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Posted 13/05/2022 in Middle East by Antonina Kisliakov

Dubai or Abu Dhabi: Which is Better for a Holiday?

Dubai or Abu Dhabi: Which is Better for a Holiday?

So, you're thinking of taking a holiday to the United Arab Emirates? Well, you're in luck - both Dubai and Abu Dhabi have plenty to offer! But which city is the best destination for you?

Let's start with Dubai. Dubai is one of the seven Emirates. This city is world-famous for its luxury hotels and resorts, not to mention its impressive skyline. If you're looking for a city where you can shop till you drop, or enjoy some of the best nightlife in the world, then Dubai is definitely the place for you.

Things to do in Dubai

Visit the Burj Khalifa: 
At over 800 meters tall, the Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and a true marvel of engineering. Located in downtown Dubai, the Burj Khalifa is also home to several luxury hotels, high-end shopping, and fine dining. 

Take a Desert Safari: 
A must-do when in Dubai, a desert safari will take you out into the dunes for an afternoon of fun activities, like sandboarding, camel riding, and quad biking. You can also enjoy a traditional Arabian BBQ dinner and belly dancing show under the stars. 

Shop til you Drop: 
From luxury brands to bargain finds, Dubai is a shopper's paradise. For those on a budget, head to one of the city's many souks (markets), where you can bargain for everything from spices to gold. 

Visit Palm Jumeirah: 
An artificial island in the shape of a palm tree, Palm Jumeirah is home to luxury hotels, upscale shopping, and plenty of beaches. Take a ride on the Palm Jumeirah Monorail for panoramic views of the island or hop on a yacht to tour Dubai's famous skyline. 

The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Holiday

Things to do in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi may be smaller in size, but it packs a punch for attractions and activities. It is the capital of the United Arab Emirates and has plenty to offer.

Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: 
One of the largest mosques in the world, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a beautiful architectural masterpiece. Be sure to dress modestly when visiting (no shorts or singlet tops) and avoid taking pictures during prayer times. 

Explore Yas Island: 
This man-made island is home to Ferrari World, Warner Bros. World, and Yas Waterworld. There's something for everyone here, whether you want to go on thrilling rides or take a leisurely stroll through the park. 

Shop at The Galleria: 
This luxury mall is home to over 400 stores, including high-end brands like Chanel and Louis Vuitton. There's also a wide selection of restaurants, cafes, and ice cream parlours to enjoy. 

See the turtles at Al Ain Zoo: 
Located in the city of Al Ain, this zoo is home to over 4000 animals, including lions, giraffes, and elephants. Be sure to visit the Turtle Pond! 

Visit The Louvre Abu Dhabi: 
Inaugurated on November 11th, 2017 by French President Emmanuel Macron and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The museum is part of a 30-year agreement between the city of Abu Dhabi and the French government. 

Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Holiday

Should I choose Dubai or Abu Dhabi for my holiday?

Now that we've looked at some of the best things to do in each city, they both look pretty incredible, right? It's hard to make a decision. If you're looking for luxury hotels, shopping, and nightlife, then Dubai is the city for you. If you prefer quieter surroundings with cultural activities and attractions, then Abu Dhabi is the perfect destination. No matter what you're looking for, you're sure to have an amazing time in either of these two great cities.

Can I see Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the same trip?

Yes, you can do both! The two cities are only about an hour away by car, so it's easy to visit both on your holiday. However, getting around can be expensive, so we've put together our recommended holiday itinerary package, which includes the highlights in both destinations and your transport throughout, so you won't have to worry about a thing. 

Abu Dhabi and Dubai Suggested Itinerary

Day 1. Arrive at the airport and meet our representative, who will escort you to your hotel in Abu Dhabi. Overnight stay at the hotel.

The Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates TravelDay 2. Abu Dhabi tour with Grand Mosque

On an Abu Dhabi city tour with Arabian Voyager, see how the capital city of the United Arab Emirates merges its rich ancient heritage with modern contemporary life. This tour has been thoughtfully crafted to include the highlights of Abu Dhabi and create a memorable experience for everyone. Be prepared to witness some of the most majestic landmarks of the UAE on a two-hour drive to Abu Dhabi, straight from your hotel!

A must-see historical monument en route to Abu Dhabi city centre is the astounding grand white structure–the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, named to honour the late president, His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The tour will take you to attractions such as the stunning Emirates Palace, the bustling Abu Dhabi city center, and the exquisite Corniche, showcasing an impeccably manicured setting, with cafes, restaurants, and children's play areas. 

Before heading to Abu Dhabi's most modern attractions, including Ferrari World and Yas Island, explore the Heritage Village and the Abu Dhabi Museum, a window through the region's past. The tour ends with a visit to Abu Dhabi Marina Mall, packed with retail outlets selling unique, name-brand and luxury items.

Overnight stay at your hotel in Abu Dhabi.


Day 3. Visit Louvre Museum and transfer to Dubai 

Check out from your hotel in Abu Dhabi and visit Louvre Museum.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is an art museum located on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. Louvre Abu Dhabi has been described by the Louvre as "France's largest cultural project abroad." It is approximately 24,000 square meters in size, with 8,000 square meters of galleries, making it the largest art museum in the Arabian Peninsula. Artworks from around the world are showcased at the museum with the intention of bridging the gap between Eastern and Western art. 

By 2019, the Louvre Abu Dhabi had already attracted 2 million visitors, making it the most visited museum in the Arab world.

Transfer to your hotel in Dubai and check-in, the rest of the day at leisure.

Day 4: Dubai city tour with Burj Khalifa 124th floor and Musical fountain show

After breakfast, leave the hotel at 9.30am for the Dubai city tour. This tour introduces both the new and old parts of Dubai. The tour commences with the new neighbourhoods of Dubai, at the world-renowned Atlantis hotel located at the Palm Jumeirah, a man-made island that can be spotted from space. Next, pass through one of the only 7-star hotels in the world, the Burj Al Arab. Moving ahead, stop at the exquisite Jumeirah Mosque, a cultural landmark of Dubai. Then, visit the Union House, where the treaty that formed the United Arab Emirates was signed in 1971. Lunch in a local restaurant. Finally, head to Downtown Dubai, where numerous world records are located – the largest mall, the Dubai Mall; the tallest building, the Burj Khalifa; the tallest and grandest dancing fountains; and the largest aquarium in the world. Get a view of Dubai from the 124th floor of Burj Khalifa, then roam around Dubai mall and shop for a couple of hours.

The Burj Khalifa and Fountain Show, Dubai Holiday

Day 5: Museum of the Future & Desert safari with BBQ dinner

Dubai is a land of marvels, and one cannot get enough of it. While the tallest building, the largest mall and the largest indoor theme park, amongst other things, would keep you hooked to this marvellous city, the museum of the future, a recent addition, would surely leave you spellbound.

The museum of the future is as unique as it sounds and offers the visitors extraordinary sensory and visual experiences while being educational. The best part about this place is that unlike other museums, you do not have to be cautious about what you touch. In fact, it's quite the opposite! This is an interactive museum, and the more you touch and engage with the exhibits, the more fun you will have.

At 3.00pm, leave your hotel for the desert safari. A trip to the desert offers you a real adventure into the magnificent sands of the Emirates. This safari will ride through the heart of the desert, where you will experience the excitement of a roller-coaster tour down the astonishingly high dunes. A stop for a breathtaking view of the endless desert will provide an opportunity to watch the sunset over this tranquil scenery. Next, reach the camp where you will enjoy the contrast of a desert night – gain a unique insight into the traditional life of the Bedouins! Dress in a traditional Arabic outfit, enjoy Arabic sweets, try the 'hubbly-bubbly', enjoy henna painting and learn about the important role that falcons play in local life. A delicious BBQ dinner with grilled specialties cooked on-site will be provided, choosing between a variety of appetisers, salads and sweets. Finally, try dancing with a belly dancer to the rhythm of Arabic drums! Return to your hotel at 9.30pm.

Desert Safari, Dubai Holiday

Day 6: Dubai Frame & Dubai Eye

After breakfast, head towards Dubai Frame, The Dubai Frame is the new addition to the marvellous architecture the city boasts of. Consisting of two vertical towers of 150 meters in height connected by a 100-square-meter bridge, the Dubai Frame is a highlight of the Dubai skyline. A tour of the Dubai Frame is a must if you do not have much time for sightseeing and also if you want to see the entire city at once. 

The Dubai Frame has a museum and gallery where you can see the growth of Dubai from a simple fishing village to the ultra-modern city it is today with the use of photos and advanced technology. After visiting the museum, you take the elevator to the bridge to get a fascinating glimpse of the city. On one side is the charming old Dubai and on the other side is the modern new Dubai. You can also view the beautiful city while sipping a delicious cup of coffee at the cafe on the bridge. 

At night, discover the new attraction in Dubai. Picture yourself with never-seen-before instagrammable 360-degree views of Dubai as you climb steadily through the sky on the world's tallest observation wheel. Create magical photo book memories of one of the world's most iconic cities and all its incredible landmarks. Watch the glittering city come to life at night or bathe in an Arabian sunset from 250m high.

Day 7: Marina Dhow Cruise

Morning free for leisure.

By 7pm, get ready to experience something inexplicable and beyond your imagination with our 2-hour marina cruise. The Venetian styled canal will leave you impressed. This traditional dhow will offer you the best views of modern Dubai from the most unexpected angles. Witness the glorious architecture of Dubai that the world acknowledges while you feast on the international cuisines. An elegant and sophisticated setting will elevate your cruising experience and leave you with lovely memories to cherish for a lifetime. Entertainment will be arranged on board and you will be cruising Dubai's Marina while enjoying the savoury dishes and a complimentary drink. The stunning view, sumptuous meals and the live entertainment will give you a dazzling experience

Day 8. Free day for leisure or shopping

Day 9. Check out and departure transfer to the airport

Check out from the hotel, and your private transport will drive you to the airport for departure.

Dubai City Skyline, United Arab Emirates Holidays 

In summary, our 8 night Dubai and Abu Dhabi holiday package includes:

  • 6 nights hotel accommodation in Dubai
  • 2 nights hotel accommodation in Abu Dhabi
  • Daily buffet breakfast
  • Round trip airport transfers
  • Dubai city tour
  • Dubai Frame tour
  • Dubai Eye (Ain Dubai) 
  • Abu Dhabi city tour
  • Grand Mosque visit
  • Louvre Museum Visit
  • Marina Dhow Cruise w/dinner
  • Dubai Mall shopping tour
  • Musical Fountain Show
  • Burj Khalifa 124th floor visit
  • Museum of the Future 
  • Desert safari with BBQ dinner


As you can see, both destinations make for an excellent holiday. So whether you choose to spend your entire holiday in one city or take our recommendation and split your time between both, you're sure to have a fantastic time. With breathtaking views, fabulous shopping, cultural experiences and delicious food, there's something for everyone in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. 

So what are you waiting for? Contact us today to play your trip.

The Corniche Abu Dhabi, UAE Holidays

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