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The Best Places To Live In Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is the capital city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where modern lifestyle and tranquility meet. The residential areas in this bustling city cater to the different needs of expats and their families in the UAE, from Khalifa City, Al Khalidiyah, Al Raha, Yas Island, to Saadiyat Island.

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Are you an expat relocating to the UAE? Are you looking for a place that offers convenient access to the other parts of the Emirates while letting you enjoy a peaceful yet luxurious lifestyle? As one of the best places to live in the UAE, Abu Dhabi is no doubt a top destination for you.

Pacific Prime invites you to join us as we outline the top five places in Abu Dhabi loved by expats and locals alike, their notable attractions, modes of transportation, along with residential options in the areas in this article.

Top Five Places to Live in Abu Dhabi

Learn more about the top five places to live in Abu Dhabi, including Khalifa City, Al Khalidiyah, Al Raha, Yas Island, and Saadiyat Island. In this article, find your ideal place to settle down in this well-loved expat destination that offers convenient access to key locations in the UAE.

Corniche Breakwater, Abu Dhabi - A Top Living Spot In The City

Khalifa City

Khalifa City is a large residential suburb located along the highway to Dubai. This jewel of the desert offers affordable apartments, villas, and downtime away from the city’s hassle, with local schools and entertainment venues in close proximity, making it a top option for families in Abu Dhabi.

Housing over 100,000 residents, Khalifa City is divided into three main parts:

  • Khalifa City (previously known as Khalifa City A)
  • Shakhbout City (previously known as Khalifa City B)
  • Zayed City (previously known as New Khalifa City)

Although Khalifa City is under development, each part of the city is seeing a growing number of residents because of its attractions and a wide range of facilities, such as public parks and beaches, as well as the famous Abu Dhabi Golf Club and Al Forsan International Sports Resort.

What Are Some Facilities in Khalifa City?

Apart from leading schools, nurseries, supermarkets, grocery shops, local and fine-dining restaurants, salons, pharmacies, hospitals, sports centers, and parking spaces, Khalifa City grants its residents access to Abu Dhabi’s renowned landmarks and attractions within a couple of minutes away:

  • Abu Dhabi International Airport: 10 minutes away
  • Abu Dhabi Golf Club: 11 minutes away
  • Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: 12 minutes away
  • Yas Island: 20 minutes away
  • Al Raha Beach: 24 minutes away
  • Louvre Abu Dhabi: 30 minutes away
  • Emirates Palace: 30 minutes away
  • Marina Mall: 30 minutes away

What Are The Transportation Options in Khalifa City?

Since the city is located along the UAE’s two major highways, the most optimal transportation option is driving, as there are numerous rental car services and plenty of parking spots in the city.

Still, there are also other public transportation options available:

  • Buses: The bus routes that operate from Khalifa City’s main bus station include 161, 202, 210, A1, A10, and X81. There are also local, regional, and express buses to choose from.
  • Taxis: Taxis in Khalifa City are available for 24/7 service. You can also call an Uber or Careem to pick you up or drop you off at a designated spot.

What Are The Property Prices in Khalifa City?

Khalifa City offers apartments, ranging from studios to three-bedroom units, and villas, which normally have three to six bedrooms. The average prices of rental apartments in the city start at AED 27,000 (about USD $7,350), while rental villas can cost you at least AED 79,000 (~USD $21,510). 

While the prices vary depending on specific amenities each property offers and whether you’re buying or renting, the average prices of residential properties in Khalifa City are as follows:

 

Property Type Average Rental Price (AED) Average Sale Price (AED)
Studio Apartment 27,000 (~USD $7,350) N/A
One-bedroom Apartment 43,000 (~USD $11,710) N/A
Two-bedroom Apartment 61,000 (~USD $16,610) N/A
Three-bedroom Apartment 90,000 (~USD $24,500) N/A
Two-bedroom Villa 79,000 (~USD $21,510) N/A
Three-bedroom Villa 127,000 (~USD $34,575) N/A
Four-bedroom Villa 150,000 (~USD $40,840) 5,452,000 (~USD $1,484,345)
Five-bedroom Villa 162,000 (~USD $44,105) 6,555,000 (~USD $1,784,645)
Six-bedroom Villa 180,000 (~USD $49,005) 6,558,000 (~USD $1,785,460)

 

Al Khalidiyah

Al Khalidiyah is a cultural neighborhood located in the heart of Abu Dhabi. Considered the perfect balance between the old and modern-day Abu Dhabi, this vibrant hub is loved by expats and families because of its high-rise apartments and gated villa communities that offer serene waterfront views.

Louvre Abu Dhabi - Iconic Art Destination In A Prime UAE Living Area

Apart from the stunning view of one of UAE’s most famous beaches, called the Corniche, Al Khalidiyah also offers easy access to a plethora of schools in the area. Your children are guaranteed to receive quality education from the selection of UAE’s top schools:

After sending your kids off to school, you can enjoy the sound of crashing waves from Al Khalidiyah’s beautiful beaches or the sound of people talking in the bustling shopping malls from morning until midnight. This lively neighborhood offers the ultimate experience in every aspect possible.

What Are Some Facilities in Al Khalidiyah?

Al Khalidiyah is located in Abu Dhabi’s suburbs in the proximity of key locations, making it less busy compared to other parts of the emirates. From community parks and watersports venues to places of worship and international restaurants, this community will surround you with everything you need.

Still, being on a calmer side of the town means a little longer time it takes to commute from the area to popular landmarks and attractions in Abu Dhabi:

  • Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Street: Eight minutes away
  • Corniche Beach: 10 minutes away
  • Al Falah Street: 10 minutes away
  • Abu Dhabi Breakwater Beach: 14 minutes away
  • Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: 17 minutes away
  • Abu Dhabi International Airport: 30 minutes away
  • Yas Island: 30 minutes away
  • Burj Khalifa: One hour and 40 minutes away

What Are The Transportation Options in Al Khalidiyah?

Similar to Khalifa City, Al Khalidiyah provides you with a lot of parking spaces and open areas that are accessible by cars, consequently resulting in limited bus stops and the lack of overall public transportation.

Nevertheless, there are a number of public transportation options available:

  • Buses: The line numbers of the buses that operate from Al Khalidiyah are 1538, M117, M118, and 7.
  • Taxis: Taxis in Al Khalidiyah are available for 24/7 service. You can also call an Uber or Careem to pick you up or drop you off at a designated spot.

What Are The Property Prices in Al Khalidiyah?

Ranked as the second-most popular residential hub in 2020, Al Khalidiyah offers mid- to high-rise apartments and high-end villas with coveted waterfront views. The average prices of rental apartments in the area start at AED 33,000 (~USD $8,985) and at AED 158,000 (~USD $43,015) for rental villas.

While the property rental prices vary depending on specific amenities each property offers, the average prices of residential properties in Al Khalidiyah are as follows:

 

Property Type Average Rental Price (AED)
Studio Apartment 33,000 (~USD $8,985)
One-bedroom Apartment 57,000 (~USD $15,520)
Two-bedroom Apartment 64,000 (~USD $17,425)
Three-bedroom Apartment 94,000 (~USD $25,590)
Four-bedroom Apartment 128,000 (~USD $34,850)
Four-bedroom Villa 158,000 (~USD $43,015)
Five-bedroom Villa 172,000 (~USD $46,830)
Six-bedroom Villa 235,000 (~USD $63,980)
Seven-bedroom Villa 291,000 (~USD $79,225)

 

Al Raha

Spanning over 5.2 million meters along Abu Dhabi’s natural beachfront, Al Raha is a developing waterfront community with luxurious villas and apartments that offer a resort-like lifestyle while providing you with ease of transportation to the beaches and green areas inside the city center.

Abu Dhabi Skyline With Cars And Sidewalk, Epitome Of City Living

Al Raha is divided into two parts: Al Raha Beach and Al Raha Gardens. They can be further divided into 11 sub-communities:

  • Al Zeina
  • Khor Al Raha
  • Al Bandar
  • Al Seef
  • Al Dana
  • Al Rumaila
  • Al Zahiya
  • Al Lisaili
  • Al Shaleela
  • Al Razeen
  • Al Thurayya

Al Raha Beach is among the most popular areas for high-end apartment rental in Abu Dhabi as it allows beach-lovers and watersports enthusiasts to easily commute to beaches in the Emirates anytime they’d like.

What Are Some Facilities in Al Raha?

Al Raha offers you a wide variety of recreational options for individuals and families alike. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for upscale malls, private beaches, water festival venues, top-tier schools, healthcare facilities, or places of worship. You can find them all in Al Raha.

Living in the developing area along the waterfront allows you to directly access beaches and gardens as well as other landmarks in Abu Dhabi in the blink of an eye:

  • Al Bandar Marina: Five minutes away
  • Ferrari World: 14 minutes away
  • Khalifa City (Khalifa City A): 15 minutes away
  • Yas Island: 15 minutes away
  • Abu Dhabi International Airport: 23 minutes away
  • Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: 25 minutes away
  • Abu Dhabi Corniche: 35 minutes away
  • Dubai: One hour and 25 minutes away
  • Burj Khalifa: One hour and 40 minutes away

What Are The Transportation Options in Al Raha?

Buildings and facilities in Al Raha normally come with parking spaces for residents and visitors. The parking fees for visitors in most buildings are usually free for the first hour, with extra costs for additional hours. There are also public vehicles for those who don’t own a private vehicle.

Expats living in Al Raha are provided with the following public transportation options:

  • Buses: There are two bus stations in the sub-community Al Zeina. The line numbers of the buses that operate from Al Raha are 170, 175, and K4.
  • Taxis: Taxis in Al Raha are available for 24/7 service. You can also call an Uber or Careem to pick you up or drop you off at a designated spot.

What Are The Property Prices in Al Raha?

Al Raha is a top choice for high-end properties with villas, apartments, and townhouses. Since the average prices of rental apartments and villas in Al Raha start at AED 46,000 (~USD $12,525) and AED 290,000 (~USD $78,955), expats, families, and investors can all benefit from the properties here.

While the property rental prices vary depending on specific amenities each property offers, the average prices of residential properties in Al Raha are as follows:

 

Property Type Average Rental Price (AED)
Studio Apartment 46,000 (~USD $12,525)
One-bedroom Apartment 62,000 (~USD $16,880)
Two-bedroom Apartment 98,000 (~USD $26,680)
Three-bedroom Apartment 157,000 (~USD $42,745)
Four-bedroom Apartment 210,000 (~USD $57,175)
Five-bedroom Apartment 234,000 (~USD $63,710)
Two-bedroom Villa 290,000 (~USD $78,955)
Three-bedroom Villa 418,000 (~USD $113,805)
Four-bedroom Villa 326,000 (~USD $88,755)
Five-bedroom Villa 354,000 (~USD $96,380)
Six-bedroom Villa 357,000 (~USD 97,195)

 

Yas Island

Located just 20 kilometers east of Abu Dhabi city center, Yas Island is renowned as an entertainment hotspot that offers tourists and residents unlimited access to this man-made island’s theme parks, shopping malls, sports arenas, trendy restaurants, as well as luxurious residential properties.

Corniche Beach, Abu Dhabi, UAE - Serene Living By The Sea

Apart from being a top entertainment destination, Yas Island is also home to Yas Marina Circuit, a 400-acre-long sporting venue that hosts some of the world’s most loved motorsport competitions and other events, including but not limited to:

  • Formula One: Yas Marina Circuit is known as the most expensive Formula One track ever built, with more than USD $800 million in construction costs in 2009
  • Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
  • Intercontinental GT Challenge
  • Gulf 12 Hours
  • Asian Le Mans Series
  • FIA World RX
  • World RX of Abu Dhabi
  • FIA GT1 World Championship
  • V8 Supercars Yas V8 400

Yas Island is considered a paradise for motorsport fans, and its residents can enjoy a combination of high-rise apartments and state-of-the-art villas while living in the proximity of schools and healthcare facilities, making the island a family-friendly choice for both expats and locals.

What Are Some Facilities in Yas Island?

Yas Island offers its residents much more than Formula One and Grand Prix tournaments. Since its development project began in 2006, this multi-purpose entertainment hub has been rife with famous theme parks, nightlife spots, trendy malls, world-class hospitals, top schools, and pristine beaches.

The facilities and key locations you can travel to from Yas Island are as follows:

  • Ferrari World Abu Dhabi: Three minutes away
  • Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi: Four minutes away
  • Warner Bros. World™ Abu Dhabi: Five minutes away
  • Yas Links Abu Dhabi: Five minutes away
  • Yas Marina Circuit: 11 minutes away
  • Abu Dhabi International Airport: 18 minutes away
  • Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: 21 minutes away
  • Qasr Al Watan: 36 minutes away
  • Dubai International Airport: One hour and 30 minutes away

What Are The Transportation Options in Yas Island?

As home to world-class entertainment and sports venues, Yas Island never runs out of free public parking spaces. Residential buildings have dedicated parking spaces for its residents, so you’ll be at ease commuting around Yas Island by car while also enjoying various public transportation options.

Similar to other top residential destinations in Abu Dhabi, Yas Island offers the following public transportation options:

  • Buses: There are several bus stations near Yas Mall, and you can pre-book a bus from the Emirates bus booking service Abu Dhabi Link. The line number of the buses that operate from Dubai and Abu Dhabi is 190.
  • Shuttle Buses: Yas Express offers a free shuttle bus service, allowing you to access top attractions on the island in no time with three different routes.
    • Y1 Route: Running from 9:00 a.m. to 11:35 p.m. every day, this route begins from Yas Plaza Hotels and makes stops at W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Mall, Clymb™, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi.
    • Y2 Route: This route starts at Hilton Yas Island hotel and stops at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Mall, Clymb™, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi from 9 a.m. to 11:35 p.m., seven days a week.
    • Y3 Route: This route starts at Yas Plaza Hotels and makes stops at W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island, Hilton Yas Island Hotel, Yas Beach, Yas Marina, and Yas Marina Circuit, and it runs from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. every day.
  • Taxis: Taxis in Yas Island are available for 24/7 service. You can also call an Uber or Careem to pick you up or drop you off at a designated spot.

What Are The Property Prices in Yas Island?

Yas Island offers a mix of modern apartments, villas, and townhouses for expats who enjoy living in open spaces and going to sports facilities. The average prices of rental apartments and villas in Yas Island start at AED 56,000 (~USD $15,250) and AED 256,000 (~USD $56,700), respectively.

While the property rental prices vary depending on specific amenities each property offers, the average prices of residential properties in Yas Island are as follows:

 

Property Type Average Rental Price (AED) Average Sale Price (AED)
Studio Apartment 56,000 (~USD $15,250) 749,000 (~USD $203,920)
One-bedroom Apartment 64,000 (~USD $17,425) 1,040,000 (~USD $283,150)
Two-bedroom Apartment 126,000 (~USD $34,305) 1,805,000 (~USD $491,425)
Three-bedroom Apartment 168,000 (~USD $45,740) 2,397,000 (~USD $652,600)
Four-bedroom Apartment N/A 5,110,000 (~USD $1,391,235)
Three-bedroom Villa 256,000 (~USD $69,700) 4,309,000 (~USD $1,173,155)
Four-bedroom Villa 326,000 (~USD $96,650) 5,591,000 (~USD $1,522,190)
Five-bedroom Villa 354,000 (~USD $92,295) 6,645,000 (~USD $1,809,150)
Six-bedroom Villa N/A 11,850,000 (~USD $3,226,245)

Saadiyat Island

Saadiyat Island is a natural island where the endangered species of hawksbill turtles live. It’s considered the most luxurious cultural neighborhood in the UAE as it houses Manarat Al Saadiyat, one of the world’s most renowned art and culture centers, along with other prominent cultural attractions.

Grand white building with Sheikh Zayed Mosque backdrop in Abu Dhabi

Housing world-class art exhibitions, top-rated restaurants, green residential buildings overlooking the picture-perfect sea, Saadiyat Island is divided into seven districts:

  • Saadiyat Beach Golf Club: Six minutes away
  • Manarat Al Saadiyat: 11 minutes away
  • Louvre Abu Dhabi: 15 minutes away
  • Galleria Mall: 20 minutes away
  • Mainland Abu Dhabi: 20 minutes away
  • Yas Island: 20 minutes away
  • Art Central: 23 minutes away
  • Abu Dhabi International Airport: 30 minutes away
  • Dubai International Airport: One hour and 30 minutes away

Among the seven districts, Saadiyat Cultural District is the most sought-after neighborhood as it has upscale residential communities like Mamsha Al Saadiyat and Nudra, which are filled with extravagant apartments and loft-styled penthouses offering beautiful sea views.

The other districts are also loved by expats and locals for the luxurious and convenient facilities they offer.

What Are Some Facilities on Saadiyat Island?

Saadiyat Island is home to museums, art galleries, stylish malls, trendy restaurants and cafes, as well as prestige schools. As Abu Dhabi’s most popular residential destination in the first half of 2022, this pristine island speaks of luxurious lifestyles and natural beauty at the same time.

Located north of Abu Dhabi city center, residents of Saadiyat Island can commute to top attractions in Abu Dhabi with ease:

  • Saadiyat Beach Golf Club: Six minutes away
  • Manarat Al Saadiyat: 11 minutes away
  • Louvre Abu Dhabi: 15 minutes away
  • Galleria Mall: 20 minutes away
  • Mainland Abu Dhabi: 20 minutes away
  • Yas Island: 20 minutes away
  • Art Central: 23 minutes away
  • Abu Dhabi International Airport: 30 minutes away
  • Dubai International Airport: One hour and 30 minutes away

What Are The Transportation Options in Saadiyat Island?

Buildings in Saadiyat Island come with secured parking slots for their residents, while public parking spaces are available for visitors in some places. Plentiful open spaces and the light traffic make getting around the island by car easier than using other means of transportation.

If you don’t have a car, don’t fret. There are also shuttle buses and taxis available in the area:

  • Shuttle Buses: As home to luxury hotels and numerous art and culture centers, there are several shuttle bus lines operating inside Saadiyat Island, including:
    • Cultural Express: Saadiyat Island’s Cultural Express offers 24/7 complimentary shuttle bus service with free Wi-Fi access, air conditioning, and comfortable seating, letting you travel from Sheraton Mall of the Emirates Hotel, Dubai to Louvre Abu Dhabi, Qasr Al Watan, and back.
    • Experience Abu Dhabi: The Experience Abu Dhabi buses grant tourists convenient access to top attractions across Abu Dhabi with eight routes that depart to and from the city’s prestige hotels.
    • Abu Dhabi Link: You can also pre-book a shuttle bus to pick up or drop you off at a preferred spot within the island through the Abu Dhabi Link application.
  • Taxis: Taxis in Saadiyat Island are available for 24/7 service. You can call an Uber or Careem to pick you up or drop you off at a designated spot, and there are also self-driving vehicles named Robo-taxis for you to call via the Abu Dhabi Link application.

What Are The Property Prices in Saadiyat Island?

The properties on Saadiyat Island are known for their luxurious features, modern designs, and high-quality finishes, with many of them offering views of the beach. The average prices of rental apartments and villas in Saadiyat Island start at AED 45,000 (~USD $12,250) and AED 325,000 (~USD $88,485).

While the property rental prices vary depending on specific amenities each property offers, the average prices of residential properties in Saadiyat Island are as follows:

 

Property Type Average Rental Price (AED) Average Sale Price (AED)
Studio Apartment 45,000 (~USD $12,250) 707,000 (~USD $192,490)
One-bedroom Apartment 79,000 (~USD $21,510) 1,707,000 (~USD $464,745)
Two-bedroom Apartment 149,000 (~USD $40,565) 4,150,000 (~USD $1,129,870)
Three-bedroom Apartment 205,000 (~USD $55,810) 8,226,000 (~USD $2,239,590)
Four-bedroom Apartment 329,000 (~USD $89,570) 18,874,000 (~USD $5,138,595)
Three-bedroom Villa 325,000 (~USD $88,485) 6,594,000 (~USD $1,795,270)
Four-bedroom Villa 436,000 (~USD $118,705) 8,500,000 (~USD $2,314,190)
Five-bedroom Villa 626,000 (~USD $170,435) 13,063,000 (~USD $3,556,505)
Six-bedroom Villa 750,000 (~USD $204,195) 15,739,000 (~USD $4285065)
Seven-bedroom Villa 1,450,000 (~USD $394,775) 41,939,000 (~USD $11,418,220)

 

Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi, a cultural highlight in UAE living

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time to visit Abu Dhabi?

The best time to visit Abu Dhabi is between November and March when the average temperatures range from 20-30 Celcius.

What are the must-visit attractions in Abu Dhabi?

Some must-visit attractions in Abu Dhabi include the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Khalifa City, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi on Yas Island, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island.

What is the currency used in Abu Dhabi?

The currency used in Abu Dhabi is the United Arab Emirates dirham or AED in short.

Conclusion

From the suburban lifestyle Khalifa City offers, the cultural neighborhoods of Al Khalidiyah, the waterfront properties in Al Raha, the beautiful beaches on Yas Island to the world-class museums in Saadiyat Island, expats looking to live in Abu Dhabi are presented with bountiful residential options.

But Abu Dhabi isn’t the only option for you, as there are plenty of well-suited places to live in the Emirates. Whether your ideal home is the luxurious Dubai or the peaceful Ajman, the UAE has as many as seven best emirates for expats to call home.

If you’ve made up your mind that Abu Dhabi is the place for you, however, please note that it’s mandatory for residents of the emirate to secure health insurance since January 2014. At Pacific Prime, we understand how crucial it is to find a policy that best suits your needs and preferences.

With over 20 years of experience in the industry, you can rest assured that our insurance experts can safeguard you from unforeseen medical bills while living in the UAE with expat health insurance, international health insurance, or even travel insurance in case you’re only visiting the Emirates.

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Content Writer at Pacific Prime Thailand
Natthachamon Suthana Komalrachun is a Content Writer with a strong passion in creative writing and marketing communications. Working with the team of experienced creators at Pacific Prime, she aims to use the magic of communication to simplify insurance and enchant every reader in our diverse society where insurance and employee benefits act as a life and financial stronghold for everyone—individuals and businesses alike.

After graduating at the top of her class and earning her Bachelor’s Degree in English from Thammasat University, Natthachamon has been practicing her writing skills and making education more easily accessible for Thai children as an Educational Content Creator and English Curriculum Developer for various educational facilities and organizations across the country.

Natthachamon is also a mother of two cats, a board game enthusiast, and a big bookworm who enjoys everything and anything sweet.
Natthachamon
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