Fav Abu Dhabi spots

..Hey there..

long time no read!
Hope you are still up for more UAE insights 🙂

Today I´ll drop my FAV Abu Dhabi spots:

Top of the top: Pearls & Caviar @ Shangri-La 


yes.. unfortunately it is closed.. but wow.. i had the BEST nights with my crew over there.. insane views over the water towards the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the freshest breeze, the best tunes by my amazing friend Dj Kaboo and the most stunning moon light.
It makes me so sad knowing that this incredible place closed its doors and you guys will not have the chance to experience those memorable nights over there.
Writing this brief excerpt in honor of my fav place.

Same applause goes to my other hero: Eight @ Souq Al-Beri 


Top 6: Iris @ Yas Marina on Yas Island 

A beautiful outside seating, some stressed waiters, stunning views to the Yas Viceroy Hotel & the greatest 80s/90s parties.

We had some really cool nights over here.
The ride (45min from AD) is absolutely worth it – if you mingle with the right people and get the right tunes.

Top 5: Up & Below @ Courtyard by Marriott

Located in the famous World Trade Center, part of the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, one has the chance to oversee the whole beautiful city of Abu Dhabi.

They just opened up their doors and I IMMEDIATELY took the chance to celebrate my 24th Bday over there. Amazing night, special souls and one of the highlights: my MUM – came all the way from Portugal to celebrate this important night with me.
It is a beautiful spot with comfy outdoor seating, fresh drinks, attractive happy hour and delicious snacks. Worth a visit.


Top 4: Bu! @ WTC 

Another “hidden gem” on top of the WTC.


Delicious south American food, great and modern urban gardening seating, pricey drinks but an incredible Latin ambiance.
Came here to celebrate my 25th birthday and left incredibly happy.


Top 3: Relax 12 @ Aloft

One of the most special dance nights in Abu Dhabi! I had the happiest dance nights def. over here. Wow. Huge outdoor space, okish food & drinks and the view: i n c r e d i b l e.

clubbin aloft (1)
One looks right over to the 18° inclined Capital Gate Tower and is fascinated ONCE AGAIN about the beauty of this cosmopolitan city.


Top 2: Asia de Cuba @ St. Regis Corniche

A m a z i n g.

Asia de Cuba (3)
If you want to be close to the sea, smell the fresh ocean breeze, indulge in some Asian delicacies, dance to some Latino vibes – then this is the right place to be.
I heard Dj have changed throughout the years reason why I am not too sure if it remains as cool as it used to be “back in the days”.
I just truly enjoyed myself each and everytime we came here…


Top 1: Beach House @ Park Hyatt Saadiyat Abu Dhabi

My personal highlight.. Countless times we came here after our full-beach day.
The one and only: HUGO in town.

THE place for the typical, magical beach sunset. Some chillout music.. yummy tapas and the incredible ocean views.
The right place to unwind, to be grateful for the given and to celebrate life.


Another place I feel like mentioning is: Cabana Beach Bar & Grill @ St. Regis Corniche 

My better half and I came here for a pool day incl. a lunch break and once I even organized a romantic wedding proposal for a friend of mine. Other than that – I have never really treasured this place.

Until the day I was looking for THE spot for my grand farewell party.
I came and spoke to them about my idea and they made the impossible possible.

I got my own table set up right in front of the ocean; due to the weather conditions in December (yes – it gets pretty chilly) – they even got me some heating mantle and blankets for my dearest friends.
They served delicious food, a lovely farewell cake and literally made my night.
That night I knew exactly why I stayed in Abu Dhabi for 3 years:
It is beyond words what this city puts up and stands for.
An absolute grateful me left this beautiful city with a heart full of love.


Dates – a source of life


From an early age I associated dates with a dry and unpleasant “thing” (not even a fruit!). Wherever I was offered them in Europe, I either refused them straight away or pretended I was pleased to but then spat it out right after….


It was just not my style – at all. Then I moved to the UAE and to my (back then) distaste, those bloody “things” were offered on EACH AND EVERY CORNER… Either for check-in at the hotel lobbies of the sumptuous 5* hotels; at face-to-face meetings with partners or for trial in the supermarkets/souks.

..LESH? (“Why?” in Arabic)..

Rather than ignoring this active presence over here I decided to investigate a little more about it. This is what I found out:

The dates are widely seen as a tradition which have been kept for generations and therefore belong to the UAE’s heritage as well as identity. First and foremost, dates are the nourishing source – supplementing today’s diet – the foundation of “life” for more than 5000 years. The classic “Bedouin” diet consists of dates and camel milk, which keeps them going for miles and miles. The combination of those two is just everything a human body needs: The flesh of the date consists of 70% of sugar (invert sugar), is easily digestible, provides instant energy, restricts harmful bacterial activity, little fat and rich in Vitamins A, B & D. However, camel milk rounds it off with fat and Vitamin C.

Despite the nourishing facts, date palms were the shelter and shade giver nr. 1. You can make almost anything out of palm leaves – such as: food covers, baskets, fans, boats etc..


Contrary to popular belief there is not just a single date “category” but a couple of different sorts. There are over 44 million date palms in the UAE that can be grouped under 199 different varieties and together produce ca. 75,000 tonnes of fruit every year.

Khalas, Bari, Dabbas, Lulu, Fard are some of the names of those cultivated in the UAE; on the international market you will have heard of Ajwa, Madjool and Khalas.

The Middle Eastern climate is one of the best in the world for date cultivation, yet humidity levels are the most important aspect, and low humidity is required to grow larger dates. The different physical and chemical properties play a vital role in the price of dates, in addition to the different nutritional properties and the size, colour, thickness, softness, and sweetness.

..Same same?..


Once in the UAE definitely give them a try since the amazing taste and huge diversity will definitely surprise you!

During Ramadan you will have even more access to them but also for the National Day eg. You will be able to sample some at the Emirates Palace.

For more information and a “live experience”, feel free to attend the annual Date Festival in Liwa.


On another note: In case you are still looking for a souvenir – UAE Dates will definitely surprise your family and friends.
Either you check Carrefour for their regular or stuffed dates OR you spoil yourself with a luxurious date selection at “Bateel”.

For baking purposes help yourself with the “date syrup”; there is also “date sparkling” (no alcohol) and all kinds of different stuffed or chocolate-dipped dates!

Give them a try! It’s definitely worth it! 🙂

Breakfast spots TOP 5

yummy in my tummy…
Mhh…there is nothing better than a yummy breakfast on the weekend.
Yes, sure we have breakfast every day but we kind of cherish and celebrate it on the weekend.
Sleeping in is set to be the first weekend goal and the second is surely to have a good, nourishing breakfast. Treat yourself more often!

Below you will find my TOP 5 Breakfast spots in Abu Dhabi:


Shakespeare & Co. 

Shakespeare is a franchised company with almost 10 branches around Abu Dhabi.
Its old-fashioned furniture beams you back to the 18th century. It is known for its delicious breakfast combos and fair prices!

My favourite brekkie is the “Healthy” one which contains: Egg white omelette with herbs, roast potatoes and asparagus, fresh fruit salad, natural yoghurt, brown toast and honey, grapefruit juice and latte macchiato.
This whole package at AED 58 only.
BTW: My fav branch is the one on Saadiyat Island with a lovely outside seating in a hidden courtyard within the St. Regis Residences complex.
Third Place Café

Third place is a small but very cute spot located on the Corniche. It’s not only a great breakfast spot but also a place where you can hang out, relax, read a book, do your work or simply enjoy a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
Once you are here you have to try the smoothies! Simply delicious.
Actually I just realized that I always had those late, late breakfasts there – which kindly slip into a “lunch”. Therefore I suggest the Goats Cheese & Spinach salad. Delicious.At this spot you will also be able to sit outside and enjoy the Abu Dhabi breeze (if not during the hot summer months ;)).

Al-Ulya made its way straight into my heart once it opened its doors almost 2 years ago.
I still remember that I somehow spotted it somewhere on social media; but then they still did not have a food & drinking license since they were just arriving from Portugal.
Al-Ulya means “Loule” in Portuguese and is a town located in the south of Portugal with strong Arabic roots.
Kind as Portuguese always are – they opened their doors to give us a taste of Portugal and to check the future customers feedback. Obviously those treats were handed out for free – Kindness 🙂
It quickly became my second home – simply because it has all the delicious Portuguese dishes combined with the lovely Portuguese owners, completed by the Portuguese music as well as interior. From “pao com manteiga” (Bread with butter), “meia de leite” (Latte macchiato) over to “Natas” (custard tartlet) – you will get anything you would crave for.

Even if the seating is only inside; this spot is definitely worth visiting.

Byparkers is a fairly new spot located in the old Mushrif park (Umm Al Emarat Park). Lovely outside seating facing the greenery; and even if the weather does not allow you will not be disappointed by the creative interior.

This spot has so much modernism and still sticks to good ol’ quality food.
The menu is quite “Organic” and so delicious.
I loved the poached eggs with avocado crème on a baked sweet potato. Further I ordered a fresh orange juice which includes free refill. To compliment my brekkie I ordered the banoffee pancakes. OH MY GOODNESS: amazing. Absolutely fantastic. Loved it.
IMG_4510Unfortunately the portions (eggs, tacos, etc.) are not too big therefore you better order another main dish ;)Overall a great spot with lovely, dedicated and knowledgeable staff!

South African franchise Tasha’s is my personal number one! I just love everything about it… from the lovely location in Al Bateen Marina; the outside seating arrangement with the view; the stunning interior; the attentive staff and the delicious food.
I have to admit – once I am here I ALWAYS order the same. But I can’t help myself… I just love it! And whats so special about it: it is consistently good… Which is quite special for Abu Dhabi – where you sometimes get your dessert with or without cream although you did not change anything upon ordering… Sounds familiar?
I simply love the layered yoghurt with home-made granola and all kind of citrus fruits. Oh… I urgently need to satisfy my palate.
Of course other dishes are delicious, too. But definitely give my favourite a try…Well… certainly there are many other spots in our beautiful town – yet the above ones are my personal TOP 5 🙂

Give those a try as well…

PS: If you are into trying a hotel breakfast buffet I highly recommend the one at Rosewater in Jumeirah Etihad Towers…

Love letter to Abu Dhabi

Dear Abu Dhabi,
For quite a long time I have felt the strong desire to write you a letter – a LOVE letter, to be precise.

You might ask yourself why I felt the need to do so. A love letter? To a city?
Well, the thing is, you are not just a city to me…

Your International Airport is the door opener to a whole different world. It all starts at the “warm welcome” in immigration, led by the well-groomed officers in their white, perfectly-ironed Kandooras.
Somehow, a heavy burden falls immediately off your shoulders (and no, I don’t mean the 30kg luggage which is carried by the lovely porters) once you breathe the UAE spirit in.
modern tradition
The way from the airport (either by car or black, luxurious yet still “standard” taxi) to your centre makes one realize that you are the perfect combination of tradition and modernism.
You provide an incredible variety of attractions; activities; beauties; services and people.
To be honest, I do not even know where to start my long list of praise!..


Yes, you have a great waterpark; a stunning Formula1 race track; the fastest roller-coaster; the most palatial of all hotels; the stunning Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the biggest shopping malls but hey, this is definitely not all!

First and foremost you are the host of “happiness” – why?


No, not just because there is actually a “Ministry of Happiness”, but because you were built according to people’s needs.
..You make us feel at home, away from home!..
Everyone who is here finds their own kind of happiness by, for example, earning enough money to feed their families; strolling around shopping malls to get the latest fashion or simply to relax on the beach during the weekend.
Your streets enable camels in pick-ups and blondies in VW Polos to meet the biggest SUVs as well as the fastest Lamborghinis.


..marvellous Saadiyat Beach..

Endless beachfront; well-tempered, baby-blue and clean sea; balanced amount of algas and fish; delicate natural sand; jovial dolphin families; super amiable Bake-staff; delicious ice cream and comfortable sun beds.

Just one day over here makes up anything bad one might have experienced throughout the 55-hour work week!

I appreciate the lifestyle you provide!
..Boredom? Not-at-all-ever! Beach? Desert? Sun?..
You really have it all: from the jet-ski session behind Lulu Island; yoga in the park; relaxing deep tissue massages; late night basketball sessions with the dudes, to the exhausting bootcamps at 5h30 with Haddins.
The happy hours & ladies nights in the different rooftop bars; shisha-bars with a view; countless pool & island-party options; 180° bars near the waterfront are the perfect closing of the various international, gourmet or traditional, local dinner options.

Thanks to your incredibly huge variety of nationalities, you spoil us with the finest cuisine in all possible variations – from Indian, to French, over to Chinese and Moroccan which ensures that literally EVERYONE will find something suitable. Even for the “conscious eaters” you established many Organic Cafes in addition to cute waterfront coffee shops.

I love you because you make me feel warm, loved, respected and safe at all times.


Leaving bags unattended while grabbing some more food at the buffet; asking the waiter to charge the phone and getting a “tag” in return; dancing on my own in the club without getting harassed and revealing the debit card pin towards the petrol attendant make you stand out in comparison to any other city!
..with you everything seems so relaxed and easy…
The spontaneous off-road parking; the drive-through ATM on the way home; the affordable taxi drives; the natural rounding off at the cashier due to the lack of change; the delivery of McDonalds; pick-up of the dry-cleaning laundry at 23h00 or the helpful Baqala attendant who gets me the missing onion while I can continue chopping the meat.
You are the stable bridge between a “low-key” and a “high-level” lifestyle.
Not all of us earn a huge amount of money over here – yet from time to time we are able to pamper ourselves with an exclusive high-tea on the 70th floor; the much-needed mani-pedi or a quick getaway to the fancy desert hotel nearby.
You make me literally feel like a Princess whenever you spoil me with the sumptuous places; worryless lonely walks during night time; preferential treatment in queues, public transportation as well as waiting areas; stunning views supplemented by the services (like valet parking; butler service; shopping packer  etc.) with the greatest attitude instead of awaiting to be tipped.
You make me happy with your stunning sunsets; the pleasant outside temperatures at night-time while dancing to the best songs; the dips in the warm sea and the people you connected me with. 
You surprise me with your forward-thinking, conveyed by SMS from the Ministry of Interior; the instant print out of the drivers license; the chilled bus station; the free wi-fi connections in the most rural corners; the convenient E-Gate at the airport; the instant messaging & transfers by the bank; which clash with the missing mail addresses; illogical approach in many areas and the common “lack of common sense”.
..You are the link between all of us..
The leading example for a tolerant, peaceful co-existence between over 80 nationalities.
You taught me so much about people and awoke my interest in different cultures as well as religions.
You and your cosmopolitan attitude deserve recognition. Contrary to the wide spread rumours you tolerate other dresscodes; merge highly diverse groups of people; provide everyone with the basic needs and make us residents but also tourists feel welcome.


Because of you I have learned to appreciate every single given moment – I have learned not to take anything for granted; to be thankful for what I have.


..Love isn’t always pure and baby-rosa – of course there are days that I “hate” you..

Sometimes it’s simply too hot, too sticky, too humid. The daily struggle at work or even in private life due to the multicultural environment is very real!
The high cost for a small, average-quality smoothie or the 15min delay due to the taxi drivers’ poor language and orientation skills can be depressing.
The lack of information and communication in the shopping mall or via call centres gets on ones nerves.  The promised-but-still-pending call backs; the wide-spread “no problem!” (which clearly prepares one for a bigger problem) and the “well-equipped” but often clueless maintenance guys make me go CRAZY.
But like in every good relationship, one has to learn how to deal with and make the best out of it (even if your inner anger screams to be let out 🙂 )
I really want you to know how proud I am for what you’ve achieved within a rather small time frame and especially what you did for me in the past 3 years.

I thank you for from the bottom of my heart for connecting me with the people I now call “friends” and for deepening the relationship with my better half.
love you abu dhabi

You’ve provided and contributed to countless happy moments; unbelievable situations; unforgettable stories; stunning pictures; deeply felt gratitude as well as LOVE.
Thank you, Abu Dhabi, for being simply you.

Good to know

…Top 5+!
Abu Dhabi and Dubai are becoming more and more popular as a destination, especially during Europe’s winter months – sure, where else can you get a nice tan in March?
To answer the most frequent, clichéd questions, I’ve put together the
“Top 5+ Good to know” (click on the links to get even more Information!).

1. Moving around

The most common way to move around is definitely by taxi. Contrary to the popular belief that taxi rides are bound to exorbitant prices, in the UAE it is more than affordable.
Everyone moves around by taxi: from the Expat to the Tourist.
It’s fast, clean, registered and safe (beside their slight crazy driving styles from time to time).
Unlike in other Arabic countries you cannot bargain your taxi price in the UAE.
It is a fixed taxi meter which starts from AED 3,50 and increases in 25fils increments.
If the meter is not running properly, the ride is free of charge. 😉

At the airport some random drivers will try to convince you to join them – but watch out, it’s not legal.
Take the black (yes, they look very fancy) taxis with professional driver which start from AED 25.-.
Since a year those are the only legal taxis for an airport-city one way-trip – those taxis have to leave the city empty and return to their starting point: the airport.
The other taxis (greyish) will take you TO but not FROM the airport.
Curiosities (4)

I would not book an expensive shuttle organized by the hotel since it’s a common and safe way to move around with the taxi.
In Dubai the taxi drivers are not as knowledgeable as Abu Dhabi drivers… you better know roughly where you want to go.

…“ok, ok no problem” is the typical reaction but watch out that he takes you to Burj Khalifa Dubai instead of Eiffel Tower Paris…

Also keep in mind that all taxis are only payable by cash, never by credit card. By cash I mean AED 20 to MAX AED 50 notes otherwise those poor guys will not have change for you.
As mentioned, the taxis are clean, drivers wear uniforms and some cars are even equipped with screens and wi-fi!


Alternatively you can rent a car since it is more than affordable! More or less EUR 20.- per day plus fuel AED 15.-. It only gets cheaper in Oman…

Fun fact: there are no addresses like in any other country.. you guide yourself and the taxi driver through “landmarks” (“Hamdan Str. Corner Najda, near National Cinema Building”).

2. Tip & Service Charge
In Abu Dhabi´s Bars & Restaurants you will find prices including or excluding “10% service charge”. Either way, in the end, it will be included in your bill.
The service charge is fairly distributed among all team members with the monthly cheque – not only the waiters but also the cleaners, cooks etc. therefore there is no need to add additional tip onto your final check.
Actually there are many proofs out there that it is not “healthy” to “overfeed” waiters etc. during your vacation.
Sure, it is your vacation and you are in a good mood but those people work there every day – the more you give, the more they expect from other travellers.
In the end they do literally expect you to tip them higher.
..don’t spoil them..
Eg. Algarve, Portugal – many years ago the Portuguese waiters were just kind, cheerful and loved their job – in the end, they got the “20cent” which were left behind in the small espresso saucer and it was fine.
Nowadays they stand partly next to you while settling up and expect you to tip them high. Sometimes you even here comments like “You a Swiss, you have money anyways” or “you Germans, you have more than us here”.
Why? Among others, it’s def. due to the traveller’s overacted behaviour!
One last thing, for Butler, Pool boys and Valets applies the same – obviously, you are always welcome to tip a bit but in general all those “luxurious” services are included in the UAE…
It´s not Europe where every single nice gesture is accompanied by a check 😉

3. Dress code

Typical rumour topic! 😉
Everyone hesitates before packing their bags for Abu Dhabi…

What’s the dress code? “I heard…”

Generally Abu Dhabi became very open and is the perfect place where tradition meets modernism.
Feel free to wear skirts, t-shirts, tops & dresses. If you use your common sense when talking about “length” – it will be more than fine.

Even short pants are alright – just do not overdo this.
Bikinis are welcome on the beach or pools – no need to buy a “swimsuit” for your UAE trip!

For males the dress code is even easier BUT for the evening it has to be any kind of shirt and closed shoes. Restaurants, Bars & Clubs will deny you the access if you appear in your Bermudas and flip flops.
During the hot months you will be more than grateful to be able to wear light and short clothes!
During the chilly months, don’t forget your cardigan – for the shopping malls you will also need your light pullover in order to withstand the strong AC winds.
For two occasions you will have to wear long-sleeves and cover yourself a bit more.
During the holy month of Ramadan and if you want to visit a mosque from the inside.
This should be respected and it will not harm you at all to adapt in these few cases.
4. Eat and Drink?
All restaurants, bars and clubs are located in hotels due to the expensive “drinking license” which they have to obtain before being able to pour out drinks.
Don´t worry – prices are not exorbitant – it is simply normal to go to the normally “posh” hotels.
In Europe you only step into 5* for Granny’s Brunch or Graduation Ball.
Referring to Brunch… Friday Brunch is very popular but not comparable to the classy European Brunch..
Check the offers of the posh hotels and you will be blown away where their focus is on…
..oh yes it´s ladies night..
Something which also no one believes: every night you will find a range of nice “ladies nights” in the city where ladies drink totally for free for certain hours or even throughout the whole night.. yes, in Abu Dhabi and in Dubai – unbelievable… 😉

In Abu Dhabi you do only have 2 locations which serve alcoholic beverages and are NOT situated in a hotel (Club MAD and Restaurant Pacifico Tikki).
Nevertheless you will be able to find an affordable local, nice restaurant where you can enjoy a full rice platter and some juicy chicken for little money! Enjoy it…
5. Desert Safari Bookings?
Travel agencies in your home country will try to sell expensive excursions; rather inform yourself upon arrival and go with a local partner – your hotel concierge will be able to help you out!

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Sad Nation..?!

..ya, totally – NOT.

Rumor has it that the United Arab Emirates are a sad, boring and very strict country. Well, in reality especially Dubai and Abu Dhabi have more weekend activities to offer than what I got offered back in Europe.


Please see below the most popular upcoming events (most of them are even free of charge!) in Abu Dhabi:


Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival (Dec-Jan)


Abu Dhabi Classics (Oct-May)


AbuDhabiDanceFestival (Jan)


Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship (Jan)


Red Bull Air Race World Championship (Feb)


Chinese New Year (Feb)


Venetian Village Festival (Mar)


Open Air Cinemas @Sheraton, @Dusit Thani & @Intercontinental


Concerts & Shows @Emirates Palace and @National Theatre (Mar-Apr)


Mother of the National Festival (Mar)


Brauhaus Springfest (Apr)


IFTAR @diverse hotels in the city


Concerts @DU Arena


Brauhaus Octoberfest (Oct)


Taste of Abu Dhabi (Nov)


Formula 1 (Nov)


National Day Celebrations (Dec)


Abu Dhabi Food Festival (Dec)


Emirates Palace Tree Lighting (Dec)


Swiss Christmas Market @Beach Rotana (Dec)

Many ask me if there is f.eg. ‘Christmas’ in the UAE.
Yes, there is – this tolerant country tries to cater all our individual needs and habits! From Christmas, Chinese New Year, National Day to Diwali! 🙂

Here, it’s all about us! ❤

Dubai – more to see, eat, drink & do

..one post is not enough!

In my previous post I elaborated “the perfect day trip to Dubai”. Obviously this city has so much more to offer so one day only is almost not enough.. In the following post I will just quickly enumerate some more attractions, actions and dining experiences to round off your Dubai experience. These are just “elements” which you can incorporate into your personal plan according to your interests, budget and time frame.


Bar Level 43 @ Four Points by Sheraton Sheikh Zayed


Dubai Miracle Garden


Global Village


Chillout Dubai


Souq Madinat Jumeirah


Sunsets @ Old Dubai


JBR Walk


Beachin’ @Kite Beach


Cruisin’ around


Skyscraper by night


Win Victory Love


Milkshake @ IceLab


City Walk Dubai

..and many many more! Go & explore!..

Fake Place

..I don’t want to hear it anymore.. 

Why is it a fake place? Why an artificially raised metropolis?

Did your home countries simply exist? All of a sudden? No, they were also built. The main difference is that this happened way earlier than here in the UAE.
What’s so bad about that?
In fact I do see it as a great chance to implement all “successful” or “unsuccessful” things of other countries right from the beginning.  The UAE is actively being shaped according to people’s needs and yes, even exceeding it from time to time.
Of course, the UAE is well known for its record breaking buildings, malls and other kind of achievements within a small time frame but definitely not limited to this!

Quoting His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE – “what makes us proud is not the height of our buildings but rather the openness and tolerance of our nation” – which I totally agree with!
Rather than focusing on World Records we should highlight the fact that we all live here together in peace and safety.
This is a great gift, keeping in mind the hatred and fights which are surrounding us nowadays!

But now, let’s have a look at the “fake city”:

1. Saadiyat Beach 


“People are paid to distribute diverse shells and stones among Saadiyat Beach” – NOT.
Saadiyat Beach is a beautiful, natural beach with amazing waves and stunning different kind of shells.
If you are lucky enough you might even be able to see dolphins, turtles, rays & crabs:


Spot the ray!

2. Desert 


“Everyday tons and tons of sand are shoveled all over the place” – NOT.
Liwa Desert for e.g. is beautiful! It offers high, endless dunes which you are able to access by feet or 4×4. Don’t even try to crest it with your “regular” car – it will def. not work! Desert rule: never go alone! The best way to enjoy a desert camping or BBQ is to drive in with 2/3 cars – be ready to be helped and to actively help whenever someone is in need & stuck in the sand. Follow the Local’s example.


If you are visiting feel free to book one of the organized “Desert Safaris” which include pick-up/drop-off from/to the hotel; camel farm stop; dune bashing; sun downer; sand boarding; belly dance show; desert BBQ; shisha; henna painting; Arabic coffee & dates and upon extra charge you may even get the quad experience.
Never (!) book this through your agency back home since they will get their commission on it. Rather book it with local partners like for e.g. Desert Rose at around AED 250 p.P..

3. Eastern Mangroves 


I cannot even think of a potential “rumor” why the Eastern Mangroves should be fake.. They def. are not.
The best way to explore this natural reserve is by Kayak. The Kayak Tour takes up to 2h, costs around AED 160 p.P. includes a snack and a stop on a small sandbank. I did mine with Noukhada and was more than happy with their service – departure point: Anantara Eastern Mangroves.

4. Al Wathba Wetland Reserve


“Every day these flamingos are dropped off at 9h and picked up at 17h” – NOT.
This place is just lovely. To reach Al Wathba you have to calculate an hour drive from AD city center (between Baniyas, Mussafah and Al Ain Truck Road) .
You will find lovely walking trails alongside different plants and over hundred birds. My favorite spot is the bird hide which provides close view to the free-roaming Flamingos.
Al Wathba Wetland Reserve is an ecologically sensitive area therefore the visiting hours are quite limited: Thursdays and Saturdays from 8.00am to 2.00pm – free entrance.

5. Jebel Hafeet


“This is an artificially built mountain” – NOT.
Jebel Hafeet is one of the tallest mountains we have with its 1240m. It’s worth a drive or a cycle up to enjoy a tremendous view over Al Ain.
Enjoy a coffee or a shisha at the Mercure Jebel Hafeet Hotel and absorb this moment to the max.

…soooo Fake?… 😉 


Doha, Qatar


One of my first trips within the “Middle East” was a trip to Doha, Qatar.
Beforehand I heard several comments like “why? It’s boring” and “stay in Abu Dhabi, Doha is not worth a visit” – comments by whom? Of course, people who did not even go themselves – the REAL experts! 😉

As usual, these comments did change my mind and so I booked a flight from Abu Dhabi to Doha.

Distance: less than 1h by plane (AUH-DOH)
Ideal stay: weekend trip
Temperature: depending on season, between 14ºC and 42ºC

..Doha is..if your flight from Abu Dhabi lasts 30min and you queue 1h at Immigration..

The flight timings with Etihad are just perfect for a weekend getaway. You fly to Doha on Thursday after work (17h55 or 21h40) and fly back to Abu Dhabi Saturday evening (22h45).

Upon arrival you will have to be a little patient while queuing at Immigration as well as pay QAR 100.- for your tourist visa (payment by credit card is more than fine!).
The easiest way to explore Doha is definitely by car since blue taxis are quite rare (=our experience + stressed by locals). Another convenient way to move around is UBER.

We’ve stayed at the “fancy” W-Doha but I believe the Kempinski Marsa Malaz, the Sheraton and the Intercontinental would do, too (depending on your budget!).

After the hotel check-in we just relaxed and had a quick bite via room service. Club sandwich is definitely one of the BEST choices of every hotel’s room service menu.

Day 1
The next day we decided to take a walk to the nearby mall and ended up at the Corniche with our “breakfast to go” by Carrefour.

Kindly keep in mind that Friday is a weekly holiday therefore you might have difficulties in finding open shops during morning time. The city comes to life from 18h onwards!

The best way to “cross” the bay from “new town” to “old town” is by traditional dhow. You can simply approach one of the providers at the port and enjoy the amazing view over Doha’s skyline.

Never book tours, services and rental cars in advance – go with the local provider & bargain


On “the other side” you will find the amazing Museum of Islamic Art which will keep you busy for a few hours. Did you know that almost all museums in the Middle East are free of charge because as per the Governmental’s perception, culture should be accessible by everyone? Great approach!

Once you are done (or at least physically exhausted) you can walk over to the famous and gorgeous Souq Waqif.
Here you will be able to find everything you might be looking for..from the handcrafted traditional art pieces, souvenirs, fresh juice, foreign (but also local) people, up to an enchanting, unique place to eat.


For dinner I do highly recommend Parisa which serves Persian Cuisine and glows with its incredible atmosphere.
Afterwards you could either stroll around the Souq or enjoy a drink in Sky View. Great outdoor seating with splendid view!

Day 2
On the second day you either continue to explore the cities’ museums (National Museum of Qatar and MATHAF – Arab Museum of Modern Art) or you start your journey on THE PEARL with a delicious breakfast at Eggspectation.


The Pearl consists of different cosy coffee shops, a long promenade, various shops and a “Venetian village” – go and explore it!

Once you are done take a walk through Katara Cultural Village. Online you will be able to see what kind of events or shows are on! I was lucky to see the traditional Dhow Festival.

Yes, there I am..the Blondie in the middle of the scenario! And guess what, no one cared – no one came too close or tried to annoy me. Why? Because as I told you the Middle Eastern world is different to other Arabic countries. Here Women rate high in society and especially foreigners are treated with the utmost respect.

We were looking for a particular restaurant and encountered a very friendly, helpful Local who gave us a great personal recommendation for Lunch – Mamig (Authentic Armanian Lebanese Cuisine) with a spectacular outdoor seating:


If you feel like spending some money on your next wardrobe item I would recommend you to go to Villagio (yes, again Venetian-style). We helped ourselves with a Frozen Yoghurt and walked over to The Torch. It’s a stunning, iconic hotel which reaches 300m high and offers a 360ºC city view (football fans can enjoy the view over the newly built football stadium).
The Torch is surrounded by the Aspire park. The park offers some food stalls, fake birds’ twittering and a relaxing lake view from the hills.

This is actually how our trip ended. We sat there, enjoyed our last Doha-breaths and went straight to the airport.

As said, next time I would rather rent a car or take UBER instead of having the taxi struggle but other than that I would re-do our trip just the way it was!

Bear in mind that Qatar is slightly more traditional than Abu Dhabi in regards to dress code and street behavior. I felt super safe, comfortable at all times and do highly recommend you to visit this lovely country soon 🙂



Abu Dhabi & Dubai = same same?!

“So how is your life in Dubai?” – “Well, I live in Abu Dhabi…” 

A comment which I am more than familiar with.
Ok, I understand that DUBAI is slightly more famous due to media/marketing and its breaking records…but hey, guess what, ABU DHABI is the capital of the UAE, not Dubai!

“Ah ok, same same – somewhere in the desert” 

Well, not really “same same”!


Skyline Abu Dhabi

My Abu Dhabi is the perfect mix of new buildings, malls, beaches, restaurants & greenery, nature, tranquility and coziness. It is the largest of the seven Emirates as well as the Capital of the UAE.
If you really want you will find everything you need in this beautiful city.


Skyline Dubai

However Dubai is well-known for its record breaking buildings (eg. Burj Khalifa); giant shopping malls; surreal attractions; busy nightlife and great open-mindedness towards the Western world.

Many people emphasize the “competition” between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. From my point of view they actually compliment each other very well – especially for visitors but also us residents! Where else would you find such diversity within 1.5h drive?
What was that again about a “boring sandpit”? 😉