The world's largest manmade island, Palm Jumeirah currently serves as one of the major attractions of the city. One of the biggest water parks of Dubai, Aquaventure is located in the Atlantis hotel complex. This amazing water park offers a series of pools, shoots and flumes and few thrilling rides. Adrenaline pumping Tower of Neptune and the equally exhilarating.
Formerly a private island, Happiness Island has now been converted into an island resort. With an infinity pool and a Jacuzzi that faces the sea, it is a lovely place to de-stress. You can stay here at one of their twenty-six glamorous Houses of Happiness and enjoy a day of Pilates, aqua aerobics and a range of water sports. Access to this island is limited, but you can buy annual and monthly memberships to assure regular visits.
This island is privately operated by Abu Dhabi Country Club which means that there are entry fees. A day trip to Al Maya Island is priced at around AED 100 which includes the cruise, beach access and club access for their facilities. Al Maya Island is located approximately 9 kilometres from the city. It's one of the largest islands in Abu Dhabi and it's popular for camping and barbeques on the beach.
This island was once an important stop in the UAE's pearl trade. Today, it is home to Dalma Museum (formerly Al Meraikhi Old House) that commemorates this trade in the country's history. Located 219 kilometres from Abu Dhabi, Dalma Island is one of the oldest inhabited islands in the UAE and is considered an important historical site.
This is a man-made island located 4 kilometres outside the city. As the ferry services to the island have been stopped, visits to Al Lulu Island have drastically reduced but those with private boats continue to enjoy the island's beautiful beaches. Recent plans for Al Lulu include construction of a bridge linking it to the mainland and a 1,300-foot tower called Lulu Towers.
This island is an important business and lifestyle destination in Abu Dhabi. Rosewood Abu Dhabi and Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi are located here, along with luxury boutiques and a waterfront pedestrian promenade that offers amazing sunset views. It's becoming an important business hub in the emirate for the Abu Dhabi Global Market that is found here.
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This island can be reached by renting private ferries of tour companies that normally charge around AED 40 per person or AED 3200 for a private charter. Dolphin Island's sandbank is a sight for sore eyes where you can frolic in the sand in the middle of the ocean. Although sighting of dolphins here isn't guaranteed, the crystal-clear waters promise wonderful snorkelling experiences.
This island is the cultural hub of Abu Dhabi. Easily accessible by car, embrace your inner culture vulture as you reach the Louvre Abu Dhabi that houses over 500 artworks and artefacts celebrating world history and religion and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. You'd be pleasantly surprised to learn that Saadiyat Island is where prestigious institutions NYU Abu Dhabi and Cranleigh Abu Dhabi are located as well.
Formerly Emirates Pearl Island, Al Reem is a popular commercial and residential island. It is one of Abu Dhabi's fastest developed regions as less than a decade ago, it was just an island of sand. It is known for the architectural landmark Gate Towers which resembles the Stonehenge. It hosts education institutions like Paris-Sorbonne University.
Sir Bani Yas Island is actually a wildlife nature reserve in Abu Dhabi. Located 170 kilometres from the city, it hosts regular safaris where you can see more than 13,000 animals. In fact, half the island is dedicated to the nature reserve. It is the location of three high-end resorts as well where you can enjoy horse riding, archery and of course, water sports on the island's clean beaches.
This island is one of the most popular locations in Abu Dhabi. It is one of the few islands that can be accessed by car, and it is a pleasant drive to the island with gorgeous waters on each side of the highway. Yas Island is hugely commercial as it is home to not just the Yas Viceroy Hotel but Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Waterworld and Ferrari World as well. Yas Links Abu Dhabi, a golf club designed by renowned architect Kyle Philips, was named one of the top city golf clubs by CNN Travel.
How many of these Islands have you been to? Let us know in the comments below.