For most tourists, the UAE is widely known for cities like Dubai and Sharjah.
Dubai is a city of country-sized shopping malls and palatial, beachfront resorts. Visiting other cities in the UAE can be an exciting experience, too.
To choose between Abu Dhabi or Dubai, you must know what each has to offer for your next travel escape.
Abu Dhabi or Dubai: Where is Your Next Escape?
Abu Dhabi is the ideal metropolis to visit; the city is on an island, and the only connections to the mainland are bridges.
Many smaller islands surround Abu Dhabi. Some are wildlife sanctuaries, wetlands or mangrove colonies.
One of the first landmarks to see in Abu Dhabi is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The Grand Mosque is located at the city’s main entrance.
The structure of the Grand Mosque is made up of marble, gold, precious stones, ceramics and crystals that form a “glowing” effect that surrounds the grand mosque, making it a worthy spectacle for all to see.
…Thanks to God, our nation has a flourishing civilization, deep rooted in this land for many centuries. These roots will always flourish and bloom in the glorious present of our nation and in its anticipated future.” HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan
For an outdoor enthusiast, there are over 2,000 parks and gardens throughout Abu Dhabi.
You can challenge yourself by running the 7 km course that runs parallel to the beachfront promenade, then relax your weary body on the sandy beaches that seem to go forever in either direction.
Art critics often note the exhibits offered by the cultural centre are equal to works in the Louvre, Guggenheim and other leading museums in the world.
Shopping at the Abu Dhabi Mall is a unique experience, as the shops and attractions offer many activities for families to enjoy together. You can watch a movie or shop inside some of the leading name stores.
If you want to get on the links, Abu Dhabi has several world-class golf courses to whet your appetite.
The nightlife in Abu Dhabi is non-stop, and you can start your evening with some fine dining. You have plenty of options to choose from; the more popular local restaurants include Southern Asian or authentic Arab cuisine.
Dubai is home to the rich and famous. The population inside Dubai is diverse, as close to 85 percent of the full-time residents are foreign born.
Tourists hoping to experience traditional Middle Eastern culture can travel to Dubai Creek. You can visit the creek on a daytime or evening cruise. Heritage and Diving Village, situated along the Dubai Creek, give tourists a better understanding of the Bedouin culture. You will experience traditional dancing and cuisine during your visit.
The Bastakiya District is home to Old Dubai, where individuals can visit The Dubai Museum.
Plenty of family entertainment is available in Dubai. You can plan a picnic and spend the day at the Dubai Miracle Garden, which offers one of the largest flower beds in the world.
Take the time to watch a movie at the grand cinematic complex inside the Dubai Mall, and do not forget to shop at the one of the upscale stores after the show ends.
Your family will never forget their experience inside the first indoor ski resort, Ski Dubai, located in the Mall of the Emirates.
You can also spend the afternoon enjoying water attractions at the Wild Wadi Waterpark, Atlantis the Palm Aquaventure Waterpark or The Dubai Fountain in the evening.
Downtown Dubai offers state-of-the-art architecture. Some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world—often leaving tourists speechless—are located here.
The Desert is a short drive from the city. There you can enjoy riding off-road vehicles up and over the high sand dunes.
Food is always available. Most of the famous restaurant chains are in Dubai, mostly located within major hotels. Full ranges of international food entrees are on offer, as well as Arabic cuisine.
Dubai is widely-known for its wild nightlife, as most of the clubs and bars are located in the larger hotels. Remember, only non-Muslims can consume alcohol.
There is no Dubai and Abu Dhabi; we are one. Whoever doesn’t understand this should do their homework before they start talking. We will be there for each other when we need it.” – HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Abu Dhabi or Dubai, choosing which of the two cities to visit is a tough decision, as each is rich in culture, history, taste and sophistication.
Whether you choose Abu Dhabi or Dubai as your base when you are in the UAE, consider visiting both cities, or make a day trip from one to the other.
Question: What’s one question or tip you have about Abu Dhabi or Dubai? Leave your comment below.