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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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