By Simon Brandon
The capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) sits on an archipelago in the Persian Gulf, off the coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is extremely popular with expats, who make up 80 per cent of its population, and this is reflected in Abu Dhabi’s cultural diversity.
It never rains . . .
At just 75mm, the average annual rainfall in the desert would barely fill a coffee mug. The winter months are positively balmy, with an average temperature of 24C during the day from November to April. Things do hot up in the summer, with the mercury exceeding 40C, but buildings are fiercely air-conditioned to compensate.
When you have had your fill of beach life and desert safaris, Abu Dhabi is well positioned for global explorers: east Africa, Turkey, Greece and much of India are within five hours’ flying from the international airport, the second-largest in the UAE after Dubai.
Expats living and working in Abu Dhabi pay no income, capital gains or inheritance tax. And thanks to a tax treaty signed between the UAE and the UK in 2016, UK pension holders over the age of 55 living in the Emirates can withdraw the lot tax-free, provided they have resided in the UAE for at least five full tax years.
Abu Dhabi has been beefing up its cultural offerings. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque — one of the world’s largest — was completed in 2007. Last year, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the largest art museum on the Arabian peninsula and a sister to the Parisian landmark, opened its doors.
This sporting life
Golfers are spoilt for choice, with three pristine championship courses carved out of the peninsula’s sand dunes: Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and Yas Links Abu Dhabi. For those who prefer cars to clubs, Abu Dhabi has hosted a Formula One Grand Prix each November since 2009. Restless fans can take a supercar for a spin on the Yas Marina Circuit track in the meantime.
Photographs: Getty Images/iStockphoto; Dreamstime; Alamy