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Dubai or Abu Dhabi, Where Should you go on Holiday

When it comes to luxury holidays to the Middle East, two names stick out in particular – Dubai and Abu Dhabi

The United Arab Emirates’ two mega cities are home to some of the world’s most spectacular hotels, resorts and attractions, from Dubai’s Atlantis, The Palm Resort on Palm Jumeirah Island, to Abu Dhabi’s Ferrari World theme park.

So, will it be a dream holiday to Dubai or Abu Dhabi?

Holidays to Dubai or Abu Dhabi – what you can expect from both

Dubai: You’d be forgiven for thinking Dubai is the United Arab Emirates’ capital city – Abu Dhabi is. That being said, this futuristic metropolis is perhaps the UAE’s most iconic destination.

Dubai is known as a city where anything is possible – the world’s tallest tower, two man-made palm tree-shaped islands and some of the world’s most lavish resorts are just some of Dubai’s main characteristics.

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi isn’t a million miles off, either. Abu Dhabi is known for being the more relaxed and laid-back of the two destinations, due to it being overshadowed by Dubai’s immense popularity.

Dubai’s older sibling offers an eclectic mix of impressive skyscrapers, exciting attractions, magnificent beaches and numerous traditional buildings, where you’ll find historic Arab landmarks, including the Garden City of Al Ain - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

On top of this there are numerous grand sights located throughout the Emirate, such as the breathtaking Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the 18th Century Qasr al-Hosn palace and fort.

Dubai vs. Abu Dhabi, which is best for shopping?

You’ll find a plethora of luxury shopping options in both cities, with an endless selection of designer boutiques and high street stores, from Chanel to Mango.

Abu Dhabi is home to the stunning Marina Mall shopping centre, which boasts no less than 400 stores. But if you’re looking to take your shopping experience to the next level, choose a holiday to Dubai.

The city is home to the extraordinary Mall of the Emirates shopping complex, where you’ll find more than 630 stores, over 100 restaurants and a selection of out-of-this world entertainments centres, including a multi-screen cinema and the world’s largest indoor snow park, Ski Dubai.

Dubai vs. Abu Dhabi, which is best for sightseeing?

Without a doubt, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are a must for anyone looking to see some of the world’s most iconic sites. Abu Dhabi’s blend of traditional and modern sites, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and Emirates palace to name a few, make it perfect for sightseeing.

On the other hand, Dubai is still home to the world’s tallest building, the remarkable Burj Khalifa, which stands at 829.8 metres tall. And there’s no forgetting, the Palm Islands, both of which can be seen from space.

Dubai vs. Abu Dhabi, which is best for beaches?

Abu Dhabi is home to some of the world’s most stunning beaches, where pristine white sands meet crystal clear turquoise waters. Endless stretches of majestic coastline and unrivalled views of the Persian Gulf makes Abu Dhabi the destination of choice for beach lovers.

That being said, Dubai isn’t without its selection of marvellous beach locations. Many hotels boast their own private stretch of beach, meaning you’ll be able to relax in peace.

Dubai vs. Abu Dhabi, which is best for nightlife?

The Middle East knows how to party, and things are no different in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. When it comes to Dubai nightlife, nightclubs and bars in the city’s hotels and resorts are the place to be seen.

Depending on the time of year, you’ll also find a number of music festivals and big name DJ appearances. Light shows, pyrotechnics and fireworks are just some of what you can expect from Dubai’s biggest parties.

An aerial shot of Dubai

Dubai vs. Abu Dhabi, which is best for family?

Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi offer countless fun family-friendly attractions and activities for the whole family to enjoy

Dubai boasts a wide selection of family-friendly resorts and hotels –Atlantis, The Palm and the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray to name a few - with dedicated kids’ clubs, children’s restaurants and activities for your little ones to enjoy throughout their stay.

On top of this, the city is home to numerous theme parks and water parks, including the sublime Wild Wadi Waterpark and Aquaventure Waterpark, where you’ll find slides and rides that the whole family will love.

Dubai vs. Abu Dhabi, which is best for couples?

There is no doubting Dubai’s credentials as the ultimate couple’s escape. Whether you’re Planning a romantic escape or a honeymoon planning a romantic escape or a honeymoon, you’ll find the perfect stay for you and your loved one in Dubai.

For an evening to remember we recommend a stroll on the beach or an evening spent watching the sunset over the city from your hotel room.

Click here to see how Dubai compares to holidays to Oman. Alternatively, why not check out our guide to 20 fun facts about dubai