Skip a day to work and enjoy the first long weekend of the year at some of the most mesmerizing offbeat destinations in Abu Dhabi! The capital city of UAE offers the world in one place, giving travelers a unique experience, regardless of what it is they are looking for in a destination. If one desires adventure, sun, and sand, arts and culture, or luxury and shopping, Abu Dhabi is your answer. Located a few hours away from India, Abu Dhabi has become one of the favorite destinations for globetrotters to explore.
This best-kept secret is just 90 minutes from the city, in the village of Mirfa in Al Dhafra. This beach offers a tranquil, uncrowded escape where you can fish, and enjoy water sports such as stand-up paddle boarding or kiteboarding, or kayaking through the mangrove forest. This beautiful stretch of sand is almost never crowded and has all the amenities you need in the village nearby, making it the perfect place for a family getaway. There is also the annual Al Dhafra Water sports Festival, which attracts global water sports champions to take part in exciting competitions.
Inhabited for over 7,000 years, Dalma Island is of the oldest known permanent settlements in the UAE, and one of Abu Dhabi’s most important historical pearl-diving centres. The island still maintains strong links to its maritime heritage and traditions and also boasts some of the region’s earliest evidence of date-palm cultivation. It’s the perfect hidden gem for history buffs to explore.
Jebel Hafit Desert Park
Situated with the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Al Ain, Jebel Hafit Desert Park is home to stunning natural landscapes and rich history – and is just a short 90-minute drive from the city centre. Archaeological remains scattered throughout the site include Neolithic remnants from 8,000 years ago and the 5,000-year-old Jebel Hafit Tombs. You can explore the park’s majestic surroundings on a hike or by mountain bike, horse, or camel. Or you can climb Jebel Hafit Mountain, Abu Dhabi’s tallest peak.
Al Wathba Fossil Dunes
Located 45 kilometres to the east of Abu Dhabi, Al Wathba Fossil Dunes Protected Area is made up of more than 1,700 fossil dunes spread over seven square kilometres, making it one of the largest collections of fossil dunes in the emirate. Geologists have estimated the age of the fossil formations to be over four million years old. Amenities include a visitor centre, as well as food trucks, and a music and light show that can be enjoyed throughout the year.
Just a seven-minute drive from downtown Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island is filled with so many wonders to explore, from cultural treasures to fine dining and family fun. However, you may not know that the island is also home to free-roaming gazelles and the critically endangered Hawksbill sea turtle. Thanks to the Hawksbill Turtle Conservation Programme, some 650 eggs have hatched successfully on Saadiyat’s shores since 2010. The gorgeous, white sand Saadiyat Beach is carefully managed, especially during nesting season, making sure the eggs are safe.