"AbuDhabiأبوظبي" Top 5 Page for this destination Abu Dhabi by MM212

Abu Dhabi Travel Guide: 527 reviews and 1,735 photos

Built on an island off the main coast of the UAE, Abu Dhabi is a compact, modern, orderly, and civilised city. I first travelled to Abu Dhabi on business in November 2005 and have since returned on many other occasions. The capital city of the UAE would strike you as more conservative than Dubai, though the hotels offer a very liberal haven for locals and westerners alike. All of this is quite a contrast from Dubai which is more flashy, super liberal (in its own way) and quite spread out.

The former ruler of Abu Dhabi is rumoured to have dictated that not a single particle of desert sand remain in the city. Abu Dhabi has since been planted with beautiful gardens and completely built up. In recent years, the government provided low interest (or no interest?) loans to landowners to destroy the ugly old buildings from the '70s/'80s and to replace them with nicer modern towers. The result has been this rather pretty and uniform city (despite some of the modern structures still lacking in aesthetics).

Since around 2006, the city has proceeded to reinvent itself with ambitious mega projects to become a more sophisticated alternative to Dubai. Several of the islands adjacent to the main island-city are in the process of being developed into residential and business centres to attract international businesses and tourists alike. In particular, Saâdiyat Island is intended to host branches of reputable international museums, such as the Louvre and the Guggenheim, in avant-garde architectural structures, while promoting more ecologically friendly construction.

Most recent visits to Abu Dhabi:
Jun 2008
Oct 2008
Nov 2011
May 2012
Nov 2012
Feb 2013
Oct 2013
Apr 2014
Nov 2014
Oct 2015
Mar 2016 - 2 nights

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Scenic and very calm city, nice beaches
  • Cons:Not much to do, though slowly developing
  • In a nutshell:Better quality of life than Dubai, but less fun
  • Last visit to Abu Dhabi: Mar 2016
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (33)

Comments (3)

  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo
    Feb 9, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    Great page and photos. I think Abu Dhabi is too "new" for my taste. I loved the old section of Dubai. This looks a little sterile.

    • MM212's Profile Photo
      Feb 11, 2013 at 5:04 AM

      I agree, it lacks the history and culture of other parts of the Middle East, but they are building amazing modern structures. If you happen to be in the region, it's worth seeing.

    • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo
      Feb 11, 2013 at 3:06 PM

      My husband's best friend works in Abu Dhabi so I'm sure we'll be visiting.

  • Delia_Madalina's Profile Photo
    Jun 15, 2011 at 10:16 PM

    Beautiful page on AD. I look forward to see how much it changed over the last years. I'm moving there as of July 22, living next to the Shagrila you mentionned on your page :)

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    Apr 28, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    Good page- I think that I would prefer this city to the very ostentatious Dubai. The Grand Mosque is magnificent.


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