The Host City: Abu Dhabi

Meaning ‘Land of the Gazelle’ in Arabic, Abu Dhabi was founded when a young antelope led a wandering tribe to fresh water, on an island with no more than 300 palm (‘barasti’) huts, a few coral buildings and the Ruler’s fort. This simple island settlement has since been transformed into the modern, cosmopolitan city of Abu Dhabi - the high-rise capital of the United Arab Emirates.

Abu Dhabi is home to one of the world’s most impressive landmarks, the stunning Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This architectural marvel, with a capacity for an astonishing 40,000 worshippers, features 80 domes, over 1,000 columns, gold plated chandeliers and the world’s largest hand woven carpet.

The Corniche boasts eight kilometres of manicured waterfront featuring separate cycle and pedestrian pathways, cafés and restaurants, and the Corniche Beach - a lifeguarded beach park, with further stunning public beaches to be found at Saadiyat and Yas.

In Abu Dhabi there are endless outdoor activities from wake-boarding to surfing and parasailing, from cruising in a traditional pearling boat to kayaking through the natural mangrove forests. Golfers are well catered for with a
diverse selection of parkland, ocean, links and urban golf courses.

Yas Island is home to Yas Marina Circuit – where the annual Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix takes place.

Shopping is something of a national pastime in Abu Dhabi, perhaps because it’s so diverse and tax-free: everything from luxurious and ultra-modern malls with the latest brands, to small, souk-like shops where you can buy traditional perfumes, handicrafts, spices and carpets.

Abu Dhabi offers visitors a truly diverse experience.