Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island has been the capital’s home of leisure and entertainment for over a decade.
Bringing together an exciting mix of family theme park entertainment, adrenaline sports and a vibrant dining and nightlife scene, we’re going to share with you everything there is to know about Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island.
Situated immediately adjacent to Abu Dhabi’s International Airport and less than an hour from Dubai, it’s no wonder it’s a favourite stopping point for international stopover passengers, theme park fans, and adrenaline junkies – even if you’ve only got 1-day to explore Abu Dhabi.
- The Yas Island Theme Parks
- Motor Sports on Yas Island
- Other attractions on Yas Island
- How to Get to Yas Island and the Yas Theme Parks
- Where to Stay on Yas Island
The Yas Island Theme Parks
One of the focal attractions for visitors to Yas Island is the lineup of award-winning theme parks;
Let’s take a little look at what you can expect to find at each:
Voted as the Middle East’s leading water park for the past four years(1), this Emirati-themed water park includes a sensational 40+ rides and attractions. We love that it caters to all age groups, from tots with covered play areas and slides to some serious adrenaline-pumping rides.
There are water park favourites to be found, from the wave pool to the lazy river with several slides and rides unique to Yas Waterworld. Thrill-seekers will love the Slithers Slides, the Sebag racing lanes, Jebel Drop, and a straight drop down in the Liwa Loop.
There are family and group rides, too, like the Falcons Falaj and Dawamma, the world’s largest tornado water coaster! Don’t miss the 5D Cinesplash show to top off your water-based experience – ideal whatever the season, even in the peak of summer, it’s bearable in the water!
NB do expect Yas Waterworld to close temporarily for 2-4 weeks for annual maintenance in January/February.
Home to some of the fastest rides in the world – including the World’s Fastest Roller Coaster, Formula Rossa – this is where the adrenaline junkies are headed.
It’s a great place to enjoy endless hours of rollercoaster fun and simulator experiences, as well as live shows and plenty of themed dining options.
Additional adrenaline activities have been added to the lineup since opening in 2010, including a rooftop walk and zipline experience (additional to the entry fee).
The extension of the park in 2020 to also include a Family Zone makes Ferrari World accessible to a much wider age group, with several replica rides made just for the little ones under 1.2 metres tall.
Everything is, of course, Ferrari-themed in this entirely indoor action theme park, attached to the Yas Mall complex in the centre of the island.
Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi
Boasting 29 rides, attractions and entertaining shows, this entirely indoor theme park – now the largest in the world – is an absolute family crowd-pleaser.
You will find cartoon favourites from your childhood, from the Jetsons to the Flintstones and Scooby-Doo to DC comic book heroes wandering the streets of Metropolis and Gotham City.
You can grab autographs and photo ops with your favourite characters throughout the day, see live performances and enjoy endless rides as the park remains largely crowd and queue free.
Warner Bros will best suit your kids of 4 years+ or over 1.1 metres tall, though there are a handful of attractions little ones can join in.
SeaWorld Yas Island
The region’s first marine life theme park (oddly not built next to the Gulf or any waterway that surrounds the city) opened its doors to the public in Spring 2023.
Explore eight exciting realms from the Arctic to the tropics in this immersive theme park experience telling the story of “One Ocean” that connects us all. You’ll find over 100 animal experiences and presentations, as well as up-close animal encounters and expeditions.
The centrepiece is the world’s largest aquarium tank, towering over 5 floors and holding an incredible 58 million litres of water.
SeaWorld Abu Dhabi is home to over 15 interactive experiences and rides, more than 20 live characters and performances, 17 dining options, 13 retail outlets, and roaming entertainment across all realms.
Open daily 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, this fabulous new theme park has something for all ages to enjoy, from the tiniest tots to thrill-seekers. You’ll find charterer meet and greets, dining, and retail outlets all on-site.
Looking for more Theme Parks in the UAE?
The theme park fun in the UAE doesn’t stop at Yas Island. You are only about 45 minutes away from Yas Island to the border with Dubai emirate, where you will find the extensive Dubai Parks & Resorts theme park complex. Home to three exciting adventure parks for families and thrill-seekers:
- LEGOLAND Dubai
- LEGOLAND Dubai Water Park
- Motiongate Dubai
You could easily tackle the Dubai theme parks on a day trip from Yas Island. Check out pricing for a 2-park pass here. (NB Bollywood closed in spring 2023; we await news of what will happen to this former site).
Further afield in Dubai, a bit over an hour’s drive away, you may also be interested in
These are all reviewed in much more detail over on our partner Dubai Travel Planner website, where you’ll find a detailed comparison guide to the best water parks in Dubai.
Motor Sports on Yas Island
The first integral part of Yas Island to open was the Yas Marina Circuit (YMC).
Abu Dhabi’s YMC has been hosting the season closer of the Grand Prix since 2009. It’s always a spectacular event for the city with a huge party atmosphere; it’s the biggest annual event hosted on Yas Island and in Abu Dhabi emirate. Attracting tens of thousands of international visitors each year in November, it’s truly an event no motorsports fan will want to miss.
- You can learn more about 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ticket packages here (YMC Official Site).
- Learn more about all the exciting Grand Prix Brunches, after-parties and events around town.
Other Experiences at Yas Marina Circuit
Outside of Grand Prix season, there’s still plenty that takes place at the track year-round and ways you can get involved, even test your own motoring skills. For just a taster, we suggest:
- Our favourite way to simply experience the Grand Prix track is to take part in TrainYas. Entry to the track is free every Monday and Wednesday evening 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM. You can cycle, jog or walk, with some free bikes being provided, first-come-first-served, bring your own or pay a little more for a better quality hire bike.
- Test your own driving skills; you can do a lap of the track with Formula 3000 Driving Experiences (over 18s and need to be between 160cm and 188cm).
- If you’re after something for the slightly younger ones or not quite ready for the full track experience, try the Yas Marina KartZone at Yas Central? Not quite GP level but definitely enough to get your heart pumping.
- Even more sedate? Then try a behind-the-scenes tour of Yas Marina Circuit will certainly pique your interest if you’re travelling out of season.
What Other Attractions Are on Yas Island?
OK, let’s go beyond the race track and theme park to see why it’s worth sticking around Yas Island for far more leisure and entertainment.
The new kid on the block opened in December 2021 and has brought a whole new array of dining and nightlife options to Abu Dhabi. Yas Bay waterfront offers over a dozen dining venues, including Café Del Mar Beach Club and the state-of-the-art multi-purpose venue Etihad Arena – see the lineup of events here.
Nestled in amongst the race track, you will find the exclusive Yas Marina. Not only berths for luxury yachts but plenty of dining and nightlife options can also be found here too. A popular launch spot for cruises and private charter yachts, it’s a real hub of activity on evenings and weekends.
This 18-hole links golf course can be found between the hotel plaza and the theme parks. With a spectacular waterfront setting, Yas Links is the new home to the HSBC Golf Championships, held in January. There’s also Hickory’s restaurant here for a full family day out and a 9-hole par three-course if you’re short on time.
Yas Acres Golf & Country Club
The latest entertainment addition to Yas Island, the Yas Acres Golf and Country Club offers not just sporting opportunities for visitors but access to fabulous new leisure facilities, including padel courts and a lap pool, alongside several new restaurants jumping onto the Abu Dhabi dining scene.
Often rated as one of the best beaches in Abu Dhabi regarding facilities, this land beachfront provides the perfect spot to relax in the sun. Free to guests staying at any of the Yas hotels, it can easily be accessed by shuttle bus from key locations around the island. Day guests can also pay for the use of the facilities of Yas Beach, or even book private cabanas.
CLYMB Abu Dhabi
Proudly holding the title of the largest indoor sky diving chamber in the world and home to the world’s tallest indoor climbing wall, SUMMYT, CYLMB Abu Dhabi is a real treat for adrenaline junkies and visitors who like to stay active even over the summer months.
Parks and Recreation on Yas Island
In addition to open night at the track, several spots around the park have been designed for recreation purposes.
Yas Gateway Parks (North & South) are set aside for Grand Prix parking just once a year. For the remaining 51 weeks, they’re open park venues with play park facilities, BBQs and sports tracks.
You’ll find The Waves and The Sands recreation areas close to Yas Bay, including a skatepark, sports courts, grassed areas and a waterfront promenade.
Shopping – Yas Mall
Last but not least, sitting at the centre of the island is Yas Mall. Abu Dhabi and the UAE certainly know how to do shopping malls, and indoor entertainment and Yas Mall is no exception.
Home to, of course, shopping with 370 stores from hypermarkets through to high-end luxury boutiques. There’s plenty of indoor entertainment here, particularly for families, with a huge VOX cinema, Fun Works, Kidzania Abu Dhabi, AirManiax and Pop in & Play LEGO centre.
Attached to the mall, as we mentioned earlier, are Ferrari World and CLYMB Abu Dhabi.
Dining is a big deal here, too, home to Black Tap, Cheesecake Factory, Al Fanar, and P.F Chang’s, to name but a few.
(NB, restaurants in Yas Mall are not licensed to serve alcohol, but Yas Marina and Yas Bay are, as well as all the hotels)
How to Get to Yas Island and the Yas Theme Parks
There are a few ways to get to Yas Island, depending on where you’re setting out from:
Dubai to Yas Island
Yas Island is around a 50-minute to 1.5-hour journey from Dubai, depending on your starting point.
Free Yas Express shuttle
If you hold theme park tickets to any Yas theme parks, you can take your place on board a free daily shuttle service from Dubai.
The two daily services depart at 11:00 AM from
- Y6 Route Deira City Centre (entrance beside Aloft Hotel) – Journey time approximately 2 hours
- Y7 Route Ibn Battuta Mall (entrance beside Aloft Hotel) – Journey time approximately 1 hour, 20 minutes
The return buses leave from Ferrari World, then make a pick-up at WB World/Yas Waterworld 10 minutes later:
- Y6 Route back to Deira City Centre 8:00 PM
- Y7 Route back to Ibn Battuta Mall 7:30 PM
Public Bus from Dubai to Yas Island
There is a combination of Metro and buses you can take from Dubai to Yas Island if you are solely dependent on public transport.
- First, get yourself to Ibn Battuta on the red line metro.
- The intercity bus Route 101 from Ibn Battuta Bus Station to Abu Dhabi Bus Station (Al Wadha) leaves every 30 minutes and takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes. This costs 25 AED per person, payable on Nol.
- From Al Wadha, take the Abu Dhabi Bus Route 190 to Yas Island, which departs hourly. This costs 6 AED per person; you will need a local Abu Dhabi transport card, Hafilat, not Nol.
Taxies and Transfer Services to Yas Island
If Dubai’s public and shared transport options don’t work with your timings, then consider taking a taxi or hiring a driving service – some can even include your theme park tickets!
- Depending on where you set out from, a metered taxi from Dubai to Yas Island can cost around AED 250.
- This private driver option from Dubai includes your entry tickets to your choice of theme park
- This transfer service includes a full-day tour of Abu Dhabi before visiting Ferrari World
Self Drive & Park on Yas Island
Got your own wheels, or are you happy to hire a car? The easiest way to get to Yas Island is to drive. There is free parking available at all the theme parks and venues we’ve listed here.
- WB World has a multi-deck car park, but it’s a bit of a hike to the entrance. If you are also visiting Yas Waterworld, we suggest following the parking signs for Yas Waterworld, and you can easily zip between the two theme parks on foot.
- For Ferrari World and CLYMB, you can park in any of the Yas Mall car parks, like for signs to the dedicated Ferrari World parking for the closest spots.
- Visiting other parts of Yas Island, you will have no problems self-parking at Yas Bay, with plenty of free public car parking spots available at The Waterfront, car parks 1 & 2. Do be mindful of any large events at Etihad Arena; they may put you in overflow parking much further away to ease traffic congestion.
- Likewise, for the Grand Prix, you can only self-park near the venue if you have arranged parking with your Grand Prix tickets. Most patrons park in Yas Gateway parks North & South, then take a shuttle into the venue.
Getting Around Yas Island
Getting around Yas Island is made easy for guests without their own vehicles with complimentary shuttle services. There are 5 Abu Dhabi routes that run between key locations, including the hotels, Yas Bay, Yas Marina, Yas Mall and the theme parks.
How to get to Yas Island by bus from Abu Dhabi
Just as above, from Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station, you can catch the 190, which will loop around Saadiyat Island and drop you to the front of Ferrari World.
If you are coming from the Airport, local bus service A19 leaves once an hour and stops at Ferrari World/Yas Mall and Yas Waterworld.
Alternatively, a taxi is an easy way to get a group there. You are looking at AED 45 coming straight from the airport AUH (as there is an AED 25 airport taxi flagfall) or approximately AED 60-80 coming from the Corniche.
Seasonal Option to Yas Island – Yas Bay Water Taxi
A water taxi service has been launched if you are visiting Yas Island from the nearby Al Raha Beach neighbourhoods.
The initial pilot stage was run by Yellow Boats in the spring of 2022, replaced in late 2022 by a water taxi operated by Abu Dhabi Maritime.
This new water taxi service is presently only operating from Yas Bay to Yas Marina and Al Bandar once per hour. Stops are touted for Al Zeina and Al Muneera but are not presently open.
No need to book (though the option is now available to book online); this is a first come service which you pay on board (AED 10 for a one-way trip (kids free) or AED 20 for a return (kids AED 5).
Where to Stay on Yas Island
Yas Island offers visitors a great range of hotels to suit budgets across several key locations. These are all connected by the Yas Express shuttle bus service, free to guests on the island.
There is a main hotel plaza within walking distance of the Grand Prix track, then three standalone hotels at key locations; these are:
- The WB Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton – this brand new opening is ideal for theme park fans visiting Yas Island. It is situated immediately between Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld. Offering a pool and themed restaurant as well as suite rooms for larger families, you’re in for a real treat.
- Hilton Abu Dhabi, Yas Island – with a commanding view over Yas Bay, this new 5-star offering will put you right in the centre of the action for Yas with a great pool and plenty of dining and entertainment options right on your doorstep.
- W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island – (previously known as the Yas Viceroy and then Yas Hotel) is a unique hotel for the city, sitting straddled over the Grand Prix track. It offers sensational race track and marina views with a swanky rooftop pool, one of the city’s coolest hotel offerings.
Yas Plaza Hotels
The original Yas Plaza hotels were built alongside the Yas Marina Circuit construction, so they’re a little older than the shiny new offerings, but nonetheless offer excellent accommodation with several budget choices that can still access all the great facilities of the other hotels.
- Yas Island Rotana
- Centro Yas Island – by Rotana
- Radisson Blu Hotel, Abu Dhabi Yas Island
- Park Inn by Radisson Abu Dhabi Yas Island
- Crowne Plaza Yas Island
- Staybridge Suites Yas Island Abu Dhabi
Find all nearby accommodation choices here:
All Yas Hotels come with complimentary access to Yas Beach Club.
When thinking about where to stay in Abu Dhabi, remember there are also frequent theme park deals available with your hotel booking. The WB Hotel automatically includes your theme park tickets; at other Yas hotels, it would be an optional extra to consider, which will give you reduced-priced tickets.
Touring Abu Dhabi Beyond Yas Island
Abu Dhabi is a very spread-out city over a series of islands. You’ll find Abu Dhabi airport on the “mainland”, then bridges seamlessly connect the main Abu Dhabi Island and outlying islands.
Yas Island may not be considered “central”, but it is still a great place to base yourself for exploring more of Abu Dhabi. You can use the Visit Abu Dhabi shuttle bus from Yas to explore further attractions around the city, such as:
Or use taxis to self-explore across town.
More Frequently Asked Questions About Yas Island
There are three world-class amusement parks on Yas Island
– Yas Waterworld
– Ferrari World
– Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi
– SeaWorld Yas Island
Yas Island is Abu Dhabi’s home to leisure and entertainment. It is home to three theme parks, a Grand Prix race track, a marina, two golf courses, several leisure and entertainment venues, and a giant shopping mall, hotels and residential complexes.
Still under development but with so much to offer, it is a go-to destination for tourists close to Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Ferrari World is one of the flagship theme parks on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island. Its iconic red roof can be found attached to Yas Mall.
This is less than 10 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport, around 30 minutes from downtown Abu Dhabi and an hour away from the outskirts of Dubai.
Yes and no. The land mass that makes up Yas Island was once attached to the mainland. Dredging has created a canal between the mainland and what is now the island, and the land has been reshaped. A 1.1km tunnel connects Yas Island to Al Raha Beach.
Yes, there is a beach on Yas Island, but don’t go thinking oceanfront and giant waves. Yas Beach faces into the mangroves surrounding Abu Dhabi, calming the waters here. It is a man-made beach as part of the development of Yas Island.
Yas Island is about 25 square kilometres (9.7sq miles) in size.
Before you go… Important things to consider when planning a trip to Abu Dhabi
- Pop into our essential planning information page; it includes everything you need to know about getting around Abu Dhabi, a handy guide on what to pack and top tips for first-timers on the dos and don’ts, laws, and customs in the UAE.
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!
- Discover the best places to stay in Abu Dhabi, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here:
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