Over two hundred islands are sprinkled along Abu Dhabi’s shimmering coastline and all invite discovery. From entertainment options to stunning nature reserves, Abu Dhabi’s islands offer endless exploration opportunities for curious travellers and intrepid families. Here, we island-hop our way around five of the best.
Best for: History buffs This tiny island, 26 miles off Abu Dhabi’s coast, is a place where time seemingly stopped. With historical and archaeological sites galore, you can explore ancient settlements where human remains were found and geological treasures at a now dormant volcano. It’s easily accessed by ferry, making the perfect day trip for those looking to admire Dalma Island’s stunning historic buildings and fertile surroundings. There’s also a fascinating pearl-diving heritage to uncover here too.
Best for: Families and thrill-seekers The ultimate playground for kids and adults of all ages, Yas Island is dedicated to the pursuit of fun. From sporting spectacles and wild water sports to live concerts and theatre, there’s no shortage of action-packed adventures to be found on Yas Island. Petrol heads will love the motor-themed rides at Ferrari World and Yas Marina Circuit’s Formula 1 race track. Experience aquatic thrills and spills at Yas Waterworld, or simply soak up the sun on the tranquil shores of Yas Beach. The gargantuan Yas Mall, meanwhile, offers plenty of opportunities to shop ‘til you drop.
Sir Bani Yas Island
Best for: Safari adventurers Sir Bani Yas Island is a wildlife wonder. It’s a place where giraffes, cheetahs and hyenas roam free at Arabian Wildlife Park, which occupies most of the island. Hop over on a boat and take a guided 4×4 Nature & Wildlife Drive accompanied by an expert guide. For something a little more pulse-raising, there’s plenty of activities to get stuck into like hiking, archery and snorkelling. Alternatively, unfurl your towel and recline on the beach overlooking the Gulf’s shimmering azure waters.
Al Maya Island
Best for: Party chasers Famed for its legendary pool parties and gorgeous marine life, Al Maya Island is a great escape for visitors seeking respite from the glistening skyscrapers of Abu Dhabi. Just 10 minutes away by boat, the island presents prime snorkelling spots and places to relax. After sundown, top DJs take to the decks poolside at Al Maya Resort, where you can kick back and enjoy the beats with a refreshing drink in hand.
Best for: Culture vultures Home to the incredible Louvre Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island is Abu Dhabi’s gateway to arts and culture. Easily accessed by road, you can spend the day here immersing yourself in the finest Arabian arts and history, contemporary works and classic pieces. Translating to ‘a place of enlightenment,’ Manarat Al Saadiyat houses three galleries that present permanent and temporary exhibitions from local artists, along with Saadiyat island’s rich history. Opening soon, the Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will cement Abu Dhabi’s status as a world-class destination for culture. Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island opens 11 November.
Located on Abu Dhabi’s main beachfront, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers is perfectly positioned to explore the beautiful islands of Abu Dhabi.