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Top 10 areas to live in Abu Dhabi

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​Before we begin

You are relocating to Abu Dhabi!
Exciting times are ahead, however, there's a crucial decision to make – where should you call home?

If you are still very much up in the air regarding locations, hearing mixed reviews or have just been too busy packing to research, here’s our quick guide to the best places for rental prices, amenities, hobbies, transport and more.

  • A much calmer and more family-friendly place to live than its famous neighbour (Dubai).

  • Lots of popular communities to choose from on an island-style city.

  • Tawtheeq is the system that protects the rights of both the landlord and tenant.

  • ADDC (Abu Dhabi Distribution Company) deposit, the tenant will need to pay the deposit of AED 1,000 with the first bill. This is refundable.

  • Housing fee to Abu Dhabi Municipality is a standard 5% of annual rent broken down into payments over the 12-month contract.

  • Rent is payable annually/biannually/quarterly. You can now use the Direct Debit System (UAEDDS) of the UAE Central Bank. Other methods include cheques, bank transfers and online payment platforms.

  • Upfront rental fee deposit of 3-5% (if going through agency) plus 5% security deposit.

Saadiyat Island

  • Rent (let’s look at a one-bedroom throughout this guide) starts from approx 52K AED per year to 90+K AED. Think upscale residential communities.

  • Most buildings will have a swimming pool and gym facilities.

  • 9 km of white sandy beaches, world-class dining options and a mix of arts, culture, leisure and sports - Saadiyat is a luxurious place to call home.

  • Lots of natural island beauty.

  • Home to golf clubs, museums, cafes and the famous Louvre.

  • Saadiyat Cultural District is one of the most developed and prominent parts of Saadiyat Island featuring luxurious residential communities like Mamsha Al Saadiyat and Nudra.

  • Other areas include the Marina District, Saadiyat Reserve and Lagoons.

  • There are nursery, primary & secondary school options on the island.

Yas Island

  • Yas Island - the entertainment of Abu Dhabi. Excitement, adventure and perfect for families, Yas boasts a never-ending list of things to do.

  • Rental prices for one-bedroom apartments are not too dissimilar to Saadiyat ranging from 55K to 80K.

  • Choose from apartments, villas or townhouses.

  • Top attractions include Yas Waterworld, Ferrari World, Warner Bros, Seaworld, Yas Links, Yas Mall and much more.

  • Plenty of trendy restaurants and cafes.

  • 2 medical centres and 1 hospital on the island.

  • Offers some of the best international schools in Abu Dhabi including West Yas Academy and Sabis International School.

Al Reem Island

  • A one-bedroom apartment will cost you between 50-70K AED. These apartments are usually spacious and modern.

  • Typically high-rise apartments but the island offers a small selection of villas too.

  • Al Reem Island is the ultimate waterfront living. A bustling community offering a fantastic lifestyle close to the city centre.

  • Easy access to workplaces.

  • Schools and universities are very accessible from Al Reem with several being on the island itself.

  • Plenty of parks, play areas, malls, gyms and sports facilities.

  • 2 Hospitals and 1 clinic less than 10 minutes away.

  • Saadiyat Public Beach is 20 minutes away.

  • One of the most popular places to live.

Al Maryah Island

  • Looking for a cool, downtown vibe? Well, it must be Al Maryah Island. An ultra-modern district with beautiful sea views.

  • Abu Dhabi’s new central business district, Al Maryah is prestigious and more expensive than other areas in Abu Dhabi.

  • One bedroom will range from 68K to 150K+ AED per year.

  • Great for families through to professionals.

  • Al Maryah offers opulent 5-star hotels, plenty of restaurants, an excellent shopping mall, a promenade filled with cafes and much more.

  • Cleveland Clinic is a world-class hospital located in the area.

  • Home to some of the most renowned enterprises in the world, including central banks and financial institutions, consulting firms and law firms.

Khalifa City

  • A residential suburb in Abu Dhabi, Khalifa City is split into three sections - Khalifa City A, B and New Khalifa City.

  • One-bedroom starts from 36K AED per year. Studios start from 28K AED. You can conveniently upgrade to a bigger space without leaving the community.

  • Becoming a popular area due to low costs and plenty of amenities in the area, perfect for the whole family.

  • 15 minutes from Abu Dhabi airport.

  • Plenty of parks, cycle paths, swimming pools, sports facilities and running tracks - great for those who enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle.

  • A number of top-rated schools in the area.

  • 20 minutes from the famous Abu Dhabi attractions including Ferrari World, Water World etc.

Tourist Club Area

  • A central location in Abu Dhabi, the Tourist Club area is one of the liveliest communities. Usually, tenants stay in high-rise buildings and a one-bedroom costs from 45-75K AED per year.

  • Housing suits both families and individuals.

  • Consists of excellent nightlife, plenty of shopping malls, a waterfront promenade great for joggers and outdoor activities and plenty of sports facilities.

  • Lots of dining and entertainment options.

  • Located near the Corniche.

  • 5+ medical/dental clinics and hospitals in the area.

  • 10+ international schools and nurseries.

Al Raha

  • Fancy beach living? Al Raha is your best bet!

  • Communities of Al Raha Beach comprise of Al Bandar, Al Muneera and Al Zeina. Al Bandar features a promenade with plenty of restaurants, a marina, hotels and clubs. Al Muneera holds the offices and business centres whilst Al Zeina has a beach, retail, markets, restaurants and more.

  • A one-bedroom starts from approx 55K AED per year and up, depending on quality.

  • Located opposite Yas Island.

  • Plenty of hotels offering dining options, water sports and entertainment.

  • Popular supermarkets include Waitrose and Spinneys and Carrefour.

Al Reef

  • Al Reef is an affordable area split into two Al Reef Villas and Al Reef Downtown (apartments). It is located on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi closer to Dubai than the other locations noted in this document.

  • It’s a cheaper area to live in too with a one-bedroom starting from approx 48K AED per year.

  • Great for families and young professionals.

  • Plenty of playgrounds, parks, swimming pools and facilities.

  • A calm and peaceful area, with not too many malls around.

  • 30 mins to mainland Abu Dhabi, 45 towards Dubai/Jebel Ali.

  • Many great schools and medical centres in the area.

  • Themed clusters include Mediterranean, Arabian and contemporary.

  • If affordability is what you are looking for - this area is perfect for you!

Mohammed Bin Zayed City

  • An affordable residential area for families, MBZ City is a peaceful location 30 minutes from Abu Dhabi centre and 15 from the airport.

  • Complete with mostly villas, a few townhouses and rooms to rent. A room rental starts from approx 37K AED per year whilst a huge 3 bedroom villa starts from 115K AED.

  • Most villas have their own swimming pool and spacious garden.

  • Facilities include shopping malls, top schools, restaurants, cafes and 3 hospitals.

  • If you are looking for a slower pace than city centre living, in a serene environment - this one could be for you!

The Corniche

  • And last but by no means least; The Corniche Area.

  • A one-bedroom starts from approx 55K AED per year going up to 90K for a more prestigious apartment.

  • Who wouldn’t want to live by the sea? A firm favourite, the Corniche includes luxurious waterfront residencies, skyscrapers, a vast array of fabulous restaurants and to top it off: incredible 360 views.

  • Facilities include several top-notch hospitals, schools, cafes, malls, large parks and a beach.

  • Countless supermarkets in walking distance.

  • This one is a tourist trap, so keep in mind what kind of location you are looking for.

  • Fancy living in one of the most sought-after areas in the UAE capital? This is it!

Can we help?

Our team boasts years of expertise in moving to various locations in and around the UAE.

If you need assistance deciding on a living location or simply seek some guidance and suggestions, please reach out to us at

Click here to see our blog on Top 10 areas to live in Dubai.

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