Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is sometimes upstaged by its neighbor, the uber glitzy Dubai, but that may be coming to an end as concerns about Dubai's debts grow. Abu Dhabi is expected to provide fiscal stability in the region, perhaps garnering more attention from tourists who prefer not worrying about the economic situation. And it can't hurt that Frommer's has named the city a top destination for 2010. Here are five things to do:
Get lost in a mosque : Visit Sheikh Zayed Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world. The Grand Mosque, as it is called by locals, is made of marble, stone, gold, semiprecious stones, crystals and ceramics. It is surrounded by lakes that reflect its image at night.
Tour an island : The 16-square-mile Saadiyat Island, just a few minutes outside the city, is being developed as a cultural, environmental and entertainment district. When it is completed in 2018, the island will have a Louvre and a Guggenheim museum, along with golf courses, hotels, residences, wetlands, marinas and more. A bridge to the island was completed last month and a visitors center is expected to open by year's end.
Stroll along the shore. : The "Corniche" is a waterfront area that's paralleled by a main road - sort of like a boardwalk. Visitors can bicycle, walk, skate or jog along the corniche, as well as shop or dine or take in entertainment.
Take in the beach : Known as the "island city," Abu Dhabi has some 250 miles of coastline. Beachgoers can swim, snorkel, play sports or just lie in the sun.
Stay in a palace : The Emirates Palace Hotel provides lodging for those with a taste for luxury. The sprawling hotel has a private beach, landscaped gardens, a dozen fountains, more than 1,000 chandeliers and uses pure edible gold to decorate its desserts.
More information: visitabudhabi.ae/en