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.

Dalma Island


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

Yas Island


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

Zaya Nurai Island


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.

Saadiyat Island

When people think of the UAE, they immediately associate it with shopping and luxury tourism. However, Saadiyat Island offers cultural tourism unlike any other place in the entire country. The island, which can be accessed by car, is home to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and is expected to open several other museums in order to promote culture in the capital. Also located in the island is NYU Abu Dhabi – making the area a centre for knowledge and education.

Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi

View overlooking the sea | Louvre Abu Dhabi, Photography: Mohamed Somji

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

Sir Ban Yas Island


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

Al Lulu Island


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

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.


Holiday Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article