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Travel & Tourism

Island Hopping in Abu Dhabi

View over Sir Bani Yas island
View over Sir Bani Yas island. Credit: Creative Commons/Losttraveller

Abu Dhabi is home to a vibrant plethora of islands, some of which are virtually untouched. Of the 200-plus islands that surround the city, the emirate has made some of them accessible to visitors.

The islands are equipped with the latest facilities and offer a variety of entertainment concepts, secluded beaches to wildlife sanctuaries. Here are a few of these sea-surrounded luxurious retreats and what each of them has to offer.

Yas Island

Within a 30-minute drive from the UAE capital, Yas Island is being positioned as the emerging sporting and leisure destination. It is home to the state-of-the-art Yas Marina Circuit – the launch pad for the F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Appealing to super yachts from all over the world, the yachting grounds are giving a determined competition to the traditional Mediterranean and Caribbean coasts.

Spend the perfect weekend with the whole family at the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi - the world’s first and largest indoor Ferrari theme park. and Yas Waterworld. On the west coast, is the Yas Links Abu Dhabi, a championship-level golf course designed by Kyle Phillips, one of the world’s leading golf course designers. The island’s only stretch of beach is on its southern shores is a great place to relax, enjoy the sun, food and drinks.

Sir Bani Yas Island
Sir Bani Yas Island is an eco-friendly destination that breathes life into wildlife and adventure activities. More than half of the island is occupied by the Arabian Wildlife Park, one of the region’s largest wildlife reserves. Formerly a private reserve for the ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island is today home to 10,000 free roaming animals including the once rare Arabian Oryx, giraffes, and cheetahs. The reserve can be explored with a 4x4 specially built accompanied vehicle.

Saadiyat Island

Just 20 minutes from the Abu Dhabi International Airport and seven minutes from downtown Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island is undergoing major transformation into world-class luxury leisure and cultural destination. The museums, resorts, upscale residences and business centres include the likes of Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum, and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi; all designed by Pritzker prize winners.

Famous for its Hawksbill Turtle Conservation Programme, the nine-kilometer stretch of Saadiyat Beach annually plays host to several critically endangered Hawksbill turtle nests every year.

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