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Beyond the track: Things to do in Abu Dhabi

The thrilling trackside action ensures there’s never a dull moment at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. But if you want to take a break from the racing, the city has a whole host of attractions to keep you entertained.

From theme parks to shopping malls to beaches, Yas Island has plenty of offerings to keep visitors busy and all are within easy reach of the marina. But venture further into Abu Dhabi, and you’ll be even more amazed by what there is to see and do in this fabulous city.  

Read on to discover the top attractions. You may even decide it’s worth adding a few nights onto your stay so you can take in all the sights and make the most out of your Abu Dhabi Grand Prix yacht charter.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi lights up at night with a full moon in the sky above

Built in honour of the UAE’s founder Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a true reflection of Arabian splendour. With the capacity for an astonishing 40,000 worshippers, it is the largest mosque in the UAE and one of the largest in the world. Eighty-two domes and more than 1,000 columns adorn the structure and reflective pools amplify its beauty. 

Louvre Abu Dhabi

water feature which surrounds the Louvre Abu Dhabi with perforated silver dome in shot

The first Louvre outside of France, this museum combines the UAE’s bold vision of cultural progression and openness with France’s art expertise. Works in the all-encompassing art collection include a paper collage by Picasso displayed in the public domain for the first time. Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, the building is a work of art itself with a huge silver dome refracting light through its perforated surface.

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

red roofed building that houses Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

Yas Island is home to Ferrari World - a Ferrari-branded theme park on Yas Island with 37 different rides and attractions to choose from. The star attraction is the Formula Rossa, one of the world’s fastest roller coasters, launching riders to speeds of 149mph in just five seconds. It is so fast, protective glasses are required. 

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

outside view of Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck painted on the walls

Based on Yas Island, this Abu Dhabi attraction is the world’s first ever Warner Bro. branded indoor theme park. There are 29 exhilarating rides and roller coasters spread across six lands. Meet and greet the faces from your childhood. including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Bugs Bunny, Scooby-Doo, Tom and Jerry and The Flintstones. 

Yas Links Golf Club

the sea meets the lush green golf course at Yas Links Golf Club in Abu Dhabi

Yas Links Golf Course provides a scenic golf experience for all levels of players. Every hole on the course, designed by legendary architect Kyle Phillips, has its own unique appeal. The gulf provides a glittering backdrop and the contrasting terrains offer different experiences depending on the skillset of golfers.

Emirates Palace Spa

spa therapists give massages to two guests in an ornate therapy room

Take some time out from the busy race weekend with a relaxing massage in one of the most decadent settings in Abu Dhabi. Award-winning Emirates Palace Spa is a celebrity favourite for good reason with its lush marble surroundings and traditional Moroccan Hammam. Gold facials and mineral treatments are among the indulgent services available.

Sir Bani Yas

gazelle sniffs the ground at Sir Bani Yas wildlife park in Abu Dhabi

This wildlife park, which takes up half the island situated just southwest of Abu Dhabi, contains more than 10,000 free roaming animals and is home to giraffe, gazelles and cheetahs. Book a wildlife drive in a 4x4 accompanied by a guide, who can tell you all about the island's inhabitants.

SeaWings tour

a seawings plane soars over Abu Dhabi

An aerial view of Abu Dhabi is simply breathtaking. To see the city from this perspective, organise a private trip on board one of Seawings' fleet of on-water planes. Flights take off every day from Yas Marina and cover views of the Emirates Palace, the Corniche, Ferrari World and all the Formula I action down on Yas Island.   

Desert safari

4WD safari in the desert outside of Abu Dhabi

If there’s time, venture outside of the city on a desert safari, either by camel or 4x4. Enjoy ‘dune bashing’ – 4x4 off-roading on sand dunes – sand skiing, seeing the sights and enjoying authentic food from local Bedouin communities. Those who opt to stay overnight, will see the beautiful sunset and maybe even some local entertainment from belly dancers and other performers before falling asleep under the stars.


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By Rebecca Bradbury   Last Updated 21 November 2018

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