By Ann Cronin
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates and is a city that has gained massive touristic popularity over the last couple of years. Sitting on an island in the Arabian Gulf, there is no shortage of appeal and attractions here for families of all ages.
Abu Dhabi fact-sheet
Currency UAE dirham, also commonly abbreviated to Dhs or DH.
Weather The climate in Abu Dhabi is hot and dessert-like with average temperatures ranging as far as 42 degrees in July and August and no lower than 15 in the winter months. Rain fall is sporadic but infrequent.
Travel Etihad Airways is the most popular airline provider of this route, with flights available from Dublin Airport. Flight duration is approximately eight hours. Flights from Dublin Airport to Abu Dhabi International Airport for two adults and two children for 10 days from €2215.16 via eithad.com.
Need to know Visitors from Ireland will be granted a free-of-charge entry visa upon arrival at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Where should we stay?
As Abu Dhabi and its culture is so different to Ireland, we recommend staying in one of its many family-friendly hotels or resorts during your stay for ease of mind and security.
Yas Island Rotana
This modern and stylish four-star location is sure to meet all of your family’s needs. The location is incomparable, as it is in close proximity of Yas Marina Circuit, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, Yas Mall and Yas Beach. In addition, it is a mere 10 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport and 45 minutes from Dubai, so travelling from A to B with your little ones will be a breeze.
The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort
Located right on top of an unspoilt and tranquil beachfront, this resort is ideal for families seeking sea, sand and sun throughout their stay. Hosting an impressive variety of dining options, even the pickiest of eaters will find something to their liking here. Including four outdoor pools and one indoor pool, a fully supervised children’s club and easy access to prime tourist attraction and hotspots, this venue is ideal for those seeking variety and relaxation during their stay.
What is there to do in Abu Dhabi?
Aside from the resorts’ pools and kids’ clubs, as well as the plethora of beaches on offer, Abu Dhabi has a wide range of amenities for kids of every age. Here are just a few of your options during your stay.
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is the world’s first Ferrari-branded theme park. Featuring the massive and beloved Ferrari Store and a wide variety of Italian dining facilities, there is no shortage of choice here. Must-dos include the Flying Aces ride, featuring the world’s highest roller-coaster loop, as well as the world’s fastest roller coaster Formula Rossa.
Located at Yas Island. Costs are approximately Dhs 295 (€70.99) for adults and Dhs 230 (€55.35) for children. For more information see ferrariworldabudhabi.com.
Yas Waterworld boasts many impressive rides and attractions, including the world’s first and largest hydro-magnetic-powered six-powered tornado waterslide. The Bandit Bomber is sure to be quite the experience for little ones with its on-board laser effects, among other fantastic and unique aquatic rides and slides on site for all ages to enjoy.
Located at Yas Island. Costs are approximately Dhs 250 (€60.16) for adults and Dhs 230 (€55.35) for children. For more information see yaswaterworld.ie.
Murjan Splash Park in Khalifa Park features an array of aquatic attractions aimed at children up to the age of 12. For younger children, this is the ideal water wonderland and it ensures your little ones have the means to cool down amidst the warm Arabian climate.
Located at Khalifa Park, Al Salam Street. Costs are approximately Dhs 45 (€10.83) for alduts and children taller than 1.1 metres, and free for children below 1.1 metres. For more information see murjansplashpark.weebly.com.
Al Ain Zoo is home for a variety of exotic species including tigers, lions, hippos, rhinos and more. The conservation and breeding program of the facility protects rare fauna from extinction and creates a centre of unbeatable joy in the process. The incredible walk-through lemur experience and giraffe feeding sessions are not to be missed, as well as the multimedia exhibitions and interactive galleries.
Costs are approximately Dhs 50 (€12.03) for adults and Dhs (€4.81) for children. For more information see alainzoo.ae.