(CNN) — In Might 2018, Abu Dhabi opened a suspension bridge permitting vacationers to drive or cycle over the ocean.

On one aspect was Abu Dhabi’s mainland — house of its well-known mosque and Louvre museum. On the different? Al Hudayriat Island, an island that gives 600 meters (1,970 toes) of quiet seaside.

Al Hudayriat is one in every of greater than 200 islands that dot the coast of the UAE’s capital.

On these islands may be discovered discover eco-retreats, high-end safaris, Maldivian escapes, dolphin snorkeling and a lot extra.

“The islands of Abu Dhabi are beautiful in the appropriate season,” says UAE journalist Ashleigh Stewart. “They’re virtually like a mini-break when you’re feeling metropolis fatigue.

“They’re additionally extremely various,” she says.

“I might completely suggest them to a customer. Whereas Dubai’s seashores are lovely, the islands round Abu Dhabi are quieter, evoking a tropical island really feel — and the crowds are thinner,” she provides.

Listed below are among the islands value a go to while you travel right here:

Yas Island

CNN’s Becky Anderson takes a tour of the brand new billion-dollar Warner Bros. World in Abu Dhabi, one of many largest indoor theme parks ever constructed.

Arguably the very best recognized of Abu Dhabi’s islands, Yas Island is all issues glitz, glam, and household pleasant leisure.

This island is house to the Yas Marina Circuit, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, Yas Seaside, and the newly opened Warner Bros Abu Dhabi. It is also conveniently situated solely a 30-minute drive from Abu Dhabi.


Warner Bros Abu Dhabi, pictured, is a newly opened attraction on Yas Island.

Courtesy Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

The model new Warner Bros Abu Dhabi spans 1.65 million sq. toes and 6 completely different themed lands. At Yas Waterworld, guests can hop between 43 rides and the world’s largest hydromagnetic powdered six-person twister waterslide. For automotive fanatics, Ferrari World supplies the world’s first Ferrari-branded theme park.

“Adrenaline lovers can guide a driving expertise at Yas Marina Circuit and cruise at excessive velocity in a racing automotive or Aston Martin,” says Abu Dhabi resident Gretta Beckett. For a slower thrill, Beckett recommends the free biking classes hosted at Yas Marina’s circuit 3 times every week. “There are even free bikes and helmets.”

And for sunbathing? There’s Yas Seaside, the place admission prices round $13 however comes with a seaside towel and solar lounger. The vibe right here is definitely busier than another islands, but it surely makes for an ideal little bit of leisure after buying at Yas Mall.

Zaya Nurai Island

Think about Maldivian decadence — infinity swimming pools, fashionable open-air eating places full of lovely , Instagramable hammocks over the ocean — and pop all of it only a 30-minute boat journey from Abu Dhabi. That is Zaya Nurai Island.

“It looks like one other nation and one other world,” says UAE photographer Sukaina Rajabali. “I’ve received countless white seashores and turquoise sea, but I am within the desert.” Such islands are a should, she provides. “Nothing beats the hospitality provided right here.”

Eco-focused and five-star, Zaya Nurai retains issues unique with simply 32 rooms. The worth tag is extra splurge than save, however day passes can be found (from $95 with a minimal spend per particular person).

“For me, it is the right weekend escape,” says mother-of-four Edwina Viel, a UAE blogger. “We spend all day across the pool and seaside after breakfast with my youngsters. The waters listed here are, in my view, among the most lovely within the UAE.”

Sir Bani Yas Island


The five-star Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Resort.

Courtesy Anantara

As an alternative of heading to Africa for safari, UAE guests can discover Sir Bani Yas Island. Greater than 10,000 animals roam free on this island’s Arabian Wildlife Park, together with Arabian oryx, flamingos, cheetahs, hyenas and giraffes.

“I like Sir Bani Yas Island,” says Laura Coughlin, a UAE journey author. “In only one weekend we’ll kayak by the mangroves, journey mountain bikes throughout filth trails, and go on a safari by the island’s conservation reserve,” she says.

Sir Bani Yas Island (2)

Sand Gazelles on Sir Bani Yas Island.


“It is like holidaying in Africa, the Maldives and the Center East all rolled into one,” provides Coughlin.

It is potential to go to Sir Bani Yas Island as a part of a day journey, arriving both by sea aircraft or boat.

To make the journey extra leisurely, company can guide into the five-star Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Resort.

Luxurious tour operator Lightfoot Travel only in the near past launched a personal jet journey that flies between Dubai, Sir Bani Yas Island and Oman. The worth tag is unsurprisingly excessive.

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Dalma Island

Round 210 kilometers from Abu Dhabi is Dalma Island, a quiet, historic spot that was as soon as on the coronary heart of the UAE’s pearl commerce. The island spans a mere 9 kilometers by six kilometers, with three outdated mosques, an archeological web site, and the history-focused Museum of Dalma. Residents have a popularity for being significantly pleasant.

“This place continues to be very uncooked,” says Asma Al Fahim, editor at giant of Villa 88 journal. “I discover it distinctive because it was as soon as the primary island and the middle of commerce within the UAE.”

Transport here could be a bit tough, as company must catch the recurrently operating ferry from Jebel Dhanna (round a three-hour drive from Abu Dhabi) or board a non-scheduled flight from Abu Dhabi Worldwide Airport.

Hudayriat Island

“All the excitement proper now’s round Hudayriat Island,” says Stewart.

Whereas within the works since 2009, Hudayriat Island has solely simply opened to the general public. Guests can drive and even cycle throughout the not too long ago accomplished suspension bridge.

“The island is now decked out with a 600-meter seaside, operating and biking tracks, a playground and heaps extra, and the following phases will embrace housing for Emiratis and different points of interest,” says Stewart.

Different plans embrace a tenting space with zip traces, meals vans, soccer pitches and extra.

Boat journeys


The Yellow Boats provide sightseeing excursions in Dubai.

Courtesy The Yellow Boats

Abu Dhabi has quite a few firms providing boat journeys to among the capital’s smaller islands.

Attempt Captain Tony’s three-hour Dolphin Bay Eco boat trip for a little bit of dolphin recognizing. The dolphins aren’t assured, however the journey does let vacationers snorkel round Dolphin Island.

One other standard possibility is Lulu Island, an 1,050-acre artifical island that runs parallel to the Corniche public seaside. This stretch of empty sand is one in every of UAE blogger Diana Bell-Heather’s favourite spots.


The Yellow Boats is geared toward thrill-seekers.

Courtesy The Yellow Boats

“Households deliver barbecues and music and spend all day. Some even deliver their canine!” She recommends Seven Seas boat rental firm. Thrill-focused The Yellow Boats staff additionally provide a tour, one together with a guided journey across the corniche as properly.

And if the boat journeys fail to excite? Ebook onto a seaplane. This supplies unimaginable views of the islands’ surrounding fish and turtles.

“There’s an unimaginable quantity of marine life that I wasn’t conscious of earlier than,” Bell-Heather provides of Abu Dhabi’s islands.

“You do need to enterprise out additional, but it surely’s value it.”