Our absolute favorite place in Abu Dhabi is the corniche promenade. It runs parallell to the Corniche Road right along the northwestern coast of Abu Dhabi city. It forms a sweeping curve on the western side of the main island and is replete with a cycle path, park areas, beaches, childrens playgrounds and fountains.
It spreads across an amazing eight kilometres of manicured waterfront including children’s play areas, separated cycle and pedestrian pathways, cafés and restaurants and, last but not least, the fantastic Corniche Public Beach and newest developed stretch Al Bahar.
The promenade is very popular with joggers, cyclists, inline skaters and nordic walkers. It takes around 2 hours of walking from the most northern part of the corniche (Mina Dhow harbor) up to the Emirates Palace Hotel and the Presidential Palace. Or just take a right turn after the Hilton hotel onto the breakwater road and foolw its path right to the end at the giant flagpole on the passing the Heritage Village on your way.
Marina Mall is located just across the Corniche situated on the "breakwater". The UAE Flag hoisted beside the Marina Mall used to hold the record for being one of the tallest Flag poles in the world.
Lulu Island is a tiny mostly sandy island located about 100m from the corniche - only reachable by boat or kayak and at the southern end of the corniche lies the famous Emirates Palace Hotel and the iconic presidential palace.
There are various beaches on the corniche promenade. From the newly developed Al Bahar Beach, to Sahil Beach and the very extensive Abu Dhabi Corniche Beach. During the week the beaches are quite deserted and one can enjoy the peace and serenity, but during the weekend the beaches tend to get a bit crowded. We recommend to visit the beaches on weekdays (sunday till thursday).
You can’t swim out very far on the all the beaches on the corniche; floating fences keep you within 40 metres of the beach because of passing boats and jet skis. There are plenty of lifeguards around and entry to most of the public beaches are free. Find out more about the beaches in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi’s Corniche beachfront has been awarded the coveted Blue Flag status - a renowned eco-label for beaches that guarantee clean and safe water.
There are more than 1,100 free parking spaces within a five minute walk of the Corniche and the promenade is easily reachable through underground passages.
A fun way to tour the Corniche is to hire a bicycle. There are mountain bikes, city bikes and buggy style bikes which can fit two to three cyclers and even specially fitted bikes for ladies wearing abayas. There are four rental stations along the Corniche boardwalk. The main 2 rentals being beside Nation Riviera Club and at Sahil Beach.
Between 2002 and 2003, the Corniche was extended. Earlier landmarks of the city were demolished in the process and the skyline changed. Significant amounts of sand were deposited to create the beautiful Corniche Public Beach. Prior to the 1970s, the current large beach area was only a small stretch of beach, where dhows and ships used to anchor. At that time, the Mina Zayed Port was not yet constructed.