There is an island for every mood in Abu Dhabi …
Living in our sparkling towers and villa complexes, it’s easy to forget that the emirate of Abu Dhabi actually has a fascinating geography. There’s the desert of course, and the mountains, the mangroves, the beaches, the forests and then there’s the fact that the coastal fringe is actually made up of over 200 individual islands. Most of Abu Dhabi – the city, actually sits on its own small cluster of islands, connected to the mainland by a series of bridges.
But what other exciting gems entwined in the sea are ripe for exploration in this beautiful mosaic land? These are just 17 of our favorite Abu Dhabi islands that you can visit right now.
Al Maryah, the island formerly known as “Sowwah”, is located just east of downtown Abu Dhabi and is easily accessible by a bridge. Much of the attraction of this destination for visitors comes from the Galleria, Al Maryah Island and its two adjacent hotels, the Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi and the Rosewood Abu Dhabi. The Galleria is an absolutely huge mall, offering a diverse and modern shopping and entertainment experience. But we like to think of it as the upscale gourmet island of Abu Dhabi. Between the shopping center and the two luxury hotels, the density of exceptional gastronomic destinations is dizzying. Within walking distance you will find Coya, Zuma, LPM Restaurant & Bar, Bentley Kitchen, 99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant and Dai Pai Dong.
At what price paradise? The Dream Al Maya Island & Resort is just 10 minutes by boat southwest of mainland Abu Dhabi. They offer a Horizon pool and beach pass from 105 Dhs (weekdays) with a return of 50 Dhs to be spent on food and drinks at the hotel. Weekends are a bit higher at 199 Dhs, but you get a good chunk of 150 Dhs to spend on eating and drinking at the resort (or unlimited hopping between noon and 3 p.m.). Round-trip boat transfers are included in the price of your pass. Al Maya Island, from Dhs105, near Presidential Palace Gate One, (use Google Map location for Al Maya Boat Dock). @almayaisland
Dalma Island is accessible via ferry from Sir Baniyas Ferry Terminal, there is a Dhs20 ticket to go on foot or you can bring your car for Dhs100. Once you reach the island, you will feel like a world away from any city. It’s a very calm island, so don’t expect much when it comes to iced milk coffees or multiplex cinemas – instead find the raw allure of nature, laid bare with enchanting unspoiled landscapes and great outdoors. breeding Socotra cormorant population.
Ghagha is the westernmost island of the United Arab Emirates, with around 20 archaeological sites to its name. Explorers have discovered stone tools belonging to the bifacial Arab tradition, pottery in “red crested pots”, probably originating in Bahrain, dated to around 2000-1700 BC.
This island resort is just 10 minutes by boat from Saadiyat. The villas are currently undergoing renovations so there is no current night offer but you can come and spend the day there. It’s Dhs200 for a day pass and you get it all in F&B credit, facilities include infinity pool, adult and kids pools, mini water park, kids play area, water sports, playground football and volleyball courts, as well as the private stretch of island beach. @moon_island_ad
A short drive from Al Bateen Beach, on the donkey bridge, is the Hudayriyat Leisure and Entertainment District. The island-sized activity center from developers Modon offers active indoor and outdoor adventures and is packed with awe-inspiring activities. Some are paid attractions, like the Circuit X skate park, the splash park, and the OCR obstacle course. Others, such as the bike parks, the public beach, the outdoor gym, the heritage walk and the cycle path on stilts, are free. @ hudayriyat.island
The main headliners on this island are undoubtedly the mangrove park and the ecological glamping facility of Pura. The former offers intimate access to a huge expanse of emerald-tinted wilderness, a winding 2.3 km boardwalk, a rangers-guided walk (from Dhs50), kayaking (Dhs100) and canoe trips electric (from Dhs80), unique interactions with wildlife and a chance to learn more about this fascinating ecosystem. For a longer stay, there is now a series of glamping pods on the island. Stays at Pura Eco Retreat start around 2,000 Dhs per night call (050) 383 7878 book or visit staypura.com
This 1,050-acre man-made island, built as a breakwater to protect the island of Abu Dhabi itself, has developed an almost mythical status among the people of Abu Dhabi, thanks to its apparent resistance to development. Originally intended to house a tourist resort and theme park in the 1980s (even before the island had a name), it briefly opened to the public. But in 2009 all ferry services were abruptly stopped and the island remains largely empty, despite its privileged position in the midst of quite extraordinary development. It is now in the hands of real estate developer Aldar, who plans to create both leisure complexes and housing there but, in the meantime, if you find a boat to take you there, you will be guaranteed a corner. quiet on the beach.
It is another central clutch of the islands of the city of Abu Dhabi, the jagged skyline is sketched by skyscraper towers offering a mix of prime residential and commercial real estate. Very soon, the island will host a new giant shopping center, Reem Mall, currently in the final phase of construction. In addition to shops and food outlets, the mall will feature Snow Abu Dhabi, “one of the largest snow parks in the world”. Elsewhere on the island you will find beautiful parks in the form of Al Fay and Reem Central Park.
We know you know it, but it never hurts to have a reminder. This, ostensibly, Abu Dhabi Cultural Center offers much more than museums and galleries (although it has an impressive collection of them, like Louvre Abu Dhabi and Manarat Al Saadiyat), you will also find establishments creative teaching (Berklee Abu Dhabi for example), magnificent private beach clubs, luxury hotels, a thriving restaurant and bar scene, public beaches, wildlife encounters, a magnificent golf course and much more. Moreover.
Mr. Bani Yas
Sir Bani Yas is Abu Dhabi’s very own Jurassic Park, if you swap deadly giant dinosaurs with an exotic collection of African mammals. Accessible via a 25-minute boat ride from Jebel Dhanna (itself a two-hour drive from downtown Abu Dhabi), the island’s wilderness is home to a collection of exciting wildlife, architectural wonders , romantic views and three luxury Anantara resorts. This castaway paradise is a thriving royal protected nature reserve with more than 11,000 animals, including 30 different endangered species such as the blackbuck antelope and the Arabian oryx as well as the giraffe, the ostrich and the cheetah. Guests on the island have the option of going on a safari and enjoying memorable opportunities to spot these rare creatures, without a single cage or master in sight.
Sir Bani Yas is located 8 km off the coast of Jebel Dhanna (a two-hour drive from downtown Abu Dhabi), accessible by free water taxi or private seaplane. You can book stays on the anantara.com site, from Dhs 1,999 with full board and all-inclusive packages.
This beautifully unique island is surrounded by red rocks and erosion-sculpted cliffs, with pristine beaches. Unfortunately, due to litter and mistreatment, these areas are now completely closed to the public. However, if you make the trip you will be able to enjoy the view from a distance.
We’re pretty sure you’ll experience this marginally offshore entertainment district as well. It is known to be teeming with grand hotels, wild water and theme parks, golf courses, stadiums, arenas, marinas, the Abu Dhabi F1 circuit and a new waterfront entertainment district. extremely exciting water which will open very soon.
A day pass for the island is available for 480 Dhs, which includes 420 Dhs in return to spend on meals, drinks, water sports and spa activities. The ferry crossing is charged 60 Dhs. There is a daily double happy hour between 5pm and 7pm through Hooked, Dusk and Frangipani, where a selection of drinks are available on a 2-for-1 deal. The resort’s legendary Flowrider – an artificial surfing device, not that of the United States ‘Moo‘rapper – will pump barrels of gnarley for the eager wave of 300 Dhs (includes free boat from visitor center). Apple jeans and boots with fur are not recommended. Zaya Nurai’s spa offers upscale treatment opportunities, the latest trendy treatments and relaxation as standard. Need to occupy the little ones too? There are a ton of water activities for the kids to do, including water park and canal adventures, seashell painting, and a jam-packed snack at the dedicated Petit Z club.
Zaya Nurai, is a 15-minute boat ride from the Visitor Center on the east side of Saadiyat Island, near Exit 14 of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Highway, guests should arrive at least one hour before the session start time. Reserve your place now by calling (02) 506 6229, zayanuraiisland.com
Images: what’s on the archive