As you’d expect, it has awe inspiring architecture and a skyline full of tall buildings.

Peel back the surface, however, and you’ll find a more traditional and distinctly Arabian city just a stone’s throw from the glamorous centre.

Must sees for free

Widely considered an absolute must see, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center is made from pure white marble and contains what is considered to be the largest carpet ever made in the main prayer hall.

The largest mosque in the country, it is visited by around 41,000 people during Eid and is free for all to enter.

Free 30 minute guided tours take place everyday and you can also pay for a longer, more in-depth tour.

Please be observant of the rules and be respectful when entering the mosque.

Abu Dhabi: Etihad Towers

Carpets, gold jewellery and intricate metalwork and woodwork make fabulous souvenirs of your Abu Dhabi stay. For keen bargain hunters the best starting point is Souk Al Zaafarana (Hamdan Bin Mohammed Street), crammed full of shops selling everything from traditional Emirati garments to incense and spices.

Wander the streets and haggle a bargain or find a café and people watch in this fascinating area of town.

For a fantastic view of the city and to get a taste of living the high life head to Etihad Towers.

Changing the Abu Dhabi skyline forever the towers offer the most amazing vantage points – with sweeping panoramic views over the vibrant city and Arabian Sea.

The towers are full of shops and restaurants as well as hotel rooms and living space.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center

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Top sees for a fee

Being surrounded by desert, the dunes of Abu Dhabi beg to be explored.

There are dozens of your companies that you can book in advance that will provide an unforgettable experience.

Go dune bashing and sand boarding, enjoy traditional Bedouin activities at a desert camp and conclude with a barbecue dinner and live shows.

A half day tour starts from around £50.

Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix November Now an established part of the Formula One race circuit, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix roars into town for three days in November (27 to 29).

As well as the on-track action, a series of concerts provides evening entertainment. Visit here to book tickets and find out more

For something completely different, but well worth your time, head to the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital.

Tours run every hour and cost 180 Dirham per adult.

During the tour you learn all about the history of falcons and why they are so valuable to the Arabs plus you can even watch a procedure being performed.

Fossil Dunes in Abu Dhabi

Getting around

Abu Dhabi has its own public bus system where many bus stops are air conditioned and the service is reliable, however most visitors use taxis as they are frequent and cheap. Download the taxi app so you are never left stranded.

Sadly, in many places, Abu Dhabi it is not pushchair friendly or particularly accessible for wheelchair users.

Eating out and going out

Abu Dhabi touts its international flavours with pride. From burgers and pizza to French haute cuisine, foodies will find whatever they fancy here.

Many of the top tables in town are found within the city’s hotels such as

One of the top restaurants is The Grill, in the Marriott Hotel with some of the best Waygu beef in town, Indigo is a contemporary, modern Indian restaurant with an avant garde approach where customers rave about the Sikandari Raan.

For pre-dinner drinks head to Lexx, a beautiful bar with a happy hour from 5pm. There is lots of seating outside where you can watch the sunset and with the view of the Emirates Towers and presidential palace.

If you can’t bear to miss a single football match while you’re away then head to Velocity Sports bar with incredible bar food such as sliders and chicken wings and dozens of flat screens to watch all the latest games.

Unknown young falconers in Abu Dhabi 1978 or 1979


Luxury:Emirates Palace is so much more than just a 5* hotel. This hotel is simply mind blowing in its extravagance and you will feel like royalty during your stay. If you can’t afford to stay the night, step inside the lobby and visit the cafe for a camel milk latte or gold leaf cappuccino.

West Corniche Road, from £295 - £618 pp per night.

Mid-range: The St Regis Abu Dhabi enjoys magnificent waterfront views of the Arabian Gulf and all guests will enjoy a bespoke experience provided by the St Regis Butlers.

With every amenity you can imagine and in a stunning location this hotel is truly special.

Nation Tower, Corniche, £128 - £343

Budget: The Abu Dhabi EDITION, put simply you will not a find a budget hotel in the city, however Edition offers unique food and beverage outlets including two signature restaurants, a gourmet market, lobby bar, pool bar and three storey nightclub at a fraction of the price of other luxury hotels

Al Bateen Marina,  £105 - £251.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center

The facts

Currency: UAE Dirham (£1 = 4.73 Dirhim)

Time zone: GMT +4hrs

The flight:  7hrs 25mins, from £258 with multiple airlines.

Best time to visit: December to March have the the most bearable temperatures for us Mancs, the summer months can average around 43 degrees and are best avoided.

Visa/restrictions/precautions: UAE laws and customs are very different to those in the UK. Be aware of your actions to ensure that they don’t offend, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas. There may be serious penalties for doing something that might not be illegal in the UK. You are strongly advised to familiarise yourself with, and respect local laws and customs. Visit here for official advice