22 April 2019 09:40
Abu Dhabi is more than just a race destination. Motorsport Live takes a look at the breadth of things to do in the country and beyond
Abu Dhabi hosts Formula 1’s season finale in early December. The twilight race taking place at F1’s most expensive purpose-built facility to date, is a mecca for sponsors and celebrity alike, and the racing is never short of action. Abu Dhabi is more than just a race destination though, with a breadth of things to do in the country and beyond. Motorsport Live takes a look
The Yas Marina Circuit is itself a tourist attraction courtesy of its state-of-the-art facilities and the imposing Yas Viceroy hotel, whose honeycomb-like structure drapes itself over a segment of the race track and also changes colour as night falls on the circuit. Beyond the Yas Marina Circuit and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix there’s a wealth of options for those who want to turn their Formula 1 experience into a prolonged vacation.
Yas Island itself, located just a stone’s throw away from Abu Dhabi International Airport, features a host of activities for holiday-goers of all ages. For motorsport fanatics Ferrari World is an obvious focal point, with the complex housing a Ferrari museum, events, a shop dedicated to all things Maranello, not to mention one of the world’s fastest and most ferocious rollercoasters.
Adjacent to Ferrari World is Yas Mall. As is the norm within the region, the shopping arcade is one of the largest and features a plethora of both Western and local boutiques, alongside plenty of restaurants and bars that serve cuisine from all corners of the globe. Across the road from Yas Mall is Yas Waterworld – perfect for families to cool off and enjoy the afternoon in a complex of swimming pools and thrilling slides. Warner Bros. World, an immersive environment containing film characters, live entertainment shows and adventure rides, completes the offering within the immediate vicinity.
Away from Yas Island Abu Dhabi has some of the world’s most jaw-dropping cultural centres. The free-to-enter Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a must-visit for all, regardless of religious persuasion courtesy of its stunning architecture and tranquil scenery. The building also takes on an entirely different aura at sunset and into the evening.
A 20-minute drive will take you to Saadiyat Island and the Louvre Abu Dhabi – opened in 2017 – it contains artefacts, pictures and sculptures from a plethora of periods of history across the globe. The Louvre itself was constructed around the bay of Abu Dhabi, giving a stunning view of the city skyline – and at sunset the lattice-like design of the roof turns the building itself into an exhibition.
A short hop away is the centre of the ever-expanding, ever-growing Abu Dhabi, built along the Corniche it features a pristine and lifeguarded eight-kilometre beach, which has been awarded Blue Flag status for its upkeep. The Corniche features plenty of play areas for children, cafes and restaurants for adults, as well as cycle and pedestrian walkways to ensure a traffic-free zone. The Corniche is also a fantastic place from which to watch the National Day Celebrations, which take place annually on December 2nd – this year falling the day after the Grand Prix, for those thinking of staying on after the racing has finished.
The city is one thing but the desert is another and Abu Dhabi is famous for its golden deserts, where one of the main tourist attractions is dune bashing, riding up and down along the ever-changing slopes. There are several locations and companies that offer such an experience, all of whom will collect you from your hotel. The favourite places are between Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, or in the Liwa Oasis in Al Dhafra, and why not add to the experience a camel ride at sunset?
If you’re in Abu Dhabi for a prolonged period then why not travel further than that specific Emirate? A 90-minute drive away along a traffic-free highway will take you to Dubai, complete with its own activities – including the world’s tallest building the Burj Khalifa – while the under-rated oasis of Oman is but a short flight away.
The United Arab Emirates has established itself as a tourist destination for all ages, with warm and sunny weather guaranteed all-year round, why not turn your Abu Dhabi Grand Prix experience into the trip of a lifetime. Click here to see all our ticket and hospitality options.