visit. With stunning beaches, water activities and delicious restaurants, this is the perfect island for those who wish to relax a little bit in a paradisiac setting.

5. Bu Tinah Island

For all environmentalists out there, Bu Tinah Island is a place to hold close to the heart. The island is the first and largest UNESCO recognized reserve in the region. Bu Tinah Island is home to an endangered species of turtle, the Hawksbill turtle, the island is perhaps the most important in the entire capital. However small, Bu Tinah island has gained global relevance as a marine life sanctuary.

Bu Tinah Island, Abu Dhabi

6. Sir Ban Yas Island

Resort

Perhaps the most unique island in the capital, Sir Ban Yas Island can only be accessed by air or water. This man-made island is a wildlife reserve, where visitors can actually go on safari and see anything from ostriches to giraffes, with more than 13,000 animals living in its Arabian Wildlife Park. Visitors can plan day-trips to the island, where they can also enjoy water sports, archery and horse riding; or simply stay overnight at the Anantara Sir Ban Yas Island Resort.

Sir Ban Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

Nature and Wildlife Drive | © Sir Ban Yas Island

7. Al Lulu Island

Resort

Seen from the Abu Dhabi Corniche, Al Lulu Island doesn’t have a form of transport to allow public access. However, anyone on a boat can get to the 1,050-acre manmade island. The island has become popular as people for years have speculated what is to come, with even a Disney Resort being rumored to be constructed on the island in the 1990s. Although there’s not much there now, people continue to anticipate what the breakwater to the city’s corniche will bring.

Al Lulu Island, Abu Dhabi

landscape with balloons floating in the air

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