Abu Dhabi’s “Bridge to Nowhere” finally goes somewhere!
In 2009, the longest cable suspension bridge in the UAE completed works. But no cars would cross the bridge for many years to come as the bridge went to what we now know as Al Hudayriyat Island, which was little more than a vast, desolate sand island off the west coast of Abu Dhabi Island – nearly matching the main city island in length.
Roll the clock forward to 2024, and Al Hudayriyat is now the go-to sports and leisure destination of Abu Dhabi. A beachfront and cycling track already opened in May 2018, but now a new all-star lineup of outdoor adventures awaits for families and fitness enthusiasts in winter 2023/24 and beyond.
The Hudayriyat Recreation Project is a 3000-hectare waterfront community known as the Hudayriyat Leisure & Entertainment District.
Connecting to the mainland at Al Bateen Beach – an extension of 19th Street – here’s what you can expect to find on the island now that much of the construction work is complete:
Bab Al Nojoum Glamping
Housing groups between two to six people in simple canvas tents through to Converted VW Vans and luxury glamping – or even enjoy a two-floor floating tent for stargazing with your own private beach!
If you’re looking to “get away from it all” while remaining close to the conveniences of town, this is the place for you.
Operated by Mawaird Hotels and Hospitality, you can see all the different accommodation choices and book your stay at Bab al Nojoum via booking.com.
Find all the top spots for glamping in Abu Dhabi Emirate here! (including the new Bab al Nojoum location in Mirfa – Western Region)
Currently closed for maintenance
OCR Park proudly holds the title as the UAE’s largest obstacle course – with the adult and children’s courses each containing eight obstacle challenges for endurance fitness with the latest technology
- Tickets cost 100 AED for a weekday pass (Kids 50 AED) or 150 AED for a weekend pass (Kids 75 AED).
- Classes run daily between 6:00 am and 8:00 pm for varying fitness levels.
- Monthly and annual membership options are also available
Learn more at www.ocrpark.com
321 Sports boasts a huge range of indoor and outdoor sporting amenities, including:
- A full-sized outdoor football pitch
- 4 basketball courts
- 4 volleyball courts
- 4 beach volleyball courts
There are also facilities for paddle tennis and badminton (these facilities have rapidly expanded in 2023)
Incorporated within 321 Sports is the already opened 10km bike track, free to use, or you can rent your bikes from external providers at 321 Sports, as well as a 2km running track.
Part of the sports facilities is the 321 Hub, which includes a gym, bike studio, cafe, and kids’ zone.
Guests can pay as they go for court or equipment hire, or residents may be interested in their membership packages, monthly and annual.
Learn more and make your advance bookings at 321sports.ae
Circuit X is Abu Dhabi’s newest outdoor adventure hub, offering thrilling, fun and challenging experiences for people of all ages. This one-of-a-kind adventure park features four exhilarating offerings, including a BMX Track and High Rope Park at Adventure Village and a Skate Park and Splash & Climb Park at Marsana.
Pricing at Circuit X
- BMX Track AED 40 for one hour
- High Ropes Park AED 55 for two circuits + additional features paid separately
- Splash & Climb Park AED50 for one hour
- Skate Park AED 20 AED for one hour (own board)
Further pricing and package options are available. Open seven days a week (note there are staggered aged group times for the BMX Park and Skate Park on weekends to give both big and little kids a fair go).
Learn more and make bookings at circuitxuae.com
A new mountain biking circuit, TrailX MTB, has also opened on the island, with four levels of difficulty and 15 kilometres of off-road bike track to enjoy.
- The Green Trail is 8.9 km long for beginners and casual riders.
- Blue is 2.8 km and suitable for those with some biking experience with medium challenges.
- Red is for advanced riders, 1.9km and highly challenging.
- Black is a high adrenaline 1.9 km trail and highly challenging for your expert bikers.
BYO off-roading bike to use the track (free!), or hire one from Yas Cycles, Colnago or Wolfi’s.
The Hudayriyat Heritage Trail
Operated by Mawarid Hotels and Hospitality, explore the waterfront Hudayriyat Heritage Trail to connect with nature and learn more about the historical and cultural significance of the island.
The Heritage Trail links from the adventure and Bab al Nojoum side of the island to Marsana.
Marsana is the entertainment district and waterfront promenade. From kid-friendly fast food to coffees to go, the fun and colourful beachfront dining sport can be “grab-and-go” or dine in with food truck style dining while taking on the waterside views – fun, vibrant and utterly instagrammable!
Circuit X Splash Park and Skate Park
Note that these two Circuit X parks are within the Marsana complex on the island’s western side. Both are paid activities, and booking in advance is recommended.
Beach and Playground
The beachfront and playground at Al Hudayriyat opened during the first stage of development and remain free. There’s a 600m stretch of calm water patrolled by lifeguards with shower and toilet facilities.
Beach sports such as Volleyball are freely available.
The beach is open daily from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm.
Recent new additions include an outdoor gym and play area.
Marsana Express Train
A cute addition the younger kids love, the slow-moving locomotive takes a loop around the paved areas of Marsana, 15 AED per person.
Aqua Park Marsana
A new addition in 2022, this inflatable water course, spelling out the word “Marsana” from above, can be found just off the main Hudayriyat beach.
The inflatable park is fully supervised and has 247 different features for kids to explore! Safety jackets and non-slip rubber shoes are provided.
- Open daily 9:00 AM to sunset.
- Juniors 6-12 years old – 95 AED
- Over 13+ charged as adults – 125 AED
- Learn more email@example.com
Water Sports Hire
There are lots of options when it comes to hitting the water independently on Hudayriyat, from jet ski rentals to stand up paddleboards, yacht rental paddle boats and donut boats.
Prices start around 75 AED for basic water crafts for 20 minutes, through to 1,400 AED for hiring a fishing boat for half a day. You’ll want an Emirates ID with you for proof of age on some of the powered equipment.
- Open 9:00 AM -11:00 PM weekdays, Midnight on weekends
Learn more at sahramarinesc.ae
Coming Soon – Surf Abu Dhabi
Due to open in winter 2023/24, Surf Abu Dhabi will bring the world’s largest man-made wave pool to Abu Dhabi. Built in collaboration with surf legend Kelly Slater, the 51 million square metre facility will be perfect for amateurs to pros. More information coming soon.
- Opening in winter 2023/24, daily timing and cost TBC
Learn more at surfabudhabi.com
Need to Know – Planning Your Trip to Hudayriyat Island
How do you get to Hudayriyat Island, Abu Dhabi?
Al Hudayriyat Island sits to the east of the main Abu Dhabi Island. The spectacular suspension bridge to the island is an extension of Sheikh Shakhbout bin Sultan Street (19th street); you’ll find the entry at the junction of Khalifa Al Mubarak Street (Al Bateen Beach) – which is about halfway between the Abu Dhabi Corniche and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
You can drive or use the dedicated cycling lanes (just don’t stop for photos, even though the views back to the city skyline are spectacular).
How do you book activities at Al Hudayriyat?
All visitors at present must pre-book the new recreation facilities before driving to the island. The beach, cycling track and running track remain free on a ‘first come’ basis; they tend not to be too crowded.
All other recreation facilities must be pre-booked – as linked with the third-party providers above.
Opening Hours Al Hudayriyat Island
Al Hudayriyat is open seven days a week.
Opening times vary by each facility, with links to the operator’s websites as stated above.
Learn more at https://www.hudayriyatisland.ae/.
More Frequently Asked Questions about Al Hudayriyat Island in Abu Dhabi
There is no entry charge onto Hudayriyat Island, and many of the island’s features are free to use, including the beach, bike paths, and public playground areas.
The island has paid sports and leisure facilities that cost extra to participate in.
For the paid facilities on Hudayriyat, you will need to contact each of the individual vendors as outlined above.
The restaurants in Marsana, Hudayriyat Island, do not serve alcohol.
Al Hudayriyat is undoubtedly one of the hidden gems of Abu Dhabi, often overlooked by tourists as there are still no major hotel developments on the island (yet!). If you are looking for one of the best places to relax water side, try out some new skills and see the sunset over the Arabian Gulf, you won’t find a better spot than Al Hudayriyat Island.
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 as well as top tips for first-timers on the dos and don’ts, laws, and customs in the UAE.
- Find the latest Abu Dhabi COVID-19 Guidance here.
- 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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