Abu Dhabi or Dubai – Which is the Better Place to Visit?

One of the questions I got asked a lot lately was whether I recommend Dubai or Abu Dhabi. To cut a long story short, can say it depends on your interests and preferences whether you prefer Abu Dhabi or Dubai.

Abu Dhabi vs Dubai, Dubai vs Abu Dhabi: Which city wins? I am happy to share a list with you, which I have created based on my experiences, hoping that this list helps you to make the perfect decision for YOU :).

Both cities are incredibly safe, as in regards for female solo travelers or in regard of any kind of crime. Both cities are “rich” and clean. You can do desert safaris in both places, as you can do water sports activities, helicopter rides, and you can shop in both cities pretty well. Both are quite westernized, so there is not a cultural shock for western tourists.

Abu Dhabi or Dubai – Which is the Better Place to Visit?

Why is Abu Dhabi better than Dubai?

Find an itinerary for Abu Dhabi here and find out what to do in Abu Dhabi.

Facts: Abu Dhabi

The capital of the United Arab Emirates, biggest emirate (in size of geography), about 1 million inhabitants.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi Emirates

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi Emirates

It is home to the most beautiful building: Grand Sheikh Zayed MosqueDubai has more interesting and famous buildings, but it does not have Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Dubai @shutterstock

Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Dubai @shutterstock

It has more beautiful beaches: the public beaches at Corniche or Saadiyat Island, the beaches in Abu Dhabi were more appealing to me.

Saadiyat Island @shutterstock

Saadiyat Island @shutterstock

Accommodation, especially luxury accommodation, is cheaper. As a test, I did some further research, so that I am sure it was not only at the time I visited. It seems that accommodation is cheaper throughout the year in Abu Dhabi – read my review of an affordable 5* hotel here. To check out the best hotel deals click here.

Check out the best prices for flightshotels I activities and tours in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is quieter. This can either be a pro or a contra argument, but if you do not like too much “bling bling” and too much of a hustle and bustle, you´ll probably enjoy Abu Dhabi more than Dubai.

The Emirates Palace, the top hotel in Abu Dhabi, is also open to “ordinary” people who just want to have a look, while Dubai´s “top” hotel (Burj Al-Arab) is much more difficult to access.

Emirates Palace Kempinski in Abu Dhabi (Emirates)

Emirates Palace Kempinski in Abu Dhabi (Emirates)

It has one of the most private islands of the world, Zaya Nurai Island.

Abu Dhabi is the better place to relax.

The best deals for hotels in Abu Dhabi are here – so get your own offer and save money.

Check out the best prices for flightshotels I activities and tours in Abu Dhabi

Review: Zaya Nurai Island Resort- the Maldives of the Emirates

Zaya Nurai Island in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi or Dubai – Which is the Better Place to Visit?

Why is Dubai better than Abu Dhabi?

Facts: Dubai

The Biggest city in terms of inhabitants and the most famous city of the UAE, about 2,5 million inhabitants.

It is the city of superlatives, and there are many interesting buildings: It is home to the highest building in the world, Burj Khalifa (pictures from the top of Burj Khalifa here), the 7* hotel Burj Al-Arab, and many more interesting buildings. If you are into superlatives, visit Dubai.

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At the Top of Burj Khalifa

Highest Building in the World- Burj Khalifa

There are more attractions, more to see and more to do. It will not get boring in Dubai.

So many “wow” effects all the time, even though I have visited Dubai several times I have these “wow” effects all the time.

Dubai is more liberal, I think it is less conservative compared to Abu Dhabi (find a dress code for female travelers here). Though I am not into clubbing, there are more bars, more clubs, more parties than in Abu Dhabi.

Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina

There are much more luxury hotels.  If you are on a budget you can just do hotel sightseeing for free – and you´ll do not get disappointed.

Dubai has the Palm Island. Though the beaches are private (you can get a day pass though at many hotels) it is a perfect place to ride a bike and enjoy great views.

Dubai has Madinat Jumeirah, without any doubt, it is one of my favorite areas in Dubai.

Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai

Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai

Dubai has more shopping (and bigger) malls (quick guide for Dubai Mall here) and is the place to shop.

Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall @shutterstock

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Check out prices for hop-on and hop-off buses in Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi or Dubai – Which is the Better Place to Visit?

Conclusion

As you can see, it really depends on what you are interested at and what you like. Are you more a person who likes to go out and enjoy those “wow” moments, or do you enjoy the “natural” beauty and more quietness?

What about me? Do I prefer Abu Dhabi or Dubai?

I actually liked Abu Dhabi as well as Dubai. To be fair, I have to admit that I visited Abu Dhabi only once while I visited Dubai more often and spent much more time there.

If I would stay in the United Arab Emirates for one week, I would probably stay 4-5 nights in Dubai and then for 1-2 nights in Abu Dhabi.

By the way: Abu Dhabi and Dubai are not that far away from each other. So if you still cannot decide which place to visit you can just take a hop-on and hop-off bus to Abu Dhabi or to Dubai (review here) or take a taxi to get from one city to the other (about 80 kilometers). There is also a bus from Dubai to Abu Dhabi or the other way around.

Ready to book your next trip? Will you visit Dubai or Abu Dhabi? Or both 🙂

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Safe Travels! Arzo

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service (at no extra cost for you). More about it here.

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Abu Dhabi or Dubai – Which City the Better Place to Visit?

Abu Dhabi or Dubai? Which is the better city to visit? Find out which is the perfect destination for you. United Arab Emirates.

Abu Dhabi or Dubai? Which is the better city to visit? Find out which is the perfect destination for you. United Arab Emirates.

Abu Dhabi or Dubai – Which is the Better Place to Visit?

Check out the best prices for flightshotels I activities and tours in Dubai