As the end of January comes around, so it marks four amazing months of living in Abu Dhabi. We've been eased in over the official, 'winter' months, with warm days and cool nights.
As a former resident of Qatar, I know things are going to start heating up very soon, but after a couple of dark, Finnish winters, I'm anything but complaining!
As an ode to the stunning emirate that I am currently calling home, I thought I would round up a list of six things to do in beautiful Abu Dhabi.
1. Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Whether you practise the Islamic faith or not, the jaw-dropping beauty of Sheikh Zayed Mosque is undeniable. The stunning architecture and ornate details make for interesting viewing. Entry is free and you can soak up the scenery solo or opt to join one of the regular tours for a more in-depth experience. Open every day, with amended times for worship on a Friday morning, the mosque is a must-see for anyone passing through Abu Dhabi.
If there's one thing you won't find a lack of in Abu Dhabi, it's shopping malls. Whether you love to shop or not, the malls are a great place to while away a couple of hours and escape the blazing hot, Summer sun. Yas Mall is the biggest and my personal favourite. Located out of town on Yas Island, this mega-mall has a whole host of international retail outlets, scores of restaurants and a wealth of entertainment options, including a cinema.
Located in Abu Dhabi city centre you will find the smaller, Abu Dhabi Mall. Al Wahda Mall is a larger offering in the city, with Marina Mall sitting just off the Abu Dhabi Corniche, close to the Emirates Palace Hotel.
The Galleria Mall is perfect for those looking to hit the high-end, designer shops and it's a great place to grab a coffee with friends.
3. Go to a Brunch
If you find yourself in Abu Dhabi on a Friday, you absolutely must do a brunch! Unlike what you would typically expect from a brunch, these are extravagent affairs in many of the Middle Eastern countries. For a set price, you can enjoy all you can eat and drink buffet options, which often include delectable interntational cusisine and moreish cocktails.
The Bubbalicious Brunch at the Abu Dhabi Westin Golf Resort is an excellent option. Featuring live-cooking stations, a vast choice of multi-national dishes and plentiful beverage options, all played out in front of a live band.
For an alternative take on brunch, Scott and I recently enjoyed a visit to the Market Kitchen Brunch at Le Royal Meridien Hotel. This brunch differs from the usual set up in that it offers a set, 4-course menu in which expertly cooked dishes are served directly to your table, forgoing the traditional buffet style of dining.
It's a more relaxed, family affair, with impeccable service and some of the most amazing food I've tasted so far in Abu Dhabi.
4. Enjoy a luxurious Afternoon Tea
Sticking with the theme of food and drink, another must-do in Abu Dhabi is to indulge in Afternoon Tea in one of the capital's, many stunning hotels. Most offer great-value packages with vast tea selections, delicious cakes and sandwiches and the choice of enjoying a glass or ten two of champers.
Over Christmas, I enjoyed Afternoon Tea at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers with Scott and his parents. Set in the hotel lobby, the space was bright and festive. The savory snacks were mouth-watering, although somewhat limited, but the cakes were plentiful and absolutely divine.
5. Visit the Formula One Track
The more sports-minded visitor will be well aware that Abu Dhabi holds host to the Yas Marina Circuit and the annual Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. If you're in town to watch the racing events then you'll find it a hub of activity. Outside of the racing season, you can tour the infamous venue as well as book yourself a driving experience to race on the track, following in the footsteps of Louis Hamilton.
6. Ride the World's Fastest Rollercoaster at Ferrari World
Not only is Ferrari World, the world's largest, indoor theme park, it also houses the world's fastest rollercoaster - Formula Rossa. It's definitely an experience you won't forget in a hurry!
If thrill-seeking ins't your thing, the Ferrari-themed amusement park also houses a number of fun attractions for all the family, with live shows and F1 racing simulation experiences. It's a great day out for people of all ages.