The UAE capital has emerged as one of the world’s most exciting new tourism destinations; many of its sights are best seen from the water by taking a traditional ‘abra’ boat or Dhow cruise to admire Abu Dhabi’s maze of islands from another angle.
The UAE’s man-made islands are famous around the world and Abu Dhabi itself is on a T-shaped island on the coast of the Persian Gulf that can be reached by car, sea, plane and boat.
Abu Dhabi is actually comprised of several different natural islands, over 200 in fact. They afford several opportunities to try something new for visitors who can explore with charter boats tours and head to any of the islands off the coast of the Corniche for an afternoon getaway. Tourists can go ashore to either get a quiet spot on the beach to swim, snorkel, fish, picnic or see the facilities and attractions.
A trip to Abu Dhabi is incomplete without visiting some of these islands:
- Al Maryah Island is home to a developing business, leisure and entertainment hub which is Abu Dhabi’s new Central Business District, and nearby is ‘The Galleria’ that has over 130 of the world’s most renowned brand outlets – including 50 Abu Dhabi ‘firsts’.
- Al Reem Island is home to one of the emirate’s architectural landmarks – the linked, Stonehenge-style Gate Towers.
- Saadiyat Island is home to the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
- Yas Island is home to Ferrari World, Yas Viceroy Hotel and Yas Marina Circuit.
- Dalma Island is home to its own museum, the Dalma Museum.
- Bu Tinah Island is home to the first and largest UNESCO recognized reserve in the region which has gained global relevance as a marine life sanctuary.
- Sir Ban Yas Island is home to a wildlife reserve where visitors can actually go on safari and see the various animals living in its Arabian Wildlife Park.
- Zaya Nurai Island is home to a luxury villa resort (a 2016 World Travel Awards nominee) with a seafront location offering plenty of activities and lessons that range from stand-up paddle boarding and jet skiing to sea kayaking, and much more.
There are various options to get to the islands. For those that would like to go island hopping, there’s The Yellow Boats (theyellowboats.com) or Jalboot (jalboot.ae), for example. So, get on a boat – whatever watercraft you can find – and head off the coast.
With its beautiful coastline and beautiful natural islands, vacationers will find Abu Dhabi a destination for out-of-the-ordinary experiences, as there’s something for everyone and for any interests, from a shoreline walk on the pristine beaches to a swim in the clean, warm turquoise waters, if not to a tour the islands, a museum visit or a day at the race.