World’s Fastest Rollercoaster In Abu Dhabi Goes 0-240km/h In 4.9 Seconds
In partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi
Mornings are darker, nights are colder. Winter is here, which is all the more reason to start scouting summer holiday locations for 2020 – and Abu Dhabi should be the first place on your list.
As the capital and second most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Abu Dhabi is the country’s cultural, technological and political hub.
While vacationers often flock to Dubai – arguably the more mainstream option on the Arabian Gulf – the UAE’s capital is aiming to knock it off the top spot. For an adventure, let me tempt you with just four words: Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.
The UAE capital is home to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, a landmark theme park dedicated to the automobile tycoon, Enzo Ferrari. With an unparalleled architectural design, it’s a mostly indoor attraction that covers a whopping 86,000 square metres.
The only time you’ll brace the beating sun is aboard the Formula Rossa – the world’s fastest rollercoaster. Speeding from 0 to 240 km/h in a skin-ripping 4.9 seconds, while soaring to heights of 52 metres, it’s a record-breaking adrenaline rush.
You can also ride the Flying Aces, which comes armed with the world’s highest rollercoaster loop – you’ll climb 63 metres at a mind-warping 51 degree angle. At the other end of the spectrum, see if you can match the pace of Formula One pit crews at the Tyre Change Experience.
Sticking with the driving theme, how about dune bashing at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort? You can traverse the Liwa Desert’s rolling sand hills in a specially adapted 4×4, take part in sand boarding, camel trekking and also desert yoga. If that’s all a bit much, there’s a gorgeous ‘oasis in an oasis’ swimming pool you can relax in at the resort.
If you prefer the whooshing of water in the warm weather, take a dip and a dive at Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi: the Middle East’s leading waterpark with more than 40 slides, rides and attractions (including the world’s largest six-person tornado water coaster).
For the history-nuts, be sure to check out Qasr Al Hosn: the oldest and most significant building in Abu Dhabi, holding the city’s first permanent structure – the watchtower. Having been transformed into a museum in 2018 after more than 11 years of conservation and restoration work, its artifacts date back to 6000 BC.
In terms of museums, you can’t miss the Louvre Abu Dhabi: the largest art museum in the Arabian Peninsula. Built as part of a 30-year agreement with the French government, it’s a magnificent structure, with a seemingly weightless dome hanging above a cluster of white cuboids on glistening water.
Capturing a priceless glimpse at the unique interactions between Islam and world cultures, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the world’s largest mosques. Crafted by British, Italian and Emirati architects, whose inspiration borrowed parts of Turkey, Morocco, Pakistan, and Egypt among other Islamic countries, the mosque is an absolute marvel, packing a capacity of 40,000 worshippers and visitors.
While it’s been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011, members of the public can now find tranquility in the historic Al Ain Oasis. Sprawling across 3,000 acres with 147,000 trees, the area provides a unique insight into the inhabitants who began taming the desert 4,000 years ago.
If you’re headed to the Middle East, you’ll probably want to check out the beach. In Abu Dhabi, there’s at least two that should be on your radar: Saadiyat Beach and Yas Beach.
The former has been described as ‘one of the most desirable beach locations in the UAE’, where you can enjoy beach yoga classes, eco-friendly water sports activities such as windsurfing and sailing or, if you like, simply relax. (Also, check out the local Hawksbill Turtles that use the beach as their nesting ground).
As for Yas Beach, don’t expect gold – the sands here are crystalline white, complementing the stunning water and natural mangrove surroundings. Here you can also take part in some thrilling watersports, or you can rent a private chalet and relish the picturesque vistas around you.
If there’s one thing people associate with a good holiday, it’s a full belly. Incredible food is a staple of a memorable vacation – luckily, Abu Dhabi has that in spades.
While there are multiple Michelin-star-chef-led restaurants across the city, there’s a few places you should hone in on. For example, with Dining by Design, you can enjoy your luxury meal in the desert at the amazing Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort.
For a slice of luxury in the sky, enjoy light bites, mocktails or perhaps High Tea in Jumeirah Hotel’s Observation Deck at 300 – the highest vantage point in Abu Dhabi. If you like your coffee with a tinge of Spandau Ballet, take a trip to the Emirates Palace hotel – which serves a cappuccino with real gold in it.
Then, to cap off the trip, why not embrace your inner shopaholic at The Galleria. With more than 400 stores, the high-end mall is an essential day out for those looking to treat themselves, with food and entertainment on offer too.
If you want a holiday that’s fabby, make sure you book Abu Dhabi.
All images other than Ferrari World Abu Dhabi courtesy of Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi
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