The 2022 FIFA World Cup is about to kick off in Qatar. This is the first time that football’s biggest competition has been held in the Middle East.
Whilst many fans may choose to stay close to the action, others may be drawn to the UAE by its bustling atmosphere, glitzy resorts and relatively cheap air shuttle service to Doha.
Dubai may an obvious choice for international visitors, but Abu Dhabi still has much to offer (not to mention the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix coincides with opening weekend). In addition to its wealth of cultural visitor attractions, the UAE’s capital has a multitude of luxury hotels and world-class entertainment venues.
So why not experience the 2022 World Cup from Abu Dhabi? To find out more, keep reading!
FIFA World Cup 2022 – Key Information
- The 22nd FIFA World Cup will be held from 20 November to 18 December 2022 in Qatar.
- 32 nations have qualified for the finals. The soccer event starts with group matches, four teams in 8 groups. The round matches will take place in 3-time slots every day at 2:00 pm, 7:00 pm, and 11:00 pm GST in Dubai (Gulf Standard Time UTC+4)
- Note that Doha works on AST (Arabian Standard Time UTC+3), which is an hour behind Dubai.
Where to stay in Abu Dhabi over the 2022 World Cup
There is no shortage of hotels to suit any pocket in Abu Dhabi. If you’re looking for relatively inexpensive hotels with busy bars and restaurants close to the theme parks, the hotels at Yas Plaza might be for you. These hotels also have the added benefit of being close to the airport and just that bit closer to Dubai.
If white sandy beaches are top of your World Cup stay list, Saadiyat Island is home to five beautiful 5-star hotels which will take care of your every need. Note these hotels come with a hefty price tag but are well worth it if you want to treat yourself in Abu Dhabi.
Another option is the area of Khor Al Maqta, close to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, where you can find the stunning The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi with its Venetian Village, the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, the Shanghri-La Qaryat al Beri and the more economical Traders Hotel.
How do I get from Abu Dhabi to Qatar?
Direct flights are available daily from Abu Dhabi International Airport. Etihad offers five flights a day with prices starting at £200 (approximately 1000 AED) for a return trip. Qatar Airways also have multiple daily flights from Abu Dhabi, starting from £400. Note that prices are subject to change and may be highly inflated during the World Cup.
Can I drive from Abu Dhabi to Qatar?
Whilst it is technically possible, it is not advisable. Anyone travelling by car must park their vehicle at the Abu Samra Saudi Arabia/Qatar border crossing and take the free shuttle to Doha, approximately 90 km away. There is a significant fee imposed to cross the border by land during the World Cup, and restrictions apply to number of vehicle occupants.
You would need to take care to arrange the appropriate visas for your trip through Saudi Arabia.
Where to watch World Cup games in Abu Dhabi
Most sports bars in Abu Dhabi will be screening matches across the capital. Many have put together tempting food and beverage packages. Here are just some of the many spots where you can cheer on your team:
Yas Links’ Abu Dhabi Fan Zone
Yas Links is to be home to a 2,000-capacity fan zone during the 2022 World Cup. The 10,000 square metre area will be split into four zones, including a main viewing zone with a gigantic 16 x 9-metre screen. There will be bean bags, standing areas and communal tables. A variety of drinks, meals and snacks will be available from the food trucks in the F&B zone.
There’s also a gaming zone featuring many PS5 games, as well as football-themed activations like FootPool and Fast Feet, as well as Targeted Kick screens.
For those looking for a more chilled-out experience, there is also a VIP lounge.
All games will be shown, and there will be numerous family-friendly activities and entertainment throughout the site.
With so much going on, it’s got to be one of the best places to experience the 2022 World Cup in Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi Fan Zone, Yas Links, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, +971 2 404 3000
On the 62nd floor of the Conrad Hotel is Ray’s Bar, a comfortable retro-style sports bar that promises to show every nail-biting match of the tournament.
A two-hour free-flowing beverage package (including a bucket of chicken wings) is on offer for AED 299 to really boost team spirit. Other offers include five beers and a bowl of fries for 155 AED and a tower of hops and chicken wings for AED 220. The 220 AED deal also includes one free pint for every goal that’s scored – that’ll be interesting if it comes to penalties!
The chefs at Ray’s have put together a whole range of tempting meals and snacks to help with those match-day nerves. Some of the tasty delights to choose from are flaming shrimp, duck spring rolls, loaded nachos and their signature double-smash burgers.
The World Cup menu at Ray’s Bar will be available throughout the competition from 6:00 pm to 1:00 am. There will be a minimum spend of 250 AED per person required for the quarter-finals on the 7th and 10th of December, the semi-finals on the 13th and 14th of December and the final on December 18th.
Ray’s Bar, Conrad Hotel, Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi Corniche, Abu Dhabi, +971 2 811 5555
Open for every match during the World Cup, usually open daily 6:00 PM – 1:00 AM
Lock, Stock and Barrel
Locally famous for its incredible deals and party atmosphere, Lock Stock and Barrel is one place you won’t miss on your World Cup tour. There will be live music between the matches, which will be shown on big screens indoors and on the outdoor terrace. Live music will keep the party atmosphere buzzing between matches at the weekend.
Some games will fall within happy hour, when you can expect 50% off selected drinks. More special World Cup deals are expected, so look at Lock, Stock and Barrel’s website before you visit their ideally located venue amongst the action of Yas Bay Waterfront.
Lock, Stock and Barrel, Yas Bay, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi +971 4 423 8308
Murphy’s sports bar at Al Ghazal Golf Club will be offering 2-for-1 on selected beverages during every match. They’re also giving a free drink to anyone wearing the football shirt of one of the teams playing in the match being shown.
Murphy’s Sports Bar, Al Ghazal Golf Club, +971 2 505 5023
With its Budweiser fan zone, you’re sure to have a good night at Stills on match day. There’s a 2-hour pre-game unlimited drinks package for 149 AED (including a bar snack) and 20% off food and beverages throughout the game. Alternatively, pay 349 AED for a 4-hour package, which includes unlimited drinks and 2 bar bites and covers the duration of the game.
Still’s Terrace, The Crowne Plaza Hotel, Yas Plaza, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi +971 2 656 3000
Open during and after every game until Midnight
One of the pubbiest pubs in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton’s a la carte menu is pure football fayre. With foot-long sausages, a variety of burgers, pie and chips and a whole host of match day favourites. Hamilton’s promises to show all 64 games on their 8 screens. Seating is one a first come, first served basis, so be sure to get there early!
Hamilton’s Gastropub, Saadiyat Rotana Hotel & Resort, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi +971 2 697 0125
The Belgian Cafe
Lively bar and restaurant, The Belgian Cafe will stay open until the end of every match. There’s indoor and outdoor seating and plenty of big screens, so you won’t miss out on any of the action. Fans get 30% off food and drink every Saturday and Sunday throughout the tournament, there’s also a daily raffle with prizes of 500 AED. In addition, there are lots of other deals with free-flowing beverages for three hours for 249 AED.
The Belgian Cafe, Radisson Blu Hotel, Yas Plaza, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi +971 2 656 2406
Open Sunday to Thursday 12 noon to 2:00 AM and Friday and Saturday, 12 noon to 3:00 AM
The name says it all. The newly refurnished plush sports lounge located at the Jumeirah Saadiyat Hotel, is a great place to catch all of the footy action. There will be numerous deals as well as an outdoor barbecue during the knock-out stages.
Offside Sports Lounge, Jumeirah Hotel and Resort, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi +971 2 811 4342
Open 12 noon until 1.00 AM daily
Other World Cup Discounts and World Cup Special Offers in Abu Dhabi
We will update this section as more offers become available.
Look out for family-friendly brunch deals at match times too.
Frequently Asked Questions on the World Cup in Abu Dhabi
Yes, non-Muslims over 21 are permitted to drink in the UAE at licensed venues.
We fully explain Abu Dhabi’s drinking laws here.
The UAE government announced the end to the use of the Al Hosn app for entering public places in Abu Dhabi Emirate on 7 November 2022. This means evidence of COVID vaccine and PCR testing is no longer required to enter places such as bars and restaurants. The wearing of masks indoors is also no longer compulsory.
Looking For More to Do in Abu Dhabi?
Whilst Abu Dhabi is a fabulous place to base yourself during the FIFA 2022 World Cup, there’s so much more to enjoy than just football during your stay in the Middle East:
- Check out our complete events guide for November and December in Abu Dhabi
- Are you bringing the family? Check out these fabulous ideas of things to do with kids in Abu Dhabi
- Don’t miss experiencing a classic Desert Safari in Abu Dhabi during your stay
- Make sure you understand the Abu Dhabi dress code so as not to offend your hosts
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:
Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our hotel or tour recommendation links.Abu Dhabi Travel Planner