8 holiday ideas to try for travellers from Abu Dhabi airport
Time Out staff
With Etihad Airways improving its services, Time Out looks at the routes now accessible to Dubaians only through Abu Dhabi airport.
Last month Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad Airways opened the Etihad Travel Mall, located near Safa Park, which allows passengers to purchase tickets, check-in for flights, drop off baggage and board an express luxury coach bound for Abu Dhabi International Airport, where they can whizz straight to immigration and security on arrival.
With the UAE capital’s airport now easily accessible from our city, we’ve compiled the places you can visit from it – that you can’t get to from Dubai.
Almaty, Kazakhstan The former capital of Kazakhstan, Almaty is the country’s largest city. Head first to the National Museum for some essential background culture and then nip over the road to the breathtakingly impressive Presidential Palace. You can enter for a tour if the guards are about. If not then visit the Arbat. This is the artistic focal point and is a tree-lined pedestrian street with two main malls – TsUM and Silk Way Mall – with shops offering good imitations of western fashion brands. Flights with Etihad Airways and Air Astana cost around Dhs2,323.
Astana, Kazakhstan Located in the north, it is the second largest city in the country and has been its capital since 1998. It is home to an intriguing blend of old Soviet architecture with modern Dubai-style designs by the likes of Norman Foster. Head to the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation to get great views of the city and an insight into how it is developing a global reach – the venue holds a summit of all religions of the world every two to three years. Flights with Etihad Airways and Air Astana start from around Dhs2,770.
Berlin, Germany Since the wall fell in 1990, the German capital has risen to be one of the most interesting cities in Europe, with a vibrant nightlife and arts scene. Check out the usual spots such as Checkpoint Charlie, the Bundestag German parliament building and the Brandenburg gate, but also head to the new area of Alexanderplatz. Go for the Berlin Film Festival in February, or during summer while the chilly Russian winds hold off. Flights with Air Berlin or British Airways start from around Dhs2,533.
Brussels, Belgium The Belgian capital is routinely also considered the capital of the European Union and is a mix of French and Flemish influences. You can tour the best of Europe with a trip to Mini-Europe, a theme park which is home to scale models of famous structures from the continent.
After viewing the European Parliament, film buffs can head to the Musée du Cinéma/Filmmuseum, near Gare Centrale/Centraalstation, where you can see movies from the early classics to cult favourites. Petrolheads should also include a stop at Autoworld at Parc du Cinquantenaire/Jubelpark to view a range of cars through the ages. Flights with Etihad Airways and KLM start from around Dhs2,565.
Chengdu, China Located on the edge of the Red Basin in China’s Sichuan Province, its rich agricultural resources mean it has been dubbed the ‘Land of Milk and Honey’. Check out the Chengdu Panda Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, which is the biggest facility of this kind in the world and is worth the cost of the flight just to see these fascinating, but endangered, creatures. For some light relief, head to Happy Valley in Huanlegu, which is an amusement park with three roller coasters, water rides and an indoor sky-diving centre. Flights with Etihad Airways, Hainan Airlines and Air China start from around Dhs3,688.
Chicago, USA The Windy City is one of American’s biggest, and Dubai skyscraper fans will know it is home to three of the USA’s tallest towers. Another reason to make the move is the Lollapalooza festival taking place this year on Friday August 2 to Sunday 4 and will include the likes of The Cure and The Killers. Flights with Etihad Airways and KLM start form around Dhs4,675.
Minsk, Belarus Belarus’ capital and biggest city was destroyed during World War II and has been extensively rebuilt. Hot spots include the former residence of JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald and the KGB headquarters hidden among the main shopping streets of Praspiekt Niezalieznasci. Head out of town to Mir, a medieval castle about 85km from the city and a former residence for European nobility. Flights with Etihad Airways and Egyptair start from around Dhs3,388.
Nagoya, Japan Japan’s fourth largest city after Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka, Nagoya is one of the star attractions and even has its own museum of classic models. Its other major draw is the World Cosplay Summit, which is held in the city each year and brings together comic fans from around the world. Flights with Etihad Airways, Hainan Airlines and China Southern Airlines start from around Dhs4,883.