It may play host to some of the most sparkling restaurants, lavish brunches and rabbit-warren of malls, but Abu Dhabi takes its sport very seriously. As well as being one of the best places to watch world-class athletes, visitors can also try out the facilities themselves. Here are the best places to work up a sweat.
Where International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City
What The shocking blue centre court is home to the annual Mudadala World Tennis Championship, showcasing the world’s best tennis players in late December. There are eight additional hard courts available to book between 7am-11pm on weekdays, and 6am-11pm on weekends for AED63 per hour, no membership required. The academy also offers lessons for those looking to improve their serve, prices start from AED168.
Where NYUAD Swimming Pool
What The Olympic-size swimming pool is located at the centre of the sprawling NYU Abu Dhabi campus. A new programme launched by iSwimNYUAD in September offers free access to the pool every Saturday morning between 9am-11am. Before you grab your swimsuit, you’ll need to register with iSwimNYUAD via their Facebook page.
Where The Dome
What As one of the most popular sports in the country, Abu Dhabi is not short of football pitches. The Dome lies in the heart of the city, featuring indoor and outdoor pitches laid with synthetic grass, that can be booked year-round. Prices start at AED150 per hour for a five-a-side outdoor pitch. The venue also hosts children’s birthday parties at AED80 per child.
Where Al Wathba Cycling Track
What Situated in the desert next to the camel race track, a 40-minute drive from the capital. It offers five different length loops, 8km, 16km, 20km, 22km and 30km. Coincide your ride with sunrise or sunset to see the route at its most scenic – and avoid the heat. If you don’t have your own bike, there are bike rentals like Yascycles available all over the city.
Where Saadiyat Beach Golf Club
What The 7,806-yard beachfront course, with a par of 72, has been designed to accommodate the local wildlife, so if you are lucky you may glimpse a mountain gazelle or dolphin from the course. A ‘Member for a Day’ experience is available for visitors, offering personalised lockers and bag tags, prices start at AED355.00.
Where Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club
What The Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club, is a sprawling facility with a horse bath, race course and show jumping grounds. The club has a riding school, offering lessons for the beginner to the more advanced. Prices start at AED60 for a 30-minute pony lesson.
Where Yas Marina Circuit
What The 5.5km track hosts the final race of the Formula 1 season in November. If you hold a full UAE driving licence, you can take a race car for a spin along one of the most demanding circuits in the world, with a twisty street style section and one of F1’s longest straights, priced at AED1,850.00. If you visit the circuit on a Sunday or Tuesday evening after 6pm you can also cycle, walk or run around the track free of charge when you register online.
Where Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium
What Named by ESPN as one of the world’s finest cricket grounds, the venue has been used by the England Cricket Board for winter training and hosted the Indian Premier League. There are five cricket ovals and net facilities available for hire, and coaching programmes available for children, aged four to 18 years, through the Zayed Cricket academy.