Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix

Abu Dhabi, the capital and the second most populous city of the United Arab Emirates, is a great choice for a holiday, whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or somewhere to spend quality time with friends and family. What's more, once a year this beautiful city hosts the final race of the Formula 1 World Championship.

Abu Dhabi, the capital and the second most populous city of the United Arab Emirates, is a great choice for a holiday, whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or somewhere to spend quality time with friends and family. What’s more, once a year this beautiful city hosts the final race of the Formula 1 World Championship.

The event which is slated for November 24-26, is the last event in the Formula 1 calendar, making it one of the most exciting of the season. The race track is situated on Yas Island, which is less than 20 miles from the city centre on Saadiyat Island. Tickets for the event can be ordered from here; the official F1 website.

Whether you’re staying on Yas Island itself, in downtown Abu Dhabi or even in Dubai,  you get a 4% cash-back on every hotel booking made using a GTBank Card (Naira or Dollar denominated cards included). You can get this deal here. Below are a few great things to see and do if you’ll be spending some time in the Emirates.

We’ve called them the Best of Abu Dhabi

The Corniche: No visit to Abu Dhabi would be complete without a visit to the amazing Corniche; 8 kilometers of manicured beaches that offer good views of the skyscrapers and Presidential Palace, boutiques, cafes, restaurants and hotels that’s the very heart of Abu Dhabi’s luxury lifestyle. The pristine Corniche beachfront has been awarded coveted Blue Flag status – the internationally renowned eco-label for beaches and marinas that guarantees clean and safe bathing water. You can hire bikes at an affordable rate for an alternative way to see the area, using the dedicated cycle lanes that run alongside the promenade. To coincide with the race, the city puts on the Yasalam Festivaleach year on the Corniche. Mark it on your calendar to visit the F1 Fanzone every day till late to try out the driving simulators, purchase official team merchandise and – if you’re not going to Yas Island for the race – watch the action live on big screens. In addition to F1-themed fun, there’s also music, art and community events, including Beats on the Beach, a series of concerts taking place on November 24-27, 2016.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: Get a free guided tour of complimentary one of the world’s largest and most spectacular mosques which has a capacity for some 40,000 worshippers and has been voted as the world’s second favourite landmark by TripAdvisor for two years running.  The mosque was built from mostly natural materials such as marble, stone, gold, crystals and semi-precious stones and has the largest single piece of handmade carpet in the world, measuring around 67,570 square feet and weighing around 35 ton.

 

Observation Deck at 300: For staggering views across the city head for the 74th floor of Tower 2 at the Etihad Towers Complex, the city’s tallest structure at 300 metres up. You can even make an afternoon of it and take afternoon tea up there. Guests staying at the Jumeirah Hotel at the Emirates Complex get in free, otherwise entry is 75 Dirhams (N7,190) of which two thirds is given back to you as food and drink vouchers for when you get to the top.

Nightlife: Nightlife in AbuDhabi, as in all great cities, is sophisticated and cosmopolitan. Most of these bars are confined to hotels but open to all. A few of the best are Ray’s Bar,  Jumeirah Etihad Towers hotel, Abu Dhabi where you can savor both your favorite drink and the Abu Dhabi skyline at night from the 62nd floor. Happy hour from 5pm-8pm daily. Another great location is the beach house rooftop which provides exclusive views of the Arabian Sea, great cocktails, upbeat music and a classic vibe.
Helicopter Tour: For a sparkly way to mark the beginning or end of your F1 trip, why not get a bird view of the city with a helicopter trip? Flights take off every day (9-5pm) from Marina Mall Terminal and cover views of the Emirates Palace, the Corniche, Ferrari World and all the F1 action down on Yas Island. Shared trips in a six seater helicopter cost around 900 Dirhams (around N85,205) per person. Private trips cost significantly more. Book here.
Desert Safari: If you are in need of an adrenaline buzz, take a sunset trip out to the desert in a 4×4 for a roller-coaster ride over sand dunes. Excursions are led by experienced dune drivers and end with dinner and dancing in the desert. Also recommended are dune buggy trips where you get to do the driving yourself! Book here.
Camel Races: Beyond cars, camels are also part of the action. Camel Races are held on Thursday and Fridays in the winter and offers you a chance to visit the camel paddocks as well as watch the racing itself. Entrance to races is free at the Al Wathba Camel Race Track, some 45 kilometres outside the city.
Emirates National Auto Museum: This one is an absolute must for any car fanatic. This public collection of over 200 cars belongs to HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, an incurable petrol head known as the ‘Rainbow Sheikh’. The collection has previously been featured on Top Gear, and is found in Al Gharbia, 45 kilometres south of the city. Entry costs 50 Dirhams (just about N4,270). You’ll see lots of off-roaders, the world’s largest truck, lots of classic American cars and the Sheikh’s Mercedes ‘rainbow collection’ – one in a different colour for every day of the week. Click here for more information.
             Cheers to a great holiday experience!